Intro to 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

Ross C. Murfin and Supriya Ray,
eds., The Bedford Glossary of Critical
and Literary

Terms, 2nd edition; R. Zamora Linmark, Rolling the R’s (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
Fiske, Slavoy Zizek, Shakespeare, Judith Butler, Monique Wittig, Avery Gordon,
Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Norma Alarcon, Brandy Nālani McDougall, Jeff Chang, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Puanani
Burgess, Gwendolyn Brooks, Noenoe Silva, Hazel Carby, 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.