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Course Descriptions - Spring 2016

For the most up-to-date information, please consult the UW Time Schedule. Keep in mind that future course listings are tentative and subject to change.

Spring 2016


MW
MGH - SLN: 11797 Course Website
GE Requirements Met: C, W

When one hears the word “queer,” the most commonly understood meaning involves something negative, a pejorative deviation from the normal. It is also typically used as slang for a white homosexual male. But this class will explore “queer” in its various meanings as a valuable means of questioning what is normal itself.  In addition, it will ask not only how queer looks and expresses itself in relation to race, gender, sex and sexuality, but also how it manifests across the many cultures of the Americas.

This course will engage with various forms of queer cultural production (plays, novels, children’s literature, films and slam poetry) from the 20th and 21st centuries across French, English and Spanish linguistic and cultural lines. It will also entertain various feminist, anti-colonial and queer of color theoretical concepts. Students will then develop their analytic skills through writing in various forms (personal journaling, response papers, proposals, short literary analysis and comparative papers).

We will think about, explore not only our own (queer) positions in time and culture, but also of those in the works we read and view. Classes will be a mixture of small-group and class discussions, peer-review workshops and activities from Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed. 


TThF 9:30am - 11:20am
SMI 407 - SLN: 11798
Instructor: Richard Boyechko
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


MW
CMU - SLN: 11799
Instructor: Paul Morton
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


MWF 10:30am - 12:20pm
SMI 107 - SLN: 11800
Instructor: Brad Gerhardt
GE Requirements Met: C, W

The Bildungsroman—typically translated as “novel of development”—is a central but contested 19th and 20th century genre; in broad terms, it generally narrates the development of a protagonist from youth into adulthood, often from rebellion into a new sense of community/maturity. But the concept of Bildung is also closely tied to education, and in C LIT 240 we will focus specifically on what “development” means for students. Rather than entering a critical debate about the term Bildung, we will use it as an organizing category to discuss the transition from adolescence to adulthood that is negotiated in theyears of “education.” Our focus will be on four 20th-century novels exploring this process of disappointment and anticipation, which sees dramatic changes in living situations and family life, in the selection of career goals, and the negotiation of erotic and non-erotic relationships. In this course we will consider what an “education” truly consists of, and whether it results in “development.” Two of the novels, André Gide’s The Counterfeiters and Elizabeth Bowen’s Death of the Heart, focus on younger protagonists negotiating a hostile adult world and seeking to establish themselves, while the other two, Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Notebooks of Malte Laurid Brigge and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, concentrate on the breakdown of the educational process, or the inability to see a “future” in a chaotic and unfriendly world. As a writing composition class, our primary task will be developing complex claims about these texts and developing strategies for writing in different situations and for different audiences.


TThF 10:30am - 12:20pm
MGH 251 - SLN: 11801
Instructor: Mimi Nielsen
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


MWF 11:30am - 1:20pm
SMI 307 - SLN: 11802
Instructor: Yasaman Naraghi
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.


TThF 11:30am - 1:20pm
THO 331 - SLN: 11803
Instructor: Barbara Krystal
Course Website
GE Requirements Met: C, W

As people, we are socialized to accept, and adopt, standards of behavior (physical, psychological, and moral) that build our notions of civilization. That is how we separate the strange and foreign from the sane and familiar. Any deviation from an established norm is often labeled as “other.” That figure of “other” resides in us and consequently we find ways to cope with our drive for self-preservation, fear of loss, and desire for freedom.
We live as “doubles.” Invisibility, double consciousness, and the crisis of identity are contained in the theme of the double. The double represents the complex, and often contradictory, relationship between the individual and society. Our study of the double, in all its variations, will lend itself to
exploration and analysis of those relationships.


TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
MGH 231 - SLN: 20831
Instructor: Beatrice Arduini
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

 

Taught entirely in English, this course is devoted to one of the most fascinating and influential masterpieces of Western literature, Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy.

Dante's poem relates one man's journey from the dark wood of error to the vision of truth, but as readers we not only observe the pilgrim's journey through the afterlife, we participate in it as well, as we encounter questions about the nature of evil, the possibility for spiritual improvement, and the experience of true happiness, and discover surprising parallels with our own time.


TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
SMI 309 - SLN: 11804
Instructor: Douglas Collins
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it,” we read in Deut. 4:2. What authorizes Bob Dylan, then, to outrageously re-do the Genesis episode of a family-on-family murder, the suggestion that a child be provided as burnt offering? In "Highway 61 Revisited" Dylan darkens a story already disturbing enough:

"God said to Abraham, 'Kill me a son.'
"Abe said, 'Man, you must be puttin' me on.'
"God said, 'No.' Abe said, 'What!'
"God said, 'You can do what you want, Abe, but the next time you see me comin', you better run.'

All that remains in this version is a sadism with which the story appears to begin but does not end, a story in which God seems to pacifically resolve a problem that he had cruelly posed through the strategy of animal substitution, the becoming impersonal of negativity, that displacement of it that is the condition of civilization itself, condition of representation, of the esthetic, etc... What gives Dylan license to torture the Biblical passage? What does it mean that the tradition emerging from these texts can seem to at once encourage critique of manipulated, manipulating representations (See the Second Commandment) as well as allow space within which there is possible playful or critical distortions, interpretations taking the form of speculative re-imaginings of its stories? That mockery does not exclude affection is the lesson of representation itself that appears to be sometimes allowed and sometimes not. The silences, gaps, inconsistencies, and obscurities of the texts are the condition of and justification for a class on “The Bible as Literature.”


MW 11:30am - 1:20pm
SMI 305 - SLN: 11805
Instructor: Marshall Brown
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

The short story was invented in the middle of the nineteenth century.  (Surprised?  Look it up in the OED.)  Many kinds of short fiction preceded it, including anecdote, parable, jest, fable, novella, fairy tale, and others, but the short story, focusing on atmosphere rather than plot or moral, was a novelty.  In the decades before and after 1900 there was a tremendous output of short stories in most of the Western countries, with a prominence rarely equaled since.  In this course we will survey the output of major figures of the era, considering the special qualities, the aims, the themes, and the local and national significance of these small forms.  With a few stories from Boccaccio, Poe, and Hawthorne as background, we will read a selection of these authors: Conan Doyle, Maupassant, Verga, Chekhov, Joyce, Mansfield, accompanied by intensive work on your writing.


MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
MGH 231 - SLN: 11806
Instructor: Cynthia Steele
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

A century and half after its invention in the U.S. and Europe, crime fiction continues to be among the most popular literary forms in the world; since the 1940s, film noir has held a similar appeal to major writers, filmmakers and audiences. What are the basic types of detective fiction and film, in their classical form (noir) and in their recent reinventions (as neo-noir and World or Global Noir)? In particular, how have these genres evolved in different new cultural contexts, including the Global South? We will address these questions through close readings of a number of both canonical and recent novels, together with some of their more successful film adaptations, beginning with the U.S. and Great Britain and moving on to France and Spain, Latin America and Africa. Students will keep a reading and viewing journal and write two short comparative essays.

Texts: Peter Messent, The Crime Fiction Handbook. Wiley-Blackwell, 2013; Edgar Allen Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841); Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four (Penguin Classics, 1890) and “The Empty House”; Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 1939/1988); Walter Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress (Washington Square Press, 1990/2002); Thierry Jonquet, Mygale (France, 1984) (SF: City Lights, 2003); Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Some Clouds (Mexico) (Poisoned Pen Press, 2002); Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Adios Hemingway (Cuba) (Canongate Trade Edition, 2006); Malla Nunn, Blessed are the Dead (Swaziland/Australia/South Africa) (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2012); and Kwei Quartey, Murder at Cape Three Points (Ghana/US) (Soho Crime, 2014). Films:Thom Anderson, Los Angeles Plays Itself (2014); Jeremy Lovering, Sherlock (2014); Howard Hawks, The Big Sleep (1946); Carl Franklin, Devil in a Blue Dress (1995); and Pedro Almodóvar, La piel que habito / The Skin I Live In (2011).


TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
SAV 166 - SLN: 11807
Instructor: Jeffrey T Knight
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

The Book: Life and Death of a Literary Technology

iPad and Kindle, e-publishing and print-on-demand, Amazon and the fate of the American bookstore. Since the turn of the 21st century, our relationship with the book – and with it, literature itself – has been transformed. What is this device that gave shape to writing and storytelling for over 1500 years? Where is it going in the new digital era?

This course offers an introduction to the book as a literary technology from ancient wax tablets to today’s tablet PCs. Instead of following the usual arc of literary history in a succession of authors and periods, we will explore the work of writers and readers – primarily in English – as imaginative responses to a variety of book-media: the animal-skin manuscripts of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath; the printed codex of Shakespeare and Milton; the industrial-age periodicals of Charles W. Chesnutt and Charles Dickens; the “little magazines” of modernist poets Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound; the “Twitter fiction” of contemporary novelist Jennifer Egan. In the final weeks of the term, we will consider the uncertain future of books using J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S. (2013), an experimental novel whose action takes place entirely in the margins of a library book. Evaluation will be based on one exam, two short papers, and regular in-class exercises. Students will leave the course with survey knowledge of English and American literature along with a working knowledge of the fundamentals of media history.


TT
GUG - SLN: 11808
Instructor: Jennifer M. Bean
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Cinema Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA


TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
SAV 166 - SLN: 11819
Instructor: Tamara Cooper
GE Requirements Met: VLPA


MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
THO 125 - SLN: 11821
Instructor: Yomi Braester
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA


MW
SMI - SLN: 11822
Instructor: Sudhir Mahadevan
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA


TTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
DEM 102 - SLN: 20835
Instructor: Cynthia Steele
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course will provide an overview of Brazilian cinema of the past half century, beginning with the New Latin American Cinema movement of the 1960s and 70s (Nelson Pereira dos Santos’ Vidas Secas and Glauber Rocha’s Black God, White Devil), continuing with the pivotal 1980s films Pixote and Hour of the Star, foundational films about the favela and women’s issues, respectively. We will then move on to the new wave in Brazilian cinema, from roughly 2000 to the present. Among its major themes are rural and urban poverty, violence emerging from poverty and violence of the state, reassessment of Brazil’s African and indigenous roots, and acknowledgement of diverse gender and sexual identities. Films will include Motorcycle Diaries, City of God, Elite Squad, Madame Sata, Xingu, Found Memories, Neighboring Sounds, A Wolf at the Door, and The Second Mother. Some films will be screened in class, while students will watch others on Netflix or in the library. We will also read and discuss several analytical essays posted to our Canvas site. Students will keep a reading and film viewing journal and write two short comparative essays.


MW 3:30pm - 5:20pm
SAV 264 - SLN: 11823
Instructor: Naomi Sokoloff
Course Website
GE Requirements Met: DIV, VLPA

By examining fiction, poetry, memoirs, diaries, monuments, commix, and other aspects of popular culture, this course will explore literary responses to the Nazi Holocaust. How has literature imagined and reacted to the persecution of Jews and other marginalized groups – including Gypsies,
homosexuals, and people with disabilities? Among the topics to be covered: bearing witness and survivor testimony; the shaping of collective memory; the second generation; Holocaust education and children's literature; gender and the Holocaust; fantasy and humor in representations of catastrophe.

 

Requirements: final exam, one essay (5-7 pages), short in-class writing and homework assignments. Students may opt to take this as a W course by completing additional writing assignments. Revision, editing, and reworking of essay assignments is an integral part of a W course.

 


TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
MGH 271 - SLN: 11826
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: DIV, VLPA

 

It is said, in Islam, that a woman’s voice is ‘aawra, a taboo that portrays her nakedness, shameful and dishonorable. Silence was always the preferred mode of expression for women. Over the years, in silence, women have felt pain and shame, love and loss. They have struggled against patriarchal traditions, grieved in wars, forgotten and remembered—all in silence. However, when they learned the power words yield, they broke the silence that denied their presence. Through their voices, women claimed agency, expressing their feminist consciousness, their engagement with history, their struggle with patriarchy, and their narrative right to remember.

In this class we will explore various voices of women who refused to be silent, who used words and images to break the taboo of their own muteness. We will ask how women talk about the unspeakable, express a trauma that resonates across their daily lives, or cope with overwhelming violence. How do they express their feelings and desires, and represent and reclaim their sexuality, which is often cloaked in shame and dishonor? In what ways have women found a representation for their absence, on the screen and on the page? How does cinema translate the feeling of oppression in the lives of women, and their search for identity and subjectivity?

We will explore the intersection between the material selected, ranging from novels, short stories, poems, graphic novels and films, from Egypt to Lebanon, from Iran to Saudi Arabia, in order to understand how women’s voices are taboos, and how they reveal a nakedness that is at once a show of vulnerability and one of power.

All readings are in English, and films have subtitles.

 

Texts:

 

Mamdouh, Alia. “Presence of the Absent Man.”

Nasrallah, Emily. “A House Not Her Own.”

Rifaat, Alifa. Distant View of a Minaret. Waveland Press, 2014.

Al-Samman, Ghada. Arab Women In Love & War: Fleeting Eternities. (Selected Poems)

Satrapi, Marjane. Embroideries. Pantheon, 2006.

al-Shaykh, Hanan. The Story of Zahra. Anchor, 1996.

Al-Tahawy, Miral. Blue Aubergine. AUC Press, 2006.

 

Films:

 

The Circle. Dir. Jafar Panahi, 2000 (Iran).

Scheherazade Tell Me a Story. Dir. Yousry Nasrallah, 2009 (Egypt).

Wadjda. Dir. Haifaa al-Mansour, 2012 (Saudi Arabia).

Caramel. Dir. Nadine Labaki, 2008 (Lebanon).


MTWThF 1:30pm - 2:20pm
MGH 234 - SLN: 11827
Instructor: Guntis Smidchens
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Survey of various genres of folk narratives studied in performance contexts to reveal their socio-cultural functions in a variety of milieux. Theory and history of folk narrative study, taxonomy, genre classification, and interpretative approaches. Offered: jointly with SCAND 331.


TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
EEB 125 - SLN: 11828
Instructor: Lars B. Jenner
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

Survey of verbal, customary, and material folk traditions in ethnic context. Theories of ethnic folklore research applied to the traditions of American communities of Scandinavian, Baltic, or other European ancestry. Offered: jointly with SCAND 334.


MW 10:30am - 12:20pm
MLR 316 - SLN: 11829
Instructor: Will Mitchell
Department Requirements Met: Elective for both Literature and Cinema
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

“What do pictures want?” asked critic W.J.T. Mitchell in a book of the same name. How do we read them and use them to tell stories about our world, our lives, our identities? Moreover, how do images interact with language and literary narration and what arises when text and image collide? This class will trace the history of vision from the advent of linear perspective through the digital age and examine the relationship between visual culture and narrative. We will examine how vision itself is conditioned by technologies of image production and how images interact with and impact text. Readings will span a broad historical period but center primarily on the late nineteenth and twentieth century when technological advancements allowed for the proliferation of images to saturate our culture. Texts will include Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, Sebald’s The Emigrants, and Rancière’s The Future of Images among other readings. 


TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
MLR 316 - SLN: 11830
Instructor: Gary Handwerk
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Comparative Literature 396A (Special Topics); English 365A (Literature and Discourses on the Environment): Valuing Nature: Literature and the Environment (Professor Gary Handwerk; Spring 2016)

Our focus for this course will be upon how literature deals with the environment, i.e., how literary texts represent environmental issues and why it matters that they be represented in this form.  How, that is, do literary sorts of texts help shape the social framework within which environmental issues get discussed and environmental decisions made?  How do we come to value nature, and nature in relation to (or in competition with) human society?  We will be considering a range of prose texts, including fictional narratives, non-fictional essays and journalism, primarily texts written or set in the Americas.  Course goals include: 1) developing the analytical reading skills appropriate to different kinds of literary texts, 2) working on how to formulate and sustain critical arguments in writing, 3) learning how to uncover the supporting logic and stakes of specific attitudes toward the natural world, 4) understanding how environmental issues are linked to other social and cultural concerns, 5) seeing how those linkages are affected by particular historical and political conditions.  The course will contain a significant writing component, both regular informal writing assignments and several medium-length analytical papers; it can count for W-credit.

Texts include Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Faulkner, Go Down, Moses;McPhee, Encounters with the Archdruid; Abbey, Desert Solitaire; Appleman, Darwin; Butler, Wild Seed; Barry Lopez Arctic Dreams; and a reading packet.


TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
KNE 220 - SLN: 20675
Instructor: Galya Diment
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Offered by visitors or resident faculty. Content varies.


TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
SMI 102 - SLN: 11831
Instructor: Tamara Cooper
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA


MW 9:30am - 11:20am
OUG 141 - SLN: 11832
Instructor: Stephen Groening
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

Television has a long history. The word was introduced during the Paris World’s Fair in 1900, and dreams of images and sounds delivered wirelessly to the home from far off places in real time dates back to the 1870s. The invention of television was, in fact, a decades-long process that spanned several continents. In the United States, television became the preeminent mass media form in the 1950s and 1960s, supplementing (and supplanting) the popular domestic device of radio. And yet, questions regarding its utility, value, identity, and cultural influence have continually plagued television.

This course addresses many of these issues, focusing mainly on the history of television in Seattle (although some excursions to other contexts will occur), to examine the history of the technology of television, its institutional formations (networks and channels), its cultural expression
(programming), and, of course, viewers themselves.

This is a project-based course: students will engage in original historical research by interviewing television professionals, visiting local television stations (and other television sites in the area), and conducting research in local archives, museums, and libraries.


MW 3:30pm - 5:20pm
JHN 175 - SLN: 11833
Instructor: Gordana Crnkovic
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course takes a comparative look at the films of East European directors. The first part of the class focuses on East European directors who moved to the “West” to work. Among these are Miloš Forman, from Czechoslovakia, and Agnieszka Holland and Roman Polanski, from Poland. We will spend the most time working with the cinema of Miloš Forman, a director who made outstanding films in his native Czechoslovakia during the so-called Czech New Wave of the late sixties, and then succeeded in making the quintessentially “American” Hollywood films such as One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The People vs. Larry Flynt. The second part of the course will compare East European films with films from other parts of the world on the basis of one distinctive technique, such as the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated stories taking place in different countries in order to reveal unexpected connections. We will here look at films such as Dušan Makavejev’s iconic WR: Mysteries of the Organism (Yugoslavia) and Milcho Manchevski’s Before the Rain (Macedonia), and compare them with Michael Haneke’s Code Unknown (France).

This course will also familiarize students with some of the basic features of Eastern European cinema in the post-World War II period. These include the vibrant production of experimental and animated films and the issues associated with filmmaking in a non-market-based society. No prerequisites.


MW 3:30pm - 5:20pm
MUS 212 - SLN: 11841
Instructor: Paul G. Remley

An examination of the theoretical and methodological issues attending the study of written texts including literacy, circulation, production, and reception in Premodern genetics, and archival research methods. Offered: jointly with ENGL 502.


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