Description: This
course will look at looking by focusing on how systems of representation (i.e.,
the novel and film) structure what we see, what we don’t see, and, ultimately,
how we see. The novel, a print literary genre, is a form of narrative that
uniquely relies on point of view. Film, a visual genre, also relies on
perspective (the camera lens or apparatus), but presents a very different
concept of point of view, because of its seeming objectivity. While our culture
maintains a firm belief in the objectivity of the real world (and in our own
ability to see what’s there), other cultures recognize the reality of invisible
worlds. For comparison, we will be focusing on West African “ways of
seeing” in novels and popular film.

The works we will be examining all deal with—directly or
indirectly—various aspects of seeing, looking, being seen, visualization, and
the unseen. They do so by incorporating these as themes or narrative strategies,
and/or by unconsciously omitting various other perspectives. We will also be
looking at how the various conventions of these two genres develop those ideas
and concerns. Finally, this course will direct your attention toward how to
write effectively about literature and film.

Course Requirements:

Response Papers and other homework assignments

Quizzes and in-class writing

Two 4-5 page formal essays

Final exam

Attendance and participation


Required Texts

(available at Revolution Books, 2626 S. King Street). IMPORTANT: the first
three works are available in various editions. In each case the Norton Critical
Edition is REQUIRED.

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Norton Critical Edition; Third Edition)

Jean Rhys, Wide
Sargasso Sea
(Norton Critical Edition)

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Edition; Fourth Edition)

Ben Okri, The
Famished Road

Major Films

·      Robert Stevenson, Jane Eyre

·      Jacques Tourneur, I Walked
with a Zombie

·      John Duigan, Wide Sargasso Sea

·      Frances Ford Coppola, Apocalypse

Tunde Kelani, Thunderbolt (2000).