ENG 110 – Introduction to Film & Media
People respond to movies in different ways, and there are many reasons for this. We have all stood in the lobby of a theater and heard conflicting opinions from people who have just seen the same film. Some loved it, some hated it, some found it just OK. Perhaps we’ve thought, “What do they know? Maybe they just don’t get it.” Disagreements and controversies, however, can reveal a great deal about the assumptions underlying these various responses. If we explore these assumptions, we can ask questions about how sound they are. Questioning our own assumptions, and those of others, is a good way to start thinking about movies. In this course, we will see that there are many productive ways of thinking about movies and many approaches we can use to analyze them. These approaches include the study of narrative structure, cinematic form, authorship, genre, stars, reception and categories of social identity. Overall, the goal of this course is to introduce you to the basic skills necessary for a critical knowledge of the movies as art and culture.
This course will satisfy the Arts and Letters group requirement because it introduces students to modes of inquiry that have defined the discipline of film studies. These include such diverse approaches as studying narrative structure, authorship, genre, and reception. By requiring students to analyze and interpret examples of film and media using these approaches, the course will promote open inquiry into cinematic texts and contexts from a variety of perspectives.
Gen Ed; Elective
ENG 245 – 20th Century Poetics and U.S. Social Movements (Top Intro Ethnic American Lit)
What can different approaches to poetics tell us about U.S. social movements to organize the meaning and goals of global democracy in the long twentieth century? How does the work of poetry shape, challenge, and/or distinguish itself from other forms of struggle to change the world?
Multicultural: Identity, Pluralism, Tolerance (IP); 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 – Topic: Women Writing Detective
Women’s writing in a particular genre or form (prose, fiction, drama, poetry, autobiography, folksong) examined in the context of current feminist literary theories. Repeatable when topic changes.
FEW; 1789+; Multicultural
ENG 325 – Literature of the Pacific Northwest
Survey of significant Pacific Northwest literature as set against the principles of literary regionalism. Offered alternate years.
ENG 392 – American Novel
ENG 392 is the second of two-part, upper division chronological survey of the American novel from its beginnings in the 19th century to the present. ENG 392 covers the period from the early 20th century to the present. No prerequisites are required, but students should be capable of advanced university-level work in literary studies. Although readings focus on a specific period, the course challenges students to locate American fiction within broadly conceived historical, social, and political contexts. As a concentrated survey of major American fiction, ENG 392 satisfies the university’s Group Requirement in the Arts and Letters category. The courses on the American novel, ENG 391 and 392, may be taken as a sequence or individually.
Gen Ed; 1789+
ENG 399 – Sp. St. Kesey
Intensive study of Kesey and his impact; includes reading from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sometimes a Great Notion, Demon Box, Jail Book, and the critics.
ENG 410/510 – Horror and Science Fiction Comics
The early 1950s was a period of social and political conservatism, anti-feminist backlash, and racial repression, all served up against a background of cold war paranoia. But EC bucked all these ideological trends in comics such as Tales From The Crypt, Weird Science, Frontline Combat, and Shocking Suspense Stories — anthologies of short stories in the Horror, SF, War and Crime genres. They offered anti-racist allegories, rebuked warmongers, critiqued the paranoid state, and challenged the patriarchal vision of matrimonial bliss with tales of jealousy, hypocrisy, and murder. EC comics were blatantly sensationalistic and violent, but they had a sense of humor and irony too — as would become apparent when the company launched a comic book called Mad in 1952 that parodied the genres and stories that were elsewhere their bread and butter. Publisher Bill Gaines encouraged his artists to draw in their own styles (rather than follow trends or try to create a “house” look) and the most talented artists in the history of American comics flocked to work for him: Wallace Wood, whose depictions of rocket-ships, star-scapes, and beautiful alien women shaped the youthful imaginations of such filmmakers as George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg; Johnny Craig, whose storytelling skills influenced a generation of subsequent creators, including Batman artist Frank Miller; Graham Ingels, whose horrific visions captivated the young Stephen King; and Harvey Kurtzman, the founder of Mad, and one of the greatest American satirists of the 20th century.
It was too good to last, of course. Politicians, parents, and educators alike recoiled in horror from what they saw in the comic books. EC titles were banned in schools and burned in bonfires, and in reaction the industry imposed stringent standards of self-censorship, until eventually Bill Gaines and his team found themselves unable to distribute their creations. Only Mad survived, by becoming a magazine and escaping the censors.
But the EC legacy has endured. For a generation of young readers, these comics hinted at a more exciting and less culturally repressive world; they became tokens of counter-cultural hipness, collected by such figures as Jerry Garcia and Ken Kesey, and cited as an influence by generations of writers, artists, filmmakers, and — of course — comics creators.
This class will therefore explore the creative ambition, political courage, and pop-cultural legacy of what was once regarded as a “trash” publisher of the 1950s.
Because our primary materials are comic books, we will spend a portion of our time thinking about what makes the comics form distinctive from other modes of representation, both in formal and cultural terms. We will also take advantage of the unique resource presented by the “Aliens, Monsters, and Madmen” exhibition that will be running concurrently at the JSMA; at least one assignment will be built around this unusual exhibition.
FLR 411 – Folklore & Religion
Explores the role of folklore in people’s religious lives with particular emphasis on narrative, beliefs, rituals, celebrations, pilgrimage, and ecstatic states.