Intro. English Studies

In this course, you will be
introduced to a range of approaches to reading and producing texts as well as
to the debates that animate and enliven English departments today. We will work
to articulate and define the set of assumptions that we bring to the act of
reading all kinds of texts: poems, plays, novels, films, political speeches,
critical essays, etc. Our explorations will take us through all four of the
major areas that define this particular English department: composition and
rhetoric, creative writing, cultural studies, and of course, literary studies As
our investigations will be centered around the act of interpretation, we will
explore how key concepts such as “ideology,” “discourse” “rhetoric” and
“representation” (to name but a few) can inform and complicate the ways that we
understand texts. We will take into account such questions as how the meaning
of a text changes in relation to time and where the reader or writer is
located. For example, we will consider how an increasingly global economy
affects not only popular cultural forms like television and film but the way we
understand older texts as well. Throughout the course, we will try not so much
to apply critical texts to literature, but to explore what happens when we
place different kinds of texts in dialogue. As we cover a variety of both texts
and approaches to interpreting texts, you will be asked to think about both
what motivated your decision to study English and what value or usefulness can
be found in English studies.

Class attendance and participation is required.

Reading List

 Apio, Kamau and Kamau Ae;
Shakespeare, Hamlet; Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close;
Proulx, Brokeback Mountain; a book of poetry as yet to be determined;
course readings available on laulima

The books for this course
are available at Revolution Books in Puck’s Alley.



Class blog, quizzes and in-class writing                                     20%

Midterm and Final (20% each)                                                    40%

Short reaction papers                                                                  40%