ENG 104 Introduction to Literature
Actual reading lists vary significantly depending on the expertise and teaching philosophy of the instructor, but all sections of the course offer students a broad introduction to the study of literary fiction. Whether readings focus on the stories and novels of major writers or on works from a specific period or national tradition, students develop analytical skills that will allow them to think, write, and speak intelligently about fiction. The course addresses basic questions about the nature of prose narrative and the interrelated activities of reading, writing, and interpretation. What is a story, and what role do stories play in our cultural and political lives? Is interpretation of a literary text a purely subjective process, or are some interpretations more valid than others? Narrative technique, point of view, and character development are some of the terms and concepts examined in the course, though each instructor will bring his or her own analytical framework to the class. Weekly readings of short stories and novels are substantial in scope and difficulty, and students will be asked to compose critical essays of varying length, totaling at least 8-10 pages. As a basic introduction to a major genre in the field of literary studies, this course satisfies the university’s Group Requirement in the Arts and Letters category. It is not recommended for English Majors, who are encouraged to enroll in the department’s more historically oriented and comprehensive Introduction to the English Major sequence, ENG 220-222.
ENG 105 Introduction to Literature: Drama
This course is an introduction to drama, one of the major genres in literary studies. Students will read, discuss, and analyze plays from a variety of periods and national traditions in order to become familiar with the major styles, techniques, and conventions that characterize dramatic literature. Although this is a course on drama as literature, with an emphasis on the interpretation and analysis of dramatic texts, students will explore the performative dimensions of drama as well. The course will provide a broad introduction to theoretical and historical debates that stand at the center literary studies today, and students will have the chance to enter into these debates through critical writing assignments totaling at least 8-10 pages. Readings typically average one play per week, in addition to which students may be expected to attend out-of-class screenings of dramatic performances. As a basic introduction to texts, issues and questions that are central to the study of dramatic literature, this course satisfies the university’s Group Requirement in the Arts and Letters category. It is not recommended for English Majors, who are encouraged to enroll in the departments more historically oriented and comprehensive Introduction to the English Major sequence, ENG 220-222.
ENG 106 Introduction to Literature: Poetry
2 Sections; Crosswhite, James; Wonham, Henry
This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the formal properties of poetry in English. Through careful analysis of poems by major writers, students will be challenged to explain not only what a given poem might mean to its readers, but also how a poem communicates meaning differently than a work of fiction, drama, or some other mode of literary expression. ENG 106 is not a comprehensive introduction to the traditions of English and American poetry; it is, rather, a series of intensive exercises designed to equip students with the analytical tools needed to read, discuss, and write about poetry effectively. Weekly readings are relatively short but extremely demanding, and students will do a substantial amount of critical writing, including formal essays totaling at least 8-10 pages. As a basic introduction a major genre in the field of literary studies, this course satisfies the university’s Group Requirement in the Arts and Letters category. It is not recommended for English Majors, who are encouraged to enroll in the department’s more historically oriented and comprehensive Introduction to the English Major sequence, ENG 220-222.
ENG 109 World Literature
This is one of three courses that form a three-part chronological survey of international trends in literature from its archaic and classical origins to the present. These courses can be taken as a yearlong sequence, or they can be taken individually. All works are read in English translation. There are no prerequisites, and no background knowledge of international literary history is expected. All three courses seek to give students a truly global sense of literary history by incorporating works in various genres from Asia, the Near East, Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America, and elsewhere. ENG 107 begins with the archaic period and ends with the late Middle Ages in Europe. ENG 108 spans the period from the European Renaissance to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, focusing on cultural relations between the Near East and Europe. ENG 109 covers the 19th and 20th centuries, with emphasis on the emergence of global cultural movements such as Romanticism, Modernism, and Post-Modernism. All three courses seek to juxtapose Western and non- Western readings, challenging students to locate “classic” literary works within a global perspective. Weekly readings of short stories and novels are substantial in scope and difficulty, and students will be asked to compose critical essays of varying length, totaling at least 8-10 pages. With their comparative focus on various literary traditions, all three courses satisfy the University Multicultural Requirement in the International Cultures category. In offering students a broad introduction to college-level literary studies, ENG 107, 108, and 109 also satisfy the university’s Group Requirement in the Arts and Letters category.
Gen Ed; Multicultural
ENG 110 Introduction to Film and Media
This course will introduce you to the formal and narrative study of film. We will focus on film history, the technology of film production, and the methodology of film studies as an academic discipline. Along with film itself, we will pay particular attention to the cultural, political, and economic contexts from which it emerges. To emphasize—and unpack—the formal conventions of narrative cinema, much of the required viewing falls within
readily identifiable genre categories (i.e. crime and horror), but we will also analyze experimental, realist, and documentary films.
ENG 110 Introduction to Film and Media
This course provides an introduction to the disciplinary approaches of film studies. At the end of this course, students will understand various lenses through which to study film, including historical, formal, sociocultural, and ideological paradigms; competently use disciplinary specific terms for discussing and writing about film; and be inspired to critically analyze media texts in the world around them.
ENG 199 Special Studies Visionary Poetry
ENG 200 Public Speaking as a Liberal Art
Study and practice of public speaking as grounded in the five rhetorical canons of invention, arrangement, style delivery and memory.
ENG 207 Shakespeare
Saint Marie, Katina
Students read, discuss, and critique Shakespeare’s early comedies and tragedies. Plays covered generally include (but are not limited to) A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV (Part One), Richard II, Henry V, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet. Weekly readings and occasional screenings of plays demand a considerable investment of time and effort, in addition to which students will be asked to compose critical essays of varying length, totaling at least 8-10 pages. The course introduces students to central questions in the study of dramatic art, as well as to issues pertaining more broadly to the study of literature in English. Students will leave the course having read extensively from the works of one of the major writers of the western tradition, and they will have acquired interpretive, analytical, and communication skills that will aid them in their future coursework in English and other disciplines. ENG 207 satisfies the university’s Group Requirement in the Arts and Letters category.
Gen Ed; Shakespeare
ENG 208 Shakespeare
Students read, discuss, and critique Shakespeare’s later comedies and tragedies. Plays covered in ENG 208 generally include (but are not limited to) Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, King Lear, Macbeth, Anthony and
Cleopatra, The Tempest, and Othello. Weekly readings and occasional screenings of plays demand a considerable investment of time and effort, in addition to which students will be asked to compose critical essays of varying length, totaling at least 8-10 pages. The course introduces students to central questions in the study of dramatic art, as well as to issues pertaining more broadly to the study of literature in English. Students will leave the course having read extensively from the works of one of the major writers of the western tradition, and they will have acquired interpretive, analytical, and communication skills that will aid them in their future coursework in English and other disciplines. ENG 208 satisfies the university’s Group Requirement in the Arts and Letters category.
Gen Ed; Shakespeare
ENG 222 Introduction to the English Major
This is the third in a three-course sequence introducing English majors to the discipline of literary studies and British and American literature in historical perspective. Most of our reading will focus on canonical literary figures and texts, though we will also consider some lesser known authors and works. The course will continue to acquaint students with key literary and critical terminology as well as various methods and modes of literary history, criticism, and theory. The third term covers the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, beginning with Romanticism and ending at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
ENG 225 The Age of Arthur
Many people stereotype the Middle Ages as a time of bad hygiene and senseless violence interspersed with the colorful pageantry of knights and ladies. In “The Age of Arthur” we will read an assortment of literary genres to explore the rich variety of medieval life and thought related to three important questions: First, Can love be owed? Medieval social order was held together by vows of loyalty between lords and vassals and husbands and wives. But if love must be freely given, then love that is vowed is not love. Stories about Lancelot, King Arthur’s best knight and Queen Guinevere’s lover, wrestle with the question of whether the highest form of love must be freely given, or if it’s better to dutifully fulfill one’s vows. Second, Are there limits to obedience? Authors such as Chaucer and Christine de Pizan present the challenging story of Patient Griselda, who was cruelly tested in her obedience to her husband, to consider what the value of obedience is and what its limitations are. Does a wife obey differently than a subject? Is obedience in human relationships different than the obedience humans owe God? Finally, Can language be used to talk about the unknowable? Late medieval mystics such as Julian of Norwich stretch the limits of language as they try to find ways to talk about not what isn’t known, but what can’t be known. Can anything true be said about God? Can we know the truth of another person’s experience?
Gen Ed; Elective
ENG 241 Introduction to African American Literature
This course is a survey of writings by African American authors. Studying fiction, essays, and poetry, we’ll close read representative texts to identify formal and thematic elements that characterize the African American literary tradition. We will consider how these works exemplify and complicate lived and literary identities. In other words, how do these texts fit into or defy ideas about race, gender, and class on the one hand and classifications of genre, period, and literary style on the other. We’ll study relationships among these works to uncover how they reflect on, depend on, or revise one another. We will also look for relationships between these works and other art forms, such as blues, jazz, folklore, and visual arts. The goal of this course is to help you engage with African American literature, improving your writing, reading, and critical thinking skills in the process.
Gen Ed; Multicultural; Elective
ENG 242 Introduction to Asian American Literature
This class explores the role of literature in shaping the “modern” world and how we live in it, with an emphasis on the historical formation of Asian America and self-identified Asian American perspectives. In general, this course will guide you to understand better what race is, and what role the production of race plays in struggles over political and economic power in U.S. history.
Gen Ed; Multicultural; Elective
ENG 244 Introduction to Native American Literature
In 1968, Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for American literature. Momaday’s award signaled for many the “arrival” of Native authors to the American literary scene, and ushered in an unprecedented era of Native literary production widely known as the Native American Renaissance. While the explosion of Native writing and the critical tradition that emerged from it carved out much needed cultural and institutional spaces for Native self-representation and Native Studies, it had the unintended effect of privileging contemporary Native novels over writing from other periods and across a variety of genres and forms. This introductory survey of Native American literature widens the net to include an array of native self-representation across genres, regions, periods, forms and tribal nations. We will read cultural critiques and policy debates alongside short stories and novels, as well as juxtapose drama and short films alongside YouTube videos, op-eds, and other media.
Gen Ed; Multicultural; Elective
ENG 260 Media Aesthetics
This course aims to develop your media literacy by providing you with a precise set of critical tools for analyzing moving image texts. Although our primary focus will be on the formal analysis of image and sound rather than media history or social issues, we will study the interplay between artistic and social conventions and the role of ideology in shaping the meaning of media texts. We will view and critique numerous film and television clips, as well as several feature-length films. Online group projects will enable students to shape course content by choosing media clips that illustrate concepts covered by readings and lectures. While not oriented toward the technical or industrial aspects of media productions, the course builds skills that are beneficial to both media producers and consumers.
ENG 267 History of the Motion Picture
This course together with 266 & 267 forms a chronological survey of the evolution of cinema as an institution and an art form. The courses can be taken individually or as parts of an integrated sequence.
Gen Ed; Elective
ENG 300 Introduction to Literary Criticism
Various techniques and approaches to literary criticism (e.g., historical, feminist, formalist, deconstructionist, Freudian, Marxist, semiotic) and their applications.
ENG 316 Women Writers’ Forms: African American Women’s Novels (College Scholars)
In this course, we will examine formal strategies and thematic concerns of African American women’s novels from the late 19th century to the present. Using close reading and historical context, we will consider how these novels construct race, class, and gender; the possibilities and limits of the novel form; whether and how these texts engage with Black Nationalism, Civil Rights, Black Power, Feminism, and other political movements; how these novels envision home, community, and nation; and, finally, whether these novels are part of a distinct tradition of African American women’s writing. The goal of this course is to help you engage with African American literature, improving your writing, reading, and critical thinking skills in the process. This class requires substantial reading and writing and vigorous participation.
FEW; 1789+; Multicultural
ENG 316 Women’s Cross Cultural Narratives
This course explores the “contact zone” of eighteenth-century women writers’ fictional and real-life encounters among cultures more or less unfamiliar to them. Using a variety of feminist and postcolonial theoretical texts, we will examine how women’s novels, autobiographical narratives, and travel literature construct representations of self and interactions with national/ethnic others. A wide range of dynamic female figures will emerge during our reading, including intrepid explorers, captives, and the Gothic heroine bent on making the most of her enforced travels. We will begin with a collection of women’s captivity narratives, which display both resistance to captivity, and female captives’ acculturation and acceptance of Native American lifestyles. We will read Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s letters from her travels in Turkey, along with two novels that offer a range of fictional and rhetorical positions: the anonymous The Female American and Radcliffe’s Gothic novel, The Italian.
1500+, FEW, Multicultural
ENG 321 English Novel
The 18th century ushered in a new form of literature in England: the novel. Novels took various forms, including the epistolary novel, the picaresque novel, the gothic novel, and the novel of manners. As we study examples of these novels by some of the most influential authors of the day, we will discuss how the culture of the time shaped the literature, and we will tackle the problem of creating a working definition for a genre that—from its very beginnings—was anti-conventional and diverse.
Gen Ed; 1500-1789
ENG 322 English Novel
British novel from Jane Austen to Oscar Wilde. May include authors such as Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Charles Dickens.
Gen Ed; 1789+
ENG 330 Oral Controversy and Advocacy
In-depth study of the habits of research, reasoning, selection, and presentation necessary for ethical and effective oral advocacy on contested topics. Not open to freshmen. Prereq: WR 122 or equivalent.
Gen Ed; Elective
ENG 362 Asian American Writers
What makes a writer or text “Asian American”? Is it the ethnicity of the author? The characters? The plot? (And what exactly would an “Asian American” plot look like?) In this course, we will consider how the Asian American canon has been defined through and against those texts and genres who defy, reject, or fail to “count” as what is conventionally understood as “Asian America.” Readings will include graphic fiction by Gene Yang, short stories by David Wong Louie and Ted Chiang, and “forgotten” novels by Jade Snow Wong and Hiroshi Nakamura.
FEW; 1789+; Multicultural
ENG 380 Film Media, and History
ENG 380 looks at the history of the American film and media industry not just as the sum of its products (i.e., films designed for mass consumption), but also as a complex cultural, economic and aesthetic system that produced complex cultural products. Although literature, for example, also consists of products (of various publishers, authors who write for a living, etc.), it is not an industrial art form on the scale that motion pictures are. From early in its history, Hollywood dominated, and continues to dominate, the world in a way in which no other cultural producer has dominated an industry or art form. This course is about the Hollywood film and its relationship with the American film industry, and about the ways in which Hollywood has historically responded to challenges, whether global, social, cultural or technological. In order to more fully understand the relationship between Hollywood, American culture and its films, this course will emphasize viewing, discussion and analysis. ENG 380 satisfies the Arts and Letters group requirement by actively engaging students in the ways the discipline of film and media studies has been defined by historical inquiry. By examining specific works of American film and media within the historical context of their original production and reception over time, the course will enable students to engage with major issues within the field, including star studies, technology, and censorship.
Gen Ed; Elective
ENG 391 American Novel
This course is designed to develop appreciation and understanding of the American novel by tracing its 19th century development. The novels we will read include examples of the historical novel, the sentimental novel, the novel of manners, regionalism and realism. We will explore the 19th century roots of the American novel in relation to their historical contexts, such as the public and political demand for a uniquely American literature, and the American novel’s role in propagating and critiquing belief in manifest destiny. We will examine each novel to explore how it fosters or complicates American identity and how it addresses and/or suppresses national sins. Brief lectures and supplementary in-class readings will be used to provide background about each author’s larger work and a sense of the central concerns and controversies surrounding each novel, while our class discussions will be geared to develop confidence in your ability to develop and convincingly support your interpretations.
Gen Ed; 1789+
ENG 399 Crime Noir
O’ Kelly, Brendan
This class will focus on crime noir, a somewhat loosely defined genre of fiction, comic, and film . Unlike detective fiction and film, hardboiled crime noir centers on criminal protagonists, often of the “career” variety. Tracing the trajectory of such a genre from its inception in 1920s hardboiled crime fiction through the 20th century and into the present reveals the philosophical stances, the cultural and social prejudices, and the economic and historic contexts from which the texts and films emerge. We will explore the formal and structural spectrum of crime noir through a wide range of novels, films, and graphic texts. Works we’ll study could include, for instance : foundational hardboiled novels by writers such as Dashell Hammett and Paul Cain, midcentury noirs from Dorothy B. Hughes, Horace McCoy, and Jim Thompson, and contemporary crime fiction from James Ellroy; classic film noir from directors including Anthony Mann, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick, 1970s films from directors such as Gordon Parks Jr. and Sam Peckinpah, and abstractly stylized contemporary crime films from directors such as Michael Mann and Nicolas Winding Refn; graphic texts ranging from Drake Waller’s 1950 “picture novel” It Rhymes with Lust to Frank Miller’s neo-noir Sin City, and the recent turn to crime noir in works such as Max Allan Collins’ Road to Perdition and Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip’s Criminal.
ENG 399 Special Studies: Cinema & Ireland
From the earliest days of cinema, flickering images of Ireland’s distinctive landscapes and rich history have fired the imaginations of filmmakers and audiences. Irish culture, language, and myth have continued to lend a distinctly Irish “accent” to a wide variety of cinematic genres ever since. This course will explore the roles that Ireland and Irishness have played in the development of cinematic history and narrative form while simultaneously considering how cinema has shaped modern Irish culture and Irish people’s understanding of themselves and their history.
Moving from the pioneers of cinema’s silent age and the early development of feature-length films through the advent of sound film and the rise of Hollywood’s celebrated “Golden Age,” the first part of the course will explore how a consideration of Ireland’s early screen portrayals can help bring the contours of cinema’s evolving narrative forms into sharper focus. We will pay particular attention to the “O’Kalems” whose Irish films proved blockbuster hits for New York’s KLM studio in the 1910s and to the work of John Ford, still regarded as one of Hollywood’s greatest directors. In addition to examining early examples of the comedy, thriller, and melodrama genres, we will explore Ireland’s role in the birth of documentary cinema. Tracing initiatives to develop a native Irish cinema from the 1920s onwards, we will also grapple with the complexities posed by the project of developing and sustaining a national cinema—especially in a small country and a de-colonizing culture like Ireland’s.
In the second half of the course, we will examine cinematic treatments of Irish topics from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and reflect on the ways they help to narrate Ireland’s move from a sentimentalized realm of “tradition” to a globalized modernity. Considering genres as diverse as the biopic, romantic comedy, gangster movie, documentary, “band movie” and period film, we will focus especially on films dealing with the politics and violence of “the Troubles” of Northern Ireland, the historical drama of the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, and the wrenching cultural and social shifts accompanying Ireland’s rapid modernization in the late twentieth century. Looking at the work of American and British filmmakers alongside a range of Irish directors such as Jim Sheridan, Neil Jordan, Leila Doolin, Bob Quinn, Pat Murphy, Frank Stapleton, Margo Harkin, Johnny Gogan, Gerry Stembridge, Nicky Gogan, and Risteárd Ó Domhnaill, we will discuss the ways that contemporary cinema frames Ireland as a site where a global popular culture is at once proclaimed and contested.
ENG 399 Special Studies: Life Stories
Life Stories brings together University of Oregon students and people with disabilities in the community to interview each other about their lives and craft a public theater performance from these life stories. The class will meet at Reality Kitchen, from March 28-May 23. UO Students will travel there together in a group. No theater background required. We welcome students who use ASL or computers to communicate or require other accommodations and assistance.
ENG 407 Creating Comics
Taught by nationally syndicated cartoonist, Jan Eliot — the creator of Stone Soup. Ms. Eliot will guide you through the design, development, and production of your own strip or comic, and offer guidance on how to pitch your work to publishers and cartoon syndicates. The class will also feature guest appearances by some prominent figures from the world of professional cartooning.
ENG 407 St Louis Seminar: W.B. Yeats & Seamus Heaney
W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney rank amongst the most influential, wide-ranging, and prolific poets working in the English language over the past century. Both were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (Yeats in 1923; Heaney in 1995) in recognition of the enduring and widespread impact of their writing. Both were principal heirs of the poetic legacy of British Romanticism and worked to reinterpret that legacy amidst the shifting contexts of key moments in twentieth-century (and, for Heaney, twenty-first-century) literary and cultural history. Both produced major poetic reflections on the revolutionary movements and violent unrest that marked their eras. Both lived and wrote primarily in Ireland and saw their work as contributing to the development of an Irish national literature that would come to be known as one of the most important literary traditions in the modern period.
This course will explore a wide selection of Yeats’s and Heaney’s writing to trace the development of their poetic visions over their long careers and consider the ways that their aesthetics intertwine and diverge. As part of that exploration, we will examine how Yeats’s poetry is shaped by Victorian literary culture and the project of the Irish Literary Revival and consider how it continues to unfold against the backdrop of World War I, the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, and the rise of transatlantic modernism. While being mindful of the ongoing influence of Yeats for Heaney, we will also reflect on the impact of the mid-twentieth century Movement poets and the Belfast Group of which Heaney was a part while also considering his involvement in the Field Day collective and his roles as poetic interpreter and leading public intellectual responding to the decades of urban guerilla warfare known as the Northern Ireland “Troubles.” Our ongoing project during the class will be to distill the key features that made both poets such crucial figures for twentieth-century literature and to consider the light that each sheds on the complex interplay of art and politics at moments of historical crisis.
ENG 410/510 “ ‘The Banality of Evil’: ‘A Literary Investigation’ ”
We live in a neoliberal world order in which “liberty” has been radically redefined. This class is an exploration of individual liberty and the institutions that (dis)avow it. By alluding to Hannah Arendt and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn together, combining the titular suggestion of The Origin of Totalitarianism with The Gulag Archipelago, I have at once framed our investigation of liberty’s history in liberal and illiberal societies of the 20th century, and paved way for our scrutiny of liberty’s mutation in contemporary neoliberalism.
The class interweaves philosophical and literary writings. We shall begin with selections from Arendt and Michel Foucault (the earlier Discipline and Punish and the later The Birth of Biopolitics) and proceed with Franz Kafka’s The Trial, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In the second half of the term we shall read novels that exclusively interrogate the theory and practice of “liberty” within the academy. A provisional list looks something like this: Bernard Malamud, A New Life, Philip Roth, The Human Stain, J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace. Other critical texts we shall consult with but not read in full may include, Wendy Brown, Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire, Sianne Ngai, Ugly Feelings, and Svetlana Boym, Another Freedom: The Alternative History of an Idea.
ENG 412 Literary Editing
In the Literary Editing seminar we will explore the principles and practice of editing contemporary literature. Students will form editorial groups, read and evaluate submissions, and engage in the critical discussion of works being considered for publication. Each week will feature an editing roundtable with a visiting author, editor, agent, or publisher. We will develop over the course of the term viable methods of evaluation, and apply those methods to the hands-on editing of poetry and fiction. The students will acquire professional skills in editing and publishing, critical thinking, and consensus-building.
ENG 413 Theories of Literacy
Approaches to literacy through literary theory, rhetoric, and cultural studies. Examines issues involved with school and community literacy.
ENG 425 Medieval Romance
This course offers students an exploration of a narrative genre that eventually gives rise to the novel, to fantasy literature, and even to science fiction narrative. The genre of Medieval Romance is usually (but not exclusively) a genre focused on a quest narrative, the development of the self, and the relationship of individual to community (or family). Transgressions of all kinds form common key elements in medieval romance narrative. Love stories are common, but so are stories of adventure, stories of identity development, and stories that read sometimes like very moral, saintly endurance narratives. Readings will be primarily in Middle English, though the most difficult (whether in Middle English or Anglo-Norman) will be read in translation. Requirements include: attendance, participation, quizzes, 2 papers, final exam.
ENG 427 Chaucer
Close textual study of selected Canterbury Tales in Middle English; instruction in the grammar and pronunciation of Chaucer’s language.
ENG 430 Old English Genesis
Study of Beowulf or works by other major Old English authors in the original language.
ENG 434 Spenser
Spenser claims the goal of his epic, The Faerie Queene, is “to fashion a gentleman”—that is, to make a person from a poem. How does reading shape life outside reading, and what would it mean to think of reading as an exercise in self-creation? The Faerie Queene explores these questions through its knightly protagonists, including an inexperienced young man destined to become St. George, and Britomart, who searches for a lover she has met only in a dream. Reading forms an integral component of these knight’s quests as they strive to interpret the illusions of a shape-shifting wizard, the enigmatic words of speaking trees, and the actions of living embodiments of virtues and passions. The knights practice reading alongside other arts of existence, including exercise, diet, meditation, and courtly love. These practices of self-creation have implications for issues of gender, sexuality, social agency, and the human relation to the non-human world that this course will explore. Over the course of the semester, students will complete weekly writing assignments, an in-class presentation, and a final paper.
ENG 436 Advanced Shakespeare
When Shakespeare’s villainous Iago declares, “I am not what I am,” he raises a host of questions about selfhood that run throughout Shakespeare’s plays: what is the relation between the performance of social identity and one’s sense of inner self? Is the self something permanent and essential or transitory and created? What power dynamics are at play when one asks or answers the question, “Who are you?” How do these answers change depending on one’s social status? In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, critics praised Shakespeare’s ability to create characters with rich inner lives. More recently, critics have drawn on Shakespeare’s works to articulate theories of the self as socially fabricated, split by lines of race and gender, unraveled by desire, or closely tied to the material and non-human world. In this course, we will read Shakespeare’s plays in conversation with critical treatments of selfhood developed from reading Shakespeare. Students will complete short writing assignments throughout the semester, an in-class presentation, and a final paper.
ENG 451\551 Topic: 19th Century Studies Digital Literature
This course unites the study of 19-century travel diaries with contemporary digital technology. We’ll begin by reading a selection of diaries and journals from the Atlantic world, written during a period when British debates about the slave trade (abolished in 1809) and slavery (abolished in the British Empire in 1833) were widely contested in private and public arenas. We’ll consider how diaries and journals–or forms of life writing–engage with or represent period concerns about slavery, human rights, national identity, race, and religion. At the same time, we’ll use digital technology and basic programming languages to analyze the course texts. Along these lines, we’ll create a number of digital visualizations to help us analyze by seeing the worlds these texts represent. From there we’ll create our own digital edition of an unpublished travel diary written by an English merchant, Abraham Septimus Lyon, on his journey to Jamaica. The class will collaboratively create and publish a digital edition of Lyon’s text, drawing from our studies of life writing, travel writing, digital literature, and the cultural contexts that shape and were shaped by travel diaries in this period. The final edition of the journal will draw from the class’s collaborative thinking about how, why, and when to represent rare primary materials in digital form. This course requires no technical expertise, but you should be willing to experiment with digital tools, to work collaboratively with other students, and to engage creatively with digital methods of literary analysis.
ENG 479 Major Authors: Aphra Behn
The late seventeenth-century (1650-1700) was a watershed moment in British literary and cultural history, a bridge between the early modern world and the modern era. In this course we will study this moment in British literary history through examination of the career and writing of Aphra Behn, one of the most exciting, influential, and overlooked writers. We will look at Behn’s life and works as well as those of some of the women writers who followed her. We will consider Behn’s prominence in the theatre of her time, her invention of the English novel, her significance as a translator, and her exploration of changing conceptions of sexuality and gender, particularly as women took up the forms of literary expression. We will consider important works of poetry, prose, and drama. Work for the course will include a midterm exam, a reading journal, a presentation, and a final project.
ENG 480 Modern American Superheroes
In this class we will map the path of the American comic book superhero and explore the ways in which that journey reflects larger processes of social change. We will consider these superheroes not only as expressions of an ancient mythic heroic tradition, but also as distinctly “modern” creations, whose origins and adventures reflect the tumultuous epistemic and political transformations of the 20th century. We will also analyze several key examples of this popular comic-book genre in aesthetic terms, regarding them as expressions of a misunderstood and under-appreciated art form, as uniquely American as Jazz. Together we will try to formulate a critical vocabulary to discuss this remarkable artistic legacy. Finally, we will make an effort to understand better the ongoing imaginative appeal of the costumed crime-fighter — an appeal that can apparently overlap significant distinctions of age, gender, nation, and culture, and which no amount of silliness or cynicism seems quite able to dispel.
ENG 488 Native American Literature & Film
There is perhaps no image more widely recognized yet more grossly misunderstood in American popular culture than the “Indian.” Represented as everything from irredeemable savages and impediments to progress to idealized possessors of primitive innocence and arbiters of new-age spiritualism, “the Indian” stands as an anachronistic relic of a bygone era whose sacrifice on the altar of modernity and progress, while perhaps tragic, is both inevitable and necessary to the maintenance of narratives of US exceptionalism and political legitimacy in the Americas. Though such images have a long history in a variety of discursive forms, the emergence of cinematic technologies in the early twentieth century and the explosion of film production and distribution in the ensuing decades solidified the Noble Savage/Vanishing American as indelible, if contradictory, threads in the fabric of the US national story.
Of course, the Reel Indians produced by Hollywood say very little about Real Native peoples who not only refuse to vanish but who consistently reject their prescribed roles in the US national imaginary, insisting instead on rights to rhetorical and representational sovereignty. Through a juxtaposition of literary, critical, and cinematic texts, the first half of the course will explore the construction of “Reel Indians” from early ethnographic documentaries and Hollywood Westerns to their recuperation as countercultural anti-heroes in the 60s, 70s and 80s. The last half of the course will examine the various ways in which Native-produced films of the late 1990s to the present contest—if not outright refuse!—narrative, generic, and representational constructions of “the white man’s Indian” on the way to imagining more complex possibilities for “Real Indians” in the twenty-first century.
ENG 491 Rhetoric and Ethics
Investigation of historical and contemporary theories of ethical rhetoric in both written and oral arguments. Prereq: WR 122 or equivalent.
WR 320 Scientific & Technical Writing
WR 320 emphasizes the content, form, and style of scientific, professional, and technical writing, including reports, proposals, instructions, correspondence, and the use of graphics and documentation. Students will learn the conventions of discourse in these areas and how they result from different kinds of scientific and technical modes of inquiry. Students will apply this awareness to writing in academic as well as vocational contexts. Prereq: Completion of the University Writing Requirement and upper-division standing.
WR 321 Business Communication
WR 321 offers practice in writing and analyzing communication common to business, industry, and related professions. Students will develop a critical awareness of the conventions of discourse in these areas and how they result from interpersonal and organizational contexts encountered in these fields. As aspects of such business writing conventions, this course pays close attention to logical development and stylistic and format choices. The knowledge gained is applicable to academic as well as vocational situations. Prereq: Completion of the University Writing Requirement and upper-division standing.
WR 423 Advanced Composition
Emphasis on critical thinking skills and rhetorical strategies for advanced written reasoning in different academic disciplines. Prereq: completion of UO writing requirement; junior standing.
FLR 255 Folklore & US Popular Culture
Introduces students to the theories and methods used in the study of folklore and popular culture; examines a diversity of approaches to the description and analysis of “common culture,” including popular narratives, legends, rituals, ethnic and gender stereotypes, carnivalesque events, fan cultures, subcultures, DIY, and the commodification of youth culture. Special focus on the ways that folklore and popular culture reflect and shape dominant ideologies, and how people may use mass cultural products to create new, personal, and sometimes subversive meanings.
Gen Ed; Multicultural; Elective
FLR 320 Car Cultures
Examines car customizing and tuning as forms of vernacular art; studies the environmental impacts of automobiles, the history of the industry, and the peculiarities of drivers’ behavior. Offered alternate years.
FLRP, A&L, Meets Fieldwork Requirement
Gen Ed: FEW
FLR 410 Oral Traditions in Ancient & Medieval Culture
In this course we’ll explore the old and new examples of the oldest form of literature —literature composed, told, and transmitted orally. We’ll look at examples ranging from the Odyssey, Beowulf, and the medieval Irish epic, The Táin, to fairy tales, jokes, and urban legends. In these we’ll examine the ways memory and cognition shape form and narrative, and how oral literature has been used for thousands of years to enlighten, communicate, and entertain.
FLR 416 African Folklore
This course investigates a variety of expressive forms practiced by different groups of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa. We will examine the folklore (oral narratives, songs, popular music, dance, and tourist art) of specific groups to explore issues of aesthetics, identity, politics, gender, class, and globalization.
ES 440 Race, Literature & Culture: Black Power/Brown Power
Examines race, literature, and culture from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Creative Writing course descriptions can be found at http://pages.uoregon.edu/crwrweb/courses/.