ENG313 201903 Undergraduate

Spring 2020
ENG 313
Applies To: 
Teen and Children's Literature

Elizabeth (Betsy) Wheeler

Elizabeth (Betsy) Wheeler profile picture
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Additional Title: Director, Disability Studies Minor
  • Phone: 541-346-3929
  • Office: 238 PLC
  • Office Hours: On leave FWS
Department Section Description: 

How do the genres of young adult and children’s literature operate as art forms, from picture books to young adult fantasy to graphic novels, science fiction, and ASL poetry? Drawing on UO Special Collections’ excellent holdings in children’s and young adult literature, ENG 313 students conduct original archival research into rare primary sources. We also analyze the interplay of fantasy and realism, words and pictures, as well as the intersections of identity categories like gender, ability, class, and race. ENG 313 enquires into the ethical and unethical ways adults treat children as well as children’s own development of decision-making skills. Drawing on the theoretical frameworks of disability studies, critical race theory, and environmental studies, the course focuses on issues like climate change, environmental racism, school inclusion of children with disabilities, the empowerment of young people from poor communities of color, and issues of violence and criminal justice that affect young people of color such as police killings and the school to prison pipeline. What definitions of childhood and maturity, family and community, appear in works of literature, and what do they tell us about a society’s ethics? Readings will include books like Julian is a Mermaid, My Papi Has a Motorcycle, The Hate You Give, George, Archival Quality, Darius the Great is Not Okay, Girls Like Us, and Afrofuturist science fiction from Nnedi Okorafor and Sherri Smith.


C-Literature 1789-Present

Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history.  Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.

F-Gender/Ability/Queer Studies/Sexuality

Gender, Ability, Queer Studies, and/or Sexuality courses focus on the ways that issues of sexuality, gender, queerness, and disability are represented, critiqued, and developed in media and literature.

English Minor

English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts.  The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.

Comics Studies Minor

Comics Studies Minor courses present students with an international, historical, and critical perspective on the art of editorial cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels, and how these forms communicate, inform, and emotionally engage their audiences.  Students will be required to think outside of accustomed disciplinary boundaries, and to analyze and experiment with the interaction of both visual and linguistic systems of meaning.

Disability Studies Minor

Disability Studies courses focus on how ableism (anti-disability prejudice) operates in different nations and how disability intersects with other forms of identity like gender, class, nationality, and race in complex and varied patterns.  Courses draw from fields like international development, health professions, design, sign language interpreting, education, and non-profit management.