Spring Quarter 2017 VLPA courses
Class times, locations, fees, and course descriptions may change. Please check the time schedule for updates before enrolling in any course.
For more VLPA courses, see the Time Schedule search page at: http://www.washington.edu/students/timeschd/genedinq.html.
Afram 318 – Black Literary Genres (5 credits)
Instructor: Habiba Ibrahim
Considers how generic forms and conventions have been discussed and distributed in the larger context of African American, or other African diasporic literary studies. Links the relationship between generic forms to questions of power within social, cultural, and historical contexts.
Afram 320 – Black Women in Drama (5 credits)
Instructor: Sonnet Retman
Character types of black women as represented in plays by black women. Some black male playwrights are juxtaposed with black female writers for comparative analysis. Playwrights include Georgia Douglas Johnson, Angelina Grimke, Alice Chidress, Lorraine Hansberry, Ira Aldridge, LeRoi Jones.
Afram 350 – Black Aesthetics (5 credits)
Instructor: Latasha Levy
Draws on both multi-media and print sources, including fiction, poetry, prose, films, polemics, historiography and speeches to explore the idea of a black aesthetic in various cultural, historical, and political contexts within the twentieth century.
AAS 320 – Hawaii’s Literatures (5 credits)
Instructor: Vincent Schleitwiler
Covers views by Native Hawaiian and multicultural writers and composers, studied within historical contexts ranging from the eighteenth century to the present. Examines how the colonization of a sovereign people redefines culture in ethnocentric, racist, Orientialist ways. Analyzes strategies of decolonization as presented and interpreted in works studied.
American Indian Studies
AIS 379 – Powwow: Tradition and Innovation (5 credits)
Instructor: Scott Pinkham
Explores the historical and cultural roots of powwow. Discusses the ways this indigenous Native art form has adapted since prehistoric times.
AIS 443 – Indigenous Films, Sovereign Visions (5 credits)
Instructor: Daniel Hart
Explores fiction, documentary, experimental film, and digital media by indigenous artists from around the world. Focuses on personal, political, and cultural expression. Issues include media and sovereignty movements, political economy, language revitalization, the politics of decolonization, and indigenous aesthetics. Offered jointly with COM 443.
Anth 233 – Language and Society (5 credits)
Quiz Th, times vary
Instructor: Betsy Evans
Introduces the study of sociolects, the varieties of language that arise from differences in cultural and societal groups, often reflective of power inequalities. Raises awareness of the role that society and the individual play in shaping sociolects via the systematic observation and critical discussion of linguistic phenomena. Offered jointly with COM 233/LING 233.
Arch 231 – Making and Craft (5 credits)
Instructor: Roark Congdon
Introduces the cultures and practical realities of "making" through study of the nature of tools, techniques, and the development of built culture over time. Examines the relationships of "making" to available materials, sources of energy and the development of infrastructure. Also covers qualities and characteristics of materials.
Arch 251 – World Architecture: Non-Western Cultures (5 credits)
Instructor: Vikramaditya Prakash
Introduction to historical and contemporary built environments of non-Judeo-Christian civilizations, primarily Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Meso-American, as manifestations of cultural history and as responses to environmental determinants.
Art H 270 – Art, Identity, Politics: Issues of Representation in Contemporary Art (5 credits)
Online course, time to be arranged
Instructor: Kolya Rice
$30 course fee
This course is designed to introduce participants to various ways contemporary artists and art movements, primarily in the U.S., have explored the intersection of visual representation, identity (gender, ethnic, racial, sexual) and politics, one of the most persistent themes in art since the 1960s. Participants will work through sequences of materials and assignments organized in weekly “modules” on Canvas according to their own individual schedules with a great degree of flexibility. In the few cases where there is a fixed time that students will need to adhere to, multiple time slots will be offered so that everyone will be able to participate as fits their schedule.
Course content will be delivered through a series of Panopto video lectures and coordinated readings where participants will explore how artists have contested dominant representations of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, as well as other minority “subjectivities,” and how artists have proposed alternatives for the representation of these constituencies. Online discussion forums, reflective papers on readings, online quizzes and assignments have been designed to engage students with course topics, foster creative and critical thinking, allow dialogue concerning the stakes involved in visual representations, and allow instructor assessment and evaluation of participants’ progress.
Art H 309B – Topics in Art History: Byzantine Art (5 credits)
Instructor: Ivan Drpic
This course offers a wide-ranging introduction to the art, architecture, and material culture of Byzantium - a Christian, predominantly Greek-speaking civilization that flourished in the Eastern Mediterranean for over a thousand years. Positioned between the Muslim East and the Latin West, Antiquity and the Early Modern era, Byzantium nurtured a vibrant and highly sophisticated artistic culture. With emphasis placed upon paradigmatic objects and monuments, we will examine an array of artistic media, from mosaic and panel painting to metalwork, ivory carving, book illumination, and embroidery. We will consider the making, consumption, and reception of Byzantine art in a variety of contexts - political, devotional, ritual, and domestic. Topics include the idea of empire and its visual articulation; court culture; the veneration of images and relics; patronage, piety, and self-representation; authorship and artistic agency; materiality and the sensory experience of art; the reception of the pagan Greco-Roman past; and the changing nature of Byzantium’s interactions with neighboring cultures.
Art H 309C – Topics in Art History: Renaissance Women (5 credits)
Instructor: Lane Eagles
$30 course fee
This courses explores the myriad of representations of women created during the late medieval and early modern periods. Rather than focus on particular historical figures, it examines images of women through thematic visual types such as: the witch, the bride, the queen, the goddess, the saint, and the artist. Students will learn about gender roles, costume and clothing, scientific theories, magical beliefs, and religious practices by studying a wide range of Renaissance media. Students will visit the Henry Art Gallery and UW Library Special Collections to engage with art objects firsthand, and will also have the option to visit St. James Cathedral. There are no exams or required images for this course. Instead, student will be evaluated on the quality of their in-class discussion and papers.
Art H 309D: Topics in Art history: Body Adornment (5 credits)
Instructor: Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse
$30 course fee
This class focuses on the practice of body adornment in many Indigenous cultures. We will look at a variety of practices including tattooing and piercing as well as the use of jewelry and clothing. These will be discussed in their capacity to convey information on individual, clan, or national identity. We will also consider the role of adornments in both ceremonial and quotidian contexts ranging from rites of passage to warfare or present-day protests. Finally, we will discuss the issue of cultural property with regard to such expressions and their use or misuse by the dominant society.
This course has multiple goals. The first is to expose students to the art and culture of Indigenous peoples and to particular forms of expression through the decoration of the human body. In addition to gaining an understanding of this particular kind of artwork, we will explore the methodologies of art history: learning to look at and describe a work of art both verbally and in writing. Students will experience how working with classmates can enhance comprehension and raise the level of engagement with course materials.
Asian Language and Literatures
Asian 201 – Literature and Culture of China: Ancient and Classical (5 credits)
Instructor: Ping Wang
In this course, students will learn about important ideas from Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, and how they shape the concept of a moral person in Asia. Iconic figures will be introduced through literature and film. For example, we will look at Confucius’ teachings by reading the Analects and watch a modern day movie about him. We will discuss the paradox of wen (cultural refinement) and wu (raw power), and the choice an educated person has to make between the word and the sword to solve a problem or resolve a conflict. Additionally, we will explore fascinating questions regarding cultural exchange and knowledge transmission among Asian countries and regions such as, how did an Indian child god become popular in China? How did a Chinese court lady married to a Xiongnu chieftain for peace-making gain eminence in Japan?
Asian 211 – Languages and Cultures of China (5 credits)
Instructor: Anne Yue-Hashimoto
Provides a general survey of the languages and language-families in China, emphasizing the rich linguistic diversity found there today. Languages compared with English, from linguistic and cultural perspectives, to demonstrate not only characteristics but also mutual dependence throughout their development.
Asian 223 – Buddhist Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Collett Cox
The course will survey the Buddhist literature of India, China, and Japan through selected excerpts chosen from the genres of biography, poetry, narrative, ritual manuals, doctrinal treatises, and historical accounts. The course will begin with the origins of Buddhist literature in India and will trace its further development in India, China, and Japan. Attention will also be given to the themes of textual composition, authorship, audience, transmission, context, and function. Readings will include background material, which will situate the topic in historical and cultural context, and translations from primary texts.
Asian 494 – Ramayana in Comparative Perspective (5 credits)
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor: Heidi Pauwels
Examines and compares different versions (mainly South Asian) of the Ramayana, including the widely popular television version. Focuses on some famous and controversial passages, with special attention to gender issues. Incorporates background readings from the most recent research.
Clas 210 – Greek and Roman Classics in English (5 credits)
Quiz TTh, times vary
Instructor: Olga Levaniouk
Introduction to classical literature through a study of the major Greek and Latin authors in modern translation.
Clas 329 – Greek and Roman Slavery (5 credits)
Instructor: Deborah Kamen
In studying the ancient world, we generally focus on the achievements of the Greeks and Romans in literature, philosophy, art, and architecture. But we cannot, and should not, overlook the darker aspects of the ancient world, including the pervasiveness of slavery. This course examines slaves and slavery in antiquity and asks the following questions: How and why did slavery arise? How many slaves were there, and where did they come from? What role did they play in the economy? What was their status under the law? How were they treated? In what circumstances were they freed? In what ways did they resist their masters? What effects did slavery have on Greek and Roman literature and thought? And finally, how did the ancients justify the subjugation of other human beings?
Clas 410 – Classical Tradition (5 credits)
Instructor: Stephen Hinds
The Greek and Roman imagination has fed the literature, art and thought of the Western world from antiquity until today: the god and the hero, the warrior and the wanderer, the lover and the schemer, the statesman and the dissident, the city-builder and the seeker of rural fantasy ... Poets, artists, thinkers and doers, all stake-holders in the Classical Tradition.
Presupposing no prior study of what we know as classical antiquity (about 1000 BCE/BC - 500 CE/AD) the course will offer the opportunity to explore conversations across centuries between ancient and modern texts and ideas, especially in poetry but in other textual genres and in other media too. For classicists like myself, antiquity ends in the 5th or 6th century CE, and on some definitions modernity begins as early as the 14th century CE; in between lie the Middle Ages (the medieval period), whose boundaries are themselves negotiable. Although this class will of course pick and choose its particular objects of study, in principle no period of Western culture is irrelevant to our exploration. What will unify our explorations are, first, a consistent grounding in ancient Greek and Roman texts and ideas and, second, our own perspectives as 21st century readers living in increasingly diverse and interconnected societies, trying to make sense of conversations across two and even three millennia of Western culture and to put them in conversation with other world cultures and traditions, including our own.
Com 220 – Intro to Public Speaking (5 credits)
Quiz TTh, times vary
Instructor: Matthew McGarrity
Designed to increase competence in public speaking and the critique of public speaking. Emphasizes choice and organization of material, sound reasoning, audience analysis, and delivery.
Comparative History of Ideas
Chid 480G – Special Topics: Georgian Cinema: Films of Resistance and Desire (5 credits)
Instructor: Mary Childs
We will explore films from the Republic of Georgia, located on the eastern shore of the Black Sea Films will include early experimental work, classics from the Soviet Era, and those of the new generation of young, post-soviet directors.
Cinema and Media Studies
CMS 304 – Television Studies (5 credits)
Instructor: Tamara Cooper
Provides an overview of key issues in the study of television. Explores what television is, what television does, and how television shapes our fundamental assumptions about space, time, image, and sound.
CMS 320A – Cinema and Nation: Spanish Language Cinema and Film Festivals (5 credits)
Instructor: Cynthia Steele
An introduction to the world of international film festivals, with the Seattle International Film Festival, and cinema in Spanish and Portuguese, as a test case. We will analyze the criteria for selecting films for festivals, and the range of genres, issues, and cinematic styles represented at them. You will watch two films a week at home on instant streaming, which we will discuss in class, along with pertinent essays (posted to Canvas). You will keep a film viewing and reading journal throughout the quarter, and will write a short comparative essay about two of these films. During the last three weeks, you will view at least four Spanish, Portuguese and/or Latin American films in the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) 2017 and write reviews of them, together with a 4-6-page overall review of the festival. During the last two meetings, you will present your reviews orally to the class. All films have English subtitles and readings are in English, so knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese is not required (but is very welcome!). Offered jointly with JSIS 480B.
CMS 320B – Cinema and Nation: Modern Japan through Cinema (5 credits)
Instructor: Edward Mack
This course will be an introduction to modern Japan through films, in which we will use a wide variety of twentieth-century works to discuss an array of topics. Not only will we be viewing films in a variety of genres -- documentary, drama, comedy, science fiction, supernatural, avant-garde, and animation -- we will also be discussing topics ranging from the nature of art to the moral questions of nuclear modernity. Although our discussions will be sensitive to the specific nature of film as an expressive medium, we will consider the topics of art, history, society, war, propaganda, tradition, and morality. Offered jointly with Japan 325A.
CMS 321 – Oppositional Cinema/Media: Contemporary Black Cinema (5 credits)
Instructor: Tamara Cooper
Approaches film and related media as socially and politically engaged practice, with focus on screen media produced or received in "opposition" to dominant cultural and entertainment industry norms. Topics vary.
C Lit 320 – Studies in European Literature: Vienna 1900 (5 credits)
Instructor: Shayna Terrasi
This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the literature and the visual culture of fin-de-siècle Vienna and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the aftermath of its disintegration into World War I. With an emphasis on the relationship between different disciplines (literature, art, critical theory, history and psychology) the course will be organized around major themes from the period, such as sexuality, gender, decay, and the crisis of identity and language. The analysis of works such as Egon Schiele's self portraits reveals mankind's crisis of identity when confronted by an era characterized by the absence of any ordering principles. Arthur Schnitzler's play Reigen and his novella Night Games unmask a battle of the sexes and the changing dynamic between men and women. Gustav Klimt's Secessionist paintings express a fresh hope for a renewal in art and society and his portrayal of the feminine form undercut previous views regarding gender and sexuality. Hugo von Hofmannsthal's Chandos Brief lays bare the notion that the inherited language of past traditions is no longer capable of expressing modern man's experience. Wes Anderson's modern film The Grand Budapest Hotel seeks to capture the decay of the Empire as it holds up a mirror which brilliantly reflects 'the world of yesterday' that Stefan Zweig so faithfully describes as he looks back to the Vienna of his youth. Finally, with the primary texts read against a variety of social, historical and theoretical texts pertinent to the topics and the era, such as Sigmund Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents, Carl Schorske's Fin-de-Siècle Vienna Politics and Culture and Hermann Broch's Hofmannsthal and His Time, the course will inquire into the relationship between the political and social change of Vienna and it's literary and artistic representation. This course is taught in English. All readings and discussions will be conducted in English.
C Lit 321 – Literature of the Americas: Human Rights Fiction of the Americas (5 credits)
Instructor: Cynthia Steele
Following the extensive human rights abuses in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s, Latin American artists and intellectuals have struggled to address the emerging relations between democracy, liberalism, and human rights. How has human rights discourse evolved over the past three decades, in fiction, art and film from various Latin American nations and the US? We will examine this through readings of five short novels from Mexico, Colombia, Peru and El Salvador/Guatemala, photographs by Quechua artist Martín Chambi, and a US art exhibit on the Disappeared in Latin America. We will also analyze three films by Brazilian director José Padilha, on the relationship between poverty and crime and between criminals, the police and civil society. You will keep a reading and film viewing journal and write two 4-6-page comparative essays, in addition to participating actively in class discussions. Texts: Fernando J. Rosenberg, After Human Rights: Literature, Visual Arts, and Film in Latin America, 1990-2010; Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo; Laura Restrepo, A Tale of the Dispossessed; Santiago Roncagliolo, Red April; Alonso Cueto, The Blue Hour; and Horacio Castellanos Moya, Senselessness. Films: Granito, Bus 174, Elite Squad, Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within. Offered jointly with JSIS 480B.
C LIT 323 – Literature of Emerging Nations: Middle Eastern Literature as World Literature: From Arabian Nights to Social Media Revolutions (5 credits)
Instructor: Elizabeth Nolte
Novels and short stories, from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Discusses relationship of Western literary genres to an oral literary tradition, as well as issues like colonialism, gender relations, narrative technique, native and non-native languages. (Check MyPlan for update to course description.)
C LIT 396A – Studies in Comparative Literature: Literature and the Environment (5 credits)
Instructor: Gary Handwerk
Our focus for this course will be upon how literature represents 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, in part by the effect of these texts, 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 from the 18th to the 21st centuries, including fictional narratives, non-fictional essays and journalism. Texts include Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Faulkner, Go Down, Moses; McPhee, Encounters with the Archdruid; Abbey, Desert Solitaire; Appleman, Darwin; Butler, Wild Seed; Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide; and a reading packet.
Engl 200D – New Visions: Young Black Women Writing the World (5 credits)
Instructor: Stephanie Hankinson
This course is designed around the idea of showcasing and exploring the work of young diasporic women of African descent writing new, dynamic visions of the world. These new visions, some political and social, some artistic or literary, are helping to reshape the way scholars and citizens might understand black experiences and aesthetics in a global context. This course will focus on the work of contemporary black writers (all under 40) and attend to a range of literary forms (poetry, novels, drama, essays, and short stories). This author list, and their works, will be far from exhaustive but will seek to capture the widening scope of young black writers thinking transnationally, blending overlapping modernities, and blazing new literary paths to define their identities and experiences. Through reading widely across literary texts written by young black women from a range of geographic and cultural contexts we will ask questions like:
What are some ways we might rethink US-centric notions of blackness and womanhood for the 21st century? How are these young women drawing on or in tension with the pillars of older generations of black women’s writing (Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler, Maryse Condé, Miriam Tlali, etc.)? How have migration, civil unrest, and increased globalization shaped the tone and style of these young writers? What are the important ways that intersectional thought (theorizing race, class, gender) can serve as an analytic for exploring the various literary forms presented? What is at stake in making visible new literary voices, dynamic political and social perspectives, and radical engagement with race in the contemporary world through women’s writing? Is there even such a thing as “women’s writing”? What does it mean to be young, black and identify as a woman in the increasingly dangerous global political climate?
Engl 200E – Secularism and Religion in American Literature and Culture ( 5 credits)
Instructor: Denise Grollmus
While some would describe the United States as a Christian nation, others understand it as a discretely secular society. Neither of them is wrong-but neither is right, either. First, we must ask the question: what do we mean by the term “secular?” Though “secular” is often represented as being the opposite of “religious,” recent scholarship in the humanities has convincingly argued that this is a false dichotomy and that both secular and religious thought are complexly interrelated. In fact, it is often at the points where these two seemingly competing forces meet that American culture(s) emerge(s). Some even argue that secularism, itself, is a sort of religion. In this class, we’ll be focused not only on trying to define “secular” and “religious,” but we’ll also think about the ways in which secular and religious discourses have collectively shaped and reshaped American culture(s) since the colonial era. First, we’ll consider how a plurality of faiths (including secularity and rationalism) collided in the New World-a legacy from which we’ll trace the founding of the nation, the philosophies that undergirded the concept of the separation between church and state and “human rights,” as well as the institution of slavery and the numerous procedures used to marginalize various groups. We’ll also look at the ways in which both religious and secular thought played roles in dominant and emergent cultures. Religion has been used as both a disciplinary tool of the powerful and a tool of resistance for numerous social, political, and cultural movements throughout history-movements that not only reshaped our political life, but also how we thought about being human. Throughout our investigation, we’ll be focused on the ways in which secular and religious discourses merge, diverge, compete, and coalesce throughout history and how these various meetings points have shaped social, cultural, political, and even biological life in the context of the United States. Our study will be focused around an eclectic collection of cultural artifacts, from sermons and legal transcripts to films and novels. Not only will we read these texts in order to investigate the historical contexts in which they were made, but we will also investigate how these important texts helped shape their cultures. Our focus will be on how these texts use religious and secular discourses in order to make claims about how the world is and how it should be. In order to add historical context to each week’s primary documents, we’ll be reading from Jon Butler, Grant Walker and Randall Balmer’s Religion in American Life: A Short History (Oxford UP, 2011). Our readings will also be accompanied by critical scholarship meant to help us think through the stakes and legacies of these various works and the moments from which they emerged. This is a W-credit course, so you will be asked to complete 10-15 pages of graded writing.
ENGL 204 – Popular Fiction and Media (5 credits)
Instructor: Eva Cherniavsky
Contemporary culture teems with the animated dead. While vampires have proliferated in fiction, film, comics and television for well over a century now, zombies are more recent arrivals; the emergence of zombie narrative as a new, cross-media genre of popular culture is usually dated to George Romero’s iconic 1978 film, Dawn of the Dead. If vampires are a late-19th-century phenomenon (Bram Stoker published Dracula in 1897), zombies are late-20th-century and early-21st-century creatures. If vampires are ancient revenants (figures from earlier ages, called forth from the crypt), zombies are us – or, as Rick Grimes puts in Robert Kirkman’s comic, “We are the walking dead.”
This course will consider what it is that drives the attraction to the figure of the zombie, and what ideas about government, society, belonging, ecology, and futurity zombie narratives explore. Dracula’s arrival in Victorian London spoke to the effects of urbanization, industrialization, and colonialism: what might zombies have to tell us about de-industrialization, globalization, austerity, and the information age? While our focus will be on print fiction, we will also consider a number of films, as well as a television series.
Likely print materials include Richard Matheson, I Am Legend, Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead Omnibus (volume 1), Colson Whitehead, Zone One, Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes, Devil’s Wake, and short fiction by Mira Grant. We will sample broadly from visual media, as well, probably including film adaptations of I Am Legend (The Last Man on Earth; Omega Man), Romero’s Dawn, as well as World War Z, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, and episodes of iZombie. Interested students are welcome to contact me closer to the start of the term for an updated list of course materials. Written work for the course will likely include two essays, a midterm, and a final exam.
ENGL 210 – Pilgrims, Playwrights, and Poets: Women Authors from Late Antiquity to Early Modernity (5 credits)
Instructor: Brian Hardison
“What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." --Carl Sagan, Cosmos [Part 11, The Persistence of Memory (1980)]
This course seeks to challenge contemporary popular perceptions of pre-modern cultures and texts by focusing on texts composed during Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and early modernity by, for, and about women. Worthy of study in their own right as literature, these texts also offer students historical and cultural insight; owing to the nature of textual transmission, however, the full range of texts composed by women is unknown to us today. Of what can be securely attributed to women, it is of great value in assessing both the education and status of women at the time of its composition. As part of their introduction to pre-modern literature, students will learn about the transmission of texts through manuscript and print media and visit Special Collections to engage with medieval and early modern artefacts. Primary readings will likely include works by Egeria, the Bonifatian women, Hildegard of Bingen, Marie de France, Anna Komnene, Jean de Meun, Geoffrey Chaucer, Christine di Pizan, and Elizabeth Cary among others.
Engl 242C – American Fictions of Ethnicity (5 credits)
Instructor: Elizabeth Janssen
As fictions of sorts, notions of race and ethnicity are at once slippery, changeable, culturally contingent, and deeply entrenched (not to mention, often dangerous or violent). This course will investigate the role of literature to estrange readers from familiar, U.S.-specific constructions of race and ethnicity. Through readings by both U.S.-based and immigrant writers, we will consider how understandings of race and ethnicity are deployed and experienced in a variety of ways at home and abroad. Readings will include novels by Zakes Mda, Ruth Ozeki, Mat Johnson, alongside nonfiction texts by writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Caryl Phillips, and Toni Morrison. Please note that since this course fulfills the W requirement, it involves substantial writing (both informal, low-stakes writing and formal graded papers).
Engl 242F – Dystopian Fiction (5 credits)
Instructor: Elizabeth Brown
From the success of The Hunger Games franchise to the recent popularity of George Orwell’s 1984, dystopian fiction has received renewed attention in the 21st century. In this course, we will consider the genre of dystopian fiction through novels and short stories. How does dystopian fiction imagine uninhabitable worlds? How does it refract “real world” concerns about the time in which it was produced? How might it speak to our own contemporary moment? To think about these questions, we’ll read several works of prose fiction across the 20th and 21st centuries. This fiction might include works by W.E.B. Du Bois, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, Suzanne Collins, and selections from the recent Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Movements anthology. Assignments will consist of a mix of reflective writing and short papers. No experience taking English courses at the college level is necessary to enroll for this class.
ENGL 259 – Literature and Social Difference (5 credits)
Instructor: Stephanie Clare
How does literature produce and contest social difference, inequality, and hierarchy? This course investigates this question through the study of twentieth-century African-American and Asian-American literature. We consider how gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality are socially produced and connected to hierarchy and inequality. We also analyze how literature challenges social inequality. Along the way, we think about the difference between identity, labels, and stereotypes, and we learn about the history of gender, race, and sexuality, especially in their relation to one another in the United States.
The course focuses on four literary texts in particular: Zora Neal Hurston’s 1937 Their Eyes Were Watching God; Maxine Hong Kingston’s 1975 The Woman Warrior; Minnie Bruce Pratt’s 1995 memoir, S/he; and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 “Letter to My Son.” We will also read a series of essays to help us to make sense of these novels, and watch a series of documentaries.
ENGL 265 – Environmental Humanities (5 credits)
Instructor: Jason Groves
With the future of the Endangered Species Act at stake, this course takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding one of the more wicked problems of the 21st century: The Sixth Extinction. Rather than approaching this event as a discrete biological phenomenon, this course looks at how current threats to bio-diversity are implicated in, and connected to, threats to cultural diversity, in particular language loss. We will seek to understand how discourses of extinction, beginning from its “discovery” in the 18th century, are related to fraught histories of colonialism and imperialism, whose ecological and cultural effects extend into the present and threaten to shape the future.
While the course seeks to grasp the scale of the Sixth Extinction, it will also critically reflect upon, and propose alternatives to, the dominant apocalyptic narratives in which extinction is framed in the popular imagination. Course readings and critical texts drawn from across the humanities and social sciences will explore and critique various framings of “the end” in literature, art, music, and film. Offered jointly with German 298A and Envir 495A.
ENGL 324 – Shakespeare after 1603 (5 credits)
Instructor: Jeffrey Knight
This course surveys the works of William Shakespeare from the first appearance of Hamlet to the end of the playwright’s career. The period is considered the height of Shakespeare’s artistic achievement; it includes all four of the great tragedies - Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth - as well as the belated appearance of Shakespeare’s Sonnets in 1609, a late-career turn to “romance,” and a final run of plays that Shakespeare co-wrote with other dramatists. As we explore this material, we will pay close attention to both the formal complexity of Shakespeare’s works - what makes them pleasurable or intriguing as literature - and the equally complex socio-historical forces that gave (and continue to give) them life: humanism and philosophical skepticism; political and religious controversy; discourses of race, sexuality, and gender; cultures of public performance; and the rise and fall of empire, to name a few. Evaluation will be based on two exams, two papers, a performance review, and in-class participation.
ENGL 360 – American Literature and Culture (5 credits)
Instructor: Habiba Ibrahim
American literature and culture in its political and cultural context. Emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to American literature and culture, including history, politics, anthropology, and mass media.
ENGL 466 – Gay and Lesbian Studies (5 credits)
Instructor: Gillian Harkins
But what we call literature is after the fact, and it's difficult to say what a writer, a witness, should do. All I know now is what I'm trying to be a witness to, and at this moment, in the life of a living man, it is not literature but a question of trying to translate what you see. Trying to move it from one place to another. Afterward, it may be literature. While you're living, dealing with other human beings, people whom you love, all you can do is have passion. The bottom line is this: You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can't, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even but a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.-- James Baldwin quoted in John Romano, "James Baldwin Writing and Talking," New York Times (September 23, 1979)
This course provides an introduction to queer theory and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) studies with a specific focus on literature. Our critical readings will center intersectional approaches to sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, ability, ethnicity and religion, and our literary readings will include novels, poetry and film primarily produced in the United States over the past thirtty years. While the course will focus on U.S. materials, it will situate them as much as possible in a transnational framework. Possible literature for the course includes: Samuel Delaney, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue; Rabih Alameddine, Koolaids; Renee Gladman, Juice; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home; Justin Torres, We the Animals; Lawrence Chua, Gold by the Inch; Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts.
Ancient and Medieval History
HSTAM 370 – The Vikings (5 credits)
Instructor: Terje Leiren
This is a lecture/discussion course on the history of the Vikings. Following a largely chronological sequence, but not rigidly bound by it, the class will exam the history of Scandinavia during the "viking age," approximately AD 750 - AD 1100, through the written and archeological records. The first half of the course will focus on the Vikings at home in Scandinavia. This will include an examination of the origins of Vikings society in the pre-historical period, including aspects of the great migrations and subsequent settlement patterns, the establishment of family farms, and the development of Viking material culture (such as the Viking ship). We will also examine the political, social and cultural expressions of Viking society, such as commercial expansion, military conflict and religious expression. The structure and significance of the pre-Christian pagan religion of the Scandinavian North will also be discussed. The second half of the course will focus on the expansion of Viking society and the international contacts through exploration, settlement, trading and raiding. Included in this overview will be Viking activity in Russia, Byzantium, Germany, France, England, Ireland, and Scotland as well as the North Sea islands of the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland and Vinland (in North America).
Historically, Vikings have inspired, and occasionally been romanticized by, writers and musicians alike, from Richard Wagner in the nineteenth century, to J.R.R. Tolkien in the twentieth century. What, if anything, is the historical basis for some of these views? Who were these people we call "Vikings" and how did they live? What were the roles of family, law, art and literature in Viking society? And, what has been the influence and legacy of the Vikings on western civilization and our own time?
HSTAS 264 – Violence, Race, and Memory (5 credits)
Instructor: Laurie Sears
Explores how images and ideas of power, race, violence, and global modernity circulate in memories and discourses about US relations with Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Topics include foundations myths, colonial and postcolonial encounters, historiography and narrative, and nationalist and ethnic identity formations. Offered jointly with JSIS B 264.
History of North America (U.S. and Canada)
HSTAA 365 – Culture, Politics and Film in 20th Century America (5 credits)
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor: Susan Glenn
Explores relationship between film and twentieth century U.S. cultural, social, and political history. Examines the ways that films responded to, participated in, and helped shape understandings of modernity, national identity, political power, race and ethnic relations, gender, and crises such as economic depression and war.
Jackson School of International Studies – Area Studies
JSIS A 224 – Culture and Media Forms (5 credits)
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor: Geoffrey Turnovsky
Explores French, Francophone, and European culture in history through a focus on varied and evolving media forms: manuscripts, printed books, digital media, visual forms, etc. Taught in English. Offered jointly with FRENCH 224 and CHID 270.
JSIS A 365 – Mapping Luso-Brazilian Culture (5 credits)
Instructor: Eduardo Viana Da Silva
Explores cultures of Brazil, Portuguese-speaking Africa, Asia, and Europe within the framework of cultural studies theory. Follows an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from readings, audio files (radio), films and documentaries in history, literature, arts and performances, anthropology, among others. Focuses on selected cultural aspects and countries. Taught in ENGLISH. Offered jointly with PORT 365.
Jackson School of International Studies – Comparative Religion
Relig 212 – Introduction to the Qur’an (5 credits)
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor: Terri DeYoung
A literary, historical, and theological introduction to the Quran. Looks at the historical circumstances of the text's compilation; its collection and redaction; its narrative structure; its rhetorical strategies; its major themes; it connections to and departures from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament; commentary and exegesis; translation; and its impact on political and religious thought. Offered jointly with NEAR E 231.
Relig 220 - Introduction to the New Testament (5 credits)
Instructor: Michael Williams
The New Testament (= NT) forms the second part of the Christian Bible, the "Scriptures" in which Christians see special testimony to divine revelation. Though “the NT” is usually referred to in the singular, as a unified document, it is actually a collection of what were originally individual writings composed by various early Christians over a period of many years. What is now a standardized collection took shape over several generations.
This course is concerned with understanding the NT writings in their original historical settings, long before they were collected into a "New Testament" as we know it. We will attempt to understand: some of the possible circumstances and purposes for the composition of individual writings; what can be known about the authors; key themes found in various writings, and the background for these; interrelationships among NT writings, and their significance; and in general, the relation between these writings and what can be known about the social history and culture of earliest Christian movements.
A word about the relevance of this kind of study for personal religious beliefs: In this course we will be trying to learn what it means to ask good historical questions about texts like those found within the NT, and what it means to understand such writings within the history of their religious tradition. The kinds of questions we will ask are those that anyone with an interest in the writings should be able to explore, whether or not one is a Christian, and whether or not one even considers oneself to be religious. The point of this course is neither to recruit people to the Christian tradition nor to turn them away from it. In any event, the tools we will be using in this course are not really capable of either "proving Christianity true" or "proving Christianity false." This does not mean that none of your present ideas about the history of ancient Christianity or the NT will be challenged. In fact, it is likely that some (perhaps even many) of them will be. A study of ancient documents like the NT writings is usually full of surprises, because the documents were composed so long ago, in a culture quite different from our own. But it is important that the student distinguish between changing one's mind about aspects of the history of a religious tradition, and changing one's mind about whether one is committed or not committed to that tradition. The two are not the same, nor does one necessarily follow from the other.
L Arch 363 – Design of Cities (3 credits)
Instructor: Elizabeth Umbanhowar
Introduction to the discourses and debates in the contemporary design of cities. Provides an overview of design theories and examples of historic and contemporary work. Includes discussion of the contesting urban processes: visions and paradigms of city; discourses of nature and the city; contemporary urban changes; public and community process; and everyday place making.
LING 200 – Intro to Linguistic Thought (5 credits)
Quiz TTh, times vary
Instructor: Laura McGarrity
Not open for credit to students who have completed LING 201 or LING 400.
Language as the fundamental characteristic of the human species; diversity and complexity of human languages; phonological and grammatical analysis; dimensions of language use; and language acquisition and historical language change.
Near Eastern Language and Civilization
Near E 244 – Voices of the Iranian Revolution (5 credits)
Instructor: Samad Alavi
Includes critical readings of the 1979 Iranian Revolution as represented in essays, fiction, poetry, memoir, speeches, film, and other arts. Examines the ways that writers, artists, politicians, and intellectuals have depicted the origins and development of the Islamic Republic and the legacy of the revolution in Iranian society and culture today.
Near E 309 – Death and the Afterlife (3 credits)
Instructor: Gary Martin
Explores human yearnings, obsessions, fears, and aspirations associated with death and afterlife by examining major political, military, social, economic, religious, literary, artistic, and architectural phenomena directly connected to the way ancient cultures, such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Israel, and the Levant, have conceptualized death.
Phil102 – Contemporary Moral Problems (5 credits)
Quiz TTh, times vary
Instructor: Michael Blake
Philosophical consideration of some of the main moral problems of modern society and civilization, such as abortion, euthanasia, war, and capital punishment.
Phil 240 – Introduction to Ethics (5 credits)
Quiz TTh, times vary
Instructor: Paul Franco
Critical introduction to various philosophical views of the basis and presuppositions of morality and moral knowledge. Critical introduction to various types of normative ethical theory, including utilitarian, deontological, and virtue theories.
Phil 242 – Introduction to Medical Ethics (5 credits)
Quiz WF, times vary
Instructor: Carina Fourie
Introduction to ethics, primarily for first- and second-year students. Emphasizes philosophical thinking and writing through an in-depth study of philosophical issues arising in the practice of medicine. Examines the issues of medical ethics from a patient's point of view.
Scand 153 – Lithuanian Literary and Cultural History (5 credits)
Instructor: Egle Zurauskaite
Surveys Lithuanian literary and cultural history from the Medieval period to the present. Authors include Dauksa, Maironis, Biliunas, Ciurloinis, Boruta, Granauskas, Aputis, Vilimaite, Milosz, and others.
Scand 154 – Estonian Literary and Cultural History (5 credits)
Instructor: Guntis Smidchens
Surveys Estonian literary and cultural history from the prehistoric period to the present. Authors, musicians, artists, and filmmakers include Kaplinski, Koidula, Kreutzwald, Vilde, Part, Tormis, Meri, Parn, Pollu, and others. Offered jointly with JSIS A 154.
Scand 156 – Swedish Literary and Cultural History (5 credits)
Instructor: Ia Dubois
Introduction to modern Swedish literature, culture, and contemporary discourses on race, multiculturalism, gender equality, and LGBTI.
Scand 342 – Typological and Historical Perspectives on Finnish Language (5 credits)
Instructor: Ilmari Ivaska
The purpose of the course is to study Finnish language from the typological point-of-view both in its own right as well as in contrast to languages of the world in general. Furthermore, the course introduces the probable evolutionary development of Finnish language with regard to the settlement history and the typological characteristics, and relates it with the other languages of the Uralic and Finno-Ugric language family. Also language contacts with other surrounding languages are discussed. The course provides students with opportunities to gain, contextualize and deepen their knowledge about the nature and the origins of Finnish language and link it with the knowledge on other languages they know as well as language as a general concept. Cross-linguistic examples and comparisons are used throughout the course and encouraged also in the discussion. The course and the readings are in English, and no prior knowledge of Finnish language is needed.
Russ 220 – Russian Literary Culture and History: Banned in the USSR: Issues of Censorship in 20th Century Russian Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Cyrus Rodgers
Explores important trends and issues in Russian literary and cultural history. Taught in English.
Slavic Languages and Literatures
Slavic 351 – History of Slavic Languages (5 credits)
Instructor: Katarzyna Dziwirek
History of Slavic languages from Indo-European to present time, including development of writing systems and national languages. Principles of historical linguistics: sound change, analogy, semantic change, as well as relevance of historical linguistics to our knowledge of human development, ancestral culture, etc. Prerequisite: either SLAVIC 110, LING 200, or LING 400.
Slavic 370 - Language and Social Policy (5 credits)
Instructor: Bojan Belic
The course examines the fates of the language known as Serbo-Croatian, on the one hand, and, on the other, to the languages known as Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian. Concepts such as language death and language birth are explored. The relation between the concepts of dialect and language is analyzed. Notions of language politics, language standardization, and language codification in Southeastern Europe are analyzed. Offered jointly with ENGL 478.
Slavic 423 – East European Film (5 credits)
Instructor: Gordana Crnkovic
This course focuses on East European directors who moved to the “West,” and mostly on Miloš Forman, Agnieszka Holland, Dušan Makavejev, Roman Polanski, and István Szabó. Comparing their East European productions with their American or Western European ones, we will both discuss the particulars of each of these authors? work, and gain insight into the Eastern European and Western cinemas in general. We will more closely examine the cinema of filmmakers such as Milo? Forman, a director who did outstanding films in his native Czechoslovakia in the late sixties, the time of the so-called Czech New Wave, before he proceeded to make some of the most “American” films in Hollywood, films such as One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The People vs. Larry Flint. We’ll also study Roman Polanski, director of the Hollywood classic Chinatown and the 2003 Academy Award winner The Pianist, and Agnieszka Holland, who first worked in her native Poland and later made outstanding films in Germany, France, Great Britain, and the USA. We will also explore the work of Hungarian István Szabó and Yugoslav Dušan Makavejev.
In addition, this course will offer a basic survey of Eastern European film production in the post-World War II period, examining the issues of filmmaking in a non-market society, the strong presence of women directors and gender-related themes in East European cinema, the vibrant tradition of experimental and animated films, and East European film in the socialist and post-socialist eras. No prerequisites. Offered jointly with CMS 423.