Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spring 2010 Courses

Poetry II/III (Frank Rogaczewski)
Focuses on issues raised by contemporary poetry, and how they are reflected in student compositions.

Fiction II
(Gale Walden)

Fiction III (Adam Levin)
By seriously examining and editing stories written by others (i.e. measuring and helping advance the success of stories according to their authors' intentions), writers not only develop a greater capacity to strengthen their own work, but a clearer understanding of their own literary values. We will read stories by a variety of published authors--like George Saunders and Donald Barthelme--and reverse-engineer them to determine the ways in which they function.

Creative Nonfiction I (Peggy Shinner)
This workshop will examine various forms of creative nonfiction: personal essay, memoir, portrait, literary journalism, lyric essay, and cultural criticism. We will take the self as the point of departure and move out into the world from there, looking at how the personal and public intersect and cultivating our idiosyncratic interests/perspectives. In addition to the focus on student work, the course will include generative writings and discussion of selected readings. Student work and the readings together will provide the opportunity to discuss the aesthetics of nonfiction. Readings from a course packet, with pieces by writers as diverse as Joan Didion, James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf, Touré, Richard Rodriquez, and Anne Fadiman. As the course evolves, additional readings may be added

Film History (L. Howe)
The history of cinema is only about a century long, but in that period the art form has demonstrated remarkable development from silent to sound film, from black and white to color, and from fairly practical staging and framing to vibrant special effects. As film technology developed, filmmakers found new ways to tell stories. We'll note that as film developed new techniques, it created its own history that often commented upon or reflected the social history of the cultures in which it emerged. In our study of the films of Griffith, Micheaux, Lang, Chaplin, Keaton, Welles, Hitchcock, Goddard, Altman, among others, we'll note that, as filmmakers connect with their cultures, they simultaneously develop and exploit a self-reflexive fascination with film's own presence. We'll gauge these dynamics as we consider how film both reflects and influences the ideas and identities of its audiences.

Shakespeare and Film (Regina Buccola)
This course analyzes the filmed versions of Shakespear's plays as texts in their own right. We will be viewing films based on specific plays in pairs, moving from a film "faithful" in various ways to the text as written, to one that exhibits a greater degree of adaptation. We will consider Franco Zeffirelli's and Baz Luhrmann's versions of Romeo and Juliet; Roman Rolanski's Macbeth and Billy Morrissette's Scotland, PA; Laurence Oliver and Richard Loncraine's takes on Richard IIII; Zeffirelli's Taming of the Shrew and Gil Junger's Ten Things I Hate About You; Branagh's Hamlet and Michael Aylmereda's Hamlet 2000; Oliver Parker's Othello and Tim Blake Nelson's O.

Staging Witchcraft Plays (Regina Buccola)
This course begins with one of the best known and most widely influential stage portrayals of witchcraft in theater history, Macbeth, which uses the figure of the witch to explode ideological assumptions about class (patriarchy, class-based social stratification, upward mobility) and gender (social, political, and domestic roles). In this course, we will examine both fantastic portrayals of the witch, including Shakespeare's Macbeth, John Martson's Sophonisba, and Thomas Middleton's The Witch in conjunction with "realistic" portrayals of witchcraft in British and Scottish court depositions as well as the stage representations of those cases in Thomas Dekker, John Ford, and William Rowley's The Witch of Edmonton and Heywood and Brome's The Witches of Lancashire. We will consider witchcraft's dual valence in early modern England as both a means of vilifying women and as a means by which women could exercise autonomy and empowerment.

20th Century American Women's Fiction: Gender and Mobility (Ann Brigham)
In many ways, the American experience has been defined by the promise of mobility, that is, the freedom to go anywhere and become anyone. In fact, the two have often been linkedL spacial mobility--the movement between places or across space--has often been understood as a way to achieve a range or other mobilities, from the psychological and sexual to the social and economic. In this course, we will study a range of novels that address a series of related questions: What does mobility mean, and what does gender have to do with it? How can stories of mobility tell us something about the ways gendered and sexed identities, meanings, and performances are negotiated, navigated, and transformed? How can we think of gender and sexuality as modes of mobility? In what ways has mobility been central to definitions of an American identity and experience, and why is that interesting? Focusing on the various ways mobility has been defined, we will examine representations of mobility that include: immigration and assimilation; escape; spatial, social, and sexual border crossings; time travel; racial and gender passing; western expansion and national conquest; the road trip; transnational migration; gender bending and fluidity; bodily mutability; exile and displacement.

Writing About Place (Scott Blackwood)
MFA graduate course about narratives of place. We'll read and discuss novels, stories, and nonfiction which delve into the complex relationship between human consciousness and the outer world. We'll examine how writers form meaning from experience, how language shapes that experience into compelling and original narratives, and how place is digested and then recast as landscapes of the mind. Students write short weekly papers, creative exercises, and complete a research portfolio to be used toward a place-based narrative writing project. The texts include: The Brief Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, River of Earth by James Still, The Stone Diaries by Carole Shields, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere: Stories by Z.Z. Packer, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, The Lost City of Z by David Grann.

Reading & Writing Ecoliterature (Kim Ruffin)
What is America's history and present of ecological writing? This multicultural study of U.S. eco-literary traditions and trends includes both canonical and emerging authors. The range of topics includes various perspectives on: "going green," global climate change, nature-writing, and environmental justice. Students read and apply ecocritical theory and author their own literature. Works from most, if not all, of the following authors will be required reading: Henry David Thoreau, Alice Walker, Enrique Salmon, Rachel Carson, Joseph Bruchac, Patti Ann Rogers, Leslie Marmon Silko, David Mas Masamoto, Mary Oliver, Aldo Leopold, Cesar Chavez, and Janisse Ray. Note: this course involves experiential learning that requires off-campus activities, including participation in Roosevelt University's New Deal Service Day.

Common Knowledge & Cultural Capital (Priscilla Perkins)
Oprah Winfrey's Book Club, Masterpiece Theater, telenovelas, Gertrude Stein, Wikipedia, NASCAR, Hayao Miyazaki, Fox News, 50 Cent, T.S. Eliot, American Idol... Why do academic institutions value certain cultural references and knowledge-sharing strategies more than other? How does practice with academic ways of knowing (like "essayistic" thinking or evidence-based argumentation) allow students to share what they know in socially powerful ways--or simply reproduce the structures of "cultural capital" that exclude certain groups in the first place? Readings in sociology, composition theory, ethnography, and philosophy will help course participants explore how students' access to privileged cultural allusions--their supply of "cultural capital"--contributes to the social and economic outcomes associated with higher educations. *This course counts toward the Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Writing.

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