2008-2009: Winter Quarter

English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study–Fakeries and Forgeries: Crying Wolf(instructor: Jeffrey Beckstrand). In addition to literary form, genre and method, this course seeks to examine the manner in which fictions are faked, forged, counterfeited and otherwise conceived: From “forging in the smithy of our souls” to forging from the smithy of our “soles“; from art rates to heart rates; from the body to the bawdy, we will pay specific attention to context, the “tall grass,” from which works are born…and born into.

Featuring novels, poems, plays, film, art, theory and music by Joyce, Beckett, Welles, Johnson, Shakespeare, Sophocles, Hirst, van Veldt, Newman, Kipling, Stevens, Frost, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Browning, Borges, Cage, Göttsching and Liquid Crystal Display Soundsystem.

English 10LC: Introduction to Literary Study–Literature and Memory (instructor: Jeanne Provost). This course will prepare you to participate in conversations in upper-level English courses about texts from an array of literary genres: poetry, drama, short fiction, and the novel. We will practice applying the techniques and terminology of literary studies to analyze texts and to shape essays for upper-division literature classes. We will also learn how various critical and theoretical approaches can open up literature in different ways. The works we will read all offer diverse variations on the theme of memory. While our conversations won’t be limited to this theme, it will give us a conceptual touchstone to unify our conversations about the readings. We will explore questions about the relationship between gender and memory, how memory shapes our notions of identity, the role of memory in legal systems, and the memorial functions of literature itself.

English 122NW: Narratives of War (instructor: Rita Raley). This course examines twentieth-century narratives of war from the perspective of our contemporary moment. It thus does not aim to be historically comprehensive; instead our reading will be focused on certain questions and themes, including smart war; total war; just war; military intervention; models of the enemy; trauma; and the reformulation of human rights in the context of the “war on terror.” Print narratives will include Pat Barker, Regeneration (and short selections of WWI poetry by Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen); Joe Sacco, Safe Area Goražde: The War in Eastern Bosnia, 1992-1995; Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried; Etel Adnan, Sitt Marie Rose; and others. Theory and criticism will include Ernst Friedrich, Jordan Crandall, Paul Virilio, James Der Derian, Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, and Manuel De Landa, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines. Films will include Apocalypse Now and West Beirut. Games and other media projects will include September 12AntiwargameAmerica’s ArmyFull Spectrum Warrior; and Baghdad <> San Francisco. (Media projects such as The Great Game will illuminate the shift from representation to information visualization.) We will also consider the rhetoric and function of war reporting and discuss excerpts from films such as The Mills of the GodsWar Feels Like WarGunner Palace and Jarhead.

English 147A: Media History and Theory: Theorizing Adaptation–Translation and Mutation (instructor: Bishnupriya Ghosh). This course examines adaptation as a mode of translation geared to increase the life span of a text: adaptation is both reinterpretation (recoding, exchange, invention) and evolution (appropriation, updating, excision). Taking film to be our major media practice, we will look at several texts (fiction, non-fiction, feature films, plays) that are “adapted,” in order to consider a series of questions pertinent to adaptation theory: what is translated into film? What kinds of semiotic codes are at work in such translation? What is the common term of exchange? What kinds of value are produced in these acts? What context governs these acts of production? How are they received? These queries are ultimately aimed at a larger inquiry: can there be such a thing as “adaptation theory”? And if so, what are its disciplinary constraints? Students will be expected to watch five or six films outside of class time (time equivalent to the one-two hours you would spend preparing for a class), participate in class discussions, and write a research paper on a topic of their choice.
This course will include one and a half weeks on digital translations of television or graphic novels, and will give students the option of doing projects on new media.

English 149: Media and Information Culture–Literary Imagination and Virtual Reality (co-instructors: James Donelan and Alan Liu) (5-unit course with seminar meetings and a lab). Because of the recent, shared emphasis in many fields on digital methods, scholars in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences increasingly need to collaborate across disciplines. This course reflects theoretically and practically on the concept of literary study by asking students to choose a literary work and treat it according to one or more of the research paradigms prevalent in other fields. Students, for example, could choose a story or poem to model, simulate, map, visualize, encode, text-analyze, sample, storyboard, blog, or redesign as a game, database, hypertext, or virtual world. What are the strengths and weaknesses of literary interpretation, close reading, or theory by comparison with other research methods?

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