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LITERATURE

LIT-121 Rethinking Literature Course Level: Undergraduate

Rethinking Literature FA1 (3) Topics vary by section. The course focuses on a compelling idea or area of inquiry rendered in literature. Students interrogate a range of literary and cultural texts in order to deepen their understanding of the literary endeavor. Rotating topics include poetry and the world, desire and identity, human nature after Darwin, the culture of detective fiction, etc. AU Core Habits of Mind: Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry. Usually Offered: fall, spring, and summer. Repeatable for credit with different topic.

LIT-121-001
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Desire and Identity
Desire and Identity (3) Who, how, and what do we want? How are gender and sexuality distinct and interrelated? How are desires and identities shaped by race, gender, class, embodiment, and nationality? This course considers these questions and more through literary, cultural, and critical texts drawn from the Renaissance to the present day. It serves as an introduction to both literary analysis and the study of gender, sexuality, and queer theory.
LIT-121-002
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Intimacy in American Lit
Intimacy in American Literature (3) In this course students consider what intimacy means to them personally and what it has meant to different people in different times; whether it is a matter of deep and true knowledge or a matter of physical contact, shared experience, or some kind of flash of like-mindedness; whether it is verbal or nonverbal, is it sexual, as well as what enables people to have these experiences, and what kinds of things get in the way. The class studies American novels, poems, stories, and films from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. The course separates media-generated assumptions from our own actual experientially-based knowledge. Students write a short memoir and two critical analyses. In doing so, they refine their ability to put complex and murky ideas into readable, accessible language.
LIT-121-003
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Sexuality and Literature
Sexuality and Literature (3) What does it mean to have a sexuality? This course examines works by such authors as Plato, Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Sharon Olds, Timothy Liu, Alison Bechdel, and Jhumpa Lahiri in light of how literature offers important ways of thinking about sexuality.
LIT-121-004
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Death on Stage
Death on Stage (3) Woody Allen's famous line, "I am not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens," best sums up modern attitudes about dying. We avoid conversations about morbidity, while scientists search for a "cure." Plays since Hamlet, however, have been fascinated by death and dying--a seemingly odd preoccupation given the inherent liveness/liveliness of theatre. But theatre is also a place where death can be intuited, acted out, and even rehearsed. The ephemeral nature of performance, the co-presence of actors and audience, the "ghosting" of previous productions all give a special charge to the representation of mortality on the stage. This course introduces students to a range of plays from different periods that ponder larger philosophical, ethical, and social questions about the "path of no return." Selected dramatists include Shakespeare, Ibsen, Albee, Stoppard, Shepard, Edson, Dorfman, and Kushner.
LIT-121-005
Term: Fall 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Boundary Crossings
Boundary Crossings (3) Students expand their literary and cultural understanding through studying narratives by western and non-western writers that cross cultural and geographic boundaries or pivot on the boundary between realistic and fantastic modes. Readings include fiction by Mohsin Hamid, Yann Martel, Toni Morrison, and others; a selection of international short stories; and a play by Henrik Ibsen.
LIT-121-001
Term: Summer 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Self Stories
Instructional Method: Online. Self Stories (3) This course studies the relationship between identity and story. The working hypothesis is that people are made up not so much of the composite of their experiences, as of the stories they tell about their experiences. Students read literature focusing on this theme as well as theories of the narrative nature of identity. Course texts include How Selves Become Stories, Narrative of the Life of an American Slave by Frederick Douglass; What is an Experience by William James; Fools Crow by James Welch, Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates, An American Childhood by Annie Dillard, and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.
LIT-121-002
Term: Summer 2018 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Sexual Harassment in Am Lit
Sexual Harassment in American Literature (3) Sexual harassment has pervaded American culture as long as women have been working. Enslaved women experienced rape and concubinage, and in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, professional women have silently experienced a wide variety of forms of discrimination. Now, however, for many reasons, American culture is ready to face the suppressed reality of pervasive workplace sexual violence against women, and against men too. In this course, students read fiction as well as studies of workplace harassment, and pursue independent reading in popular media about one or more current cases. Readings include: Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Helen DeWitt, Lightning Rods; Doree Sharfir, Startup; Paule Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstones; Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale; Michael Crichton, Disclosure; Louise Erdrich. The Round House; Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak.
LIT-121-001
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Politics of Trauma Narrative
The Politics of Trauma Narrative (3) The relationship between trauma and literature is a paradoxical one; most recent understandings of trauma suggest one of its defining characteristics is its resistance to adequate representation, i.e., traumatic events are too horrific to tell. Yet they are told; trauma writing is more popular than ever. In this course students examine the politics of writing trauma and consider different kinds of trauma writing: political crises; narratives of racial, sexual, and gender difference; claims of traumatic experience by perpetrators of violence; and collective trauma. Texts include authors such as Art Spiegelman, Dorothy Allison, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Restriction: Freshman standing with 29 or fewer credit hours.
LIT-121-002
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: The Nature of Change
The Nature of Change (3) This course explores the varied ways that literary texts understand what constitutes change and whether change in the novel is related to causality, choice, or chance. Whether cultural, technological, political, or personal, change that is deemed possible entails various kinds of knowledge claims and these change over time. In the twentieth century, the novel form itself changes when the nature of change is radically reconstrued. Students examine selections from Victorian, modernist, and contemporary fiction including Bram Stoker's Dracula, Kafka's The Metamorphosis, Henry James, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf, among others. Restriction: Freshman standing with 29 or fewer credit hours.
LIT-121-003
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Literary Hauntings
Literary Hauntings (3) What draws readers to spectral beings, haunted houses, paranormal events, and things that go bump in the night? In this course students read spine-tingling short stories and novels that produce both pleasure and dread. The course also explores the deeper meanings of haunting in fiction by classic and contemporary authors of the spectral, from Sheridan Le Fanu, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and others to Henry James's classic The Turn of the Screw, Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, Noel Coward's play Blithe Spirit, and a cross-section of short fiction, including stories by stories by modern and contemporary writers, as well as several by writers from non-western cultures. Students also read contemporary scientific/critical approaches to apparitions and other supernatural presences in literature. Restriction: Freshman standing with 29 or fewer credit hours.
LIT-121-004
Term: Spring 2019 Regular Term
Course Level: Undergraduate
Section Title: Theatre of War
Theatre of War (3) Winston Churchill coined "theatre of war" at the beginning of World War I, and the phrase has since come to be associated with notions of visuality, spectatorship, and performance as well as martial conflict, death, and loss. Certainly, drama as a literary genre has from its inception intuited that relationship. The oldest script in the Western canon, Aeschylus' The Persians, allowed Athenians to see the aftermath of war from the perspective of the vanquished, an imaginative act of empathy, but the play also justifies brutality as essential to empire-building. Certainly, military leaders have sought to exploit the patriotic potential of performance, flooding arenas to stage naval battles for spectators or clearing fields to perform military maneuvers for onlookers. War as spectacle has acquired especially ominous overtones in our current age of drone warfare, where looking at violence occurs not on a battlefield or even in an arena but in a room secreted away in a secure facility. These are among the themes the class takes up, in addition to thinking about the relationship between theatre and war through these three frames: theatre during wartime; theatre and memory (i.e., the aftermath of war); and theatre as anti-war protest. Readings span the centuries, ranging from Aeschylus to recent works by David Hare and Paula Vogel.