This course supplements the basic American survey courses. Its aim is to acquaint students with representative autobiography, fiction, drama, poetry, literary criticism, and essays by African-American writers from Frederick Douglass to Toni Morrison.
Prerequisite(s): ENG-001 and a Masterpieces of Literature course (ENG 101 Masterpieces of Literature, HIST 116 Western Civilization through Literature 1500 - Present, MLANG 134 Masterpieces of European Literature, or THTRE 101 Masterpieces of Dramatic Literature).
An introductory course designed to help students appreciate the literary record of human relationships with nature, the supernatural, and each other. Each course examines a particular question or condition as it is represented in a restricted number of literary works, with core readings from the Bible, Greek or Roman classical literature, Shakespeare, literature by women, and literature by writers of color. Current offerings include the following:
Encountering Others This course looks at texts that represent moments of contact, conflict, or exchange between different cultures, or between a society and those individuals the society has designated as 'different' in some crucial way.
Coming of Age-Becoming Women, Becoming Men This course looks at texts that represent the forces and processes that are part of maturation, especially those related to gender identity. This course focuses on gender issues and includes feminist perspectives. Note: This course also counts for Gender Studies credit.
Families and Relationships This course will examine how writers from different historical eras and cultural contexts write about family, in every sense of that word. Writing the Self 'Who am I?' This is the quintessential question that all human beings ask. This course examines how writers from different historical eras and cultural contexts use various narrative strategies to construct a sense of self. We will also examine numerous theories that seek to explain what constitutes the 'I' that locates the self as a palpable center of self-awareness, as well as how genre influences the accounting of personal history.
Sexualities This course is designed to help students appreciate the literary record of romantic relationships. Specifically, the course will explore how writers from different historical periods and cultural milieus address the issue of human sexuality. Note: same-sex relationships will be routinely read about and discussed in the class. Note: This course also counts for Gender Studies credit.
Law and Justice The courtroom is a place where one's telling and interpretation of stories can mean the difference between life and death, so the analysis of literature and the practice of the law are already intertwined. This course explores the connection further by focusing on literary works that deal with the principle of justice and the application of law.
Revolution This course looks at texts that represent moments of sudden change, upheaval, and transformation, both within societies and within individuals.
Religion and Spirituality Religion is a virtually universal constant in recorded human history, but with answers of different religions to humankind's big questions have varied enormously. What is the origin and purpose of evil? What is death? What things should be held sacred? What is the nature of the divine? How should we treat other people - and should we distinguish between those who share our beliefs and those who do not? This course will study some of the ways these questions have been answered, from most ancient times to the present.
The Environment How are nature and the natural world imagined through literary texts? In the western tradition, "nature" is usually considered separate from humanity - a passive landscape designed to be dominated and used by humans for human purposes. What is the origin of this cultural attitude? What alternative views do we find in the history of western literature? What does the literary record of nature look like in some non-western cultural traditions? Is nature best understood as a universal category apart from human culture or is the idea of nature created by human culture? This course will explore such questions by reading texts from different eras and cultural traditions.
War Virtually every culture has experienced war, and cultures often define and understand themselves through the memories of their wars. Literature about war, from western civilization's founding epic, Homer's Iliad, to blogs maintained by contemporary soldiers, provides us with not only some of our most memorable images of courage, loyalty, and self-sacrifice, but also compelling evidence of war's cruelty, horror, and senselessness; its themes encompass both enormous historical and cultural change and the most intimate, personal suffering.
Prerequisite(s): ENG 001 English Language and Writing.
A chronological survey of Western Civilization from 1500 to the present, focusing on the literary record which exemplifies changing societies; artistic and literary styles; and philosophical, religious, and political patterns. The course will include a reexamination of Biblical texts in the Reformation, the revival and imitation of classical texts in the Renaissance, absolutism and its critics, the revolutionary and Romantic movements, ethnic minorities, colonialism, the crisis of Western thought in the twentieth century, and the impact of totalitarianism.
(Normally offered each spring semester.)
Readings, written composition, and discussion of a selection of significant European writers from the Renaissance to modern times.
Masterpieces of Dramatic Literature is an introductory course designed to provide a historical perspective on the literary record of human interactions with nature, the supernatural, and other humans. Utilizing dramatic texts selected from a range of cultures, genres, and time periods (including core readings from Greek or Roman classical literature, the Bible, Shakespeare, non-Western literature, literature by women, and literature by writers of color), students will devise strategies for reading, discussing, and writing about dramatic literature. These strategies will include consideration of biographical materials, cultural contexts and analysis of the functions of drama and theatre, in particular historical and geographical circumstances. Students will also be asked to consider how texts come to be valued as masterpieces, and the politics involved in such valuation.