Intro. English Studies

In this
course, we will all be examining our roles as critics who read, think, and
write about literary and cultural texts. 
As literary critics, we will begin by engaging in close textual analyses
of the ways that stories are told and the narrative strategies writers use to
challenge or transform the material conditions of their lives.  We will discuss basic literary terminology,
concepts, methods, and practices that illustrate the connections among people
who read and write texts and the larger conditions of production and systems of
power in which their texts are produced and read.  We will be analyzing different genres of
writing (poetry, short stories, novels, films, autobiographies, personal
essays, inscriptions of mo‘olelo) and how these forms are used in ways that
respond to material conditions, including political events and movements.

We will be focusing in
particular on definitions and discussions of ideology and the social relations
of power that underpin the ideological functions of literature.  With this in mind, we will compare different
points of entry into analyzing a range of texts assigned for the course,
approaches that that foreground issues of class, gender, sexuality,
race/ethnicity, indigeneity, and location, and then we will examine how these
multiple and interlocking critical frameworks cannot be separated from each
other even as they are often made (problematically) to compete with each
other.  Some approaches, like literary
mapping techniques, go beyond an emplotment of geographical spaces to mapping
the social relations between people, their relationship to land, and
epistemological underpinnings of these relationships.  We will also map out our own positionality as
readers as we engage in a careful examination of the processes by which we
“make meaning.”

Required Texts (available at Revolution Books, between Puck’s Alley and

Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan,
eds., Literary Theory: An Anthology
(1998); R. Zamora Linmark, Rolling the
(1997); Toni Morrison, Beloved
(1987); Haunani-Kay Trask, Light in the
Crevice Never Seen
(1994).  Required
course reader will include texts by Herman Melville, ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui,
Claude McKay, Louis Althusser, Ho‘oulumāhiehie,
John Dominis Holt, Shakespeare, Gizelle Gajelonia, Judith Butler, Monique
Wittig, Brandy Nālani
McDougall, Puanani Burgess, Gwendolyn Brooks, Noenoe Silva, Lois-Ann Yamanaka,
Franco Moretti, Jose Munoz, and others. The course reader will be available
during the second week of school.

Requirements: One
two-page paper, two four-page papers, peer-editing, short assignments, a final
exam, attendance and participation.