Spring Quarter 2018 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 330 – Music, Folklore, and Performance in Black Society (5 credits)
Instructor: Brukab Sisay
Focuses on cultural expressions created by people of African descent in the Unites States in the twentieth century, with an emphasis on music, folklore, dance, and humor.
Afram 350 – Black Aesthetics (5 credits)
Instructor: Sonnet Retman
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 330 – Asian American Theater (5 credits)
Instructor: Jang Wook Huh
Covers drama from the 1970's to now, in historical contexts. They study of drama is dialogical, through dialogue. Themes are contested among the characters. Our studies participate, with the plays, in questioning race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. Includes students' performances of dramatic readings. No prior experience in theater is required.
AAS 402 – Contemporary Asian American Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Jang Wook Huh
Examines Asian American literature from the 1950s to the present that require analyses of structures of power and possibilities for empowerment of an American "minority" group. Multi-ethnic focus, including Filipino American, Japanese American, Chinese American, Korean American, Vietnamese American, and South Asian American subjects.
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
$50 course fee; no seniors
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.
Art H 211 – Fashion Systems (5 credits)
Instructor: Rachel Silberstein
Introduces the historical development of fashion systems in early modern and modern Europe and Asia. Explores topics including: Fashioning the Body; Gender and Fashion; Fashion as Conspicuous Consumption; Fashion as Urban Spectacle; the Politics of Fashion. Offered jointly with JSIS A 211.
Art H 260 – Fashion, Nation, and Culture (5 credits)
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor: Susan Gaylard
Introduction to Italian culture focusing on fashion and manners from the late Middle Ages to today. Explores common assumptions about nation, gender, clothes, make-up, and manners, through literary and visual analysis. Offered jointly with ITAL 260/JSIS A 260.
Art H 309B – Topics in Art History: The Next Industrial Revolution: 3D Printing in Art, Architecture and Design (5 credits)
Instructor: Marek Wieczorek
This lecture course brings together the fields of art, science and history by reflecting on the broader implications of the innovative process of 3-D printing and digital fabrication in Art, Architecture, and Design. "Remaking the World from the Ground Up: 3D Printing in Art, Architecture, and Design" will examine a process which by many is seen as a new revolution in fabrication in the technological and economic spheres, but which has not yet received much scholarly attention when it comes to the question of the current and potential future roles of art and creativity in this process.
Whereas traditional printers only make marks on paper, 3D printers build up solid objects in a great many very thin layers and in a wide range of materials and intricate shapes on both very small and larger scales: from soft and harder plastics to titanium, from fully functional small components and complex mechanisms, batteries, transistors, and the like, to entire buildings, from making LEDs to using slurries and gels to print living tissue and human cartilage. 3D printing reshapes not only how, but also where things are made. Objects we use in our daily lives are usually made and assembled elsewhere, in large, polluting factories that use subtractive methods (and casting, forging, milling, turning, welding and molding techniques). Digital fabrication and the additive process of 3D printing allow for objects to be made locally, quickly, inexpensively, relatively cleanly and to individual specifications, through the use of computers and 3D printers that are expected to be available increasingly for personal use. Invention and prototyping and the quick learning of practical skills and their creative application through a new generation of computer-literate producer-consumers ("prosumers") has led to a "Maker Culture," a technology-based extension of DIY culture that is often bent on sharing designs across web platforms and through open sources. It is this creative and imaginative potential of the new process, and the increasing connectedness of people and things in our digital world (the so-called "internet of things"), that is also the subject of the course, but mainly through the examination of what artists, architects and designers have already produced, as well as through what they imagine is still possible.
The course will begin by providing students with the theoretical foundations for understanding the numerous implications of these new processes, from 19th-century theories of industrial production to myriad consequences within the current forms of post-Fordist, globalized economies. What to think of, and do with, Marx's definitions, for example, of commodity fetishism or reification in social relations, of the alienation caused by the rift between production and consumption, when now, with personalized digital fabrication, that rift need no longer be? By improving the productivity of materials, the new procedure also eliminates the waste of subtractive manufacturing and allows printed objects in plastics or metals to be recycled, thus creating a beneficial circular economy that also stimulates new creative and aesthetic solutions. These aspects —imaginative new forms of creativity in art, architecture and design— form the backbone of the course. Rather than start with the recreation of existing forms and functions (the least imaginative and dire example that got a lot of publicity was a functioning printed gun), people are now given the opportunity to rethink and remake the world from the ground up and from the inside out, to imagine and design new types of objects, reexamined on the level of functionality, form, scale and, significantly, affective relations through new aesthetic modalities.
Art H 309C – Topics in Art History: American Art in the Age of Industrialization (5 credits)
Instructor: Lacey Baradel
$30 course fee
This course examines American art and visual culture as it developed in the often-turbulent decades between the end of the Civil War and the outbreak of WWI. During this period, which encompasses the Gilded Age and beginning of the Progressive Era, the industrialization and urbanization of the United States caused severe social and economic upheaval. These transformations, in turn, had profound effects on artistic production. This course will pay special attention to key themes in the history of American art during these years, including tensions between tradition and modernity, nativism and cosmopolitanism, and “high” and “low” culture; changes in art institutions and the professionalization of women artists; artistic approaches to representing race, gender, and class; the growth of mechanized reproduction and new technologies of art-making; and the emergence of abstraction and modernism. Artists studied include Winslow Homer, Edmonia Lewis, Timothy O’Sullivan, James McNeill Whistler, Thomas Eakins, Jacob Riis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, John Singer Sargent, Cecilia Beaux, Mary Cassatt, and Alfred Stieglitz, among others.
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 207A – Special Topics: Faeries, Genies and Monsters (5 credits)
Instructor: Jennifer Dubrow
This course introduces the romance in India, a literary genre of fantastic adventures, supernatural encounters, and brave heroes. Major readings comprise The Arabian Nights and The Adventures of Amir Hamza, a nineteenth-century adventure tale from India about the noble hero Amir Hamza and his sidekick Amar Ayyar. We'll conclude by reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, to apply what we've learned about the adventure narrative to a modern example of the romance genre. All works will be read in English translation, and no prior knowledge is assumed.
Asian 207B – Special Topics: Anime and Animation (5 credits)
Quiz W, times vary
Instructor: Justin Jesty
For an updated course description, check MyPlan.
Asian 211 – Languages and Cultures of China (5 credits)
Instructor: Zev Handel
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 225 – Indian Philosophical Literature (5 credits)
Quiz Th 12:30-1:20
Instructor: Prem Pahlajrai
Introduction to various topics pertaining to the vast philosophical literature of India, such as its origins and contexts, dharma; karma and free will; logic and argument. A variety of systems from Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, theistic, and non-theistic schools are covered. Taught in English.
CHSTU 332 – Chicano Film and Narrative (5 credits)
Instructor: Olivia Hernandez
Provides a historical overview of the evolution of Chicano culture through film. Critically examines the portrayal and self-portrayal of Chicanos in film and selected works of narrative. Taught in English.
Clas 122 – Gateway to the Ancient Greco-Roman World
Instructor: Matthew Gorey
Introduction to Greek and Roman ways of understanding and shaping the world. A rt, architecture, literature, science, and religion are used to examine ancient ideas about the relationships between man and woman, free person and slave, native and foreigner, civilization and the natural world, mortal and divine.
Clas 328 – Sex, Gender and Representation in Greek and Roman Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Stephen Hinds
What kinds of stories did ancient Greeks and Romans tell about human interpersonal experience? This course will explore the worlds of myth, fiction and poetic self-representation through which Greek and Roman writers and readers push the envelope of everyday life and explore larger worlds of identity, desire and the imagination.
Presupposing no prior study of what we know as classical antiquity, the course will offer the opportunity to explore a formative period of Western civilization through consideration of some of its most characteristic texts and ideas, and to measure them in terms of the perspectives and expectations which we as readers bring to them from our increasingly diverse and interconnected 21st century societies.
To be studied, via Homer, Sappho, Plato, Ovid and others: the affirmation and inversion in literature of culturally agreed gender roles; myths of male and female identity and self-fashioning; the marginalization and reclamation of female consciousness; and the ‘rules of engagement’ in ancient love poems and narratives of sexual encounter, in which gender, status, sexual identity and sexual preference are all bound up together ... and often problematized.
Clas 420 – Freedom in Ancient Rome and the Modern World (5 credits)
Instructor: Alain Gowing
[Please note that this is a revised version of an older course entitled 'Roman Politics: The Rise and Fall of Political Freedom'] Freedom – libertas, in Latin – was a fundamental concept in ancient Rome, central throughout its history to, and in all aspects of, its political and social life. Indeed, the word libertas became literally synonymous with (that is, a name for) the ‘Roman Republic’. This cross-listed course examines 'freedom' in ancient Rome, from its founding in the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD, when Christianity became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. Through selected readings in both primary and secondary sources, we will examine the various forms of freedom important to Romans and how their views evolved (or remained the same) over time, specifically: personal freedom (including slavery), political freedom, religious freedom, and intellectual freedom (i.e., the freedom to write or say what one wants). In addition, however, we will also examine various perspectives on ‘freedom’ expressed in the modern world, including (but not limited to) the United States, and what they owe or do not owe to Roman concepts. Readings in Orlando Patterson’s landmark book Freedom, an historical overview of the concept, will provide a benchmark for this, but will be supplemented by other readings as well.
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.
Com 234 – Public Debate (5 credits)
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor: Michael Souders
Examines public debate in a democracy by developing a rhetorical perspective of public argument and skills to evaluate debates critically. Develops an understanding of rhetoric, values, audiences, tests of reasoning, and sources of information. Sharpens critical skills and applies them to contemporary controversies in the public sphere.
Comparative History of Ideas
Chid 270A – Special Topics: The Queerness of Love (5 credits)
Instructor: Richard Block
The words "I love you" may come from the heart, but they are nonetheless a citation, even a cliché. What the heart would speak is no more than a commonplace. Utterances of love, it might be said, are always already somebody's else's. What is dearest and most heartfelt is thus rendered wholly unoriginal and certainly not one's own. The nature of love is thus self-estrangement; the lover, if (s)he truly is in love, can be nothing other than queer. But queer is not an easy term to define. If the term is embedded in the politics of gender, just as certainly does queer describe a relationship in which lover and loved do not relate. They remain inexplicably something "other" to each other and to themselves.
In this course, we will attempt to trace the limits and possibilities of queer love in the West, particularly since around 1800. Is it the absolute form of love Plato describes in the "Symposium" and what the 18th and 19th centuries smugly referred to as “platonic” or is it simply monstrous as in Frankenstein.? To explore these possibilities we will look at works from the Harlem Renaissance to the indie film circuit to Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight. We will conclude the course with a discussion of the AIDS quilt. What is the nature of love in the face of inexpressible loss? How do the assembled panels of strangers who died of a "queer's disease" overcome the ambiguity of the words, "I love you"?
Students can expect to learn the following from the course: an understanding of the historical contingencies that shape any expression of love, skills for close, analytical reading of a text, and ability to shape a convincing argument based on evidence collected from a close reading. Offered jointly with C Lit 251, German 285, Engl 242.
Chid 270B – Special Topics: Gegenkultur: The Art of Protest (5 credits)
Instructor: Jasmin Krakenberg
Focusing on the culture of today’s German speaking world, the course reflects on the role of visual arts, film, music, prose, poetry, and drama in responding to conflict. Its goal is to understand the role of protest and dissent in the 20th and 21st century. How do writers, artists, and filmmakers adopt new communication strategies to resist dominant narratives? And how effective is art as a form of protest and a conduit of change?
In search for better understanding how culture is created, resisted, and appropriated, we will focus on independent, unpopular, and marginalized voices, including the wide range of social movements (e.g. feminism, LGBT, civil rights, and environmentalism). To rethink evolving notions of “canon,” we will look at works by Afro-German writer May Ayim and Japanese writer Yoko Tawada, protest songs by poet Wolf Biermann, artworks by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei and German visual artist Hito Steyerl, performances by Russian punk-rock group Pussy Riot and electro-pop musician Bernadette La Hengst, underground literature and publishing, hip-hop and punk music in Hamburg and Berlin, street art, graphic novels, and films associated with the new avant-gardes. The course will offer students opportunities to explore ways in which communities address issues of cultural inclusion and dissonance through the arts. Students will explore a wide range of texts, engage with archival materials (on-line and on-site), and evaluate the legitimacy of sources of information. They will also consider how close readings and textual analysis can translate across genre and medium. Offered jointly with German 293, Lit 298.
Chid 480B – The Poetics of Race (5 credits)
Instructor: Caroline Simpson
In the last few years we’ve witnessed the emergence of a number of poets of color concerned with re-posing the question of race in American culture, including Rickey Laurentiis, Claudine Rankin, Solmaz Sharif, Ocean Vuong, and Monica Youn among others. Their vibrant reclamation of that too often lost classical symbiosis between poetry (or the lyric) and protest has re-set the stakes of American poetry. Our focus will be two-fold. First, we will try to figure out just
how they do what they do. How does a poem come to mean this rather than that to us? What turns of language, address, tone, example, description, and page setting create their particular worlds of desire, lament, and outrage? Second, we will try to locate or situate our poems, when possible, in relationship to other expressive conventions, be they poetic or musical or merely, loosely linguistic. Students need not have any experience reading poetry but should come with a deep curiosity to learn about what’s happening on the poetry ‘scene’ that has so many of us taking note.
Chid 480C – Living and Dying in the Anthropocene (5 credits)
Instructor: Anne Dwyer
Once upon a time, “geological time” and “human history” were imagined on separate planes: the earth had a history shaped by wind and water, and human beings made a history that was social and political in nature—but by no means “natural.” In recent years, however, scientific findings about climate change, deforestation, ocean acidification, and other human-caused, yet still “natural” processes have resulted in a new conceptualization of both human and natural history: we now live in a geological age that is dramatically impacted by human existence. This epoch—the geological age defined by human influence—is the Anthropocene. This course interrogates how the conceptualization and stark reality of the Anthropocene changes the way we understand and enter into its characteristic entanglements of human activities and natural processes.
Cinema and Media Studies
CMS 272 – Film Genre: American Nightmares: The History of Horror Film, 1922-2017 (5 credits)
Instructor: Jennifer Bean
$15 course fee
This course examines the development of the horror genre in American cinema from the early 1920s to the early twenty-first century. We will consider how the development of cinematic horror has been related to economic and structural changes in the film industry since the formation of Hollywood’s studio-era in the late silent period, as well as to changes in American culture and society. Since these cultural shifts often go unacknowledged in more general histories of the U.S., a careful study of this genre (a vast array of popular films often dismissed as “pure escapism”) is particularly illuminating. As critic Robin Wood notes, “One might say that the true subject of the horror genre is the struggle for recognition of all that our civilization represses or oppresses, its re-emergence dramatized, as in our nightmares, as an object of horror, a matter for terror.” Rather than tout variations of the “American Dream,” as in political campaigns and advertising strategies, this cinematic tradition tracks its uncanny double: hence the course title, “American Nightmares.”
While the overall structure of the course will be historical (and chronological), our focus will be analytical as well, with special emphasis on genre theory and criticism, theories of gender and sexuality, and cinematic analysis. Films to be studied range from Nosferatu (1922), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Cat People (1942) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), through Psycho (1960), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Exorcist (1973) and Halloween (1978), to The Shining (1980), Videodrome (1982), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Ring (2002), and Get Out (2017) among others.
CMS 320A – Cinema and Nation: Hollywood/Bollywood (5 credits)
Instructor: Sudhir Mahadevan
$15 course fee
Open to all majors on 2/26.
Examines the cinema of a particular national, ethnic or cultural group, with films typically shown in the original language with subtitles. Topics reflect themes and trends in the national cinema being studied.
C Lit 251 – Intro to Comparative Literature: Representation and Diversity (5 credits)
Instructor: Richard Block
The Queerness of Love The words "I love you" may come from the heart, but they are nonetheless a citation, even a cliché. What the heart would speak is no more than a commonplace. Utterances of love, it might be said, are always already somebody's else's. What is dearest and most heartfelt is thus rendered wholly unoriginal and certainly not one's own. The nature of love is thus self-estrangement; the lover, if (s)he truly is in love, can be nothing other than queer. But queer is not an easy term to define. If the term is embedded in the politics of gender, just as certainly does queer describe a relationship in which lover and loved do not relate. They remain inexplicably something "other" to each other and to themselves. In this course, we will attempt to trace the limits and possibilities of queer love in the West, particularly since around 1800. Is it the absolute form of love Plato describes in the "Symposium" and what the 18th and 19th centuries smugly referred to as “platonic” or is it simply monstrous as in Frankenstein.? To explore these possibilities we will look at works from the Harlem Renaissance to the indie film circuit to Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight. We will conclude the course with a discussion of the AIDS quilt. What is the nature of love in the face of inexpressible loss? How do the assembled panels of strangers who died of a "queer's disease" overcome the ambiguity of the words, "I love you"? Students can expect to learn the following from the course: an understanding of the historical contingencies that shape any expression of love, skills for close, analytical reading of a text, and ability to shape a convincing argument based on evidence collected from a close reading.
Engl 242B – Violence, Temptation, Rebellion: Explorations of the 20th Century Street in Multi-Ethnic U.S. Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Alexandra Smith
This course is organized around an investigation into the representations and aesthetics of the city street in United States literature. By reading widely across a range of literary styles and genres we will ask questions such as: How can we use the literary street to examine social and political relations in the United States? To what extent does the dynamism of the city street shift between literary styles and genres? Why is the city street a particularly productive space for engaging themes of play, desire, rebellion, resistance, temptation, and danger? What new perspectives or critical frameworks can the street give us concerning the political climate we are currently living in? And how do writers, artists, and musicians use the space of the street to speak back to narratives that seek to contain, oppress, and control marginalized populations and spaces?
Note that since this course fulfills the “W” requirement, you should expect to do a great deal of writing (in the form of in-class exercises and formal, graded papers). Class time will be student-centered and discussion-based, so it is very important that you come to class prepared to engage with challenging texts and topics. Please keep this in mind when registering for ENGL 242.
Engl 257 – Asian-American Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Michelle Liu
Diversity credit; writing credit
Asian American populations have been deeply impacted by restrictive immigration legislation and American foreign policy, putting its peoples in a unique position for defining Americanness. How do artists with an Asian ancestry challenge a country that ostensibly celebrates diversity yet looks with suspicion on the foreign? We’ll look at the creation of “Asian American literature” as a category to examine this question. Why was Asian American literature created? Who is Asian American literature for? To explore these questions, we will consider the short stories of Jhumpa Lahiri; the essays of Carlos Bulosan and Alex Tizon; the comedy of Eddie Huang and Margaret Cho; and novels (in whole and in part) by Annie Choi, Bich Minh Nguyen, and Celeste Ng.
ENGL 308 – Marxism and Literary Theory (5 credits)
Instructor: Alys Weinbaum
This course will introduce you to several key works by Marx and his collaborator, Engels, and to the debates that have grown up around them. At the center of the course is the question of how 19th century writings about political economy (a.k.a economics), history, and philosophy were taken up by 20th century literary scholars, and how a distinct tradition of interpreting literary culture from a Marxist perspective, using Marxist tools, has developed over time and endured into the present. By contrast to other models of literary criticism which often seek to find in literary texts transcendent messages and universal meanings, Marxist literary theory has sought to situate literary and cultural texts within their historical contexts of production and reception, to understand the power dynamics--including dynamics informed by gender, race, and class conflict--that shape textual meaning, and to understand how such conflicts impact message, genre, style and form.
Our study of Marxist theory will involve us in close, intensive reading of dense philosophical texts. We will also seek to understand how a materialist method indebted to Marxism has emerged as a dominant method within contemporary scholarship, and how diverse literary critical practices (often given such labels as “critical theory,” “feminist theory,” “critical race theory,” and “cultural studies”) are situated within a Marxist analytical tradition. Over the course of the quarter we will engage two works of fiction--one filmic and one literary. We will consider how our understanding of each is shaped by the Marxist frameworks that the course explores, and how each, in turn, may be used to reveal the (in)adequacy of Marxist methodologies.
Engl 321 – Chaucer (5 credits)
Instructor: Brian Hardison
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and other poetry, with attention to Chaucer's social, historical, and intellectual milieu.
Engl 351 – American Literature: the Colonial Period (5 credits)
Instructor: Eva Cherniavsky
This course emerges from the contexts of its double misnaming: As a means to refer to the literatures of the United States, “American” is, of course, a problematic designation, collapsing, as it does, the distinction between a single North American nation and the expanse of two continents. From a geographic, historical and cultural standpoint, after all, the literatures of Mexico (for instance) are no less “American” than those of the U.S., and (as many have observed) the linguistic conflation of a hemisphere with a nation reflects a two centuries long geopolitics (formalized in the Monroe Doctrine) in which the U.S. has aspired to hemispheric control. Moreover, in the U.S. context, the term “colonial” proves no less perplexing, for the way it posits a distinction between a colonial and a national period. By the conventions of literary periodization, that is, the “colonial period” ends with the “American” (sic) revolution – the war of independence from Britain and the formation of the United States as a sovereign nation. From the perspective of indigenous peoples, however, the creation of the U.S. extends rather than concludes the colonial period, and indeed, decolonization (the return of lands and political autonomy) has never taken place. And certainly, too, from the vantage of Africans and their descendants, whose forced deportation to the U.S. continued for years after national independence (the Atlantic slave trade was not outlawed until 1807), and whose enslavement for decades longer (1863), as well as the perspective of the largely mestizo, Mexican population of the southwest forcibly annexed to the U.S. with the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), or of Filipinos similarly claimed as the spoils the war (1898), the distinction between the “colonial” and the “national” eras is problematic, at best. (As an aside, we might note that the centuries which elapse between 1492 and 1776 – or even between the founding of the Jamestown colony in 1607 and the revolutionary war, hardly constitute a coherent historical “period.” Perhaps the only untroubled feature of our title is the colon that separates its organizing terms.)
Reading in and against a critical tradition that sees in the moment of national founding the termination of colonial rule, we will take up “the colonial period” for the insights it offers into the subsequent convergence of national independence and ongoing structures of colonial rule. We will explore some of the economic, political, social, and cultural imaginaries that emerged in the first centuries of the New World contact zone, where Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans met. In particular, we will focus on the relation between accumulation and dispossession; freedom and domination; assimilation, exclusion, containment, and genocide, as these are elaborated and refracted in narrative and (to a more limited extent) poetic form. We will linger on the complexity of social, religious, and cultural identifications and affiliations in the contact zone, and the construction of “peoples” (national and other) they enable and foreclose. Although within the constraints of a single, quarter-long class, it is not feasible to explore these questions within a properly “American,” or hemispheric context, we will situate these issues within a comparative framework, attending in particular to the Spanish conquest of Mexico, including what is today the U.S. southwest, as well as to the Puritan settlement of New England, and the broader Atlantic context in which it was embedded.
Engl 355 – Contemporary American Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Shawn Wong
Asian America: Mining 20th Century American Literature at the Margins
If you examine the landscape of a place called Asian America in the American mind, you will find its boundaries begin somewhere near a familiar stereotype and end with the truth being told in hidden corners of history--somewhere in the Sierra Nevada in a train tunnel built by 19th century Chinese railroad workers in Donner Pass, by a restaurant kitchen door in a Chinatown alley, on a vast and dusty American plain of a now deserted World War II-era Japanese American internment camp, in a corner grocery story, or in an Alaskan cannery. Part of the story is heroic, legendary, and mythic, the other and more familiar part of the story is a media stereotype of fantasy, foolishness, and fakery. This investigation into Asian American literature is a process of identifying the real from the fake. Required Texts: Asian American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology, edited by Shawn Wong; Charlie Chan is Dead 2, edited by Jessica Hagedorn and Elaine Kim.
ENGL 361 – American Political Culture after 1865 (5 credits)
Instructor: Katherine Cummings
American literature in its political and cultural context from the Civil War to the present. Emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to American literature, including history, politics, anthropology, and mass media. Includes attention to thinking critically about differences of power and inequality stemming from sociocultural, political, and economic difference.
Engl 365 – 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.
Course goals include: 1) developing the analytical reading skills appropriate to different kinds of literary texts, 2) learning how to uncover the supporting logic and stakes of specific attitudes toward the natural world, 3) understanding how environmental issues are linked to other social and cultural concerns, 4) seeing how those linkages are affected by particular historical and political conditions, and 5) working on how to formulate and sustain critical arguments in writing. 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 407 – Utopian Writing and Science Fiction (5 credits)
Instructor: Thomas Foster
This course will trace the ways in which twentieth-century science fiction has reproduced and transformed the conventions of utopian writing. The utopian tradition in Anglo-American contexts begins in the 16th century, with Thomas More’s Utopia, but we will begin with the resurgence of the utopian tradition in late 19th-century American literature, specifically with Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward: 2000-1887 and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s feminist response to Bellamy, Herland. We will read some criticism on the importance of utopian writing to the genre of science fiction, as well as later reworkings of the idea of utopia, including the critical utopia (in the New Wave movement of the 1960s and 70s), the heterotopia, and the critical dystopia. We will spend some time considering the social and political function of utopian thought and the utopian impulse, as contrasted to the current dominance of dystopian narratives in U.S. culture. After reading Bellamy and Gilman’s 19th-century works, we will do a set of readings that may include Joanna Russ’s The Female Man; Samuel R. Delany’s Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand; Nisi Shawl’s Everfair; Terry Bisson’s Fire on the Mountain; Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway; Alastair Reynolds’s The Prefect; Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower; N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season; Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station; or Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140. Some of our key critical questions are likely to include the relation between utopia and dystopia and the limits of the utopian/dystopian polarity; what might come after capitalism; how to imagine the future of gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism; alternatives to reproductive futurity; and the implications of network societies, post-industrial economies, and the social and political implications of computer-mediated communication. Assignments are likely to include one shorter essay and a longer final paper.
Engl 466 – Queer and LGBT Studies (5 credits)
Instructor: Stephanie Clare
Special topics in queer theory and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) studies. Examination of ways lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer histories and cultures are represented in criticism, literature, film, performance, and popular culture. Through the analysis of post-1968 theory, fiction, autobiography, photography, and film, this course provides students with an overview to central debates in queer studies.
Engl 479 – Language Variation and Language Policy in North America (5 credits)
Instructor: Nancy Bou Ayash
Surveys basic issues of language variation: phonological, syntactic, semantic, and narrative/discourse differences among speech communities of North American English; examines how language policy can affect access to education, the labor force, and political institutions.
Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
GWSS 350 – Women in Law and Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Patricia Novotny
Representations of women in American law and literature. Considers how women's political status and social roles have influenced legal and literary accounts of their behavior. Examines how legal cases and issues involving women are represented in literary texts and also how law can influence literary expression. Offered jointly with CHID 350.
HSTAS 264 – Violence, Race, and Memory (5 credits)
Quiz F, times vary
Instructor: Laurie Sears
Diversity credit; writing optional course
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.
L Arch 322 – Intro to Planting Design (3 credits)
Instructor: Iain Robertson
Traditional ways plants are used in landscape design. Composition and design characteristics of plant materials. Technical considerations for selection, climate, cultural suitability, availability, costs, and maintenance. Open to nonmajors.
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 286 – Themes in Near Eastern Literature: Literature and Cinema of War (5 credits)
Instructor: Samad Alavi
This topic of this course will be Literature and Cinema of War. We will focus on memoirs, fiction, poetry, and film related to two major conflicts: the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq (2003-?). All readings will be in English and the course has no prerequisites. Students from all majors are encouraged to enroll. May not be taken for credit if credit earned in NEAR E 330.
Near E 307 – From Israelites to Jews: the First Six Centuries (3 credits)
Instructor: Gary Martin
Traces the Israelites, from the Babylonian destruction of the Jerusalemite Temple (586 BCE) to events following the destruction of the second Temple (first century CE). Focuses on primary historical and literary sources as well as archaeological and artistic evidence. No knowledge of Hebrew or the Bible required. Offered jointly with Jewish Studies 317.
NEAR E 314 – The Archeology of Early Islam (5 credits)
Instructor: Stephanie Selover
An introduction to the archaeology of Early Islam, from 632 to ~1000 CE. This course does not seek to be a history of Islam, nor to cover all the areas of early Islamic conquest. Instead, four areas will be studied in greater depths, to better understand the cultural and social effects of early Islam upon different regions. The course will study the rise (and, in some cases fall), of Islam in Arabia, Syria/Iraq, Egypt and Spain/Morocco. Students will become acquainted with key archaeological sites, as well as the history of the field in these regions. We will study the architecture and material cultures affected by the rise of Islam. The place of archaeological understanding alongside historical investigation will be an important aspect of this course. Students should leave the class acquainted with the archaeological narrative accompanying the history of early Islamic civilization. Offered jointly with Archy 369B.
Near E 371 – Ottoman Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Selim Kuru
Approaches Ottoman literature through translations and scholarly articles in English. Evaluates this particular literary tradition as an imperial production, through an analysis and critical reading of course materials.
Phil 102 – 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 149 – Existentialism and Film (5 credits)
Quiz TTh, times vary
Instructor: Ian Schnee
What makes life worth living? Is morality just a convenient fiction? What is the nature of the human condition? Is God dead, or just playing hard to get? Investigates the works of several existentialist philosophers, including Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Beauvoir, and uses their works to interpret and analyze the philosophical content of angst-ridden cinema of the French New Wave and Hollywood film noir.
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 100 – Intro to Scandinavian Culture (5 credits)
Instructor: Olivia Gunn
The Scandinavian experience from the Viking Age to the present day; the background for contemporary Scandinavian democracy, with major emphasis on the cultural, political, and religious development of the Scandinavian countries.
Scand 340 – Kalevala (5 credits)
Instructor: Hanna-Ilona Haermaevaara
An interdisciplinary approach to the Finnish national epic Kalevala, Estonian Kalevipoeg, and Saami Peivebarnen suongah jehtanasan maajisn. Discussion of traditional worldview, cultural revitalization, and emergent nationalism in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Finland, Estonia, and Saamiland.
Russ 220 – Russian Literary Culture and History: Mothers and Daughters in Russian Literature (5 credits)
Instructor: Veronica Mushkeli
The course, taught in English, explores mother-daughter pairs in Russian folklore and literature. It examines relatively short works—folktales, novellas, shorts stories, narrative poems, plays, and films—from the point of view of psychoanalytical, Jungian, feminist, queer, and gender theory within the Russian cultural context.
Russ 323 – Revolution: Twentieth Century Russian Literature and Culture (5 credits)
Instructor: Jose Alaniz
Optional Writing credit
A sweeping tour of the dynamic literary and cultural scene of 20th/21st century Russia, from the Bolshevik Revolution, Diaspora and Socialist Realist period through the purges and post-Stalin “Thaw,” to the Stagnation, Perestroika and Post-Soviet eras. Lectures and discussion will focus on texts, films, music and paintings. All readings 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 or LING 200 or LING 400.
Slavic 370 – What’s in a Language Name? The Case of Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian (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 as Language and Social Policy.