Course Listings - Fall 2013
ENGL 200X—F05 & FE2—World Literature: Gender (Two sections)
Dr. Chris Coffman
All sections of ENGL 200X are designed to introduce students to the diversity of oral and written literature from around the world; to develop historical and cultural awareness, aesthetic appreciation, and analytical thinking, via close study of literature; to encourage global awareness by comparing literatures from different cultures, continents, and eras; and to introduce a variety of approaches to myth, poetry, narrative, stories, novels, nonfiction, and drama.
These two sections will accomplish these goals by focusing on the role of literature, film, graphic novels, and popular culture in constructing gender in a wide variety of cultural contexts. Rather than attempting to represent every culture in the world or to survey the entire history of gender in world literature—both impossible tasks—we will focus on some very early and some very recent examples from Europe, India, the Middle East, and North America. Readings will include a variety of early mythological texts, such asBird Girl and the Man Who Followed the Sun, “The Descent of Inanna,” “The Epic of Creation,” The Epic of Gilgamesh, and The Ramayana; lyric poetry by Sappho, Catullus, and ancient Egyptian writers; Aristophanes’ comic play Lysistrata; selections from Gloria Anzaldúa’s contemporary mixed-genre work Borderlands/La Frontera; films such as Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Persepolis; Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis; and postcolonial short stories by Salman Rushdie and Bharati Mukherjee.
ENGL F200x – World Literature: Environmental Representations
Dr. Daryl Farmer
In this course, students will read a variety of myth, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from a variety of time periods and cultures. Through these texts, students will examine the ways authors and cultures through time have derived meaning from the landscapes they have inhabited, the role that environment plays in human stories, and the ways in which natural environments have been represented.
ENGL 200 - World Literature (two sections)
Dr. Sean Hill
This course is an introduction to reading and appreciating a wide variety of literary texts, including myth, poetry, storytelling, and drama, from different cultures. Students will gain an understanding of cultural differences and similarities. This course will expand students' knowledge of the human condition and human cultures through the reading of literatures from diverse times and places, especially in relation to behaviors, ideas, and values expressed in works of human imagination and thought.
ENGL 211 - Cyborgs, Psychics and Golems: Sci-Fi Relationships Between Humans and Technology.
Sci-fi starts from the premise of ‘what if’ and explores our ambiguous feelings about technology. This course will examine various concerns raised by science fiction texts, particularly the relationship between humans and their technologies. This is particularly apropos because the course will also examine the student’s relationship to the formative technology of writing. Students will build on many of the skills they acquired in English 111x with elaboration on the rhetorical situation to aide in discussing possible purposes of various sci-fi texts. An interaction with the writings, film, and video games assigned in the course encourage students in taking a position on some age-old philosophical questions such as: if we have the technology to do something, should we go ahead and do it? Are we too dependent upon technology? Where do we draw the line? We often refer to the era we live in as the digital age, and today it is rare to meet someone who does not use a cell phone or computer in their everyday lives. Therefore, inquiry into the various extreme situations presented in texts helps question the relationship to our own devices. Currently, many of us cannot live without technology entirely.
ENGL 211 FH1: Robinsonades
Dr. Burns Cooper
The first English novel and its influence (for better and for worse) on centuries of novels, poems, plays, movies, and TV shows. Reading and writing assignments dealing with the colonialist assumptions of the genre as well as the elements of survival, solitude, and adventure that have made it enduringly popular. This is an Honors course.
ENGL 211 - Heroes and Villains.
This course will explore the ideas of heroes and villains through their depiction in literature across time in the Western tradition. From Beowulf and his defeating of Grendel to Doctor Manhattan’s self-exile to Mars, we will explore how the hero and villain have changed (or have they?) over time. We will look at how heroes and villains may be affected by the cultural influences of war, poverty, prosperity, terrorism, etc., and through the cultural lenses of feminism, racism, Marxism, capitalism, etc.. Some of the questions we will explore will be: What is a hero/villain? Do heroes and villains work in a binary? Who gets to choose who is the villain and who is the hero? Can a character be a hero and also a villain? We will use selections from Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Thomas Carlyle’s work On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, as well as poems, short stories, fairy tales, film, graphic novels, etc., to try and answer those questions through the exploration of different (or possibly similar) depictions of heroes and villains.
ENGL 213 - Paranoia and Conspiracies
This course will examine the nature of conspiracies, conspiracy theories, and the paranoid mind. There is no shortage of conspiracy theories in the world and in America in particular. These assertions range from slightly benign cover-ups to accusations of malevolent plots in the highest forms of societal power. Class readings will include literature that utilizes conspiracy subculture, such as Thomas Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49 as well as historical, philosophical, psychological, sociological, and cultural materials that address a sweeping suspicion of authority. Using these various approaches, we will tackle questions ranging from the origin of our fascination with conspiracy to the relation of the everyday person with institutions of power. What do attitudes of conspiracy theorists toward people ignorant or doubtful of their assertions suggest? When is suspicion of authority warranted or unwarranted? What does such suspicion mean for society and culture? Students will be asked to apply their findings to real-world conspiracy theories and find one to examine in-depth in both an academic paper and oral presentation.
ENGL 213 - Travel Writing
“Travel is a creative act,” argues Paul Theroux. “Not simply loafing and inviting your soul, but feeding the imagination.” This course will revolve around the travel narrative, primarily nonfiction essays. We will go on a literary journey around the world to explore the following questions: How does moving away from home change our perception of the world? After going on a journey, how do we return home? In today’s global world, how does place define our identities? How might travel stories provide a way to ask broader questions about self or society? We will use these questions to explore the processes of reading and writing. The class will consist of reading assignments, writing exercises and essays, and peer review workshops. You do not need to have traveled widely—you can travel without going far from home—but you should have a curiosity for global culture.
ENGL 213 - Moneyball-O-Nomics
ENGL 230 – English Language Proficiency: ESL Reading
Dr. Duff Johnston
This course provides English language learners with skills, strategies, and proficiency development in reading for personal enjoyment, general information, and academic purposes. By the end of the course, students will have improved their reading habits, comprehension, and fluency across a number of written genres and media. The course is designed for English language learners with high beginning to low advanced reading proficiency.
ENGL F293 – Intermediate ESL Academic Writing
Dr Duff Johnston
This course is designed to help English language learners develop their composition skills as they move from paragraphs to short essays in preparation for general university writing assignments. By the end of the semester, students will display a greater knowledge and command of written grammar and mechanics, sentence complexity and variety, and advanced academic discourse features. The course is designed for English language learners with high beginning to low advanced writing proficiency. Students completing ENGL F293 will be well prepared for assignments in ENGL 111X and other UAF writing courses.
ENGL 302: Continental Literature in Translation: Medieval and Renaissance
Dr. Eileen Harney
This course examines a number of key medieval and Early Modern texts composed on the continent from the fourth to the seventeenth century. In addition to exploring a selection of influential texts across a range of literary genres, students consider the way historical and cultural occurrences and concerns impact and are reflected in these primary texts. Major works include Prudentius' Psychomachia, The Song of Roland, The Nibelungenlied, and Dante's Inferno.
ENGL/WGS 333: Women's Literature - Detective Fiction
Dr. Gerri Brightwell
Detective fiction, you might be wondering—for a women’s literature course??? Yes, detective stories are regarded as being a little trashy—but they are also the focus of serious academic study. Mysteries are an intriguing genre to examine, not least because they take crime and transgression as their focus, and concern themselves with creating and reflecting the values of our culture. Whether an author chooses to make her villain an innocuous middle-aged man, or a beautiful but heartless female killer, her choice ripples with connotations about accepted behavioural norms for different societal groups. Choices about detectives, and crimes, and victims, are all similarly ripe for reading from a cultural—and particularly a feminist—perspective. We'll be reading novels and short stories from the blossoming of the detective genre in the late nineteenth century to contemporary work, from Baroness Orczy's stories about "Lady Molly of Scotland Yard" to Tana French's The Likeness.
ENGL 340: Contemporary Native American Literature: Change and Continuity.
Dr. Jim Ruppert
This survey of Native American Literature will look at how oral and cultural traditions are reimagined through literature while narrative contexts mold, shape and extend cross-cultural experience.
ENGL 360: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States: What is American?
Dr. Jim Ruppert
Ethnic experience in the United States has often balanced between the poles of separatism and assimilation. This course will explore the individual and community understandings of ethnicity, immigration, and adaptation.
ENGL 371: Topics in Creative Writing: Research for Creative Writers
Dr. Sean Hill
This multi-genre writing class will focus on research methods used by creative writers. To quote Philip Gerard “It is based on our fascination with mystery, in the broadest possible sense: that which is hidden from us, the answer we crave to know in order to make sense out of our world.” We will read the creative work of published poets and writers that has resulted from such research. The course will take advantage of local research resources such as the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives, the Museum of the North, the Permafrost Tunnel, and local cemeteries in order to give students the opportunity to practice these research skills in their own creative work. Class discussions will focus on research methods, writing craft, and student work. By the end of the semester, each student will have completed a portfolio of creative work engaged with research.
ENGL 414: Research Writing
Dr. Sarah Stanley
What's the difference between research writing and writing research?
In a given discipline, how does information become knowledge?
This course will involve hands-on, workshop-based instruction. We will also be engaging in collaborative inquiry into academic epistemologies and their connection to social writing practices. By December 15, our goal will be to each submit a manuscript for publication in award-winning, undergraduate peer-reviewed journals such as Young Scholars in Writing.
Prerequisites: Junior-level standing or permission of instructor.
ENGL 435 – Authors: Virginia Woolf
Dr. Chris Coffman
This version of ENGL 435 will focus on the early twentieth-century writer Virginia Woolf, who is best known for her stream-of-consciousness novels Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927) as well as for her famous non-fictional exploration of the situation of women writers in A Room of One’s Own (1929). We will read those texts in the context of a broader look at Woolf’s career, from the short stories she wrote at various points in her life to the fantastic traversals of history and gender in Orlando (1928) to her highly poetic experimental novel The Waves (1931) to her non-fictional and fictional responses to the rise of fascism in Three Guineas (1938) and Between the Acts (1941). Far from disengaged retreats into the mind, Woolf’s innovative writings stretched our understanding of genre, gender, sexuality, politics, history, and the psyche in ways that continue to take on new significance today.
Please see my web page at https://sites.google.com/a/alaska.edu/chris-coffman/ for more details about the course, including a book list, and feel free to contact me at 474-5233 or at email@example.com if you have questions or would like additional information.
ENGLISH 450: Studies in 19th-Century British Literature—Growing Up in the Victorian Era
Dr. Rich Carr
Growing up can be a tough process for a Victorian kid, especially if your parents disappeared from the world early on. You might, like Oliver Twist, become part of a gang of London street thieves. Or like Jane Eyre, you might be sent from your third-rate boarding school to serve as a governess in a gloomy mansion with a gloomy master. And even if you aren’t an orphan, maybe you are the daughter—like Maggie Tulliver in Mill on the Floss—who is always in hot water for not behaving as a little girl should. The course will survey the growing-up experience for a range of Victorian young people, narratives that with widening literacy and growing publication venues gained popularity with readers of all ages and earned classic status as well.
The assigned works will take us to many places: crowded London streets, the mysterious Scottish Highlands (Kidnapped), a rat-infested German town (The Pied Piper of Hamelin). We will read great writers—Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Kipling (Kim). We will see learning at its most fanciful (Carroll’s Alice books) and its more serious levels (Tom Brown’s Schooldays). Our class conversations will focus on universal aspects of the struggles confronting the young as they move to adulthood; they will also highlight ways these narratives offer insight into this era of empire, ways in which this modern world offered—or did not offer—a place for its emerging generations.
English 482-FE1: Topics in Language and Literature - Crimes Against Books
Dr. Michael Edson
This course assumes that many of the literary texts you have encountered in your careers have been dismembered, disfigured, or defaced by editing and anthologization. Titles have been clipped or changed, footnotes edited or cut, fonts regularized, illustrations dropped or replaced, and margins compressed. Poems passed in manuscript are now distributed in print. Books issued in installments are now issued in a single volume. While the course will not claim that attending to the ignored material elements of books will give us access to the meanings that the author “originally” intended, we will consider 1). how material elements indicate the function of texts at various historical moments and 2). how the changing format of books across time both reflects and spurs changing attitudes about authorship, canonization, distribution, the goals of reading, and the institutional contexts of literary production and interpretation. We will also consider the rise of copyright and the history of book-related “crimes” such as plagiarism and piracy. We will read articles from the fields of book history, media studies, and textual studies, including articles by Darnton, Chartier, Benjamin, Bourdieu, and McKenzie. Case studies will be drawn from different periods, genres, and nationalities; authors may include: Harriet Jacobs, William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, William Blake, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Marianne Moore. Assignments will include three projects, response papers, and participation.
ENGL 488: Dramatic Writing
Dr. Len Kamerling
English 488 introduces students to the craft of dramatic writing for theater and film. This is a course about dramatic story telling - how to successfully plan, structure and write an original dramatic work. The course will give students a practical understanding of the use of story structure, setting, character, plot, dialogue, and how these elements work together to create compelling drama.
ENGL 603: Studies in British Literature: Old and Middle English
Dr. Eileen Harney
This course considers ideas about gender and sexuality in Old and Middle English literature. The central focus of the course is on primary texts; however, students also examine concepts and methods utilized by scholars studying gender and sex in this period. Topics explored include medieval perceptions and representations of masculinity and femininity, reproduction and fertility, marriage and family, religious practices, and social expectations. Sources include Old and Middle English poetry and saints' lives, Chaucer's Legend of Good Women, Arthurian legends, Crusade literature, and mystery plays.
ENGL 606: Studies in British Literature: Restoration & 18th Century - The British Long Poem
Dr. Michael Edson
This course focuses on the three most influential “long poems” published in Britain after Paradise Lost: James Thomson’s The Seasons (1730), William Cowper’s The Task (1785), and William Wordsworth’s The Prelude(1805). Beyond placing such “expansive” poems alongside developments in print culture, imperial expansion, and technological change in Britain between 1700 and 1830, the course will offer an intensive introduction to the production, marketing, circulation, reception, and social function of poetry. Assuming that readers today prefer short, lyric poems, we will pursue the following questions: why did British audiences admire poems that modern readers find difficult and diffuse? What can the popularity of the “long poem” tell us about how social changes, institutional constraints, and critical movements (e.g., The New Criticism) have reshaped our expectations of what a poem is and how long it should be? Can length be a meaningful critical category within print culture studies and book history? Assignments include weekly discussion questions and a long (20 pp.) publishable paper.
English 609: Early and Romantic American Literature - Moby-Dick: Texts and Contexts
Dr. Jennifer Schell
“Call me Ishmael.” And so begins one of literature’s most famous (or infamous) novels. This semester we will study Moby-Dick’s nineteenth-century contexts; we will engage in close readings of the novel’s passages; we will scrutinize the book’s critical history; and we will examine the text’s twenty-first- century resonances. Some weeks will be devoted solely to the novel, which we will slowly make our way through over the course of the semester. Other weeks will be devoted to discussions of print culture, literary history, critical and cultural theory, and/or popular culture. In this way, we will explore the various factors which have contributed to Moby-Dick’s complicated cultural and historical legacy and its status as one of American literature’s most beloved books.
ENGL F684 – Forms of Nonfiction Prose
Dr. Daryl Farmer
In this class we will examine the range and possibilities in nonfiction literature, or as Jennifer Brice calls it, “the art and craft of transforming life into art.” We will read and write in a variety of
nonfiction forms and categories, and explore how those categories merge, expand and in some cases subvert the genre in new and interesting ways. The course will begin with
work toward a definition of the genre and of the various forms it can take. Then we’ll move to the essentials of quality writing, not only in terms of craft and technical skill, but especially in working toward an understanding of what separates a piece of writing that is merely competent from one that is a work of art that “breathes life”? By the semester’s end, you should have
a sense of the range of creative nonfiction, the ethical and craft issues it raises, and hopefully, a body of your own work that you can pull from for future nonfiction writing workshops.