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

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 7-Eleven)

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


course reader will include texts by Herman Melville, ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui,
Claude McKay, Louis Althusser, Ho‘oulumāhiehie, John Fiske, Slavoj 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, and others. The course reader will be available
during the second week of school.


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