Upper Division Course Descriptions
ETS 303-1 Reading & Writing Fiction
TuTh 9:30-10:50 AM
Instructor: Sarah Harwell
All creative disciplines depend on the study and imitation of the particular art form for mastery of their elements. In this course you will read and analyze a number of short stories in order to deepen your understanding of a variety of concerns in storytelling including voice, style, description, story, and character. We will attempt to answer the question: how have authors generated emotions, interest, and power in creative texts? You will be required to display an understanding of these issues by producing creative and analytical responses to the texts studied. Possible authors include Flannery O'Connor, Alice Munro, James Joyce, James Baldwin, Jorge Luis Borges, Mary Gaitskill, Anton Chekhov, and Raymond Carver.
ETS 305-3 Critical Analysis: Postcolonial U.S. and Caribbean Literature: Blackness, Slavery, and the (Post) Colony
TuTh 11:00-12:20 PM
Instructor: Meina Yates-Richard
This course is designed as an introduction to the field of postcolonial studies. We will focus primarily on literatures in an “Americas” context, taking the U.S. and Caribbean as our sites of inquiry. In so doing, we will examine how the construct of “blackness” was used in the service of legitimating chattel slavery and the building of empires, as well as how various thinkers re-framed “blackness” and its relationship to chattel slavery to expose and contest colonial domination. We will also consider how racial, class, gender and sexuality issues intersect with one another in the framing of anticolonial and postcolonial discourse. We will explore these and other issues by examining exemplary authors, texts, and genres relevant to postcolonial studies. These will include Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism and A Tempest; works by Franz Fanon and Sylvia Wynter; the writings of W.E.B. Du Bois, C.L.R. James, and Carole Boyce Davies; Kamau Brathwaite’s and Derek Walcott’s essays and poetry; and fiction by Michelle Cliff, Jamaica Kincaid, Caryl Phillips, Junot Diaz and others.
ETS 305-4 Critical Analysis: The Racial Imagination
MW 2:15-3:35 PM
Instructor: Silvio Torres-Saillant
This course will look at theories of race with a focus on the intellectual history of responses to the advent of blackness, the rise of whiteness, and the partition of humanity into phenotypically differentiated branches as captured by literature and thought across several centuries. The class will survey William Shakespeare’s “dark lady” and the Bard’s relationship with Lucy Negro, Ben Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness, Thomas Jefferson’s reading of Phillis Wheatly, William Taylor Coleridge’s difficulty with the “race” of Othello, Wallace Stevens’ stigmatization of Gwendolyn Books, and the critical discussion about the all-black production of “white” plays on the contemporary American stage, among other “racial moments” in literature and thought. The class will consider these vis-à-vis the representation of phenotypical difference in texts written in European countries from Homer through the 1400s prior to the rise of the Christian West and the advent of the racial other as a factor of social relations and geopolitical exchange.
ETS 310-3 Literary Periods: British Modernism
MW 12:45-2:05 PM
Instructor: Chris Forster
The turn of the twentieth century was an especially turbulent and provocative time in art and literature. It was a period that saw the height of British Imperial power, of the “Great War,” and of rapid technological change (including the emergence of film as a major cultural form). This environment produced the art and literature frequently called “modernist.” This class will focus on this period (roughly, 1890-1930) and the authors and literature of the British Isles (and a little beyond). We will begin with late nineteenth-century precursors (including writers like Wilde, Mallarme, and Flaubert), before spending the majority of the semester reading some of the major works of the first half of the twentieth century (in both poetry and fiction, and maybe some film). We will end by examining the aftermath of this moment, looking at work sometimes called “postmodernist.” Writers we will study include Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, W. H. Auden, and others as well as key manifestoes and other documents of the period. Assignments include two major essays and shorter regular written responses.
ETS 310-4 Literary Periods: Modern American Fiction
TuTh 12:30-1:50 PM
Instructor: Susan Edmunds
In this course, we will examine a range of fiction written between 1880 and 1945. Discussion will place the three major literary modes of the period--Realism, Naturalism, and Modernism---in a sociohistorical context. We will try to understand how the larger social conflicts and social upheavals of the period prompted writers to become dissatisfied with inherited forms of literary representation and to devise new modes of representation which they claimed were more suited to bringing about–or protesting--social change. Throughout the semester, we will return to texts that focus on acting, masking, posing, and “passing” in order to explore how changing codes of social performativity challenge and transform existing categories of race, class and gender.
ETS 310-5 Literary Periods: Women in the (European) Middle Ages
TuTh 2:00-3:20 PM
Instructor: Patricia Moody
Using women such as Eleanor of Aquitane, Marie de France, Christine de Pizan, Joan of Arc, Hildegard of Bingen, and Margaret Paston as case studies, we examine “real” women against fictional representations (think Morgan le Fay, Chaucer’s Wife of Bath or Prioress). Pre-1900 course
ETS 320-3 Authors: Chaucer
TuTh 11:00-1220 PM
Instructor: Patricia Moody
Commonly regarded as one of the pillars of the so-called English literary tradition, and as the father of English poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer can perhaps best be examined in his historical context, the turbulent period of emergent early modern culture. We'll read Chaucer's major works, with particular attention to the forms and genres with which Chaucer and his contemporaries worked. Pre-1900 course
ETS 330-1 Theorizing Meaning and Interpretation: Modes of Critique for Literary Studies
TuTh 2:00-3:20 PM
Instructor: Don Morton
The course will investigate what thinking “critique-ally” can mean. That is, it will investigate the various literary and cultural theories and the forms of critique those theories encourage. That something is at stake in having students learn “critique” is suggested by efforts of legislators in Texas a few years ago to forbid the teaching of critique in that state’s public schools. This course aims to investigate the various forms in which critique has been and is being used in the study of literature and culture, such as feminist critique, ideology critique, deconstructive critique, and genealogical critique.
ETS 330-2 Theorizing Meaning and Interpretation: Experiencing Film
TuTh 3:30-4:50 PM
Film Screening Tu 7:00-9:50 PM
Instructor: Steven Doles
How can we best describe what we are doing when we watch a film? How do the spaces and contexts in which we watch shape our response to the film? Are we all having the same experience when we watch, or do different audiences respond in their own ways? This course is designed to explore questions like these in two ways. On the one hand, we will discuss various topics in film studies connected to these concerns, including audience reception, exhibition, theories of spectatorship, cinephilia, and cult movies. We will also develop a set of practices of attentive and imaginative viewing through a series of exercises, drawing upon perspectives that are sometimes called “contemplation” or “mindfulness.” These might include exercises such as journaling or free-writing, repeated rewatching of scenes or extended looking at frame captures, silent reflection, and trip reports of spaces of exhibition outside the university. Our first-hand experiences will thus become evidence for thinking about and exploring the approaches that film scholars have developed to these topics. In addition to our viewing of narrative fiction films ranging from the accessible to the challenging, selected nonfiction and experimental films will allow us to explore how our experience changes when viewing these other film modes. Screenings might include On the Waterfront, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Hausu, Inland Empire, Wavelength, and Gates of Heaven, amongst others. Film and Screen Studies Course
ETS 340 -1 Theorizing Forms & Genres: Film Noir/Noir Cultures
MW 12:45-2:05 PM
Film Screening M 7:00-9:45 PM
Instructor: Will Scheibel
Film noir (or “black film”) is a French term used in reference to dark melodramas, mysteries, and crime thrillers, traditionally from the 1940s and 1950s, but its definition varies from a genre to a visual style to a historical period, among other categories. This course approaches noir as a cultural mode, or a way of viewing the world that is not localized only to film and encompasses different genres, styles, and periods. However one defines it, film noir has been influenced by different material forms and media practices, and has influenced them in turn. We will investigate these “places” of noir in American culture: Classical Hollywood cinema; radio and popular literature; jazz and blues; street photography; urban architecture; suburban space; fashion; television; and productions of African-American, feminist, and queer identity. What cultural needs and desires does noir serve? What does noir illuminate, albeit darkly, about our culture? Films will tentatively include Blues in the Night (1941), Out of the Past (1947), The Naked City (1948), Whirlpool (1949), In a Lonely Place (1950), Blade Runner (1982), A Rage in Harlem (1991), Bound (1996), Mulholland Dr. (2001), and In the Cut (2003). Attendance at weekly screenings is required. Film and Screen Studies course.
HNR 340 Theoretical Modes of Inquiry: Game Studies in Practice
Instructor: Chris Hanson
What are the roles of games and play in contemporary culture and how are these roles shifting? How do we “read” and interpret a game such as Grand Theft Auto or Super Mario Bros.? How do we understand mobile games like Pokémon GO or virtual and mixed reality experiences made possible by technologies such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Microsoft HoloLens? How do games shape and change our interactions with the world and vice versa? This course will explore the evolving form of digital games, tracing their historical roots in traditional board games and other associated cultural modes of play to current and possible future iterations of video games. We will employ a range of critical approaches to gaming; games will be “read” and critically interrogated as texts, and the relationships between game, player, design, software, interface, and structures of play will be discussed. As we examine the development of games and their associated genres, we will investigate the historical, social, political, cultural, and economic contexts of individual games, and consider the relationship of games to other media forms and texts. In addition to games, we will also study screen-based media texts which explicitly or implicitly engage with the concepts of game studies. The final project for this course will combine the design of a game with a critical assessment based on this project. This is an honors course, HNR 340, and requires a petition for non-honors students. ETS majors/minors may use this course towards their ETS upper division requirements provided they complete a petition.
ETS 350-1 Reading Nation and Empire: The Literature of Revolution
MW 2:15-3:35 PM
Instructor: Patricia Roylance
This course will examine the literature and ideology of revolution in the United States and beyond. In defiance of Britain’s imperialist control, the colonies that became the United States of America struggled to unify, win their independence and form a new nation. We will read participants’ speeches, personal letters, pamphlets and declarations to analyze how this process took place through language. We will also read accounts of the Revolution and its ideals produced in later eras, including fiction by Irving, Cooper and Hawthorne and political statements from other revolutions around the world attempting to cite the U.S. Revolution as a precedent. In an interesting twist, the United States itself became the target of a serious attempt at revolution by the Southern states in the Civil War, in which the Union faced the challenge of subduing a rebellion presenting itself as the present incarnation of the “Spirit of ’76.” In this course, we will track, among other issues, how the same rhetoric of revolution is used to cast the United States first as the rebel and then as the tyrant a mere 85 years later. Pre-1900 Course
ETS 360-4 Reading Gender & Sexualities:
What Was Sex? Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the History of Sexuality
TuTh 12:30-1:50 PM
Instructor: Dorri Beam
This class explores the possibility that sex and sexuality have histories and may mean differently across time. The nineteenth-century is arguably the period of the emergence of “sexuality,” and we will examine the use of literature itself for thinking about the history of sexuality. Before the relatively recent invention of heterosexuality and homosexuality in the late nineteenth-century, what was sex? What did it include and exclude? How did people understand their intimate relations? Into what categories did people fit their self-stylizations of gender, affect, and pleasure? How do social structures—for instance, marriage and the family or the nineteenth-century color line and legal segregation—organize sex, feeling, affiliations, and identities?
We will use literature of the American nineteenth century to explore these questions while also dipping into other discourses such as health reform, marriage advice, utopian manifestos and sex radicalism; exploring alternative practices such as polygamy and celibacy; and studying texts that feature African American and Native American resistant formations of marriage of family. Texts are likely to include short stories, novels, or poetry by Julia Ward Howe, Sarah Orne Jewett, Henry James, Bret Harte, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Walt Whitman, Kate Chopin, Zitkala Sa, and Charles Chesnutt. Pre-1900 course. Crosslisted with WGS 360 and QSX 300
ETS 401-3 Advanced Writing Workshop: Poetry
Tu 3:30-6:20 PM
Instructor: Michael Burkard
This course is devoted to the poem and seeks to answer the question that all artists face: how does one transform feeling and experience into something more than the original impulse, how does one create art? You will develop your poetic skills by reading the work of published poets, writing a poem every other week, and critiquing one another’s poems. You will be expected to extensively revise four of the poems you write. The course is open to anyone who has taken the introductory poetry workshop, ETS 215. Juniors and seniors who have not had a workshop may submit a portfolio of seven pages of original poetry to be considered for admission.
ETS 403-1: Advanced Writing Workshop: Fiction
Tu 3:30-6:20 PM
For advanced writers with some workshop experience. We will discuss student work as well as stories by contemporary authors, with a focus on craft, how a story holds and moves its readers. Significant revision required. Permission of the instructor is needed unless the student has completed ETS 217.
ETS 420-1 Cultural Production & Reception: Global New Wave Cinemas
TuTh 5:00-6:20 PM
Film Screening Tu 7:00-9:45 PM
Instructor: Lindsey Decker
Jump cuts, long tracking shots, striped shirts, cigarettes, existentialism, and Jean-Paul Belmondo's pout: all iconic elements of the French New Wave, a film movement that helped revolutionized cinema aesthetics in France and across the globe. But while the term "New Wave Cinema" is sometimes used narrowly to describe only this influential strain, the global film industry saw a number of new waves that experimented with form and style from the mid-1940s through the early 1970s. In this course, we will explore the production and reception of these New Waves, starting with an examination of their forerunner, post-WWII Italian neo-realism. From there, we will trace the reception and reaction to the aesthetics and politics of neo-realism, as well subsequent new waves, through British, French, West African, and Japanese New Wave cinemas. Examining the transnational flows of these waves will illuminate industrial changes taking place under globalization, as well as allowing us to interrogate the ways in which aesthetic and formal tropes cross borders and fit into new national contexts. Weekly screening is required. Film and Screen Studies course.
ETS 420-2 Cultural Production & Reception:
(Re)Presenting Slavery in Contemporary African American Literature and Culture
TuTh 9:30-10:50 AM
Instructor: Meina Yates-Richard
The horrors of chattel enslavement are characterized as ineffable, suggesting that slavery’s traumas cannot be expressed. However, time and again, people have endeavored to represent the realities of slavery, making communicative leaps to express the unspeakable aspects of bondage. This course places textual representations of slavery in conversation with films, visual art, and music that address transatlantic slavery. We will critically assess what may be lost or gained in these translations to page, screen, canvas, and acoustic matter. We will analyze the aims, merits, and limitations of these varied mediums as they attempt to represent chattel enslavement, attending to their contexts of production and reception as a fundamental aspect of our critical practice. In our consideration of contexts of production and reception, we will interrogate the tensions between America’s will to “historical amnesia” regarding slavery and slavery’s inexhaustibility as cultural reference point in the American imagination. Texts with corresponding films may include Beloved and Twelve Years a Slave, we will view Ava Duvernay’s 13th; we will study the visual art of Kara Walker and Tom Feelings; and engage with music addressing slavery from the “Sorrow Songs” to Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monáe and Solange.
ETS 420-3 Cultural Production & Reception: Victorian Domesticity
MW 3:45-5:05 PM
Instructor: Kevin Morrison
The Victorians are known for their intense affections. Lyric poetry—ranging from mawkish verse to philosophically complex ruminations on the epistemology of love (how does one know love? how does one know the other through love?) as well as the phenomenology of love (how do we experience it?)—celebrated the couple. Domestic idylls of the 1830s through the 1850s venerated the familial hearth and sang the praises of wife and mother. Marriage plot novels elevated love over the many other feelings (duty, obligation) and pragmatic motivations (joint labor, property consolidation) on which unions might be based. Yet if Victorian literature often sought to ennoble, refine, and provide an idiom for expressing the affections, it just as frequently explored the spectacular collapse of affective ties, the failures of intimacy, and the estrangement among families, spouses, and lovers. This course attends to the period’s complex renderings of Victorian domestic life. Pre-1900 course
ETS 426-1 Literature/Culture/Social Change: Love and Marriage in Shakespeare's England
Instructor: Melissa Welshans
The Beatles once famously sang, "All you need is love." This course will take this phrase as a starting point for exploring "love" and its iterations in early modern England, especially as it relates to the institution of marriage. What was the status of "love" in the time of Shakespeare--a time when romantic ideals often conflicted with the realities of match-making? How was it defined, expressed, cultivated, destroyed? How did it manifest in marriage, and what were other acceptable social sites of love? Texts under consideration will include a number of Shakespeare's works, including his sonnets, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter's Tale, as well as works by his contemporaries: Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker's The Roaring Girl, Elizabeth Cary's Tragedy of Mariam, and assorted poetical works by John Donne. Assignments will include two short papers and a longer research paper, as well as an in-class presentation. Pre-1900 course.
ETS 495-1 Thesis Workshop
Th 3:30-6:15 PM
Instructor: Stephanie Shirilan
The Thesis Writing Workshop is a forum for small-group mentoring and directed research toward producing an ETS Distinction Essay/Honors Thesis. Participants present drafts of their theses and engage in peer critique and other group and individual activities. Prerequisite: successful completion of ETS 494.