Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2000

English 104:  Creative Writing
Professor Barbara Henning

In this writing workshop, students will read, study, and write poetry and short-short fiction, using various forms and approaches.  A writer's notebook will be an ongoing project from which students will gather material for their assignments.  Part of each class period will be devoted to reading poems and stories by published authors. The rest of the class period will be a workshop where students learn how to critique their work. A final portfolio will include an evaluation of the student's learning along with revised poems and stories. Books for the class will include The Handbook of Poetic Forms, and an anthology of short-short fiction. 

English 129:  British Literature II
Professor Howard Silverstein

This course focuses on the theme of the individual and society as illustrated in selected works from the 19th and early 20th century. The semester will be divided into the following topics: (1) The spirit of Romanticism: poems by Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Byron, and Tennyson, (2) The revolt against Victorianism: Hardy's Jude the Obscure, and Wilde's The Portrait of Dorian Gray, (3) The Irish Rebellion: plays by Synge, Shaw, and O'Casey. Joyce's novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and (4) The Poet's Reaction to the Modern World: poetry by Yeats, Housman, Hardy, Brooke, Sassoon, Owen, and Auden. 

English 159:  Literature of the United States II
Professor Michael Bennett 
This course will examine works of literature written in the United States after 1865. We will be going in search of the Great American Novels published from just after the Civil War to the present. Ours will be a multicultural exploration as we range between European, African, Native, and Latino literary traditions within the United States. As we undertake the search for the Great American Novel, we will also interrogate each of the terms of our quest. What is a novel? How do we determine whether or not a novel is great? What do we mean when we say "American?" Rather than providing any final answers, we will see if the questions themselves provide us with some understanding of the complex and convoluted terrain of American literary history.
     Requirements: class participation and presentations, daily reading quizzes, sixteen pages of writing, and a final exam. Texts: Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Kate Chopin, The Awakening; William Faulkner, Light In August; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me Ultima; Maxine Hong Kinston, The Woman Warrior; N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain; and Diana Hacker, A Writer's Reference.

English 200:  Domesticity in American Literature and Culture
Professor Leah Dilworth

This upper division undergraduate course will examine representations of "home" in American culture. We will consider primarily literary representations, such as Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Thoreau's Walden, Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," Yesierka's The Bread Givers, and Morrison's Beloved, but we will also look at visual representations such as nineteenth century genre paintings and films, such as The Stepford Wives and Crooklyn.  In addition, we will read excerpts from contemporary advice and household reform literature, as well as selected cultural criticism.  Of central concern will be the ways that "home" has been constructed as a gendered space and how conceptions of race and class have also come to bear on that space.  Students will be required to write a research paper related to the theme of the course as well as several short, informal papers responding to the readings.

English 200:  African Women Writers
Professor Huma Ibrahim

This course is going to examine three of the most prominent Anglophone African Women Writers of the 20th century: Bessie Head, Buchi Emecheta, and Ama Ata Aidoo.  These three writers have contributed definitively to the dialogue on female identity in the postcolonial context.  Their texts range from precolonial times to more modern postcolonial times. Their characters, mainly female, grapple with issues of nationality and gender in an increasingly turbulent socio-political milieu while continuing a dialogue with their male counterparts. We will read the body of Head, Aidoo, and Emecheta's writing doing exposition of the texts and stipulating the struggle of African Feminists, a title which critics have given to all three writers. In addition,  we will examine each writer's relationship to the English language which started as the colonials' language and later became their own, often through violent confrontation.  This course is for people who are really interested in the development of Anglophone African writing and the particular contribution of women in this field. Students will be required to write two theoretical papers.

Graduate Courses, Spring 2000

English 624:  African American Literature
Professor Carol Allen

This is a survey that covers African American Literature from the eighteenth century to the present.  The course will provide general information about the major writers and texts that have contributed to African American Letters.  In addition to literary texts, assignments include criticism from noted scholars such as Houston Baker, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Hortense Spillers, Deborah McDowell, Mae Gwendolyn Henderson, and others. Fiction writers to be studied are Douglass, Hughes, Hurston, Wright, Brooks, Ellison, Walker, Morrison, and more. The aim is to provide not only a sense of the African-American literary tradition but also of where it stands in relation to Western humanities. Required texts: The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, Henry Louis Gates, ed. al. eds.; Black Literature and Literary Theory, Henry Louis Gates, ed.; and course handouts.    

English 641:  Literacy & Basic Writing
Professor David Tietge

This is a graduate course that will examine the theoretical and practical questions surrounding the development of literacy, particularly in relation to basic writing, multicultural contexts, and the urban student writer. It is designed for advanced students who are interested in developing strategies for teaching the basic writer, but it will also provide a theoretical backdrop for understanding and applying those strategies. We will begin by examining the history of composition instruction in order to understand where and how it is situated in the academy, and will quickly move to studying some of the leading thinkers in fields such as composition, education, rhetoric and linguistics. Though we will attempt to master a considerable amount of theory in this course, it will not be at the expense of the practical concerns of teaching writing; there will be a good deal of "hands-on" experience as well.  Therefore, this course is especially important for those who currently are, or who someday hope to be, teachers of writing. The course will be useful not only to English instructors, but to any teachers who intend to use writing as a primary learning tool in their classrooms.