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Fall 2019

  1. Acting Workshop

    Taught by a working professional actor/director, this introduction to acting will lead the beginning student through the artistic process involved in acting for the stage and other media. Through exercises, study of technique, scene work and improvisation, the student will work to develop natural abilities and will become familiar with the working language and tools of the modern actor. Emphasis in this class will be on the physical self, mental preparation, the imagination, and discipline. Written work will include keeping a journal and writing a character analysis. Perfect attendance in this course is vital and mandatory.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  2. Beginning Fiction Writing Workshop

    While the writing of fiction involves only the writer and the page, the group workshop affords the writer the opportunity to explore, develop and refine his or her work in a small community focused on a single goal. This environment of craft and creativity is particularly critical to the beginning writer. As with any craft, revision is the key to effective storytelling. The revision process will be emphasized. Short fiction by leading writers will be read and discussed; elements of craft will be explored; students will learn to deliver criticism in a supportive, constructive way; but learning by doing will comprise the majority of the class. Writing will begin in the first class, leading to small, peer-driven workshop groups and culminating in a full class workshop at semester's end. Students will produce three stories throughout the semester, all of which will be workshopped and revised. The student's engagement in the course, participation and attendance, will drive the final grades.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  3. Beginning Poetry Writing Workshop

    The Beginning Poetry Workshop is an elective course introducing students to the art of poetry writing. The course sequentially addresses major commitments of poetry including form/content, sound, line, voice, image, language(s), tradition/convention, experiment, audience, revision, performance, collection, publication, and distribution. Workshop is the heart of the course, animating the practice, discourse, critique, audience, community, and mentorship vital to poets. Every class will also include close reading, discussion of assigned texts, and writing. We will attend public readings, curate and participate in community readings, and welcome poets to our class, when possible. Work can be developed in a range of styles, traditions, and languages. You will leave this class with a collection of workshopped and revised poems, which you will design, self-publish, and distribute in print and/or digital form.

    The Beginning Poetry Workshop is a prerequisite for the LAS-E421 Advanced Poetry Workshop in the Spring.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  4. Brown Dual-degree Course

  5. Brown University Course

  6. Chinese Cinema: Questions Of Nationalism, Realism, and Film Studies

    This course will explore Chinese Cinema as a national cinema and as a transnational cinema in both its popular and classic forms; however, the term 'Chinese' has been and is still a debated term among the very populations that lay claim to it, i.e., mainland Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Chinese diaspora, the People's Republic. These debates make the study of Chinese film a study of how to categorize or know film itself. In other words, exploring Chinese film in a Western critical arena within the hegemony of Western film studies begs theoretical questions about the very dominant and commonplace terms and perspectives used to examine all film in the 21st century, i.e, What are these films showing us? What are we looking for? What do we see? Investigating these theoretical quandaries will also be a part of this course. We will survey representative films produced before 1949, during the shift from of the cultural capital from Yan'an to Shanghai 1950-1964, during the Cultural Revolution (1964-1986), and during its emergence as the premier transnational cinema (late-1980s to 2000s). We will also consider the particular film genres and film schools of Chinese cinema. Students will be responsible for reading critical and theoretical essays, viewing all required films, writing analytical papers on assigned topics, and presenting one oral sequence analysis.

  7. Cinema and New Media

    Digital technologies have shaped contemporary media and culture in profound ways, including how we make, experience, and talk about art, design, commerce, and culture, bodies, identities, and communities, privacy, security, and war, time, space, and geography, and even the politics of meaning and "truth" themselves. In this course, we will look specifically to late 20th and early 21st century cinema -- ostensibly now an "old" medium -- to help us understand (and sometimes productively misunderstand) new media. What is new media and what can cinema specifically tell us about it? What has become of cinema, both culturally and structurally, under the digital? How has cinema historically represented new or emergent media technologies? How have forms of vision and perception that have emerged or intensified alongside new media -- satellites, drones, surveillance, smart phones, etc. -- troubled cinema on formal, stylistic, and epistemological levels? What kinds of new or transformative potential has new media unearthed for future cinemas? Through readings of contemporary media studies scholarship, weekly film screenings, and student presentations, we will take up these and related questions.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  8. Collaborative Study

    A Collaborative Study Project (CSP) allows two students to work collaboratively to complete a faculty supervised project of independent study.

    Usually, a CSP is supervised by two faculty members, but with approval it may be supervised by one faculty member. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses, though it is not a substitute for a course if that course is regularly offered.

  9. Contemporary Critical Theory

    This course will introduce students to the vast, variegated field of critical theory. We will study the concepts, questions, and debates that have been central to understandings of modern culture. In order to do so, we will explore key contributions in psychoanalysis, semiotics, structuralism and post-structuralism, Marxism and ideology critique, feminist and queer theory, critical race theory and postcolonial studies. As we explore this wide range of approaches, we will interrogate how thinkers have imagined and reimagined terms like "art," "reading," "subjectivity," "modern," "discipline," "culture," "power," "technology," "sovereignty" and "nature," among others. And as we build this critical lexicon, we will examine the social institutions and intellectual formations that shape each debate. What kinds of knowledge does critical theory produce, and what are their blindspots? What forms of personhood and community do these theories outline, and in whose interests? What kinds of insights become visible when we examine conflicting theories together? Thinkers include Adorno, Agamben, Althusser, Barthes, Benjamin, Benveniste, Bhabha, Butler, Chow, Derrida, Fanon, Foucault, Freud, Gramsci, Hall, Haraway, Irigaray, Jameson, Lacan, Latour, Levi-Strauss, Lukacs, Marx, Ranciere, Said, Saussure, Spivak, Terranova, Willliams, and others.

  10. First-year Literature Seminar

    An introduction to literary study that helps students develop the skills necessary for college-level reading, writing, research and critical thinking. Through exposure to a variety of literary forms and genres, historical periods and critical approaches, students are taught how to read closely, argue effectively and develop a strong writing voice. The course is reading and writing intensive and organized around weekly assignments.

    Required for graduation for all undergraduates, including transfers. There are no waivers for LAS-E101 except for transfer students who have taken an equivalent college course.

    For the Fall semester, freshmen are pre-registered into this course.

    Please contact the department concerning any registration questions.

  11. Gender and The Fairytale

    We are all familiar with the moral of the story that comes at the end of a fairy tale. Charles Perrault's "Little Red Riding Hood" cautions unmarried young ladies not to let "wolves" into their beds, while the Grimm's "Little Red Cap" chastises girls for not listening closely to their mothers. Traditional versions of these tales are conduct manuals, cautionary tales, and homemaking primers for young girls, but they also address the underlying uncertainties associated with growing up and entering adulthood. Over the years, the fairy tale has been retold or reimagined to reflect shifting gender norms, and changing cultural anxieties around the transition to adulthood. Most recently, adaptations on the large and small screens have asked us to consider the motivations of the fairy tale's most notorious female villains in the context of traditional gender roles such as wife and mother. This course will examine tellings and retellings of four classic fairy tales: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard. We will read and watch classic versions, contemporary retellings, and film and television adaptations of these texts that both challenge and reinforce ideas of gender normativity, contextualized by readings in feminist theory, gender studies, and psychoanalytic theory. We will also put these western tales in conversation with other similar literary texts and folk tales from around the world, and yes, we will talk about Disney.

    Open to sophomores and above.

  12. Global Literary Modernisms

    In the last decades, modernist studies has moved far beyond its initial focus on a group of male Anglo-American High Modernists writing between 1890 and 1940. What the field now refers to as modernisms encompass popular and elite forms alike, some emphasizing stylistic form and others not, authored by men and women of diverse racial and national identities, class backgrounds, and political affiliations. Like modernity, which modernism is generally seen to respond to, modernism viewed on a global scale has appeared unevenly and irregularly across time and geographic space and thus defies periodization. This course will survey global literary modernisms from a comparative perspective, attending to how the notions of the world and the modern are engaged in texts by such authors as Charles Baudelaire (France), Joseph Conrad (England), Bertolt Brecht (Germany), Anna Akhmatova (Russia), Constantine Cavafy (Greece), Rabindranath Tagore (India), Jean Rhys (Dominican Rep.), Nella Larsen (U.S.), Jorge Luiz Borges (Argentina), Aimé Cesaré (Martinique), Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar (Turkey), Eileen Chang (China), and others.

  13. Haiti: New World, Free World: History, Art Revolution, and Politics

    Schedule Information for 2019FA: Sayles Hall 300 at 4:00PM - 6:30PM on Thursday.

    This course examines the dual Haitian Revolution as a pivotal moment in the making of the modern world. It reviews the various historical interpretations of Haitian events, examines how these events contribute to or troubles our ideas about modern politics and notions of freedom as well as our conceptions of revolution. Course engages in these issues by working through three archives: Vodou Religion; The Art of the Revolution and the conventional historiography about the revolution, and will be tied to a joint Brown/RISD exhibition on Haitian Art.

    Open to juniors and above.

    This course is in collaboration with Brown University. Students will meet at Brown.

  14. It Came From Outer Space: Aliens In Science Fiction

    There are few things that represent the non-human better than the alien. Not of this world, often not even humanoid, the alien serves as the ultimate Other-something that does not belong, something that is different in a fundamental way, something that is often unknowable, something completely and utterly foreign. Gary Westfahl writes that "aliens are both metaphors and real possibilities" (16). As fundamentally non-human, though sometimes humanoid, the alien acts as a mirror to humanity, showing us the best, though more often, the worst of our own impulses. Aliens can be used to look inward, to probe the nature of humanity and thereby illustrate and comment upon human impulses, morals, and values. However, the ubiquity of aliens across media demonstrate that "humans also crave companionship in a vast, cold universe and aliens may represent hopeful, compensatory images of the strange friends we have been unable to find" (Westfahl 16). Symbolically, this plays out in a number of ways. The alien might represent an Other based on gender, sexuality, or race. The alien might be friendly, here to help mankind, opportunistic, here to plunder our natural resources, or downright evil, bent on eating, incubating in, or wiping out our civilization. This class will examine a number of Science Fiction works that feature aliens, from Octavia Butler, H.G. Wells, and C.J. Cherryh, to films by Ridley Scott, Steven Speilberg, and Neill Blomkamp. We will also draw on a number of theoretical authors, from Barbara Creed and Julia Kristeva, to Gary Westfahl and Darko Suvin.

  15. Journalism Workshop

    Journalistic writing is an act of seeing out into the world of observable fact. In this course, the student will be introduced to the craft of journalism, including feature articles, interviews, reporting on events, reviews and editorials. Emphasis will be placed on the exploration of our community and the discipline of presenting the results of our quest before the public.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  16. LAS Independent Study

    The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses.

    Permission of Instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required.

    Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.

  17. Las: Outgoing Exchange Pgm

    This course registers an outgoing exchange student into a pre-approved LAS course which is taken at the exchange school. Successful completion of the course will result in a "T" grade once receipt of the official transcript from the partner school has arrived at Registrar's Office.

  18. Let's Have A Kiki: Stories Of Queer Bars and Drag Balls

    Kiki (n): A party including good music and good friends, held for the express purpose of calming nerves, reducing anxiety and stress and generally fighting ennui. May involve locked doors, tea and salacious gossip. This course is based on the premise that LGBT history is told through conversations about and descriptions of spaces. We will use novels, stories, poems, films, and theory to investigate how queer spaces are required to serve multiple often contradictory functions-queer bars are for drinking but also seeking healthcare resources; queer neighborhoods provide a much-needed sense of belonging while also fomenting gossip, judgmental cliques, and gentrification. The definition of the word "kiki" implies that these contradictions speak to a culturally acquired experience of anxiety and nervousness. Guiding our exploration of this anxiety will be queer theory and gender studies addressing the tension between sexual acts and identity, the closet, homophobia and transphobia, intersectionality, and queer of color critique.

    Open to sophomores and above.

  19. Literary Art: Blake and Hogarth

    This class can be taken for credit in either LAS or THAD. William Hogarth (1697-1764) was a practical-minded painter and engraver who sought artistic independence from aristocratic patronage and cultural respect for printmaking as an art. His greatest innovation was a form of narrative painting and printmaking, marketed to the public at large, in which he presented original stories, essentially visual novels, that challenged the groups that had until then controlled the content and distribution of art, that is, the religious and political establishments. William Blake (1757-1827) was a profoundly impractical painter, poet and engraver who challenged church, state, commerce, and everything else, including time and space, illustrating his own stories and visions as well as a very large proportion of past literary works in ways that reveal their visionary potential. We will study an array of Hogarth's serial and independent works, as well as several of Blake's "illuminated books," literary and biblical illustrations, and un-illustrated poems. Students will do independent research and write short papers for all class meetings.

    Also offered as THAD-C221; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  20. Magic In Modern Culture

    Stage magic, perhaps because it must conceal any record of its craft, is often neglected among the performing arts. Yet it exerts a powerful hold on our imaginations, and our language is peppered by its terms (prestige, enchanting, smoke and mirrors, pulling a rabbit out of a hat, etc). So what exactly is the allure of magic? What are its cultural functions? And what, in turn, can magic reveal about the fears or wishes of its audience? Through the lens of literature, anthropology, cultural and performance studies, this course will examine the history of magic in the modern world and its place in contemporary culture. We will consider the development of magic as an art form over the course of the 19th century, the dynamics of a magic trick, the bodily and cultural politics of magic performance, and the surprising prevalence of magic in contemporary literature, film, and commerce. Texts will include fiction by Steven Millhauser and Tim O'Brien, films by Orson Welles and Christopher Nolan, and a range of historical, theoretical, and archival materials. Students will complete several shorter essays and a longer researched paper. (No skill in prestidigitation required!)

  21. Medieval To Eighteenth-century British Literature

    This discussion-based course surveys major and minor works of British literature, mostly poetry, from the late Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century, with emphasis on the way these works relate to broad cultural phenomena in other areas, including philosophy, theology, and visual arts. Regular homework emphasizes independent critical and investigative reading of complex texts and images; formal writing assignments develop your ability to combine your own insights with those gained from casual and scholarly research, open-book midterm and final exams allow you to demonstrate your ability to analyze unfamiliar works and place them in context with those we have studied. Readings include (mostly short) works by Chaucer (3 Canterbury Tales), Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare (Sonnets andThe Tempest ), Donne, Marvell, Herbert, Herrick, Milton, Bunyan, Butler, Behn, Rochester, Locke, Dryden, Pope, Hogarth, Gray, Boswell and Johnson.

  22. Paleography: Western Handwritten Letterforms

    This Liberal Arts Elective is a hands-on investigation of the development of Latin handwritten letters from about 200 BCE to about 1500 CE, analyzing scripts and script families from Roman cursive and monumental letters to the Renaissance letters that were the basis of most modern fonts. The emphasis of the course is on dynamic analysis of letters as written rather than static forms, though we will also explore the implications of the Platonic and later organic/evolutionary models that are the traditional means for understanding the history of letterforms. Students will master a basic Italic hand; study and write versions of a dozen or more historical scripts originally executed with styli, brushes, and reed, quill, and metal pens; make pens from river reeds and other materials (and write with them); and investigate the properties of papyrus, wood, vellum, and paper as writing surfaces. The class will visit at least one museum, spend extensive time outside of class practicing letters, and write two papers involving the historical contexts, paleographic characteristics, and calligraphic/graphic procedures for particular handwritten manuscripts. Although all the scripts studied were originally written right-handed, left-handed students have excelled in the course.

  23. Picture and Word

    A workshop-style course which combines English with a studio project for students with an interest in children's picture books. Students will learn to develop storytelling skills (imagination, language, plot, character, and voice) and illustration techniques (characterization, setting, page, layout) by studying picture books and completing writing and illustration assignments. For their final projects, students will be expected to produce an original text, sketch dummy, and two to four finished pieces of art. The class will also include an overview of publishing procedures and published writers/illustrators will be invited to share their experiences and critique students' work.

    Students must plan and register for both LAS-E416 and ILLUS-3612 and will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts credits.

  24. Postcolonial Literature I: Africa, The Caribbean and Latin America

    Postcolonial literature is the writing produced by people in or from regions that have escaped the yoke of colonialism. Of course, such a definition raises a number of questions, and during the semester we will grapple with the definition. Our reading will open with several theoretical discussions of postcoloniality, then we will continue with novels and poetry from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The spectre of slavery and its repercussions will reverberate in many of the readings. Through individual projects and a final paper that works with at least one of the theoretical texts and a novel or a book of poetry, students can begin to focus on the area in the field that specifically interests them. Writers may include Chinua Achebe, Isabel Allende, Michelle Cliff, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, George Lamming, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and Derek Walcott.

  25. Professional Internship

    The professional Internship provides valuable exposure to a professional setting, enabling students to better establish a career path and define practical aspirations. Internship proposals are carefully vetted to determine legitimacy and must meet the contact hour requirements listed in the RISD Course Announcement.

  26. Sem: Black Women Ruin Everything: Slaves, Aliens and Ghosts In Pursuit Of A Better World

    This seminar is grounded in two premises. The first is that the world is founded on anti-blackness and the second is that black feminist authors write with an awareness of this fact and the desire to imagine this world otherwise. Focusing on works of speculative fiction such as Octavia Butler's Dawn and Toni Morrison's Beloved, as well as less easily classifiable texts such as Toni Cade Bambara's The Salt Eaters and Phyllis Alesia Perry's Stigmata, this course considers how the use of non-realist elements in realist (protest fiction and neo-slave narratives) and non-realist (such as afro-futurism) genres serve as important means of both critiquing the gendered anti-blackness that affects black women's life chances and imagining a future not predicated on simply enrolling black being in the existing hierarchies of human being. Put otherwise, this course will investigate how black feminist writers have used speculative fiction and/or elements of speculative fiction to attempt to image not only their own freedom but also the freedom of all beings arranged within the social and political hierarchies built upon their backs.

  27. Sem: Women's Resistance Across The

    This seminar explores roles women have played in wars for independence and democracy across the Global South. As the Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo depicts in his iconic film, The Battle of Algiers (1966), some women fought alongside men carrying bombs in the fight for freedom from French imperialism in Algeria. However, more often, women have forged their own paths parallel to men enacting complex forms of resistance through art, mobilizing domesticity, and protest. Using women's participation in Algerian independence in the 1950s as our starting point, we will engage with women who resist the reductive fantasy of the bomb-carrying female freedom fighter throughout world. Figures under our investigative lens will include Assia Djebar who illustrates women playing new roles outside of the home in Algeria; women who led the peacemaking process in Liberia to bring Africa's first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to power; and Lina Ben Mhenni who used social media in Tunisia to show the world injustice taking place under a repressive regime in 2010. Alongside these memoirs, literary texts, historical documents, and films by and about women at war, we will develop a critical vocabulary of women at work reading theorists that include Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, Gayatri Spivak, and Judith Butler. Over the course of the semester, we will put these voices in conversation with one another in order to reconstruct alternative histories of resisting oppression in the Global South and beyond.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  28. Shakespeare

    The name Shakespeare conveys a set of assumptions about style and eloquence in the English language, the course of European history, the power of dramatic literature, the protocols of theatrical performance and of Renaissance/Early Modern Culture in general--not to mention incontrovertible truths about "the human condition." In this course, we will undertake a creatively critical examination of several plays in the context of 16th- and 17th-century political struggles, major ideological shifts, colonial expansion, literary movements, and the cultural place of the commercial theatre as a new and controversial space of representation that vigorously appropriated traditional narratives. Requirements for the course include regular short writing assignments, a modest research paper, a final examination, and attendance at a local theatrical production.

  29. Signifying Landscapes: Fiction and Film

    Landscapes function as apocalyptic, political, urban, imaginary, and nostalgic sites of great significance in fiction and film. Films like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Take Shelter, and Melancholia illustrate the environment's profound role in recent apocalyptic narratives. Cormac McCarthy's fiction in general, and the Coen Brothers' interpretation of No Country for Old Men in particular, place human violence in harsh, brutal, and ancient settings. Bodies of land are divided, raped, ruined, and transformed from gardens into wastelands of abandoned machinery and landmines--as in Salman Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown or Bahman Ghobadi's Turtles Can Fly. The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng, like Amy Waldman's The Submission, places a garden at the center of the novel and its meaning. Other titles which provide an illustration of the course material include Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior, Krakauer and Penn's Into the Wild, Dave Eggers' Zeitoun, Josh Fox's documentary Gasland, Wes Anderson's nostalgic landscape in Moonrise Kingdom, and imaginary places in films like After Life (Kore-eda Hirokazu), Micmacs (Jean-Pierre Jeunet), and Marwencol (Jeff Malmberg). Titles will change each semester. Weekly writing assignments in response to the reading and films are required.

  30. The Bible As Narrative Art

    An introduction to the literary dimensions of the Bible with an emphasis on the poetry of its narratives. The intent is to develop creative and interpretive skills and to trace some dominant Biblical themes. Required text: The Oxford Study Bible and comparative contemporary commentaries.

  31. Visualizing The Environment Through Comics and Graphic Literature

    In this course, we will discuss how comics and other forms of literary-visual art illuminate various environmental concepts. Environmental problems are caused not merely by technological expansion or political negligence. They also result from, and persist as, problems of representation. An environmental crisis is a cultural crisis. Beginning from this position, we will consider comics art as a unique medium for telling stories about how humans and other animals relate to their environments, focusing especially on the form's capacity for representing time, space, word, and image in sequence. To further enrich our understanding of the cultural values and concepts that undergird the environmental decisions individuals, communities, and institutions make every day, we will examine how environmental problems intersect with issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability. As astute environmental critics, we will dismantle the experience of reading comics, and the craft of making them, through frequent in-class discussions, creative projects, and a series of analytical assignments in both written and comics form. These assignments will help us come to understand comics art as a medium for both creative and critical invention. Throughout the semester, we will read comics in various formats and genres, including (but not limited to) graphic novels, comic strips, serialized comic books, zines, web comics, illustrated journals, manga, memoir, biography, fiction, and journalism.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  32. With A Pen Of Light

    Hollywood films: how are they "written" by directors, performers, scriptcrafters, cameramen and producers? We will view a selection of films featuring directors who stamped Hollywood and us with their visions, often from other cultures. We will also study the direction Hollywood took in interpreting the Depression, War, and Recovery, and the direction stars, writers and designers chose in defining themselves. This is a course in criticism, history and articulate appreciation.

  33. Writing The Climate Crisis: Justice, Identity, and Environment In American Literature

    In this course we will discover how struggles of identity and justice interact with representations of the environment in the literatures of Africana, Chicano/a, Asian, and Native American authors. We will investigate and appraise how these authors portray nature as theme, plot, character, and setting to accomplish the environmental aims of their texts.

    Sophomore and above

Wintersession 2020

  1. Colorizing Film/embodying Cinema: Tradition Of Black Women Filmmakers In The Usa: 1970 Ff

    "In every generation and in every intellectual sphere and in every political moment, there have been African American women who have articulated the need to think and talk about race through a lens that looks at gender, or think and talk about feminism through a lens that looks at race. So this is in continuity with that." --Kimberlé Crenshaw "I really didn't let gender and race issues bother me. I knew I would have trouble with both. I was determined to do what I was going to do at any cost. I kept plugging away. Whatever I had to do, I did it." --Madeline Anderson, from Reel Black Talk This course will be an intense and focused examination of Black Women's film-making in the USA beginning with the 1970's LA Rebellion/UCLA Rebellion of Black Filmmakers through contemporary work. The critical journey will include Black feminist & womanist political theories, Black Feminist manifestos, histories of black women filmmakers and traditional film theory & Black film aesthetic theories. We will consider Black women's documentary tradition, their relation to and gendered representation of African-American to African heritage; and intersectional POV of race, gender, sexuality, and class. We will analyze form, content and theoretical interventions in order to sketch, if not fill in, an artistic, cultural, and political practice that remains in the literal shadows of Hollywood and White film hegemony. You MUST be prepared to screen many films, read critical and theoretical essays, and write thoughtful, cogent papers that will help us center a space that is too often decentered.

  2. Film Investigations

    We explore both narrative and nonfiction films and videotapes. We write essays to establish critical standards. We produce personal film essays by raiding the family album of photos and movies. The course thus aims to combine the humanist perspective with a recognition of actual production. We draw our films from many sources. We draw our readings from a wide range of film journals and establish a shelf of reserve reading material in our library. These sources are incorporated into our discussions and reports. The course requires a class presentation about a film shown and a visual project in film or slides.

  3. Frankenstein In The Modern Imagination

    Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is often heralded as the first science fiction novel. A chilling tale of a scientist who creates life, the mythos of Frankenstein and his monster continues to fascinate modern audiences. This course will examine Shelley's Frankenstein and the subsequent works inspired by her tale. We will draw from a wide range of Frankenstein-inspired works, from the camp horror of "Herbert West-Reanimator," the comedy of Mel Brooks, and the time traveling of Frankenstein Unbound, to the overt social commentary of Frankenstein (2015), the fantasy recuperation of I, Frankenstein, and the prolific presence of the pop-cultural Frankenstein's monster. Using a wide range of theoretical works examining monsters and the monstrous, this class will attempt to explain and understand the timeless draw of Shelley's creation.

  4. Literature Between Habit and Addiction

    n depictions of addiction, literature imagines ecstatic pleasure, intense suffering, and spiritual revelation. In this course, students become familiar with the vocabulary and narrative forms associated with distinct strains of thought about addiction. The readings consist of fiction, film, and life writing from the early 19th Century to the 21st Century, and consider how models of addiction-moral, medical, and more-both develop chronologically and recur. Authors studied may include Thomas DeQuincey, George Eliot, Edgar Allan Poe, Jean Stafford, James Baldwin, Mary Gaitskill, Suzan-Lori Parks, Danny Boyle, and Augusten Burroughs. Students write a series of short essays as well as a longer final project that combines critical analysis and life writing.

  5. Major Developments In Queer Film, 1990-2018

    This course focuses on the intersectionalities of race and queer subjectivities in queer cinema. We will trace this development from the historical cinematic 1990s of New Queer Cinema (NQC), an era that encompasses an explosion of "gay film visibility," to an exploration of present day queer cinema and the ways in which queer representations and queer identities are portrayed. We will study the stylistic developments and controversies of queer film, examining major innovations and changes as compared to films from the NQC era. Such questions as what's at stake in films that contest and re-imagine new queer subjectivities will be addressed during the course.

  6. Performance: Theory & Practice

    This course will introduce students to theories and histories in performance art with an emphasis on relational aestheticism and performance art from mid-century to now. Students will be asked to write critically, engage with performance artists and collectives, and put into practice foundational lessons with a series of performance-based practicum assignments. Students will be encouraged to work across genres in their art-making, and step outside of their process towards new and inventive work. Opportunities to collaborate on a professional performance art piece may be possible.

  7. Phototextuality: Literatures Of The Embedded Image

    Photography and Literature are often seen as separate, yet kindred, disciplines, each working to depict, contest, alter, and reframe that which we think of as reality. This course will explore various ideas about the melding of photography and literature by looking at texts that work to create dialogue between the two mediums, as well as theoretical writings that offer ways of contemplating such fusions. We will study texts by writers/photographers such as: Walker Evans, James Agee, W.G. Sebald, Sigmund Freud, Roland Barthes, Teju Cole, John Berger, Sophie Calle, Paul Auster, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Lance Olsen. Students will write several short essays about the readings, as well as a longer project, which will combine photography and writing.

    Also offered as LAS-W508; Register in the course for which credit is desired.

  8. Punk Cinema

    While the punk-new wave musical revolution was brewing in the mid 1970s, underground filmmakers were also embracing the punk spirit of experimentation, a do-it-yourself ethos, and an uneasy, often defiant relationship with all things authoritative or mainstream. This course will trace and map the contours of punk cinema, from its roots in neorealism and the French New Wave, to its branches in the No Wave and Cinema of Transgression movements of the early 1980s. Time permitting, we?ll look forward to the post-punk era to consider how the legacy of punk informs later film movements such as Dogme 95. Directors we?ll encounter may include: Amos Poe, Alex Cox, Derek Jarman, Slava Tsukerman, Lars von Trier, and Penelope Spheeris. While not a prerequisite, some background in critical film theory will be beneficial in this course, as will a commitment to academic reading, writing, and lively discussion.

  9. Short Story Writing Workshop

    In this writing workshop, we will explore the short story form, working to put into words what we--as individual readers--hope to find in it. We will consider what makes a story a story, while acknowledging that it is often something ineffable, indefinable. We will read from a range of contemporary and classic writers and will also read essays on craft. A significant amount of class time will be devoted to peer workshops. At the end of the term, students will be expected to submit a portfolio comprised of reflections, writing exercises, and completed stories.

  10. The Fiction Of Colson Whitehead

    In 2016, Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad won the National Book Award and was selected for Oprah's Book Club-a pair of honors that bespeaks the critical recognition and popular appeal of his work. Since his debut novel, The Intuitionist (1999), the hallmark of Whitehead's fiction has been the way in which it bridges between "highbrow" and popular culture, from noir to advertising to zombies. In this course we will consider these collisions of literary form and generic fiction, and specifically how Whitehead uses them to confront deep-rooted narratives of progress, race, and enterprise in America. Readings will include several of Whitehead's novels - The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, Zone One, and The Underground Railroad - and a sampling of his essays, articles, and tweets. Students will produce several short written exercises and one final mixed-media or multi-media project that they develop over the duration of the course.

  11. Theater Production Workshop

    Professional actor/director Fred Sullivan (Trinity Repertory Company/Gamm Theatre/ Commonwealth Shakespeare resident artist and RISD Acting Workshop instructor) will guide a company of student actors, designers, stage managers through a workshop process of producing a live play for the stage, culminating in a two public performances of the production. Students in this course will be asked to: rehearse and perform assigned roles; accept assigned duties on graphic, projection and property/costume design, construction and stage management crews; commit to a flexible rehearsal schedule outside of class meetings; and pursue a guided study of the dramaturgical and production elements of the play or plays being produced. Under consideration for this Wintersession production is a selection of short plays by modern masters and original work. The structure of the selected play will be analyzed for its themes and historic context as well. The play will furthermore be examined for its unique performance techniques and production requirements. Sign up, put on some comfortable clothes and come to the first class ready to play.

  12. True Crime

    "Crime is terribly revealing," Agatha Christie wrote in her 1936 novel "The ABC Murders." In the genre known as "True Crime" - which, unlike Christie's novels, deals with real events -- there is a long and colorful history of examining crimes to see what, exactly, they reveal. This class is an introduction to this genre through classic texts (Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood", the Library of America's True Crime anthology), texts that challenge conventions (Rick Geary's graphic novel, "The Borden Tragedy"; Moises Kaufman's stage play, "The Laramie Project"), and texts that spill over in other media, including documentary film, television, radio, and photography. Over the course of the term, students will not only become familiar with most famous crimes in American history -- recognizable by names like Manson and "O.J." -- but they will also explore the role crime plays in the history of a state that some call "Rogue's Island." Most importantly, the course is an opportunity for students to wrestle with the questions that the best True Crime stories pose. What is a crime? What is justice? And why are we perennially drawn to these stories?

Spring 2020

  1. Advanced Fiction Writing Wkshp

    The advanced workshop assumes that students have some experience with writing fiction and are ready for an environment that will challenge them to hone, revise, and distill their craft. A writer begins inspired by dreams, language, a face in a crowd. But inspiration is only the beginning of a writer's work. In this course we'll study form, theme, voice, language, character, and plot. We'll also read and talk about stories by masters of the craft. The aim of the workshop is to help you discover what your stories want to be and fulfill the promise of your original vision.

    Prerequisite: LAS-E412: Beginning Fiction Writing Workshop or equivalent experience.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    Permission of Instructor required.

  2. Advanced Poetry Workshop

    The Advanced Poetry Workshop is an intensive project-based poetry workshop for students with previous workshop experience and a portfolio of revised work on which to build. The course centers on workshop: peer critique by students with previous practice in poetry writing, and the shared goal of completing a semester-long publication/performance project. Students are expected to have a strong commitment to active participation in contemporary poetry as readers, writers, curators, performers, and audience. Teaching and learning methodologies include close reading of exemplary texts, experimentation with forms, revision, online/print publication, and performance. Texts will include poetry collections published in 2019 and 2020, as selected by students and instructor. The workshop welcomes work in any language and from any tradition of poetry. To the greatest extent possible, the work should speak for itself. But mediation, translation, contextualization also play a vital role.

    Prerequisite: LAS-E411 Beginning Poetry Writing Workshop, or equivalent experience.

    Open to sophomore and above.

    Permission of Instructor required.

  3. Before and After "Man": Objects, Animals, Sex, and Race In Genres Of The Post-human

    This course explores the human as a temporally specific and, perhaps, obsolescing philosophical concept. Emerging most cogently in the European Enlightenment, humans materialize as the center of their own concerns, i.e. humanism, through a set of binary oppositions that include human/god, human/animal, human/savage, hu(man)/woman, human/machine, subject/object etc. Post-humanism, broadly conceived, seeks to mark, blur, upend, and/or abolish the distinction or relationship between the opposed terms of these binaries. This course begins by attempting to account for how the human/Man came to prominence during the economic, social and geopolitical conditions of the 17th and 18th century in order to understand the threads of thought that contemporary genres of Post-humanisms attempt to unravel: such as animal studies, object oriented ontology, AI studies, and feminist and black studies in the subject of "Man." The course then turns to these various subgenres in order to think through post-humanism's ethical, political, and social stakes in our contemporary moment.

  4. Birds In Books

    We begin with a study of the bird painters, illustrators and photographers, most notably, of course, John James Audubon, and continue with the symbolic bird of poetry and literature, such as Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson--the bird as woman--and examine the bird as omen and warning--the ecological and environmental indicator of human fate. Our books include such recent essays and memoirs as Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals -- an indictment of the poultry industry and a plea for vegetarianism--and also the arguments both personal/subjective and yet also scientific for the intelligence of birds such as the bestseller books Alex: The Parrot that Owned Me and Wesley the Barn Owl, in which birds appear not so much as pets but rather as companion creatures who share our destiny and condition.

    Our course will include actual birdwatching during times of migration or nest-building, either locally within the borders of our campus world, or beyond its frontiers. Migration has always meant the crossing of national barriers, and therefore a promise of peace and order despite the turmoil under the skies. We read, we watch, and we design projects relevant to the various meanings of birds to be found in books.

  5. Black Heroes, Superheroes, and Mutants From The 60s To Today: Representations and Metaphor For Blackness

    Launched originally as Timely Comics in 1939, Marvel Comics has always reflected, commented on, and shaped the real world. This course will focus on Marvel Comics creation of visually black hero and superheroes as well as metaphors for blackness during the Black Civil Rights/ Black Power Movements-specifically Luke Cage, Black Panther, and the X-Men, -in order to consider how Marvel mobilized the racial and colonial unrest of the period to imagine and in some cases imaginatively contain trajectories of black political insurgency. Because all three of these figures/comic books have re-emerged over the last several years, after attempting to understand the work as original construction in its original context, we will look at Marvel's contemporary filmic articulations of blackness to consider whether they represent the same or different projects regarding race and colonialism.

    But what I write and how I write is done in order to save my own life. And I mean that literally. For me literature is a way of knowing that I am not hallucinating, that whatever I feel/know is.

    -Barbara Christian: The Race For Theory.

    Open to sophomores and above.

  6. Contemporary Poetry

    This course identifies and focuses on key practices in contemporary poetry including Spoken Word, Digital Language Arts, translation, and hybrid or twinned publication between page and screen. Spoken Word speaks to the origins of poetry in public performance. Digital Language Arts open up the funfair of color, animation and sound which print closed down, while also seizing back self-publication --and distribution on an unprecedented scale. Multiplicity seems more apt than singularity today. We are more or less obliged to work across media, disciplines, languages, and political boundaries, and to present work in multiple forms. It's a time of both/and rather than either/or. We will discuss and write about a range of contemporary print, digital, and performance works; students will also compose and publish/perform at least one single-authored or collaborative poem. Contemporary Poetry is one of a set of multimodal courses including Sound Poetry, Visual Poetry, Digital Poetics, and Material Poetics, investigating sensory and material poetic traditions in contemporary culture. All courses have creative, critical, research, and performance/publication commitments.

    Open to sophomore and above

  7. Dark Matter: An Introduction To Race, Gender, and Speculative Fiction

    Greg Tate has said that "Black people live the estrangement that science fiction writers imagine." This course takes up the nexus of intersections between black history and the radical black imagination that is commonly called Afrofuturism, focusing in particular on figurations of Africa as a space of science fictional possibility from both sides of the Atlantic. If Afrofuturism has been, as Kodwo Eshun has said, "a program for recovering the histories of counter-futures created in a century hostile to Afrodiasporic projection," how do these writers, filmmakers and artists of the African diaspora reshape the very definition of who and/or what qualifies as human? What can these visions tell us about living in a black body in the present? How can Afrofuturism be used to critique racial asymmetries in the present and to imagine as-yet-unrealized, free black futures? From literature to film to music to art we will trace Afrofuturism across the twenty-first century cultural landscape. Using Afrofuturism, critical race studies, and queer theory, we will investigate the ways that science fiction's disruption of race, gender, and sexuality as stable categories offers radical models for our present and possible futures.

    Open to sophomores and above.

  8. Ecological Invention In Early America

    How can looking back to early America help us think and act in our present age of ecological crisis? In this course, we will explore the roots of American ideas about nature, environmentalism, and ecology in early American literature, beginning in the pre-colonial era and ending in the late nineteenth century. In the process, we will study the wide-ranging ecological views of indigenous Americans, Euro-colonial unsettlers of North America, enslaved and emancipated African transplants, and the various inhabitants of the United States in its first century as a nation state. In particular, we will examine how the confluence of various cultures influenced ideas about the conservation and exploitation of the natural world to varying degrees. To do so, we will ask how early American environmental writers defined nature and what these definitions included and excluded. To what degree did human dominion over the natural world and its resources extend? Was America a place for farmer-settlers or backwoods hunters and traders? Was its vast wilderness a refuge for religious worship or the devil's territory? Were humans part of nature or distinct from it, and which people counted as fully human? Was slavery considered a natural or unnatural state? Were animals considered reasoning subjects, instinctual objects of scientific study, or merely animate natural resources? Along the way, we will also ask how nature writing developed as its own multimedia genre during the period, as well as how it influenced various other genres of imaginative literature.

  9. Epic

    Epic narratives seem antagonistically devoted to their predecessors in the genre and to the cultural mythologies of their own times. Students in this course will read a series of epics written from antiquity to the present and consider as well the genre's incursions into film. Texts might include: Homer's Iliad or Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, and Walcott's Omeros. There will be midterm and final examinations, an independently researched essay, and regular short writing assignments.

  10. Family Narratives

    Tolstoy's famous opening sentence of Anna Karenina reminds us that families provide a lot of good material for fiction and film narratives. "All happy families resemble one another," he writes, "but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." This seminar will take a look at unhappy and happy families alike and will consider alternative or surrogate family structures and definitions of home. Contemporary writers like Jhumpa Lahiri, Michael Cunningham, Philip Roth, Chang-rae Lee, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Jeffrey Eugenides, just to name a few, take us inside homes where identities are formed and where they clash. We will also study family portraiture in film to extend our understanding of the subject's narrative possibilities. Students must be prepared to participate in class, must know how to read narratives closely, and must be able to write specific and detailed papers each week in response to assigned material. Research outside of the class material is expected.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  11. First-year Literature Seminar

    An introduction to literary study that helps students develop the skills necessary for college-level reading, writing, research and critical thinking. Through exposure to a variety of literary forms and genres, historical periods and critical approaches, students are taught how to read closely, argue effectively and develop a strong writing voice. The course is reading and writing intensive and organized around weekly assignments.

    Required for graduation for all undergraduates, including transfers. There are no waivers for LAS-E101 except for transfer students who have taken an equivalent college course.

    For the Fall semester, freshmen are pre-registered into this course.

    Please contact the department concerning any registration questions.

  12. Irish Drama/irish Film

    This course will engage enactments of Irish drama in the twentieth/twenty-first century, from Yeats to Denis Johnston, O'Casey, Synge, Heaney, Keene, Behan, McDonagh, Friel and the crucial contributions of women playwrights to this canon, from Lady Gregory to Anne Devlin, Katy Hayes, Una Troy and others. The course will supplement these readings with selections from Irish cinema, from Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan to Roddy Doyle, Terry George, Alan Parker, Michael McDonagh and recent documentary work from Ireland, as well as a discussion of the Republican muralist tradition as street drama. Students will engage these texts through analysis, discussion, and short essays, culminating in a longer essay to more fully explore central issues and cap the course.

    Open to sophomores and above.

  13. Lit: The Indian Subcontinent

    There is a long history of literature on the Indian subcontinent, and while Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka have different histories since partition, their literary history and continued development are intertwined. This course will look at the literature of the region, including works by writers in exile. Writers examined may include Anand, Desai, Hamid, Narayan, Nasrin, and Rushdie.

  14. Narratives From Around The World

    We will study contemporary world narratives-fiction and film-which have been published or produced within the last ten to twenty years. In order to keep up with current work, the specific content of the course will change each year. We will study fiction and film in English and in translation (subtitled). In the past, the work of Salman Rushdie, Mario Vargas Llosa, Kamila Shamsie, Tash Aw, Shahrnush Parsipur, and Haruki Murakami has been included. In addition to the assigned reading, we will screen and discuss an international film each week. By the end of the semester, thematic and stylistic links as well as the uniqueness of certain work, like Kore-eda Hirokazu's After Life, Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing, or Roy Andersson's You, the Living, will become apparent. Short analytic/interpretive essays in response to the fiction and film and thoughtful class participation are required.

  15. Native American Literature

    Literature is one facet of culture. The significance of literature can be best understood in terms of the culture for which it springs, and the purpose is clear only when the reader understands and accepts the assumptions on which literature is based" (Paula Gunn Allen-Laguna Sioux poet). This course will explore value systems and aesthetics that are from very diverse Native cultures, focusing on the ways in which indigenousness relates to literature and storytelling. The critical methodologies developed by Native critics such as Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe writer and scholar), and Craig Womack (Muscogee Creek-Cherokee author and professor of Native Studies) will enable us to study Native frameworks and new ways to regard literature/histories. We will explore questions such as can Native American theory/literature transform or challenge non-Native critical theoretical strategies. Our discussions, which may take a variety of directions, will also examine such issues as American Indian identities and communities as well as the impact of colonization on tribal peoples.

  16. Post-war American Literature: Narrating Counterculture

    This course will focus on the literary expression of American counterculture during the 1950s and 60s the so-called 'Beat' and 'Hippie' generations. The writers, artists, musicians, and bohemians who gave voice to counterculture during these two decades impacted not only literature and art, but also revolutionized social and political ideologies. Their emphasis on individual freedom, spiritual liberation, and subcultural hipness, called on all Americans to define their "authentic" selves, to seek higher consciousnesses, and to resist the establishment's repressive mandate that we remain passive consumers rather than active creators. With literature as our guide, we'll begin by examining the Beat movement with its emphasis on spontaneity and the search for 'ITO' we'll then look at how Beat aesthetics and ideologies were adopted and politicized during the heyday of the Hippie movement; finally, we'll consider the impact of these earlier generations on later countercultural movements such as the Punks of the 70s and early 80s. In the course of our reading, we'll consider the impact of cultural contexts and political motivations on the literature: the Cold War; McCarthyism; the rise of mass consumer culture and mass media; the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements; and shifting politics around gender and sexuality. We'll also investigate how members of those groups already on the margins of dominant socio-political discourse-women, racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities-relate to the notion of counterculture. Expect readings from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Amiri Baraka, James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, Tom Wolfe, Joseph Heller, Jim Carroll, Aaron Cometbus, and Hunter S. Thompson.

    Open to sophomores and above.

  17. Public Presentation

    This course, taught by a working professional actor/director with experience in stage, radio, tv and film, is centered on the belief that speaking skillfully in public is a way to self-discovery, self-improvement and self-confidence. It is also a tenet of this course that skillful public speaking is a fundamental element of a humane society. Students will deliver five major speeches, including self-written speeches of introduction, ceremonial speeches, informative speeches and persuasive speeches. The oral interpretation of literature will also be explored. Each class meeting will require every student's speaking participation in order to develop skills in the areas of voice, diction, managing speech anxiety, research and organization, use of microphones and video, and use of visual aids. The latter phase of this course will focus on concentration, credibility, and familiarity with argument, debate and parliamentary procedure. Attendance at each class is vital and mandatory; furthermore, students will be required to "dress up" for their presentations.

  18. Sem: "To Plough Van Diemen's Land": Convicts In Australian Literature and Culture

    Australia's literary culture is intertwined with the history of the First Fleet and the convicts who were the first Europeans to live on the continent. This seminar examines the convict in literature and its continuing reverberations in Australian culture. We will begin by looking at the poems of the convict Francis MacNamara-"Frank the Poet"-then move on the Marcus Clarke's epic about convict life, For the Term of His Natural Life. We will then look at some contemporary Australian literature which looks back at Transportation and its after-effects.

  19. Sem: Global Englishes

    This seminar attempts to do two things: first, we examine the global careers of the English language and the literatures written in it from their period of ascendance during the height of British colonialism in the late-19th century to their proliferation in the postcolonial present to argue for a concept of multiple "Englishes" in place of one dominant, normative, authentic 'English';second, we explore the hypothesis that the discourse of "Global Englishes" is not just constituted in writing and literature as most scholars have argued but also through everyday performance, and often through spoken forms. So, a discussion of the cultural politics of speaking and listening across different sonic media will supplement the regular study of selected fiction, nonfiction, plays, poetry, films, television, and music. Topics discussed will include variations in the uses of literary English, translations and adaptations, varieties of spoken Englishes, accents and code-switching, multilingualism in literary texts, etc. Historical and theoretical contexts will include colonialism and postcolonialism, economic and cultural globalization, identity politics, exile and migration, literary prizes, circulation and readership, etc. Not surprisingly, most of the authors we will read are from ex-colonies of the British Empire which now have thriving English language literary and cultural traditions of their own, like India and Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa, Canada and Australia, Ireland and the Caribbean region. Since the United Kingdom's and the United States' Englishes, even though dominant, are still part of 'the global' we will read some representative texts from Scotland or Wales, for instance, as well as "US ethnic literatures." Authors may include Rudyard Kipling, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, G V Desani, Salman Rushdie, J M Coetzee, Jean Rhys, Wole Soyinka, Michèle Lalonde, Derek Walcott, Brian Friel, Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, Mohsin Hamid, M. NourbeSe Philip, Irvine Welsh, Caroline Bergvall, and Junot Diaz. Open to sophomore and above.

    Open to sophomore and above.

  20. Sem: Natural History: Local, Global, Analog, Digital

    This seminar has two primary goals:

    1. To engage critically with natural history as a literary and visual art form and with its history as a scientific practice.

    2. To collaborate on projects and experiments that employ digital and analog methods for analyzing, interpreting, archiving, curating, and creating visual and literary works of natural history. Throughout the semester, we will visit local museums, labs, archives, and field sites to facilitate these goals.

    Natural history is a crucial genre for understanding the origins of modern environmentalism, the history of science, discourses of race, and the nature of European imperialism. As an artistic and epistemological practice, natural history enjoyed the height of its popularity during the early modern and enlightenment periods, as European explorers, traders, and colonizers endeavored to classify, catalog, explain, and exploit the diverse flora and fauna all over the planet. In the process, they encountered (and often ignored or stole from) the complex folk biology of various indigenous cultures. Especially in the Americas, natural historical knowledge production depended on the collaboration of various cultures within profoundly uneven power dynamics: European explorers and creolized American naturalists, political leaders and ordinary citizens, amateur collectors and professional theorists, men and women, slaveholders and enslaved people, and Euro-colonial traders and indigenous Americans. Furthermore, early naturalists were polymaths --scientists, philosophers, political leaders, artists, writers, collectors, and traders --before the stratification of the modern sciences into disciplines that took place during the nineteenth century. As science became a more professional and specialized endeavor, natural history evolved into various forms of amateur field science, environmental art, and nature writing, an evolution this course will actively examine through reading, conversation, and practice. As such, our course materials will range from classical antiquity to the present and cover a large variety of written forms and artistic mediums.

  21. The Jewish Narrative

    Modern Jewish literary form and content developed from the 19th-century emancipation with its socialist, Zionist, and romantic options. We move from these roots to the satiric and elegiac voice of contemporary America. Authors studied will include Sholom Aleichem, Isaac Singer, Elie Wiesel, Bernard Malamud.

  22. Transnational Spy & Detective Fiction

    This course, besides revisiting the traditional narrative elements of spy and detective fiction, considers a selection of the increasing number of late twentieth- and twenty-first-century transnational, diasporic, postcolonial, and minority/ethnic authors from around the world who adapt spy and detective fiction conventions for the purpose of social critique. In focusing on issues related to identity, "culture," ethics, human rights, justice, and knowledge construction narrated by these fictions, we will examine carefully, for example, the figure of the spy or detective as outsider to and observer of society as well as, in the works at issue here, frequently an immigrant or cultural or social "other." In the process, we will also engage questions central to reading, interpreting, and comparing fiction in a global context.

  23. Virginia Woolf & Modern Fiction

    Students will emerge from this class with a thorough overview of Woolf's life, world, and life's work. The heart of the course will be our study of Virginia Woolf's major novels: Jacob's Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, and The Waves. However, our reading list will also include short stories, essays, and selections from her published letters and diaries. In particular, students can expect to become skilled readers of the stream of consciousness style of narration that characterizes Woolf's fiction and to engage with themes that run through much of her writing such as the creative process, modern subjectivity, sexuality, gender, domestic space, and war.

    Open to sophomores and above.