Upper-Division Courses Spring 2016
The following are the Upper Divison courses offered for Fall 2015. The complete updated list of courses being offered is available in Peoplesoft. Click on the faculty name links to view the description in PDF, if available.
Dr. Lauren Brozovich
This course will introduce students to literary theory and to scholarly research skills. Students will be introduced to feminism, ecocriticism, structuralism, poststructuralism, and New Criticism. After writing a series of short analytical papers throughout the semester, students will write a final research paper, in which they will apply literary theory to a literary text. Literary texts to be studied will include Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and selected poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, A.R. Ammons, and Jorie Graham. Theoretical texts will include works by Terry Eagleton, Simone de Beauvoir, Lawrence Buell, Saussure, Derrida, Timothy Morton, and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing.
Dr. John McNamara
Dr. Cedric Tolliver
This course introduces students to literary studies through an extended consideration of the literary genre of tragedy. We will ground our work in the study of three tragic dramas: Sophocles’ Antigone; Shakespeare’s Othello; and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. In addition to these dramas, students will also study several methods of literary interpretation: feminist, Marxist, and postcolonial critical approaches to literature and culture. This study will allow students to develop close reading, critical thinking, and persuasive writing skills. Over the course of the semester, students will acquire at least rudimentary research skills in order to undertake a self-directed literary-historical research project. In sum, this course is about learning to read literary texts, conduct research, and write essays.
Dr. David Mazella
David Mazella’s version of ENGL 3301 is focused upon Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. As with the other sections of ENGL 3301, this is a “gateway course” designed to provide students entering the major with a pragmatic introduction to contemporary literary studies.
Swift and Literary Studies focuses upon a single literary text and author, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, to discuss current methods of critical reading, writing, and especially research. The theoretical discussions, however, will always be brought back to practical questions of research and writing.
This is a demanding course designed for English majors. It is not an introduction to literature, but to the forms of scholarly research practiced in the discipline of literary studies. Non-majors and English minors are advised to contact the professor before enrolling. Students who have not taken at least one sophomore-level literature course at UH should also consider taking that before signing up for ENGL 3301. English 3301 will not presume any previous experience in the areas covered, but it will require students to engage seriously with a select group of challenging texts, to work independently and in groups on the topics raised, and to plan and execute a research project on Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels that reflects current thinking in literary studies.
Because this course is taught seminar-style, with in-class assignments, student presentations, group work, and student-designed research projects, students must be prepared to show up, keep up with the reading, and hand in their written work according to the class schedule.
Students are also required to participate in group work and regularly visit and contribute to the course-blog.
All this varied work is designed for you to develop your research skills, along with a more sophisticated understanding of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
Dr. Sarah Ehlers
This section of English 3301 will consider how the materials and styles that comprise the things we wear are represented in the things we read. Analyzing an array of literary and artistic works—from Anzia Yezierska’s immigrant novel Salome of the Tenements to Haryette Mullen’s poems in Recyclopedia to Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing—we will use the connections among clothing and writing and the visual arts as a way to consider various approaches to literary study. As an industrial system, a sociological formation, and an interpretive device, dress and clothing—as ideas and materials—have generated crucial theories for understanding class relations, gendered presentations, and aesthetics. Assignments will be focused on developing literary/visual analysis and research/writing skills. Throughout the semester, we will experiment with a range of methods and formats, including digital media.
Dr. James Pipkin
The readings in this section offer historical range and context, as well as examples of all four major genres of literature: poetry, novel, short story, and drama. We will begin with the seventeenth-century English poet John Donne and proceed to nineteenth-century British literature as it is mirrored by Charles Dickens's novel Great Expectations. The rest of the course will focus on American literature of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. In addition to reading a few modern poems and short stories, we will study Toni Morrison's novel Song of Solomon and attend a performance of Tennessee Williams’s “The Night of the Iguana” at the Alley Theatre.
The course will also introduce the students to a variety of critical approaches and theories such as the New Criticism, psychoanalytic theory, feminist theory, gender theory, and deconstruction. The reading list is comparatively short so that we can spend sufficient time on the techniques of close reading and also study the texts from a variety of models of interpretation.
Dr. Lorraine Stock
Tu 10:00-11:30 – Hybrid Course
This course is a “hybrid” or “blended” course that meets face-to-face only one day a week, Tuesday. The other 50% or more of course work is presented and performed online in a Blackboard site for the course. The course is focused on a close reading of Chaucer’s 14th-century masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, a story collection told by 29 pilgrims--each representing a late medieval social group or occupation-- journeying from London to Canterbury Cathedral to make a pilgrimage at the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket. The course is organized as a recreation of the pilgrimage to Canterbury, following the map between London and the shrine, in which each town or station on the route corresponds to one week of the course. The text of the Canterbury Tales will be read in the original 14th-century Middle English. Chaucer’s story collection includes a cornucopia of the prominent medieval literary genres: Arthurian romance, secular romance, epic, fabliau or bawdy tale, hagiographical romance, saint’s life, allegory, Breton lay, beast fable, etc. Class members not only will study the typical medieval tales told by Chaucer’s Christian pilgrims, but also will research the concept of comparative world pilgrimage practiced by other non-Christian religions (Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism) as well as secular pilgrimages to modern “shrines” of secular “saints” (Elvis, Princess Diana, Jim Morrison, The Beatles, John Lennon) and other places of memorialization, Ground Zero, the Vietnam Memorial, etc.
Students will be responsible for reading the assigned tales in Middle English each week, listening to the instructor’s podcast lectures about the text, watching or listening to the assigned videos, web pages, or sound files illustrating aspects of the tales or facets of late medieval history, culture, or daily life on Blackboard, and then taking an online quiz based on that week’s materials by midnight of the day before the face-to-face class day. Each quiz is worth 2% of the final grade. Guides to the weekly study modules will outline the homework activities for each week and present questions for discussion at the face-to face class meeting.
Dr. John McNamara
Dr. Jamie Ferguson
This is an introduction to the dramatic works of William Shakespeare, through reading of six of the major plays: 1 Henry IV, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, King Lear, Coriolanus, and The Winter’s Tale. We shall approach these plays as examples of Shakespeare’s work in four genres: tragedy, comedy, history (both English and Roman), and romance; we shall also follow Shakespeare’s thematic concerns and artistic development across these generic boundaries. We shall use various critical categories to discuss and write about the plays: source-study, character-study, imagery and symbolism, performance and textual history. We shall study the plays in their social, political, and religious contexts and review some of the relevant criticism associated with each play.
Dr. James Pipkin
Course requirements: active participation in class discussion, two papers (the first 5-6 pages and the second 10-12 pages), and a final exam.
The course focuses on some of the major works of the English Romantic poets: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats. We will also read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as an expression of the Romantic sensibility as it was reflected in fiction. The main thesis of the course is that Romanticism represented a fundamental redirection of European life and thought that constituted the beginnings of the modern world. Topics of discussion will include Romanticism as an artistic response to a crisis in culture, tradition and revolution in Romantic art, the Romantic mythology of the self, Romantic legendry (portrayals of Lucifer, Prometheus, the Wandering Jew, etc.), "natural supernaturalism" (secularization of Biblical myths such as the Fall, Paradise, etc.), "Dark Romanticism" (the interest in the satanic, the erotic, the exotic, etc.), the Romantic concept of the imagination, the Romantic symbol, and Romantic irony.
Dr. Paul Guajardo
British Victorian poetry and prose from the High Victorians through the Pre-Raphaelites to the Decadents. Novels may be included at the instructor's option.
Dr. Margot Gayle Backus
This course is designed to introduce you to a broad cross section of nineteenth and twentieth-century British novels, from key works of nineteenth-century literary realism through British modernism and postmodernism.
The course emphasizes two basic skills: appreciative reading of literature, and critical writing exploring literature analytically, in relationship to its social and historical context. I will help to provide a sense of British social and literary history through a series of short lectures. Course time will otherwise be spent discussing the assigned texts and developing ideas for the final critical essay. Discussions will take place in small discussion groups and as a class. For each small discussion I will designate a group member to record and summarize group discussion for the class as a whole.
Dr. Elizabeth Gregory
100 years ago turns out to be not so different from today, through a Modernist lens. In this class, we’ll read a selection of early twentieth-century British Modernist texts and explore the social, historical and cultural contexts from which they (and the present) emerged.
We will read novels, poems and essays, and consider the roles played by gender, race, class, colonialism, historical consciousness, technology, sexuality, and high/low dynamics in the operation of the modernist sensibility. We will examine as well the little magazines in which many of our texts first appeared, exploring the role of aesthetics and publication context on initial reception.
Texts include: Woolf, A Room of One's Own, Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Stevenson, The Beach of Falesa, Yeats, Selected Poems and Three Plays, Forster, Passage to India, Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Loy, The Lost Lunar Baedeker, Eliot, The Waste Land, Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
Requirements: Active participation in class discussion and collaborative work, two papers (8-10 pages each), reading responses, quizzes and a final exam.
Dr. William Monroe
Dr. John McNamara
Works by major British authors representative of the romantic, Victorian, and modern periods.
Analysis and writing of fiction and poetry. Basic techniques and vocabulary in craft.
Analysis and writing of fiction. Techniques and craft vocabulary essential to construction of narratives. Exploration of both traditional and contemporary fiction; practice in fictional techniques
Analysis and writing of poetry. Techniques and craft vocabulary essential to construction of poems. Exploration of both traditional and contemporary poetry; practice in poetic techniques.
Dr. Paul Butler
In this course, we will examine the study of style in writing today. What do we mean by the word “style”? What are the social, political, cultural, rhetorical, and digital uses of the term? In addition to considering problems with the study of style, we'll look at examples of different styles used in a broad range of written genres (nonfiction, the essay, literature, journalism, law, science, and multimodal/new media, for example) and analyze what makes the style of various writers distinctive. In addition, students will use the broad-based analysis of style as a means of developing their own writing style. One assignment will allow you to write an essay in the genre of your choosing with careful attention to the stylistic elements we have learned in the course. The class requires several writing assignments of varying lengths and a final essay/exam that incorporates the techniques studied in the course.
Dr. James Zebroski
English 3340 provides students with advanced writing practice. The course pre-requisite is the UH required freshman composition courses (1303, 1304).
You should have an interest in improving your writing and moving it toward professional and disciplinary norms (careers and majors).
Usually about half the students in class are majoring in areas not English. Usually a fair number of pre-law students, and a few pre-med students as well, take this course. Often social science and education majors take the course.
This course will be an inquiry-driven course, that is, the course will be structured according to an empirical investigation of a question.
The primary questions we will ask is-- How is writing constituted for the UH student in the spring of 2016? Why?
In the first section of the course, students will review writing experiences they have had so far, at and outside of the university. Students will reflect on their literacy (reading and writing) experiences in a literacy autobiography. There will be a portfolio on writing at UH which will include a reflective essay on reading and writing experiences as well as documents that survey the writing you do.
Then there will be a series of short, in class essays on the readings. The emphasis is on form, revision, and style analysis.
The second part of the course will be research-driven. Students will do a research project on the style of writing in their disciplines (majors). Using three different journals from the major, students will analyze the language and the rhetoric of three articles to discover the distinctive traits of writing and the writing process in their major. The end project is a research essay on writing, about ten pages in length not counting Works Cited page.
As indicated by the course title, this is an ADVANCED writing course that begins with the assumption that as juniors or seniors you have the basics of college writing and will take up a more complex study of writing in the disciplines and the professions.
Dr. Barry Wood
Literary study of myths, legends, stories, and novels of Native Americans in relevant historical and cultural contexts.
Dr. Jason Berger
Considering a wide scope of narratives ranging from “discovery” through the Civil War, this survey course will explore literary, historical, and social aspects of the construction of the United States. Since the earliest European excursions into the lands of the Americas, the “new world” was represented as both an opportunity and a problem: a means to garner lands, wealth, and resources, but also a site of complex cultural and social exchange and antagonism. Our approach toward American literature will be to explore the ways it negotiates such sites of crisis and anxiety as the country moves from a network of agrarian colonies into a modern industrial nation state. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, and written assignments, we will interrogate how writers and literary genres—from Anne Bradstreet’s poetry to Hawthorne’s fiction— respond to tension-wrought aspects of American experience and identity.
Dr. Sarah Ehlers
This course will introduce a wide scope of texts, concepts, and movements in American literature from the turn of the twentieth century through the present day. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, and collaborative activities, we will explore how the major political upheavals and historical transformations of the twentieth century have shaped U.S. literary works. At the same time, we will consider how American experience is determined by global contexts and forces, such as mass migrations, World Wars, economic downturns, and technological developments. Analyzing works by canonical and non-canonical authors writing in diverse genres—from immigrant narratives to experimental poetry to contemporary digital and performance texts—we will explore how literature informs our understandings of political and cultural realities. Our readings will be framed by questions such as: How do issues of race, class, and gender give rise to literary movements? How do contemporary writings question how personal and national identities are constructed? How do U.S. writers respond to technological progress? What is the role of a national literature in the midst of global warfare and economics?
Dr. Lauren Brozovich
This survey course will introduce students to American literature after 1865. We will study literary texts from an array of genres: poetry, nonfiction prose, drama, and fiction. In addition to studying literary movements and historical developments, we will consider several major topics in 21st-century American literary studies: race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and the environment. Authors may include Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Dreiser, London, Harte, Winnnemucca, Austin, Du Bois, Anderson, Frost, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Pound, H.D., Loy, T. S. Eliot, Moore, O’Neill, McKay, Hurston, Hughes, Larsen, Bishop, Brooks, Lowell, Plath, Ginsberg, Rich, Ammons, Merwin, Silko, Didion, Komunyakaa, Ashbery, and Alexie.
Dr. Barry Wood
Development of theme, symbolic patterns, and form in the nineteenth-century American novel from a historical, sociocultural, and/or generic perspective.
Dr. Patricia Yongue
Fiction in this time frame (1900-1940) is responsive to Modernism, an early twentieth century artistic movement in western culture that draws a great deal of scholarly attention. We will pay attention ourselves to modernist practices and perspectives, but we will also consider the socio-cultural/historical backgrounds of American fiction, including popular fiction, and the origins and construction of heroism. We will consider such intellectual movements as literary naturalism and existentialism, which overlap modernism and affect even post-modern literature. My emphasis tends toward studying texts as both constructing representations of and representing culture and gender. I also pay very close attention to language and detail and narrative perspective. Modernist writers, anticipating the post-modernists, began to question the vagaries of language and perspective. Of course, we shall compare and contrast cultural past with present.
This is an advanced English course that satisfies three hours of credit in the English major and minor. Students must have completed the university Core Communication requirement. Competency in written English and composition at the advanced level is expected in all written performance. Students are also expected to have some knowledge of literary “behaviors.” Completion of ENGL 3301 is highly recommended.
Dr. Patricia Yongue
Among Ernest Hemingway’s much discussed fictive achievements is his delineation of a code of masculinity that has cultural impact and has even become a mythology. The famous catchphrase “grace under pressure,” for example, still has presence in sports writing, even if the journalist is unaware of its source. Male fiction writers, including authors of sports fiction, at least through the 1970s, invoke Hemingway’s code hero. Significantly, Hemingway’s representation of women responds to his representation of masculinity and itself is a much debated/discussed issue. Because he writes in the genre of roman à clef, his spousal relationships come to bear overtly on his fictional representations of women. But his relationship with his mother, Grace, has a particular influence on his marriages, his relationships with other women, his comments about women in his correspondence, including women writers, and his female characters. In our class, we shall examine all of the above as well as discuss how in general male writers represent females in their fiction and how the Male/Master Narrative(s) and discourse have disabled women insofar as knowing and understanding their own bodies and natures.
Dr. Cedric Tolliver
This course introduces students to prose fiction in the African American literary tradition through the study of four novels: Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition; Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God; James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain; and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. The study of these novels will allow students to develop close reading, critical thinking, and persuasive writing skills. Over the course of the semester, students will acquire at least rudimentary research skills in order to undertake a self-directed literary-historical research project. In sum, this course is about learning to read literary texts, conduct research, and write essays.
Dr. Hosam Aboul-Ela
The most general goals of this course are to improve our ability to think critically and write clearly and to improve our understanding of the complicated relationship between history, politics, and economics on the one hand, and literature or culture on the other. This second question will be addressed through considering the history of colonialism, with its decisive role in the literatures of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. We will examine colonialism primarily through the study of the novel as a literary genre in the world. Through the three distinct units of the course, we will examine the recurring deep structure of histories in the various regions that were colonized by Europe and consider how history affected culture, especially literary culture, in these areas. The course will also ask what relationship these postcolonial literatures have with their respective pre-colonial literary traditions, how postcolonial literary form compares and contrasts with European literatures, and how gender is constructed in a postcolonial context.
Dr. Auritro Majumder
TuTh 4:00 – 5:30
This course will introduce students to literature from the 1950s to the present, emerging from former colonial spaces like India, the Caribbean, and Africa, as well as their diaspora. Writers include Salman Rushdie, Jamaica Kincaid, Neel Mukherjee, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Micere Mugo. It will be relevant to those interested in modern, 20th and 21st century literatures, and the (aftermath of) British Empire. This will be a reading and discussion-based class; writing requirements include an in-class midterm exam and three essays – an 800 word close reading, a 1200-1500 word short paper, and a 2000 word final essay. We will focus on what is meant by the often-seen phrase “postcolonial literature,” and discuss how literary genres such as novel, drama, and poetry function in global and non-Western contexts. Conversely, how do we, as readers in “America,” fit into these conversations?
Dr. James Zebroski
This course examines key gay and lesbian texts from the Stonewall Riots in 1969 to the present. These texts are unauthorized writing in that they are not all literature and they rarely are part of the college English canon.
Applying Terry Eagleton’s critique of the concept of literature in his book Literary Theory, we shall view literature as ideology, that is, writing that either supports ruling class values or supports the values of oppressed communities.
The texts include a variety of writing-- bar rags, articles in underground newspapers and magazines, manifesto writing, biographies, autobiographies, essays, creative nonfiction, book reviews, apologies and confessions, documentary writing, film scripts, even pornography. We will track out the emergence of the concept of gay and lesbian authorship from this complex and varied set of writing practices. The idea of great literature will be critiqued and this course will focus on pop culture and popular writing. I see these materials through a modified new historicist method similar to that described by Stephen Greenblatt in “The Circulation of Social Energy.” This theory eschews the concept of genius and greatness. This is, then, not your typical “literature” course.
We begin with the Movement of the late 1960s and the social conflict (and violence) of that time and track the making of gay and lesbian “literature” as one key product of the Counterculture. By studying gay and lesbian culture from 1969 to the present, this course hopes to ground the reading of popular literature formed during this period in a deeper historical and cultural context. To understand pop culture, one must understand the historical situation from which it comes.
The course assumes that gay and lesbian ‘literature’ was collectively formed in a struggle against straight and other dominant communities. The communities and social formations come first. Then gay and lesbian authorship was made through the work and struggle –and death-- of many people over the last forty years. In this course, we shall be less concerned with individual elitist authors, than with the social construction of popular authorship.
I am thinking these will be our primary texts, but there will no doubt be some changes by the time class begins. VERY IMPORTANT: Come to class first to get information about textbooks. Do not go to the bookstore.
Dr. Kavita Singh
It may call to mind beaches, reggae, and voodoo, but the Caribbean is also a nexus of rich literary production. In this course, we will explore how colonization and anticolonial resistance has demanded innovations in form and language for the Caribbean writer; how creativity has emerged despite a history of enslavement, racialized repression, and alienation; how intersecting diasporas impact the local, making these various national traditions also inherently global. Throughout, we will ask how gender and sexuality are alternately suppressed and voiced through these broader themes, revealing how both violence and imagination coincide in this distinctive literary tradition.
Authors we study may include V.S. Naipaul, Aime Cesaire, Derek Walcott, Maryse Condé, Mayra Santos-Febres, and Jamaica Kincaid, among others.
Modern Indian Writing in English
Requirement: Any British Literature OR Global Literature
Dr. Auritro Majumder
TuTh 1:00 – 2:30
In recent years, Indian English writing, represented by the likes of Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, and others, has become widely popular in the West, with Indian authors frequently winning major international literary awards and constantly featuring on US university literature syllabi (like this one). This course offers a selection of the most prominent authors from India, both in the recent past, and earlier moments of the 20th century. We will discuss some of the most prominent themes of Indian literature, such as nationalism, globalization, and diaspora. This will be a reading and discussion-based class; writing requirements include an in-class midterm exam and three essays – an 800 word close reading, a 1200-1500 word short paper, and a 2000 word final essay.
Tales of Two Cities
Requirement: Any Advanced ENGL course
Dr. Hildegard Glass
Dr. Robert Zaretsky
This course traces the dynamic between Paris and Berlin from 1848 to the present through literature, art, architecture and film. We shall examine the ways in which these capital cities were refashioned by their rulers, and how these renovations were reflected in the literature and art of the time. We will investigate the impact of the immense social and cultural changes brought on by industrialization and urbanization on intellectual currents and will address general issues regarding the emergence of the modern mass society. The class consists of lectures, visual presentations and class discussion. Readings include novels by Balzac, Rilke, Zola, and Keun and writings by Scheivelbusch, Benjamin, Heine, Engels, Baudelaire, Poe, Hugo, Kracauer, Simmel, Le Corbusier, and Döblin.
Note: Taught in English and cannot apply toward any foreign language requirement or as credit toward a major or minor in French. Cultural, historical, and literary impact of urbanization in nineteenth and twentieth century France and Germany.
Folklore and the Literature of Scotland, England, and Ireland since 1600
Requirement: British Literature before 1798 OR Category 6
This class explores the “discovery of the folk” that inspired the literature of Early Modern Britain and Ireland; the artist collectors and revisers of oral traditions, such as Robert Burns, Lady Gregory, Andrew Lang, Walter Scott, Lady Wilde, and William Butler Yeats; the academic compilers, including as Francis James Child and Moses Gaster, and the relationship between their work and the shaping of modern and contemporary literary and cultural studies; the evolutionary anthropologists, including E.B. Tylor and James G. Frazer—and their influence of such figures as T.S. Eliot, Robert Graves, and Jessie Weston; and the professional folklorists—including Alan Bruford, James Delargy, Donald Archie Macdonald, and Sean O’ Sullivan—and their influence on the arts and culture of Scotland, England, and Ireland; and the folktales, festive acts, and folksongs themselves, viewed both as reflections of community culture and as artistic expressions.
Students taking the seminar for literature credit will conduct a term-long project and write a term paper on folkloric and other cultural dimensions of a literary author and his/her works. Students taking the course for elective or other credit may take on the same assignment OR explore folk artistry exclusively in relationship to the oral and traditional communities that created and shared it.
Requirements: One term-long research project, one term paper on one or more of the topics of the seminar as described above; two exams.
Requirement: Category 6
Dr. Lauren Zentz
Early theories of language learning and language acquisition regularly assumed that language learners received "ideal" input from expert speakers and reproduced this input as well as they could until they reached that ideal version of their language. Early language socialization studies instead came to understand children’s language learning as sets of give and take processes wherein children are active participants in their environments, engaging with the languages and cultures they are born into and actively negotiating their own socialization into these sets of practices. As the field of language socialization has developed, scholars have come to more broadly define language socialization as the give and take processes that occur when children learn language, when adults learn new languages, and when all people enter into new discourse communities. In this course we will explore the entire range of what language socialization is and means, in the multiple contexts in which it happens.
Enlightenment Stories (Cross listed with WCL 3397 Section 23350)
Requirement: Any Advanced ENGL course
Dr. Robert Zaretsky
This course focuses on the 18th century conflict in Western thought between faith and reason—a conflict that continues to our own day. We will not only consider various interpretations of the texts but the many interpretations of the historical context in which they were written: i.e., the Enlightenment. Among the figures we will read are Montesquieu (Persian Letters), Voltaire (Philosophical Letters, Candide), Rousseau (“Confession of a Savoyard Vicar”), Diderot (Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville, Letter on the Blind), and David Hume (Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion). There will also be selections from historians of the Enlightenment (Robert Darnton, François Furet, Dena Goodman, and Peter Gay). There will be a great deal of reading, in short, but also a good deal of exciting discussion: these were extraordinary figures engaged in extraordinary discussions about the world and our place in it.
W 1:00-2:30 – Hybrid Course
This is a fast-paced survey course that covers British, Irish and American poetry from the latter part of the nineteenth-century to the present day. We shall ask what the difference is between Modern, Post-Modern and Contemporary verse. We will look at how poets themselves define their work, especially the way in which poets distinguish themselves from the poetics of previous generations through the founding of movements and the creation of manifestos. Are poetic manifestos liberating or limiting? We will start with a consideration of immediately pre-modernist and Modernist verse and the Imagist movement (in particular the pronouncements of Ezra Pound) and the doctrine of impersonality espoused by T. S. Eliot. We will then consider the manner in which post-modern poets on both sides of the Atlantic sought to “Make It New” in the shadow of Modernism. This will include readings of the Black Mountain poets; a consideration of “The Movement” in the United Kingdom; and a discussion of the works of various “Beat” and “Confessional” poets. We will then turn to more recent developments, such the as L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry movement, Neoformalism, postcolonial poetry and the poetry of the AIDS epidemic.
This is a fiction workshop for creative writing majors. You are required to write two new and original short stories, provide written comments on your peers’ stories, and complete other assignments. The 3-unit class meets once a week and any absence will seriously damage one’s grade. Prerequisites for the workshop include: 3329—Intro to Creative Writing, Fiction and Poetry; 3330—Intro to Creative Writing Fiction; and (ideally) 4355—Fiction Forms.
Analysis and writing of short stories, including crafting the story; traditional and contemporary examples; and short story as particular narrative genre. May be repeated once for credit.
Advanced analysis and writing of collections of short stories or more extended narratives. Focus on larger units of fiction: either a collection of short stories or a novel or novella.
Advanced analysis and writing collections of poetry. Focus on crafting and organizing collection of poems.
As stated in the course catalog, this course focuses on the analysis and writing of fictional narrative with focus on craft (including characters, dialogue, plot, setting, and point of view). In this section we will do a wide variety of reading, discussion of that reading, and focused exercises, ultimately working toward writing complete stories.
Poetic forms are cultural propositions meant to bridge the gap between imaginative ideals and the material means available to speakers of language against a backdrop of possibility. This course looks to Robert Pinsky’s "The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide" for a remarkably sensitive walking tour of English-language prosody, as well as to modern developments of art and writing in translation that pushed “against the boundaries.” The goals of this course are manifold: 1) to explore the varieties of poetic forms in diverse global contexts that begin at the onset of the twentieth century; 2) to become conversant with a range of poetry-making materials and strategies; 3) to submit writings for class discussions that link present-day practice in poetry to a range of antecedents; 4) to establish a classroom setting for the discussion of work by class participants: a space for expansive critical inquiry of the kind poetry enables.
W. Lawrence Hogue
This is a general, upper-division reading course in the literatures of America’s four major racial/ethnic groups: Asian Americans, American Indians, African Americans, and Latinos/Latinas, with acknowledgment of an emerging Muslim community. The current renaissance in these four (or five) literatures is an exciting phenomenon, which is engaging and re-writing America. The course will focus on fiction and will examine the various trends and diverse voices within the literatures of the four groups. It will take a historical and developmental approach to each literature, beginning with the early part of the twentieth century and focusing on the diverse national groups within each and how that diversity impacts the production of the four literatures. As four of America’s major minority literatures, two immigrant literatures and two indigenous literatures, the course is particularly interested in examining how these differences are re-inscribed in the literatures. The American Indian readings will be taken from James Welch’s Winter In The Blood, Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, Gerald Vizenor’s Shrouds of White Earth, and Sherman Alexie’s Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories. The Asian American readings will be taken from John Okada’s No-No Boy, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, and Andrew X Pham’s Catfish and Mandala. The African American readings will be taken from Paule Marshall’s Praisesong For the Widow, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Edward P. Jones’s The Lost City, Ishmael Reed’s Flight To Canada, and William Henry Lewis’s I Got Somebody in Staunton. The Latino/a readings will be taken from Dagoberto Gilb’s The Magic of Blood, Junot Diaz’s Drown, Julia Alverez’s How The Garcia Girls Lost their Accents. The Muslim text will be taken from mohja kahf’s the girl in the tangerine scarf or Randa Jarrar’s A Map of Home: A Novel. Student is required to take a mid-term exam and a final exam and write a short paper.
This is a research-based course for people seeking knowledge and experience to help understand and address cultural, medical, and social problems affecting Haitians. Students who participate in this course may also choose to participate in a service visit to Haiti following the spring 2016 semester. [The service visit is optional and student self-financed (though grants may be available to help with the costs); it is possible that the trip may not be able to accommodate all of the students who are interested.]
Students will learn about Haitian culture through personal contact with Haitians in the Houston area, through shared experiences of faculty and students who have been involved in earlier visits, and through a term-long research project dedicated to a particular aspect of Haitian culture.
In the spring of 2014 the University of Houston conducted its first course and service trip to Haiti. The trip was defined mainly in terms of addressing medical needs, but the students soon learned that broader approaches to sustainability—addressing the needs for water, shelter, agriculture, and employment, among others—would be necessary to create a healthy environment for many Haitians. Among the topics covered in the first Haiti course and trip was the project, Sivivan pou Sivivan: Memwa Ayisyen (Survivor to Survivor: Haitian Memory), in which survivors of the 2010 Port au Prince earthquake interviewed fellow survivors. In all of this work, it became clear to the students that sustainable solutions can be found only through a deeper knowledge of Haitian people and Haitian culture.
As a result of the first trip, the University of Houston entered an official partnership with the Family Memorial School of Nursing and Technology in Delmas, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and on the students formed a campus organization, Friends of Haiti. The students were heavily involved in designing the second Haiti trip. They conducted needs assessments, strategized more effective procedures for conducting medical clinics, worked on ways of communicating with Haitians about the psychological effects of trauma, among other things.
The spring 2016 course will expand upon earlier work. Much of the work will be focused ways of making the community of Lilavois (in the Port au Prince area) a sustainable community. Students with strong skills in French or (even better) Kreyol may wish to participate in the Sivivan pou Sivivan project.
Utilizing works of science-fiction, horror, magical realism, and historical re-imaginings, this course will examine medical issues through a variety of “skewed” literary lenses: biting satire, cautionary tales, storylines steeped in metaphor/allegory, and nightmarish (and/or humorous!) renderings of the future (or distant past!) Yet we will always ask: how might such “strange” depictions still reveal deeper, more surprising truths concerning our own contemporary medical landscape? Students will also draw from their own experiences and backgrounds to discover and interrogate the many ways these “unusual” texts – novels, short stories, films, and at least one graphic novel/comic – both reflect and challenge current understandings of medicine and illness today.
Supervised work experience in professions related to the English major. May be repeated once for credit.
The Short Story
According to Frank O’Connor, “the short story, like the novel, is a modern art form,” a form that excels in capturing the “lonely voice” of the marginal, the mocked, the downtrodden. The class will lay the foundation for a critical understanding of this vital literary genre by studying the work of one of its early masters, Anton Chekhov. Critic David Mikics and short story writer Robert Cremins will then explore the riches of the Yiddish and Irish short story traditions. Among the writers under discussion will be I.L. Peretz, Sholem Aleichem, I.B. Singer, James Joyce, Mary Lavin, and Frank O’Connor himself. These writers will introduce you to village madmen, witches, fanatics, paralytics, and down-at-heel dreamers. By putting these “lonely voices” into conversation, the course will emphasize the form’s universal appeal.
Students’ work will culminate in a critical essay of their own on a writer of their choice. They will also write periodic response papers to the stories we read in class, as well as a series of exercises in the critical methods (description, evaluation, and analysis).
Sexuality and Culture
Sexuality as a framing device will be the focus of the course. The students will be reading foundational texts on Queer Theory as well as texts focused on sexuality. They will develop their own questions, be introduced to sexuality studies in other fields, explore texts on their own, and produce a research paper on a text.
Sexuality and its implications to society and culture represent an important field of knowledge. This course begins with recognizable foundational texts that begin much of the discussion of sexuality for Continental Western thought. We will explore some of the thinkers in the field of sexuality and follow with cultural texts that explore the representation of sexuality. This will include novels, films, and mass cultural texts.
By studying one of the major frames that has recently organized cultural production, the student will formulate a question about sexuality and explore it in texts they will choose on their own.
We will begin with a seminar format, introducing theoretical texts as well as literary and cultural texts. Following this introduction, students will begin to develop their research topics by exploring possible other texts not included in the syllabus.
Writing Requirements and other Assignments: Initial short papers (approximately 2-3 pages) explicating some of the theory on sexuality from Freud, Foucault, and Butler, followed by a final research paper applying the theory to a research topic and text (approximately 10-15 pages).
Requirement: Any Advanced ENGL course
From red light cameras and airport security to drones, biometrics, Edward Snowden and the NSA, our world is steeped in surveillance. What is surveillance and what does it do to those it monitors and whom it serves? How is it implemented or experienced in different places throughout the globe? Why is surveillance so ubiquitous in contemporary culture, and what can we predict about future possibilities for liberty, privacy, and unrestricted mobility? This upper-level course uses literature, film, critical and theoretical texts to explore one of today’s most pressing political and social topics. Texts and movies may include George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four; Aldous Huxley, Brave New World; Bladerunner and citizenfour. Students will be expected to actively participate in class discussion and should have experience in an upper-level literature, history, or political theory course.