J-Term 2017 Courses

ENGL 213/POLS 288/SOCI 287: The Industrial Revolution

PLU J-Term 2017 in Manchester, UK

Dr. Solveig Robinson & Dr. Peter Grosvenor

Birthplace of the modern world, Manchester was the world’s first industrial city, and it has left a deep imprint on politics, economics, literature, and art. Through walking tours and visits to historical sites, and through readings by Shelley, Gaskell, Engels, and Orwell, we will trace the progress of industrialization and political reform and evaluate literature’s power as a political tool. Highlights will include visits to the People’s History Museum, Museum of Science & Industry, the Town Hall, the Rylands Library, the Art Gallery, Old Trafford, and the Imperial War Museum, plus the Slavery Museum and Maritime History Museum in nearby Liverpool.

ENG 227 Introduction to Poetry and Fiction Writing:

Prof. Jane Wong

“‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice…”– Lewis Carroll

Language is curious. Language is an archeological dig, a translucent fish. In this class, we will turn over the rock and see what’s underneath. We’ll discover that language is malleable, evocative, elusive, and ferocious. In addition to language, we will test our curiosity with genre, form, and content. We will read and write poetry and fiction. And then we will question these genres. Be prepared to challenge yourself aesthetically, thematically, and formally. We will read and write a lot. Throughout the semester, we will return to certain questions: How can we use language to convey the unconveyable? How can words on a page move us? How can we play with language and form in an innovative, challenging, and productive way? English 227 is a foundational-level course that introduces students to the history, theories, and practice of poetry and fiction writing. To help us explore the above questions, we will read the work of diverse writers, including the work of your peers. By interrogating and exploring these texts, we will get a better sense of how language and structure work (or don’t work) and how we can begin to cultivate our own styles and literary voices. You will be expected to hand in creative pieces for workshop, feedback letters, and a final portfolio of revised, polished work.

ENG 241: Exiles, Outsiders and Friends: The Struggle for Belonging in American Literature

Prof. Jenny James

MTWRF 11:30-2:50PM

Admin 214

In this course we will survey American literature to better understand how poetry, drama and fiction give us new perspectives on American citizenship and belonging.  Throughout the term we’ll explore stories of exile, exclusion and belonging, as we think about how race, class, gender, sexual and indigenous identities shape the individual quest to become an “American.”  Born from an idealistic pledge of freedom and equality for all, the United States has struggled throughout its history to uphold this promise.  From Nathaniel Hawthorne’s scorned heroine Hester Prynne to Walt Whitman’s transcendent American brotherhood, from Toni Morrison’s complex portrayal of the segregated South to post-war novelist John Okada’s depiction of Japanese Internment during WWII, this course explores literary representations of those exiles, outsiders and friends that make up the American nation.

ENGL 251: British Traditions: Gender and Ethics from Shakespeare to Austen

Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger

MTWRF, 8:30-10:50am

Admin 214

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.

CHLC 336: Childhood and Culture – Childhood Studies and the Rights of the Child

Prof. Nathalie op de Beeck
TWRF, 11:30am – 2:20pm
Admin 204B

This core course in the Children’s Literature and Culture (CHLC) Program, open to all students, concerns the human rights of the child, especially as related to our university’s missions of social justice, diversity, and environmental sustainability. We will read essays and look at texts (stories, films, etc.) having to do with human rights issues, citizenship debates, and the interdisciplinary field known as Childhood Studies. We will examine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child and related documents; learn about academic, legal, and other definitions of related terms like child, youth, and childhood; and think about how children’s own voices and archives of childhood are compiled, studied, and interpreted. Students in this course will read, write, discuss, and present materials designed to develop shared understandings of Childhood Studies.

Our readings, media examples, group conversations, writings, and community activities will establish a foundation for critical thinking about childhood and social justice. We will build upon this foundation with research on topics in childhood studies and youth-related community service opportunities that will broaden our knowledge of: the history, culture, and interpretation of American, Western, and global childhoods; the human rights and legal privileges accorded and denied children in the U.S. and internationally; the distinctions among cultural studies of childhood and youth, children’s literature, and other disciplinary frameworks; and representations and idealizations of childhood (in terms of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, age, and other intersectional categories).

Engl 345 Topics in Literature and Difference:

“American Women Poets”
Prof. Rick Barot
TWRF 2:30-5:20PM
Admin TKTK

This course will delve into some distinct questions related to American women poets spanning Emily Dickinson to the present day. What are the themes and stories which concern these women writers? Are these themes and stories noticeably different from those of male writers? How do sexuality, identity, and art interact in the texts we read? How do political and societal forces impact the work that the poets produce? Additionally, we will explore the genre of poetry itself. By the end of the course, students will be proficient in how poems are technically constructed, how poems dole out their content and meaning, and how individual poets operate within larger contexts of culture, politics, and history.