While refining students' general analytical and interpretive skills, this course offers intensive examination of specific issues in literature and culture, often those at the center of current critical interest. Recent sections have focused on The Gangster Film, Memoir and Sexuality, Quest for the Grail, and Native American Literature. Students may only count one ENG 255 that is a cross-listed Modern Language course toward the major or minor.
|Arts and Humanities||1 course|
Current Semester InformationVanessa Dickerson
255A: Tps:RdgsLit-Blk Diaspora
This course emphasizes how to write about the literary expressions of peoples of African descent. Its focus, then, is on the writing skills and analytical approaches that will enable students to both understand and more fully appreciate the works of such writers as Achebe, Ngugi, Kincaid, Guillen, Morejon, Reed, and Morrison.
This course is for students who are interested in learning about the major playwrights and artistic/political movements in twentieth and twenty-first century African American drama. We will begin with some earlier works from the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights eras (Hughes, Hansberry), but most of the course will focus on plays from the mid-1960s era onward, including the Beat/Black Arts movements (Baraka), significant Black women playwrights of the seventies (Shange), and major theater voices from more recent times (Parks, Nottage, Corthron). Students should be prepared to participate actively in discussions and scenes, as well as to do a significant amount of writing since this is a "W" course.
255C: Tps:Jewish American
Tps: Jewish American
What can literature about the Jewish American experience tell us about America, about Jews in America, and, more generally, about the place of a minority culture in America? What has it meant and what does it mean now to be a Jew in America? Is there such a thing as "the Jewish community?" and how do conflicts among Jewish Americans reflect the conflicts within other minority "communities" and within the larger American culture of which it is a part? What can "Jewish-American Literature" tell us about American values: the importance in all our lives of family, education, faith, love, work, freedom, equality, justice, success, and group and individual identity? How does "Jewish-American" literature reflect a changing America and changing circumstances of Jews in America?
Through our reading and writing this semester, we will explore these questions. Our selections will span the colonial period to the late twentieth century. Our focus, however, will be on the period from the late nineteenth century to the present, the period of the largest migration of Jews to America and their assimilation, more or less, into American culture.
Our basic text will be the Norton Anthology of Jewish American Literature, supplemented by a selection of memoirs, novellas, and novels. Class will be primarily discussion, both student and professor-led. Writing will be both informal and exploratory, on the one hand, and more formal and analytical on the other. For at least one of the analytical assignments, students may substitute memoir, oral history, or archival study on topics related to our reading. This course is a W course.