Undergraduate Courses, Summer 2008

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for official class times and locations and an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Upper Division (3000–4000) Courses, Summer Sessions A & B

Note: Only course descriptions are listed below. For a comprehensive summary of course numbers, sections, times and locations, titles, and instructors, see the following web page:

AML 4242

Twentieth-Century American Literature: Fiction of the 1960s

Andrew Gordon

Description: Reading of selected novels and stories from the American 1960s, with the aim of understanding the works in their historical and cultural context. We will take into account such historical factors as the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the feminist movement, and the New Left, and such literary movements as metafiction and the New Journalism.




AML 4311

Philip Roth

Peter Rudnytsky

This course will focus on a sequence of major works by Philip Roth – Portnoy’s Complaint, My Life as a Man, Zuckerman Unbound, The Facts, and Operation Shylock. We will examine issues of Jewish identity, masculinity, Roth’s use of narrative personae, and the interplay between fact and fiction in his novels. Ancillary readings will include an article by Roth’s psychoanalyst, Hans J. Kleinschmidt, and portions of the memoir by his ex-second wife, Claire Bloom. Course requirements are a midterm, a final, and one five-page paper. Regular attendance and active participation in class discussions are also expected.


AML 4685

Representations of Black Athletes in African American Literature and Culture

LaMonda Horton Stallings

In this course, we will read literary fiction and prose, as well as popular fiction, films, and other popular culture texts, to examine the political and popular representations of Black athletes and their bodies in U.S. society and culture. We will reflect upon issues of othering, eugenics and scientific racism, intelligence, humanitarian ideals, commercial success, political empowerment stereotypes, masculinity, femininity, heterosexuality, and homosexuality, as well as racial and class differences.


ENC 3312

Advanced Argumentation

Sid Dobrin

This course focuses on making arguments; in particular, it addresses writing arguments. We will examine rhetorical argumentative structures and theories, ranging from classical to contemporary rhetoric, including visual rhetoric. We will consider how we read arguments, but in service of better developing strategies for writing our own arguments. We will spend a substantial amount of the semester specifically considering the role of new media technologies and visual culture in making written arguments. We will also write a lot and talk about our writing a lot.

There are no textbooks to purchase for this class; all required reading will be available on-line or will be provided in class.


ENG 4333


Robert Thomson

This course will involve a close study of many of the major works of the dramatist excluding the poems. The emphasis will be laid upon the problem stating/solving/mediating nature of the dramas. This will necessitate a close reading of the texts – a recognition of the dramatic and verbal ironies that abound close attention to the paradoxes and ambiguities which motivate the actions and the stark oppositions which are continually reiterated.

We will be lead into a contextual study of both the world within and the world without the Elizabethan/Jacobean theatre, with its apparent concern for an orderliness. This latter, it appears, eventually leads to doubts and confusions as the new century’s learning questions and undermines the values and socio-political/religious assumptions of its society. We may come to appreciate how these great plays still speak to us with immediacy after a span of some four hundred years.

This, however, is not the best of circumstances – we are covering the complete works of England’s greatest dramatist in six weeks! And so we will amend the reading schedule to throw the emphasis upon five plays but at the same time not neglect altogether a further five plays. As far as it is possible in the dynamics of a course such as this, I intend to cover the syllabus as scheduled below. I recommend that you purchase the text I have suggested since its notes, introductions and bibliographical apparatus are, in my opinion, as good as you are likely to find in a single volume text. It is the text to which all my references will be keyed.

The text for the course is The Norton Shakespeare edited by Stephen Greenblatt and others. It is in stock at Goering’s Bookstore. Any recent and annotated text would suffice but since I will be giving references to the texts in the above edition and occasionally referring to its introductory essays and bibliographies, it would be perhaps more prudent to use the recommended text. Throughout the course of the semester I will draw your attention to particularly noteworthy essays and critical studies from the lists given by Greenblatt in his text. My intention is not simply to display my own preferences and prejudices but also to let you know where much of the substance of my discussions of the plays comes from. In addition I will frequently offer you recommended readings of recent criticism that has been published since our text went to press, particularly those arising from new historicist, feminist, psychological and anthropological approaches to the texts. I will also take it upon myself to advise you of the more useful Web sites I have encountered, particularly those that offer bibliographical, critical and explicatory information.



LIN 3680

Modern English Structure

Roger Thompson

In this class we survey English grammar based on principles of descriptive rather than prescriptive grammar. In other words, how do we actually use English rather than how does some authority say we should use English. This is a core course in the undergraduate minor for Teaching English as a Second Language. Grades are based on  grammar quizzes, a teaching presentation, and participation in the conversation partner program at the English Language Institute, an intensive English program for international students. For more information go to <http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/rthompso/3680f06.html>.

We will not meet the first week of class as the professor will be out of town.


LIT 3041

Studies in Drama: Shakespeare, Stoppard, Pinter, and Beckett

Sidney Homan

We will use Shakespeare and modern playwrights as mirrors for each other as we explore theatre as performance rather than as literature. What is the role of the actor, the director, the audience as they enact or witness the playwright’s work? Is the play the exclusive property of the playwright, or does the actor through the use of sub-text, the director in devising his or her concept for the production, the audience as they filter the performance through their own lives – do they also serve as “authors”?

Since I work both on campus and in the theatre, as an actor and director, and since the theatre itself is a unique medium with its own aesthetic principles, I approach the plays, with my students, and as a fellow “student,” as something meant to be performed by an actor and ratified by an audience. In my courses each student has a scene partner with whom he or she stages several scenes each semester. Once performed, the class and I, as co-directors, “work” that scene with the two actors, trying out options, rehearsing it. This is a challenge, to be sure, but students, no matter what their background, should have no anxiety about doing things this way for, historically in my courses, Mechanical Engineering majors have done no worse than Theatre students who have done no better than those working in English or Anthropology.  The emphasis, therefore, is on learning by doing, and I judge student work by intent, what goes into the performance – not by finesse. If there is finesse, that is considered a bonus.

We will focus on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Harold Pinter’s Old Times, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.  But, to establish a larger context, we will also perform and hence study other works by these four playwrights. Students will be graded on their scene work and a paper at the end, assessing their work onstage.


LIT 4331

Children’s Literature

John Cech

Children’s literature has become, in recent years, one of the most dynamic areas of publishing and media production. Currently, one of the wealthiest people in the world is a writer of children’s books, and each year films drawn from stories for children or adolescents are among the biggest box office hits. There is even a television channel devoted to the entertainment of infants and toddlers. Children’s literature has, of course, been with us from the beginning and is the oldest and first form of literature that we experience. This course is meant to take you on a journey through this essential part of our literature – its history, genres, major figures, and some of its more familiar and celebrated works.


LIT 4535

Women and Popular Culture: Women of the Space Age

Stephanie Smith

From the moment Russia, the former Soviet Union, launched a small satellite named “Sputnik,” in October of 1957, America found itself in a “space-race” with its former WWII ally. Of course, America and the Soviet Union had been locked into a “Cold War” for some time by 1956, but once Sputnik orbited the earth, sending signals home, the two nations engaged in a “space race” to see which nation could reach the moon first. And thus from 1957 until the last man left the moon in 1972, American popular culture became deeply effected by what we now call the Space Age. Of course imagining a “trip to the moon,” is a very old story; but once America decided to put all of its resources into actually going, popular culture followed suit. In this course we will re-examine the popular culture of the Space Age with a particular eye on how women were – and were not – imagined as part of that Age.

We will use a variety of text and media in order to construct a “space-age mythology,” using Roland Barthes’s Mythologies, written during these years, as a written model for understanding how popular culture both constructs and comments upon historical events.

Requirements include a mid-term test and a final project.

Unit Schedule:

  1. Sputnik Years, 1957–1962
  2. Fly Me to the Moon, 1963–68
  3. Lost In Space: The End of an Era, 1969–72


AML 3041

American Literature II: Ends of Worlds

Eric Doise

In this course, we will examine apocalyptic texts throughout American literature after the Civil War. First, we will examine the various traditions and meanings of “apocalypse” in order to lay a theoretical base from which to proceed. From there, we will read and watch texts that respond to moments in American culture that elicited apocalyptic texts. These moments and concerns include, but are not limited to, the fin de siècle, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and 9/11.

Required texts are likely to include:

Requirements will include reading quizzes, reading responses, two critical essays, and at least one presentation.


AML 4242

Catastrophic Comedy: Tricksterism in Twentieth-Century American Literature & Culture

Matthew Feltman

Starting from Theodor W. Adorno’s “dictum,” “It is impossible to write poetry after Auschwitz,” this course will interrogate the question of laughter in American culture after catastrophic events. To reframe the argument within contemporary popular culture, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay provoked Amnesty International USA to publicly state, “Guantanamo is no joke.” Why would an American audience find atrocities a laughing matter? To enter this discussion, we will turn to the manifestations of the trickster figure mediating cultural turbulence. The trickster is the shape-shifting, mythic figure that overturns boundaries in order to resituate permissible borders. Delving into some of the major problems of American literature and history, this course will examine how American authors satirically redefine and recreate our relationship to catastrophes. What does the volatile nature of the trickster and historical trauma do to the American cultural imagination? How do these seemingly oppositional poles intersect to inform us about our past as well as propel us into ethical-political action?

Goals of this course include familiarizing yourself with contemporary issues in American literature, developing critical reading skills that help illuminate the elusive trickster, and constructing thoughtful and persuasive essays. Course requirements include one formal essay, weekly journal responses, and reading quizzes. In addition to short stories, poems, and films, possible texts include Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, Percival Everett’s Erasure, Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird, Don DeLillo’s White Noise, and Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex.


ENC 3310

Advanced Expository Writing

J.A. Rice

For the duration of this course, we will study writing not only as a pragmatic activity, but also as a rhetorical and epistemological situation. This means that in addition to those genres that have historically construed writing’s possibilities (to describe, to narrate, to inform, to argue, and so on), we will also delve into those notions and contexts that help intellectually construct the signifier writing. What does it mean to write? Is there only one way to write? What constitutes good writing? How have technological contexts, tools, and practices (word processing programs, collaborative tagging, blogs, wikis, etc.) fundamentally altered the way we write and think about writing?

Texts will most likely include:

Assignments will reflect the contingent contexts of both communication and course interests. Throughout the term, you will:

This will be a fast-paced course in which you will do a lot of writing and reading. I only ask that you engage seriously with the content and come to class ready to work.


ENL 3231

Age of Johnson

Brian McCrea

 Johnson’s life spanned the years 1709–1784. We will focus on his mid-century works and on the works of his later contemporaries Thomas Gray, William Collins, Christopher Smart, Frances Burney. We will study Johnson’s criticism of these writers to develop a sense of how he both fit into and rebelled against his age. As background for our study of Johnson, we will begin with selections from the poetry of Alexander Pope, then study the relationship between Johnson’s most famous poems and Pope’s work.

Students will write a final examination and will have the option of writing a long paper (10–15 pp.) on a topic of their choice or two shorter papers (5–6 pp.) on topics I suggest. Every class will open with students writing informally for 5 to 10 minutes on that day’s reading.  Class sessions will encourage discussion.

Johnson’s was a remarkable and well-documented life.  Boswell’s biography will offer a context for the works we are reading but also a chance to “meet” Johnson.


All these will available at Goering’s Bookcenter, 1717 NW 1st Avenue


ENL 3241

The Romantic Period

Carrie Bolte

While a British Romantics course often focuses on the study of the “major” canonical poets – Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats – British Romanticism is more than five male poets. This course will broaden our perspective of just who is “Romantic” by combining the study of poetry with the novels, travel narratives, and non-fiction of traditionally non-canonical (often female) writers. In addition to asking why these writers remain non-canonical and lesser-known, and how their work dovetails with the canonical work with which we are familiar, our quest will be to examine how the philosophies, political, social, and economic developments, and aesthetic movements of the Romantic period influenced and shaped the writing of this era.

Our texts will include a Romantic anthology and at least two novels, most likely chosen from the works of Ann Radcliffe and Jane Austen, as well as supplemental online readings. Active participation based on close and careful reading is expected; classes will be much more focused on discussion than lecture. Coursework will require one formal paper, weekly somewhat less formal but nonetheless argument-driven journal entries, reading quizzes, and a cumulative final exam.


ENL 3251

The Victorian Period

Sarah Bleakney

One of the goals of this course will be to understand the major cultural conversations occurring in Victorian Britain. Channeling these conversations through the fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction of the era, this class will engage these issues through in-class discussions and a variety of assignments. We will focus on a number of issues that were important to the Victorians and continue to be debated in our own time – such as gender roles, class conflicts, and degeneracy/decadence, amongst others – using the literary, cultural, and historical context of marriage and courtship as a framework.

Other goals of this course include becoming familiarized with a wide range of Victorian texts, learning how to read these texts critically, and constructing essays that are thoughtful and persuasive. In addition to a regular reading journal, assignments will also include quizzes and three papers.

In addition to short stories, poetry, and non-fiction, possible texts include:


ENL 4273

Twentieth-Century British Literature

R. Brandon Kershner

Texts (available at Goerings’ Bookstore):

Course Requirements: Since we are trying to survey one of the richest centuries in English literature in the course of six weeks, our pace will be rapid. The format is a combination of lecture and discussion; your discussion is important, so you will be allowed no more than three absences before being offered the choice of withdrawal or failure. If the class does not seem prepared during discussion, we will institute unannounced quizzes. A 3000-word essay is due at the beginning of the last week of class. In addition there will be a midterm examination  and a final examination, each combining objective and essay questions. The objective questions will include identification of quotations from the reading and information from the lectures. These three items will determine between eighty and ninety percent of your grade, with the remainder representing your contribution to class (a grade between A and C) and, if necessary, the quizzes.

Course Description: We will try to learn the general characteristics of “British literature” in the twentieth century (including the works of Irish and some other Commonwealth writers). About the first half of our study will involve major Modernist writers, such as Joyce and Woolf, and their immediate precursors, such as Conrad. The second half will investigate writers from the thirties through the end of the century, including a discussion of Postmodernism. We will look at works of fiction, drama, poetry, and the essay, although our stress will be upon prose fiction.


LIT 3041

Tudor/Stuart Drama – Formalism, Theory, & Acting

Horacio Sierra

This course will offer students a multifaceted, in-depth reading of five canonical English Renaissance plays of the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth century and one non-canonical, female-authored play from the English Restoration. Each play will be studied from three perspectives: a traditional close reading of language, rhetoric, and style that elucidates the playwright’s craftsmanship; a theoretical approach (feminism, Marxism, New Historicism, psychoanalysis, queer theory, etc.) that allows us to examine texts through critical lenses that highlight how each play simultaneously responds to the sociocultural context of its time period and reflects our own; and learning by doing – wherein students will become the experts of a play when they act out a scene from it in class.

Students will be responsible for two essays – one formal analysis of a play due at the end of the third week (about 1,500 words; 20% of final grade) and one research paper due at the end of the term. In addition there will be a number of oral and short writing assignments.

The six plays will be chosen from among the following ten before Summer B begins:

Required Text: