J-Term 2016 Courses

WMGS 201/190: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies

Prof. Jenny James

This course geared for first-year students will offer an interdisciplinary introduction to the themes, issues, and methodological approaches that are central to the study of gender and sexuality. Central themes include the social construction of gender, theories of intersectionality, reflecting on power and privilege, and experimenting with different aspects of feminist praxis.  Through an analysis of these longstanding central questions, we’ll in turn explore important contemporary issues in the field such as trans* rights, structures of gender in the criminal justice system, and envisioning queer community after gay marriage.  As a writing-intensive course, which is part of the first-year experience program, we will foreground the study of key feminist genres such as the blog, the manifesto and the critical essay, as students take part in creative collaborations together.  This course is required for WMGS majors and minors, but is open to all first-year students.

ENGL 251: Traditions in British Literature

Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger

Gender and Ethics in British Literature from Shakespeare to Austen. How were men and women portrayed in early British literature–and how did these portrayals communicate expectations of duty, honor, and virtue in gendered ways? What ethical principles are suggested, revised, or questioned during this process? By reading texts in a range of genres, from drama (The Taming of the Shrew) and novels (Pride and Prejudice) to epic poetry (Paradise Lost), our class will introduce literary themes and approaches while tackling big questions about agency, personhood, and power. A close-reading paper, an acting assignment, and an ethics project will build on each other to help students explore the issues we discuss in greater depth.

ENGL 342

Prof. Rick Barot

T/W/R/F  2:30-5:20pm

Admin 214

This course will focus on Asian-American Literature from the last half-century.  During the term, we will be engaged in doing two things, one at the micro level, the other at the macro level.  At the macro level, we will ask the question: how is identity described/depicted/formed by literary texts?  In the case of the writers we read, we will be asking in particular how Asian-American identity is constructed, given the double context of Asian-ness and American culture.  We will look into some complicated elements that affect identity: race, ethnicity, culture and culture clashes, myth and tradition, politics, history, stereotype and self-determination, gender, sexuality, language, immigration and exile, and so on.  How do the poems, stories, and essays we read manifest these elements?  At the micro level, we will be doing very pin-pointed analyses of literary texts, trying to figure out how each writer takes his or her experience (i.e. content) and gives it a shape as a piece of writing (i.e. form).  We’ll explore the ways that rhetorical strategies—via diction, tone, image, voice, point of view, syntax, metaphor, and so on—affect the ways subjectivity is created.  And we will look at how political, aesthetic, philosophical, and literary elements factor into that subjectivity.

ENGL 387: Topics in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

Prof. Callista Brown

Topic: Rhetoric, Resistance, and Social Action

Tu/We/Th/Fr  11: 30am

In this course we will study three rhetorical genres that have been used to resist and subvert injustice in the U.S.: argument and analysis, creative non-fiction forms such as memoir, biography, and personal essay, and the embodied action of social justice movements. A background in rhetoric is not required, only an enthusiasm for learning some basic rhetorical strategies and perspectives. Throughout the course we will identify strategies of resistance and the possibility of a more just world that resistance rhetoric posits or implies.

In the first unit of the course, we will use these strategies and perspectives to analyze the rhetorical effectiveness of texts and movements that seek to undo racial injustice, using African American and white experience as case studies of resistance rhetoric.

In the second unit, you will identify an arena of social struggle that speaks to you. Examples include environmental justice, animal rights, or movements that address ethnic, linguistic, racial, or economic inequities. You will then create texts and design experiences that adapt the rhetorical resistance strategies we studied in Unit One to this struggle.

In the third unit, you will create a portfolio of your best work along with a reflective essay addressing your application, abandonment, or creative reworking of the rhetorical strategies and perspectives discussed throughout the term.

The contents of the final portfolio will determine whether you apply this offering of ENGL 387 to line 1, Creative Nonfiction; or to line 3, History and Theory; or to line 4, Writing in Specific Contexts. You will work with your instructor to ensure that the portfolio contents are congruent with the line you wish to receive credit for.

Important registration information

Note that you can take ENGL 387 multiple times as long as each offering is on a different topic. This year we are offering ENGL 387 on different topics in J-term and spring semester. You are welcome to enroll in both offerings and earn credit for both.

Students must have junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.