Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2018

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

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:

Spring 2018, Upper Division

AML 3041

American Mourning: Tropes of Mourning in American Literature

Maurice Evers

This course explores how mourning the perpetual presence of death and loss—resultant from, for example, wars, epidemics and (un)natural disasters‐has transformed American literature since 1865. We will engage in close readings of our course texts, considering key social, political, cultural, racial, gendered and personal contexts to understand how and why writers use literature to respond to and communicate personal and national grief. We will also attend to the following questions: What does literary mourning look and feel like? What does it reveal to readers about loss, death, and by extension life, in an American context? How has literary mourning changed as modes of mourning respond to historical epochs or various phenomena? Furthermore, drawing on Judith Butler’s insights in Frames of War: When is Life Grievable?, we will ask what makes for a grievable (American) life.

Our course texts will draw from some of these writers: Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Michael S. Harper, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Muriel Rukeyser, Audre Lorde, Ariel Dorfman, Anne Michaels, Bobbie Ann Mason, Tim O’Brien, Melvin Dixon, Essex Hemphill, Leslie Marmon Silko, Sherman Alexie, Dionne Brand, Claudia Rankine, Jonathan Safran Foer, Aracelis Girmay, Ocean Vuong and Safia Elhillo. Course assignments will include short position papers, a midterm and a final essay

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AML 3605
Cross-listed with AFA 3930/sec. 159D

African American Literature I

Delia Steverson

This course is designed as an introductory survey of texts and discourses within the African American literary tradition. As we explore critical works within this tradition, from the earliest encounters with Black Africans in the New World to the Harlem Renaissance, we will frame our close textual readings and literary analyses within the context of critical movements and discourses in social, cultural, and literary history. We will be particularly engaged in examining the manner in which literary works and other forms of African American cultural production reveal and respond to social and cultural ideologies, especially those that impact constructions of difference and the formation of identity, subjectivity, and/or the notion of the self. In order to examine how African American identity is formed, we will also focus on the representations of African Americans in the media—this includes film, TV, music, art, and other creative forms. ​

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AML 3673
Cross-listed with AFA 3930/sec. 15CD

Asian American and African American Interactions

Malini Schueller

Ever since the category Asian-American emerged as a politicized identity in the 1960s, the major pedagogical imperative has been to study the literature and culture of this group on its own in order to legitimize the field itself and to understand its common histories and tropes. Similarly, African-American literature, affected by legacies of slavery and resistance, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights, has been conventionally seen as discrete and studied through different forms such as slave narratives, the literature of the Harlem Renaissance or that of the Black Arts movement. Yet from the very beginnings of major waves of Asian immigration, the two groups have been affected by and interacted with each other. At the same time African-American and revolutionary Asian politics have intersected in different historical periods. This course seeks to understand the nature of these exchanges through key theoretical readings on race, scholarship on these interrelationships, and literary and filmic expressions. Some of the questions we will attempt to grapple with will be the following: How do Asian-Americans see African-Americans and vice versa? What cultural characteristics and histories do they share? How have they been treated as minorities? What are their differences and how have they manifested themselves? What kinds of alliances have these groups created? How have both groups negotiated their Americanness? We will seek answers to these questions by dealing with issues of masculinity and nationalism, discourses such as Orientalism, the politics of anti-colonialism, events such as the LA riots, and cultural expressions such as hip hop. Ultimately the course stresses the importance of interethnic studies.

Required Texts

Course Requirements: regular attendance; oral presentation; pop quizzes; two papers.

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AML 4170

Race and Gender in Women’s Genre Fiction

Tace Hedrick

We will be reading across popular genres written both by women of color as well as white women, and aimed at women — mystery, romance, chick lit, paranormal romance, street novels, etc. — in order to look at the ways race and gender play roles in the arena of women’s popular culture. We will be reading critical feminist writing about popular women’s writing as well. Some of the texts we may read: Alisa Valdes’ Dirty Girls Social Club, M. Villatoro’s A Venom Beneath the Skin, Shelley Adina’s Lady of Devices, and the historical biracial romance movie Belle.

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AML 4242

Modern American Poetry

Marsha Bryant

This course has two key components: (1) a medley of poems by Robert Frost, Gertrude Stein, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, and Anne Sexton; (2) 1-2 collaborations with Design Studio students in UF’s School of Architecture. Solo assignments: a short paper, a final project, a parody. We’ll consider the poets’ lives and cultural contexts, the aesthetics of metropolis, the creative process, and the campus as a concept/space. We’ll also read some work on design.

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AML 4242

Politics & Comics

Margaret Galvan

This course considers how comics engage in politics starting from the post-World War II, Civil Rights era through the present day. From international geopolitics to grassroots activism, we will read comics that represent political issues through reportage, memoir, and direct action. We will often read about topics from multiple perspectives and styles, sometimes tracking how comics coverage has evolved over time. Topics may include: climate change, abortion rights, civil rights, international geopolitics, women’s rights, and others.

Course assignments will include digital reflections on a shared course website, a short formal essay, and a research project with a digital component.

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CRW 3110

Advanced Seminar in Fiction Writing

Chloe Lane

The primary goal of this course is to help you write fiction with more precision, depth, humor, and surprise than you might already. You will write two stories for workshop. You will polish one or both of these stories for your final submission. You will write a couple of short critical pieces where you will thoughtfully articulate some of the things you have learned—from assigned readings and our class discussions. You will also complete a handful of very short exercises that are designed to loosen you up, encourage you to take risks, and make sure you’re having fun with this.

Since careful and reflective reading is the best way to learn how to write, in addition to reading and critiquing your classmates’ stories, you will be assigned a substantial number of published readings most weeks. These will include stories and essays by Anton Chekhov, Alice Munro, Richard Ford, Cynthia Ozick, William Trevor, Anne Enright, Lydia Davis, Isak Dinesen, Mary Robison, Raymond Carver, ZZ Packer, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Wells Tower.

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CRW 3310

Verse Writing

Ange Mlinko

In this advanced poetry course, we will read a variety of modern American, British, and Canadian poems and use them as models to write our own poetry, which will be critiqued in class on the workshop model. Strong compositional skills are required, and a strong preference for formal play is recommended.

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CRW 4905

Advanced Seminar in Fiction Writing

Jill Ciment

This course is an advanced fiction workshop open to seniors only. Basically, it will be run in the ‘traditional’ workshop fashion with occasional lectures on structure, metaphor, plot, etc. Some writing exercises will be assigned at the beginning, but the primary emphasis is on self generated work. Each student will be expected to write two short stories, as well as complete a final draft of each.

Optimally, students will turn in stories that they have taken as far as they can on their own. The workshop should be a venue to test the waters, to try new things, to present first drafts as well as polished works, but ONLY after the writer has struggled with it to the nth degree. The idea is for students to rigorously challenge themselves. Everyone not presenting work should take their jobs as critics and editors as seriously as they take their own writing.

Required reading:

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CRW 4906

Writing the Sonnet

Ange Mlinko

This is a course in the pleasures of the sonnet. Beginning with contemporary Scottish poet Don Paterson’s Forty Sonnets, we will read a variety of modern variations before working backward through the history of the form in English, using Mikics and Burt’s The Art of the Sonnet and Phillis Levin’s The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English. In a spirit of experiment and play, all written work for the course will be in the form of sonnets.

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ENC 3310

Advanced Exposition: Digital Rhetoric

Madison Jones

Rhetorically, expository writing links to the Ancient Greek practice of ekphrasis, where writers sought to elucidate through the art of depiction. At that time writing was a newly evolving technology, and it posed distinct problems and possibilities for rhetoricians. Similarly, the advent of digital networks calls into question the ways we define writing and rhetoric today. Handheld and wearable technologies present discrete opportunities and obstacles. With this technological shift in mind, this course focuses on digital exposition as a rhetorical act. Through the tradition of exposition, students will define the exigencies facing writers in contemporary media environments by discussing and making digital texts.

Etymologically, exposition has roots in expōnĕre—meaning not only to explain and interpret but also to exhibit and display. Course readings will challenge students to consider how digital publishing changes the ways scholars research, compose, and circulate their work. Course assignments follow a project-based learning model. Students will track, collect, and visualize data on the circulation of digital artifacts; use emerging technologies and tools for composition (augmented reality, digital mapping, and podcasting); and describe the impacts that digital technologies have on the rhetorical acts of exposition.

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ENC 3312

Advanced Argumentative Writing: Meta-Composition, Media, Design

Emily Brooks

In 1964, Marshall McLuhan declared, “The medium is the message.” Over 50 years later, this argument remains one of the founding principles of media studies. In this course, we will consider how arguments are crafted across the humanities. This course teaches students how to compose advanced arguments through an in-depth understanding of rhetorical persuasion (logos, ethos, pathos, telos, and kairos); a mastery of writing style (clarity, coherence, cohesion, concision, and elegance); and a command of design (color, typography, layout, visuals, and medium).

We will first analyze exemplary arguments. Students will then determine best practices and apply their newly-gained knowledge to assignments considering these forms: definition, evaluation, causal, and proposal. Students must demonstrate their skills in research, organization, and design. For the final project, students will create a meta argument about their chosen material/medium, which might be a podcast, puppet show, pop-up book, board game, or choose-your-own-adventure.

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ENG 3115

Introduction to Film Criticism and Theory

Barbara Mennel

This course introduces students to the principal theoretical and critical issues raised by the first century of the cinema. We will cover the main strands in film theory from the beginning of the twentieth century to the contemporary period. We will study global cinema through close visual analysis of individual films, stressing the historical and international diversity of cinematic approaches and styles. At the same time, we will study historical and contemporary critical writing on film. The midterm will reflect theoretical ground covered in class and the final assignment will be a research paper. The course will also help student develop the skills of reading theory and assist students in acquiring the vocabulary of film theory. In order to ensure that students become active and critical readers of challenging theoretical texts, the course relies on weekly assignments. Active participation in class discussion and attendance at film screenings is required.

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ENG 4015

Psychoanalytic Fictions

Peter Rudnytsky

This course will center on the question of whether Freud had an affair with his sister-in-law Minna Bernays, and what the implications of this might be for psychoanalysis. We will consider how Freud fictionalizes his own experience in “Screen Memories,” On Dreams, and The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, as well as the evidence for the affair presented by Jung and Peter J. Swales. Then we will read David Copperfield and Jane Smiley’s biography of Dickens to consider analogous issues in Dickens’s life and work. Course requirements are a midterm, final, and one five-page paper. Regular attendance and active participation in class discussions are also expected.

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ENG 4133

Sound, Silent Cinema, Musicology

Richard Burt

Broadly speaking this class is about the relation between image, sound, hand gestures, facial expressions, lip reading, lip-synching, music, speech, audibility, legibility, error, telephones, schizophrenia, voice, hearing voices, deterioration, decay, and writing in film, more particularly in silent film. We will also think about soundtracks, sound design, listening, writing, and image, visualizing sound in silent cinema, the inclusion of multiple soundtracks in digitzed silent films, all in relation both to musicology and film preservation in the wake of digital cinema and media. We will begin by considering the use of digital music and listening on headphones in Baby Driver (2017) and A Ghost Story (2018). From there we move back to Francis Ford Coppola’s reintroduction of silent cinema techniques in Dracula just as celluloid cinema was at the beginning of the end. We will move further back in time to Alfred Hitchcock’s silent and sound versions of Blackmail, and then even further back to his silent films The Lodger and Downhill. Other films will include The Artist, Abbas Kiorastami’s Like Someone to Love; Shooting Stars; and Dartmoor Cottage; and Brian de Palma’s Blow Out, among others. Readngs will include Michel Chion’s; “When Film was Deaf,” in Film, a Sound Art, pp. 3-17; Words on Screen; and Film: A Sound Art; Hans Eislsler and Theodor Adorno’s Composing for Film; John Cage on silence; and Peter Szendy, Listen A History of Ours; Espionage; and Stigmatology, among others. Knowledge of classical music is welcome, but an interest in listening closely is essential if you wish to enroll in this course.

Requirements: TOTAL ATTENDANCE; Co-lead class discussion twice, once on a Tuesday and once on a Thursday; two discussion questions; three film shots; and three or more “BIG WORDS” for each class; student formulated quizzes each class; three 700 word papers; an openess to experiences and topics outside your comfort zone; and a willingness to reflect, think, respond creatively and imaginatively, by paying very, VERY, VERY close formal attention to texts and films. For more information, please go to http://users.clas.ufl.edu/burt/syllabi.html and to http://users.clas.ufl.edu/burt/shoulditakeaclassfromburt.html.

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ENG 4905

Independent Study

Faculty Member of Choice

An Independent Study course may be taken for 1 to 3 credit hours, but will only count toward the fulfillment of the 10-course requirement for the English major if a student registers for 3 credit hours.

This course is for advanced students who desire to supplement the regular courses by independent reading or research under the guidance of a member of the faculty. The student must find a faculty member who is willing to supervise the semester-long study, and together, the two create a project. The student must meet with the professor at designated times, agreed upon in advance, and complete all assignments in a timely manner.

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ENG 4911

Undergraduate Research in English

Undergraduate Coordinator

TBD

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ENG 4936

Honors Seminar: Alice Walker’s Womanist Thought

Debra King

“The most common way people give up their power is thinking they don’t have any.”

-Alice Walker

This course introduces students to an internationally renowned novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist whose work, both creative and sociopolitical, has shaken the foundations of American literature and liberation theory to reconstitute the boundaries of both. Walker’s work has earned the highest accolades of praise and accomplishment, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1983 and induction into the California Hall of Fame in 1993 (among others). As a writer and social activist, Walker remains an international figure of increasing fame and respect. Her novels, poetry, essays and blogs explore themes of naturalistic fiction while also engaging the more dramatic themes of modernism and Womanist thought: death, love, rebirth, responsibility, spirituality, and memory.

This semester students will investigate why critics herald Alice Walker as the mother of Womanism and determine, though her writing, what Womanism means. The works we will study are powerful offerings of prose and poetry that move beyond human victimization towards rectification, reconciliation, renewal and revival. But most importantly, each selected text demonstrates not only what Womanism is or can do but also how one (regardless of color or nationality) can achieve the Womanist vision of vital, human connections that provide access to individual wholeness. I welcome you to journey with me into the world of Alice Walker’s Womanist thought and discover why she professes, “Everything is a human being.”

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ENG 4936

Honors Seminar: The Modernisms of Film

Maureen Turim

Modernism has many different definitions, and some of these are linked to the various disciplines to which the term modernism has been applied: literature, film, the plastic arts, music, and architecture. This honors seminar will look at modernism in film in relation to those varied concepts and histories. We will start with two weeks devoted to the films of Michelangelo Antonioni (l’Eclisse, Deserto Rosso), two on Jean-Luc Godard (Pierrot le fou, Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle). Throughout this investigation, we will consider how architecture and architectonics figure into a filmic notion of modernism, and look at the correlates in painting and sculpture. From here we will turn to a different concept of modernism, introduced by Miriam Hanson as “vernacular modernism,” that considers all of early film history as a form of modernism, despite its grounding in conventions of 19th-century realism and Victorian melodramas. This will be linked to recent historical investigations of modernism in literature as responding to the introduction of film. We will also consider the particular Soviet revolutionary definitions of modernism, linking to cubo-futurism, in which parallel developments in montage film followed on movements in painting, architecture, and theater. What ties these later two concepts of modernism to our initial one are elements of abstraction and reconfigurations of spatial and temporal structures. We will consider modernism in Japanese cinema in its connection to traditional Japanese aesthetics. We will conclude with three weeks on women directors as modernists. We will consider how modernism still resonates in the art cinema in the contemporary moment, and what modernism means in the context of the post-modern. Readings will be drawn from a wide range of theoretical, analytical and historical sources, some pertaining to film, while others address other arts.

The seminar will be participatory and supplemented by weekly CANVAS participation in the form of thoughtful paragraph long commentary on films and readings. We will have a trip to the Harn Museum of Art. There will be a series of short assignments and a major final paper.

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ENG 4940

Internship

Undergraduate Coordinator

The English Department at the University of Florida offers three* credit hours of internship to its majors who provide the following to the Undergraduate Coordinator for approval:

Once the Undergraduate Coordinator has approved the internship requested by the student, the department will register the student for the internship credits.

Upon completion of the internship:

*For two credit hours, the student would need to work 8 hours per week in a Fall, Spring, or Summer C semester; and 16 hours per week for Summer A or B.

*For one credit hour, the student would need to work 4 hours per week in a Fall, Spring, or Summer C semester; and 8 hours per week for Summer A or B.

Please note the following limitations on the English Internship:

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ENG 4953

Writing the Self

Roger Maioli

“The universe,” according to a twentieth-century poem, “is made of stories, not of atoms.” We are storytelling creatures, and among the most important stories we know are the ones we tell about ourselves: those mental autobiographies that streamline our past experiences into plots with a meaning and a direction. Now, this story — the story of the self — itself has a history. The way we imagine ourselves as protagonists in secret personal dramas owes much to the movies we’ve seen, the songs we know, and the narratives available in our oral and literary tradition, whose formal features we internalize and learn to imitate. This seminar is about the written half of that tradition. We will confront a number of stories about the self, by men and women writing from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries, in Britain, France, and the United States; and we will examine the resources they developed for articulating, through words, a sense of selfhood and personal identity, at times when those very notions were topics of intense philosophical debate. The authors will include Michel de Montaigne, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jane Austen, and Herman Melville. Together, they illustrate how the self can be articulated (or not!) through a variety of written genres, from essays and letters to autobiographies and the novel.

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ENG 4953

Philosophy, Dialogues, and the Cinema

Robert Ray

This course is the Department Seminar version of LIT 4930. It is available to English majors who have already taken a certain number of hours. The small size makes it ideal for students looking for a classroom environment enabling conversation and discussion.

This seminar will have two starting points: (1) Even after the first century of its existence, the cinema still presents us with perplexities — What is the task we call “movie star performance”? How do the movies distinguish between the real and the fictional? (Is, for example, a saddle in a western “fictional”?) How do we distinguish “acting” from “lying”? (2) Philosophy begins with Socrates’s practice of a method, the dialogue, a series of questions and answers intended to sharpen the understanding of the virtues Socrates wanted to define.

In the fall of 1982, the philosopher Gareth Matthews undertook an experiment involving philosophical dialogues with middle-school children. Like Socrates before him, Matthews assumed that “To do philosophy with a child, or with anyone else for that matter, is simply to reflect on a perplexity or a conceptual problem of a certain sort to see if one can remove the perplexity or solve the problem. . . . Sometimes one succeeds, often one doesn’t. Sometimes getting clearer about one thing only makes it obvious that one is dreadfully unclear about something else.” Matthews also discovered that young children took naturally to philosophical questions until their subsequent education trained them to regard such matters as “wastes of time.”

This seminar will take up perplexing questions posed by the movies and ask you to write dialogues about those questions. We will start by reading two of Plato’s Socratic dialogues before reading Matthews’s accounts of his work with children. We will also look at Wittgenstein’s seminars (which often involve questions posed to, or by, imaginary interlocutors), J.L. Austin’s essay on excuses, and at some of the writings by Harvard philosopher Stanley Cavell, who has written extensively about film. And, of course, we will watch some movies, including Anatomy of a Murder, Blow-Up, The General (Keaton), People on Sunday, and It Happened One Night.

Assignments: Weekly reading quizzes, class participation, bi-weekly two-page papers, a final 5-page paper.

Don’t be afraid of the course’s philosophical approach. If, as Matthews showed, 10-12-year-olds can “do philosophy,” so can we.

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ENG 4970

Honors Thesis Project

Faculty Members (2) of Choice

Students must have have completed at least one semester of ENG 4936, Honors Seminar. Open to English Honors students.

The student must select two faculty members: one to direct the reading, research, and writing of a thesis on a topic of the student’s and director’s chosing, and another as the second reader. An abstract (100 to 200 words) must be delivered to the CLAS Academic Advising Center on Fletcher Road at least 10 days before graduation.

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ENL 3122

The English Novel: 19th Century

Madeline B. Gangnes

This course will cover key developments in nineteenth-century British novels, considering their historical, literary-historical, and critical contexts. Such novels serve as documents of their writers’ attempts to explore and comment on the major cultural conditions of their day, many of which persist in our own culture. These include gender roles and relationships, poverty and welfare, economic and political systems, international relations, scientific and technological advances, and the nature and purpose of art.

Although the novel emerged as a comparatively “realistic” form, many nineteenth-century novels incorporate supernatural and speculative elements, which provide powerful metaphors for cultural and historical conditions. The selection of texts we will read (including Gothic and proto-science fiction) will allow us to identify and explore how the “unreal” expresses the “real” in nineteenth-century fiction.

This reading-intensive course will require students to engage in research and to apply critical frameworks. Where possible, we will read novels through digital archives of first or early editions to reveal a greater view of their cultural and material contexts. Assignments include a short paper, a long paper, several short response posts, a short presentation, and a creative project.

Possible texts:

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ENL 3350

Secularism and Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century

Roger Maioli

Secularism — the project of living without religion — is a key element in the history of modernity. Western nations often pride themselves on being secular, confident that faith is not needed in an ethical society. And yet the notion that we can live good lives without religion remains contested today, and was even more so before the rise of secularism. Prior to the nineteenth century, challenges to religion were invariably regarded as challenges to morality; and the man without faith often featured in the literature of those times as a moral monster. This course will consider the conflict between secularism and the moral life as illustrated in British and French literature from the 1600s to the early 1800s — the period known as the Long Eighteenth Century. We will read early defenses of the secular life by freethinkers such as Anthony Collins and David Hume, together with imaginative responses to irreligion by novelists such as Henry Fielding and Ann Radcliffe. We will consider how philosophers and imaginative writers alike envisioned the consequences of secularization for the meaning of life, the peace of society, and the enchantment of the world. In tracing these developments, we will discuss both the challenges that secularism faced during its early stages and the difficulties it still raises for our conception of the ethical life today.

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ENL 4220

16th-Century Poetry and Poetics

John Murchek

This course will introduce students to sixteenth-century English poetry and poetics. We will read closely poetry and poetic theory by such writers as Sir Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard (Earl of Surrey), George Gascoigne, Isabella Whitney, Sir Philip Sidney, Mary Sidney (Countess of Pembroke), Edmund Spenser, George Puttenham, Samuel Daniel, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, and Aemilia Lanyer. We will ask such questions as: How do writers in the period conceive of the activity of writing poetry? How do they understand the dynamics of reading and the function of poetry in society? What role does imitation of authoritative models play in the composition of poetry and in the social work of poetry? How is the imagination conceived? How do different kinds of poetry—sonnets, verse epistles, epitaphs, songs, translations of psalms, allegorical epic—allow for the emergence of different kinds of textual bodies and psyches?

I anticipate that students will be evaluated on the basis of a close reading of a sonnet by Wyatt or Surrey, one or two 1-page assignments designed to provoke class discussion, an 8-page essay (most likely—but, at this stage, not certainly—on Spenser), attendance and participation.

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ENL 4221

Milton’s Major Poems

Peter Rudnytsky

This course will undertake a close reading of Paradise Lost and Milton’s “closet drama” Samson Agonistes. Theological, political, and psychological aspects of Milton’s masterpieces will be considered. Course requirements are a midterm, final, and one five-page paper. Regular attendance and active participation in class discussions are also expected.

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ENL 4333

Shakespeare—Learning by Doing

Sidney Homan

We “study” Shakespeare by staging scenes from his plays. Each student works with an acting partner—the couple is responsible for performing 3-4 shortened versions of scenes, then working with me as their director.

In effect, we approach Shakespeare’s plays as actors and directors, charged with building a character, enacting that character through delivery, gesture, stage movement, subtext.

We will look at Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and also Tom Stoppard’s reworking of Hamlet in his Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Students are graded equally on their scene work and a short paper in which they assess their rehearsal experience with the scene, from the perspective of both the character and their decisions as an actor.

Sidney Homan is Professor of English at the University of Florida, the author of some eleven books on Shakespeare and the modern playwrights. He also works as an actor and director in professional and university theatres.

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LIT 3003

Forms of Narrative

Kristen Gregory

From Beyonce’s Lemonade to J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore, we are in a time of transformation when it comes to storytelling. As the rise of podcasts, visual albums, transmedia platforms, and even visual/auditory dissertation projects demonstrates, we are increasingly embracing alternatives to the written word—and thus redefining what it means to be a reader and a storyteller. This three-unit course will explore the power of storytelling across these various narrative forms. In the first unit, we will sample a variety of narrative forms, including the written word (poems, short stories, essays, memoir), oral forms (podcasts, local storytelling nights, spoken word), and visual narratives (film, museum exhibits, visual albums, local performance pieces). These assigned “readings” may consist of anything from Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist or Beyonce’s Lemonade to completing tasks on Pottermore or attending a campus performance piece. The first unit concludes with a literary analysis assignment, in which students will pay close attention to the relationship between form and content in a “text” of their choosing. In the second unit, we will rethink what it means to be a storyteller, keeping in mind that we are all storytellers. This unit allows for more creative engagement, with each student choosing one of the narrative forms we have explored in the course and creating their own narrative. The third unit focuses on what happens when we transform the narrative form. For example, what becomes of an oral ballad that only remains as a transcribed text? And how do transmedia storytelling platforms like Pottermore transform the text and reshape the reader experience? The final course project will allow students a choice between writing an adaptation analysis or adapting their story from unit two into a new narrative form. By the end of the semester, students should achieve a fuller understanding of the narrative form/content relationship, the power of adaptation, and what it means to be a storyteller and a reader in our current age.

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LIT 3041

All Joking Aside: The Art and Craft of Comedy

Sidney Homan

The assumption in all my theatre courses is that the text of a play is not just what is written on the page but that text in performance, delivered by actors before an audience. This means the play’s text also includes gestures, movement, blocking (the stage picture), and sub-text (what the character is saying inwardly, beneath the lines delivered onstage, as well as the “history” for that character invented by the actor). In the theatre, we would further supplement this text with lighting, sound, set, costumes, props, and make-up. To be sure, one can approach a play in a thousand ways—as literature, as a repository for the thinking of an age, as the springboard for political or cultural issues. But, 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 the class each student will have 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. 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. Each actor also writes a short paper assessing his or her experience during rehearsal for a scene. Performances and the scene papers count equally.

In LIT 3041 we explore through such in-class performances the genre of stage comedy. What makes us laugh? Why do we find this character or this situation funny? How does the general term “comedy” manage to include everything from farce to satire, from romantic or sentimental or surreal comedy to the profound comic world of, say, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencratnz and Guildenstern Are Dead? These questions come under the “Art” in the course’s subtitle.

But of equal importance is that other word, “Craft.” How can we make something comic on stage? What is the “craft” (the particular skill, the various strategies, the “rules” of enactment, the styles) of the comic actor? As actors and directors, how do we establish a comic “world”? How do you make a joke or a comic situation work with an audience?

Along with Stoppard’s play mentioned above, we use as our text the book Laugh Lines: Short Comic Plays, edited by Eric Land and Nina Shengold. There we will try our hands at performing everything from a parody of the psychologist/patient relationship in Alan Ball’s Your Mother’s Butt and the physical comedy of the circus contortionist in Eric Coble’s Ties That Bind, to Christopher Durang’s take off of all unwelcomed former lovers in Wanda’s Visit, from the bitter-sweet comic meeting of a teenager and an older woman in Eric Lane’s The Statue of Bolivar, to Elaine May’s savage satire on the 1% in The Way of All Fish, not to mention Steve Martin’s “wild and crazy” The Zig-Zag Woman. And more!

Sidney Homan is Professor of English at the University of Florida and an actor and director in professional and university theatres.

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LIT 3383
Cross-listed with WST 4930/sec. 173B
Cross-listed with AFS 4935/sec. 14CF
Cross-listed with SSW 4713/sec. 04F2

African Women Writers

Rose Lugano

In this class we will explore African women writers and critics, looking at their theoretical priorities and cultural positions. This course is designed to provide students with both a specific and a general view of the perspectives, status, achievement and experiences of African women in fiction. In exploring African women’s literary tradition, we will use a diverse set of texts from different genres, including novels, poems, movies, and plays. We will endeavor to understand how women’s literary expression has been shaped by history, culture, and their personal experiences, as well as see how they are addressing issues of gender in their respective societies. Our discussions will focus on issues of identity, oppression, resistance, exile, gender roles, religion and colonialism, and Neo-colonialism. The framework for classroom discussion will revolve around two central issues:

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LIT 4233

Introduction to Postcolonial Studies

Apollo Amoko

This course will examine canonical theories and fictions in postcolonial studies. The field refers to an effort by scholars in diverse disciplines to come to terms, from a global perspective, with the legacy of European colonialism. In the wake of the voyages of exploration and “discovery” from the fifteenth century onwards, a handful of European powers (England, France, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands), came gradually to exercise sovereignty over vast territories covering roughly eighty percent of the world. In political, social, economic and cultural terms, the colonial situation effected epochal transformations of not only the conquered societies but also imperial Europe. The colonial encounter resulted in the consolidation of the idea of a European or Western modernity at the apex of human civilization. It also resulted in incomplete, chaotic, and traumatic attempts forcibly to transform other societies in the image of Europe. By the end of the twentieth century, virtually all formerly colonized territories had become independent nations but the effects of colonial rule continue to be powerfully felt at multiple levels. For example, the practice of everyday life in vast sectors of the both the imperial and the colonized worlds continue to be governed, often with devastating consequences, by ideas about racial, national, continental, gender, sexual and other identities invented in the context of the colonial encounter. As well, the political economies of many formally independent nations continue to be characterized by fundamental contradictions, inequalities and dependencies brought about by colonial rule. Finally, the global economic, political and cultural order continues to be organized in terms of a contest pitting the interests of a handful of wealthy and disproportionately powerful nations against a multitude of poor and relatively powerless nations. Writers studied will likely include Mark Twain, Chinua Achebe, Salman Rushdie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, J. M. Coetzee and Arundhati Roy.

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LIT 4233

Postcolonial Theory

Malini Schueller

This course introduces you to the field of postcolonial theory. By the beginning of the twentieth century, a few European powers had colonized 80% of Asia and Africa. Nationalist movements during the latter half of the century led to territorial, but not necessarily economic, cultural and intellectual decolonization. The continuing cultural, political, and economic effects of colonialism, as well as new forms of colonialism and imperialism sanctioned on the global South constitute the field of postcolonial studies. We will study the ways in which postcolonial theory has intersected with and impacted diverse areas of inquiry such as feminism, historiography, ethnography, politics, and literature. At the same time, this course will stress the importance of historicizing postcoloniality. The course will focus on the central concerns of postcolonial studies: the nature of colonial discourse, the articulation of revolutionary national consciousness, questions of subalternity and history, the relationship of postcolonial studies to gender studies, and the politics of contemporary colonialism and neocolonialism. We will read the works of major revolutionaries and theorists and the debates and arguments about these works. The course will cover writings from and about the major parts of the world affected by imperialism: Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the U.S. We will see how postcolonial theory can be useful in analyzing conditions of oppression today.

This is an intensive discussion course. Please come to class prepared to raise questions about the readings for the day. I am interested in your active responses to the materials you are reading.

Required Texts

Course Requirements: regular attendance; oral presentation; pop quizzes; three take-home essay exams.

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LIT 4332

Literature for Young Children

Anastasia Ulanowicz

The picturebook is not an especially well-recognized or respected form in literary studies: its value is conventionally determined as merely educational or recreational. The purpose of this class, however, is to question and possibly undermine conventional assumptions about the picturebook. During the course of the semester, we will read a number of picturebooks alongside Jonathan Culler’s handbook, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, in order to interrogate the literary value of picturebooks — and in order to question how we define “literary value” in the first place. Toward the end of the semester, we will study texts that are not traditionally considered picturebooks — for example, photo albums, graphic novels, short stories, and novels — in order, to further challenge our assumptions about this rich and often misunderstood form.

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LIT 4333

Literature for the Adolescent

Kenneth Kidd

This course examines literature primarily for but also about adolescents, across a range of genres and with attention to the political and social history of adolescence as a concept and a lived experience. We’ll concentrate on what’s now called “young adult” literature from the 1960s forward, but we will read and discuss that material in light of earlier narrative traditions. The modern adolescent is of course intimately connected to material culture in particular ways. We will concentrate on contemporary literature in the hopes of assessing what’s happening in young adult publishing and media culture. The course will be conducted as a seminar and participation is crucial. We will read one YA book per week, plus some criticism and theory. Requirements include weekly response papers, regular participation, and 2 essays to be negotiated later.

Possible Texts (titles subject to change):

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LIT 4930

Forgery, Forensics, Philosophy

Richard Burt

“How do I know it’s not a fake?“ Cary Grant blurts out during the art auction scene in North by Northwest. That question resonates with contemporary questions about what is or is not fake news and broader philosophical questions related to “fauxrensics,” or how forgery and foresenics may or may not be possible to distinguish absolutely. We will focus on philosophical questions pertaining to uncreative writing, deception, plagiarism, copies, facsimiles, lying, counterfeiting, forensics, rules of evidence, proof, fate, chance, and punishment. In this course, we will read Eric Hebborn’s The Art Forger’s Handbook; Kenneth Goldsmith’s Uncreative Writing Managing Language in the Digital Age; Marcel Proust’s The Lemoine Affair; essays by Saint Augustine, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hannah Arendt, and Jacques Derrida on the lie; Carlo Ginzburg on clues; Jacques Derrida on perjury; Orson Welles’ films Citizen Kane, Othello, Filming Othello, and F for Fake; Errol Morris’s film The Thin Blue Line and his wriritings on forged Johannes Vermeer paintings bought by Nazis; the film Tim’s Vermeer; stories about a reputed forger of Jackson Pollock’s paintings; Shakespeare forgeries by William Ireland; Juan Luis Borges’ “Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote“; Kathy Acker’s Don Quixote: A Novel; Neil Hertz on plagiarism, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Gambler; Sigmund Freud on the double and Dostoevsky’s The Gambler; Tolstoy’s “The Forged Coupon” and Robert Bresson’s film adaptation of it entitled L’Argent; Anthony Mann’s film T-Men; Derrida on Charles Baudelaire’s “Counterfeit Money”; Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Goldbug”; both film versions of the Manchurian Candidate; and the film The Counterfeiters.

Requirements: TOTAL ATTENDANCE; co-lead class discussion twice, once on a Tuesday and once on a Thursday; two discussion questions; three film shots; and three or more “BIG WORDS” for each class; student formulated quizzes of three questions and given at the beginning of each class; three 700 word papers, one of which must be plagiarized so well I will not be able to tell whether you do so until you show me which one on the last day of the semester; an openess to experiences and topics outside your comfort zone; and a willingness to challenge yourself, reflect, think, respond creatively and imaginatively, by paying very, VERY, VERY close formal attention to texts and films. If I notice you are not attending class and not turning in the work, I will try to remember to email you to recommend you seek a medical withdrawal in order to avoid receiving an "E" grade in the class. You may find the medical withdrawal form by emailing this address: MedicalWithdraw@dso.ufl.edu. If I don't email send you an email advising you to drop, I will give you an "E" when I enter your final grade at the end of the semester.

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LIT 4930

Philosphy and the Cinema

Robert Ray

This seminar will have two starting points: (1) Even after the first century of its existence, the cinema still presents us with perplexities — What is the task we call “movie star performance”? How do the movies distinguish between the real and the fictional? (Is, for example, a saddle in a western “fictional”?) How do we distinguish “acting” from “lying”? (2) Philosophy begins with Socrates’s practice of a method, the dialogue, a series of questions and answers intended to sharpen the understanding of the virtues Socrates wanted to define.

In the fall of 1982, the philosopher Gareth Matthews undertook an experiment involving philosophical dialogues with middle-school children. Like Socrates before him, Matthews assumed that “To do philosophy with a child, or with anyone else for that matter, is simply to reflect on a perplexity or a conceptual problem of a certain sort to see if one can remove the perplexity or solve the problem. . . . Sometimes one succeeds, often one doesn’t. Sometimes getting clearer about one thing only makes it obvious that one is dreadfully unclear about something else.” Matthews also discovered that young children took naturally to philosophical questions until their subsequent education trained them to regard such matters as “wastes of time.”

This seminar will take up perplexing questions posed by the movies. We will start by reading two of Plato’s Socratic dialogues before reading Matthews’s accounts of his work with children. We will also look at Wittgenstein’s seminars (which often involve questions posed to, or by, imaginary interlocutors), J.L. Austin’s essay on excuses, and at some of the writings by Harvard philosopher Stanley Cavell, who has written extensively about film. And, of course, we will watch some movies, including Anatomy of a Murder, Blow-Up, The General (Keaton), People on Sunday, and It Happened One Night.

Assignments: Some combination of short papers and essay exams, depending on the class size.

This course will involve at least as much philosophy as cinema; it does not require a background in either. Don’t be afraid of the course’s philosophical approach. If, as Matthews showed, 10-12-year-olds can “do philosophy,” so can we.

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LIT 4930
Cross-listed with HBR 4930/sec. 0156
Cross-listed with JST 4936/sec. 0894

Holocaust Novels

Dror Abend-David

The course is Cross-Listed with the UF Center for Jewish Studies and is Part of the UF Holocaust Certificate.

The course first reviews the historical and political functions of the Novel as a genre, and then survey a number Holocaust Novels in English and in Translation from German, Yiddish, Hebrew and other languages. The novels in the course, such as Jurek Becker’s Jacob the Liar, Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird, Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Enemies, A Love Story, and Alan Isler’s The Prince of West End Avenue, address different facets of the Holocaust: Life in the Ghetto, survivors and refuges, the post-Holocaust experience, and the historical memories of Jews and non-Jews.

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LIT 4930

Jules Verne & Company: Narrative Science Fiction of the Late Nineteenth Century

Terry Harpold

Defining the canon of nineteenth-century European science fiction (SF) seems to lead, inevitably, to also embracing doubtful analogies and inventive anachronisms. American editor Hugo Gernsback’s 1926 endorsement of “the Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe type of story” as the model for what Gernsback christened “scientifiction”—later “science fiction”—is telling in this regard. Verne, Wells, and Poe are among the precursors of modern SF, but in most respects they are dissimilar from each other. Many other, equally dissimilar, figures also contributed to the incunable period of SF, the complexity of which confounds such comparisons.

Labels such as “proto-SF,” “early SF,” or “Victorian SF”—the last of which is too closely associated with one national tradition to be generally useful—may help to mark the field’s development. But they also beg the question of what SF was, really, during this early phase when it had no widely-accepted name, a concern at least since Félix Bodin’s description of the problem in Le Roman de l’avenir (The Novel of the Future, 1834). (Bodin offers the label roman futuriste [futurist novel].) The label “scientific romance,” used from mid-century onward for mostly British authors, was rejected by many to whom it was applied, such as Wells, who found “romance” too backward-looking. The French roman scientifique (“scientific novel” and “scientific romance”) dodges retrospection a little&mdahs;the etymologies of roman and romance are tangled—but “scientific” is the problem term here; the label also was applied to naturalist authors such as Émile Zola because their depictions of the influences of heredity and environment were considered scientifically accurate. The French merveilleux scientifique (“scientific marvel fiction”), associated with authors J.–H. Rosny aîné and Maurice Renard, is too self-consciously anti-Vernian to be of much use outside of that context. Disagreements about the pertinent traits of the emerging European literature left an opening for twentieth-century Americans like Gernsback and Golden Age editor John W. Campbell to name and circumscribe the field’s content and method.

During the late nineteenth century, in short, “SF” is at best a placeholder for a radically diverse, inconsistent field of literary production that emerged, haltingly, out of traditions of utopian fiction, satirical contes, and imaginary voyages, and in relation to other literary movements, such as romanticism, realism, naturalism, and early modernism. In this course we will read long and short works of fantastic fiction by European authors of the period whose names are familiar to you (such as Verne and Wells), and some (such as George Chesney, Florence Dixie, Camille Flammarion, Kurd Lasswitz, Maurice Renard, Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau, J.–H. Rosny aîné) who are likely unfamiliar. Our aim will be not to solve the taxonomic problems noted above. I’m not sure that we will settle on one definition of “science fiction,” so much as we will survey the landscape of an adventurous, nuanced, messy proto-canon that was then—and still is—in search of its meaning and place in the modern literary imagination.

All assigned readings will be in English or English translation. Writing requirements include a take-home midterm and final exam and periodic unannounced reading quizzes.

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LIT 4930

The Children’s Classic

Kenneth Kidd

Classic is an overdetermined and elastic term. It tends toward seemingly contradictory things: timelessness and finitude, exceptionality and the commonplace, the remote and the familiar, the organic and the manufactured. Moreover, classic tends toward children’s literature as much as away from it. The notion of a children’s classic amplifies the contradictions of classic more broadly, especially to the degree that children’s literature has been devalued. The idea of the children’s classic has helped legitimize children’s literature and has thus proven useful; at the same time, classic continues to signify a traditional faith in aesthetics, and as such engenders skepticism alongside faith. J. M. Coetzee writes that “the interrogation of the classic, no matter how hostile, is part of the history of the classic, inevitable and even to be welcomed.”

This course attends to the making (even forging) of the children’s classic. We will begin with classic definitions of the classic: Sainte-Beueve, Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot, Frank Kermode, Coetzee. We will take up the classic in relation to popular and academic culture, book history, canonicity and “great books”, bestsellerdom, middlebrow culture, the public sphere, literary prizing, and anticensorship work. We’ll consider the classic as an object of fantasy and/or valuation: the good object, the good object gone bad (the fallen classic), the object that endures. We’ll experiment with categories of Anglo-American children’s classics, such as fairy tales and classic fantasy texts; prize-winning children’s titles; and cinematic adaptations/variants. We will make use of our amazing Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature.

Assignments include short memos (1 page each), reading quizzes, and three analytical essays chosen from 8 options, including an exercise in rereading, an experiment in not reading and then reading, a Baldwin excavation project, and an analysis of multimodal translation.

We will develop some case studies together: Gulliver’s Travels, The Cat in the Hat, possibly The Phantom Tollbooth.

Possible Scholarship and Theory

Plus many fun essays and chapters.

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LIT 4930

Traditional Japanese Dolls

Judith Shoaf

First, the long history of Japanese ningyo (人形,“human figure”), touching on the relationship between artistic development of the form and the religious, economic, social, and political importance of doll-making and doll-owning through the centuries.

Second, the Western reception of Japanese dolls and the use of the doll to interpret Japanese culture.

This will include reading some late 19th- and early 20th-century children’s books and other texts which characterize the Japanese as feminine/infantile. The Japanese-American Friendship or Messenger Doll exchange of 1927 will be considered from the point of view both of the Americans and the Japanese.

No knowledge of the Japanese language is required.

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LIT 4930
Cross-listed with JST 4936/sec. 193C

Jewish Cinema

Dragan Kujundzic

The course will introduce students to the rich history of Jewish American cinema and the latest critical and theoretical literature about it. It will be organized thematically, and chronologically, starting with the topics of Jewish Diaspora, emigration to the US and integration, and then films about the Holocaust, comedy, Israeli Cinema. During the course, we will screen and discuss films involved with the representation of the Jews (not necessarily made by Jewish American cineasts; thus a screening and discussion of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator and Inglorious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino may be anticipated) and those of course made by prominent Jewish American filmmakers. The course will cover the screening and discussion of classics such as Fiddler on the Roof, or Barbara Streisand’s Yentl (together with reading the novel by Sholem Aleichem and the story by Isaac Bashevis Singer on which each film was respectively based); the extensive analysis of the first sound movie, The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson, including critical and theoretical responses by Irvin Howe and Susan Gubar; Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg and The Pianist by Roman Polanski. The second part of the course will be dedicated to screening films reflecting Jewish humor by Ernest Lehman (Portnoy’s Complaint, based on the novel by Philip Roth), Woody Allen (Hannah and Her Sisters and Allen’s film Whatever Works with Larry David), and films by Paul Mazursky, Sidney Lumet, David Mamet (a selection), Billy Wilder and Mel Brooks—The Producers, Blazing Saddles). The course will conclude by the screening and discussion of recent TV series, such as Curb Your Enthusiasm (Larry David), and Bored to Death with Jason Schwartzman, and the film by the Coen Brothers, Serious Men. This list is not final or exhaustive, and may change during the course to include, for example, documentaries about Israeli cinema or filmmakers’ biographies.

The course will also make use of the Israel Film Festival organized by the Center for Jewish Studies here at UF. 6th Annual Gainesville Jewish Film Festival in March 2018. Screenings will be arranged there as part of the course.

Students will be expected to write written summaries of each film screened, which will count towards their class participation (30% of the grade). There will be a mid-term (30%) and a final paper (40%). Collective class presentations will be assigned. Attendance is obligatory. The Honors Code and the Flu Policy of the University of Florida will be observed. The syllabus is not final, and may be changed during the course of the semester according to the needs of the class and the benefit of the students. Any changes will be sent duly ahead of time in writing via the class listserve.

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LIT 4930
Cross-listed with FRT 3561/sec. 01HC

Paris was/is a Woman

Sylvie Blum

The course covers women writers, performers, and filmmakers that were part of the artistic community in Paris between the 1920s–1960s. We will discuss and critically analyze how their contributions shaped French intellectual history. The class will examine memoirs, journalistic essays, philosophical writing, and visual arts. A selection of films will be screened outside of class.

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