Fall 2017 Course Descriptions
Prerequisite is completion of 1213 and departmental permission. Introduction to literary creative writing, especially creative nonfiction and poetry, and to the structural foundations of literary writing. Major emphasis on student writing.
ENGL 2243: Introduction to Cinema
Film Lab: T 3.00-5.30
This course is an introduction to film analysis and film narrative. We will cover issues such as film form, techniques, styles and genre. The goal of this course is to equip you with the basic analytical tools that are required for a sustained critical engagement with cinema. We will begin with a section that covers basic film terminology and history. We will then transition to our second section on genre (we will cover film noir, the western, documentary and the superhero/ine movie). We will end by devoting time to a specific genre from a specific time period:70s horror. Movies we will watch may include Citizen Kane, Singin’ in the Rain, Rear Window, Chinatown, Do the Right Thing, Modern Times, Sunset Boulevard, Shane, Grizzly Man, The Dark Knight Returns, Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead and Jaws. You will be graded on attendance and participation, a short formal analysis paper, a longer research paper, a group presentation and four quizzes.
- James Monaco—How to Read a Film: Movies, Media and Beyond (Oxford University Press, 4th Edition).
- Jeffrey Geiger and R.L. Rutsky—Film Analysis: a Norton Reader (W.W. Norton and Co.)
Screenings/Film Lab: The films we are screening have been chosen to illustrate concepts in film analysis and to introduce you to a variety of types and genres of filmmaking. You are expected to watch the films carefully from beginning to end (through the end credits). The film lab is a requirement and you cannot skip them.
ENGL 2283.001 Critical Methods: Desire, Death and Psychoanalytic Theory
Desire and Death will examine theories of the death drive in Lacanian Psychoanalytic theory. Our focus will be on how the death drive manifests in Literature and Film in terms of violence, sexual desire, self-annihilation, racism, mysogyny and monstrosity. The goal of this course is to help students to think about how theory is used in literary and film studies; thus this course focuses on literature/film as much as theory and considers how literary/film criticism makes theory usable for the study of culture. Some texts we will study: the films of David Lynch (Blue Velvet; Mullholland Drive); Toni Morrison’s Beloved; Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby; Emily Dickenson’s poems; Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories. We will write 3-4 short papers.
English 2433.001: World Literature to 1700
Dr. Su Fang Ng
Surveying the world’s literary production from the invention of writing till the early modern period, this course begins with the earliest literature produced in Mesopotamia that have influenced later works such as the Hebrew Bible and Homeric epics. From there we fan out to various parts of the Eurasian continent, reading Ancient Greek literature (Homer, Sophocles, Euripides), to early Chinese poetry, to Indian epics, and to Roman literature (Virgil and Ovid) from before the Common Era. The second half of the course will treat later world literature (after the Common Era), including Indian classical literature, Tang-era Chinese poetry, Islamic literature (Arabic and Persian), western European vernacular literature from the medieval period, and Japanese vernacular literature (such as the Tale of Genji), before ending with the early modern period.
Our scope is broad as we try to account for the world’s major literary traditions. While we read to understand the various literatures and linguistic traditions in their own terms, we will also examine the broader patterns of contact and cultural exchanges amongst world literatures. How have different literary traditions borrowed from each other in terms of themes, character-types, and genres? How have trade and exploration brought peoples of the world in contact with each other and how has that history influenced literary productions? Even as we take the bird’s eye-view of world literature, we will also learn to appreciate the details of literary craftsmanship through the close-reading of selected texts.
Sarah Lawall, et al., The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Package 1 (Volumes A, B, C): Beginnings to 1650, 2nd ed. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2003.
Requirements: papers, examinations, quizzes, attendance and participation
ENGL 3103: 003 Creative Nonfiction Writing
An intensive reading and writing course designed to introduce writers to this capacious form, often called the Fourth Genre, and its myriad manifestations, including memoir, lyrical essay, personal essay, historical and environmental writing, and more. Through reading a wide range of creative nonfiction, our text on craft, and fellow writers’ work, students enhance their analytical abilities and knowledge of craft as they develop their own creative nonfiction. Coursework includes written responses to assigned readings and written and oral analysis of fellow writers’ work in peer review and workshop. Prerequisite: ENGL 2123 or ENGL 2133.
ENGL 3123: 001 Fiction Writing
An intensive reading and writing course designed to increase the writer’s knowledge and skill in the craft of the short story. Through reading a wide range of short fiction, texts on craft, and fellow writers’ work, students deepen their understanding of literary short fiction and elements of craft as they develop their own creative work. Coursework includes written responses to assigned readings and written and oral analysis of fellow writers’ work in peer review and workshop. Prerequisite: ENGL 2123
Prerequisite is completion of 1213. Introduction to regional writing about Oklahoma, especially works by Oklahoma writers whose voices have been shaped by place, as well as a few works by non-Oklahomans whose writing has contributed to constructions of the state in various historical moments. Through an examination of fiction, poetry, essays, music, photography and film, this course traces a history of words and images that tell stories about Oklahoma—an Oklahoma diverse in its cultural productions.
ENG 3343: Literature of Empire: Adventure, Science Fiction and Steampunk
This course explores the enduring impact of empire building and imperialism by focusing on three interconnected genres: the adventure fantasy, science fiction and steampunk. We will begin by studying the representations of fantastic journeys in “other” locales and lost worlds, the representations of race, gender and sexuality, and fantasies and fears about evolution in three iconic 19th century novels: H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, James De Mille’s A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder and H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau. If time permits, we may also read James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. In the latter half of the course, we will explore how many of the themes, fantasies and anxieties of the 19th century adventure/science fiction novel about empire are extended, subverted or revised in contemporary examples of “steampunk” or “weird fiction.” The three texts we will consider are China Mieville’s The Scar, Carolyn Ivers’s Isles of the Forsaken and Alan Moore’s comic book The League of
Extraordinary Gentlemen. Primary readings will be supplemented by theoretical essays by Edward Said, Anne McClintock, Mary Louise Pratt and John Riede among others. Requirements will include a short paper (6-7 pages), a longer research paper (10-12 pages), a group presentation and a final exam.
ENGL 4323.001 Harlem Renaissance
T/R 10:30-11:45 a.m.
This course surveys and evaluates the literature and political agenda of the Harlem Renaissance. During the period between the 1920s and 1940s artists, writers, and musicians employed culture to work for goals of civil rights and social equality. Harlem, a diverse community of African Americans, became home to civil rights organizations such as the NAACP, the National Urban League, and Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. Besides studying the major figures of the Harlem Renaissance, we will situate this movement within a larger transnational context of the African Diaspora. Grades are based on class participation, short weekly writings, and a term paper.
Patton, Venetria K. and Maureen Honey, eds. Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem
Renaissance Anthology (Rutgers 2001)
Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk
Toomer, Jean. Cane
Larsen, Nella. Passing and Quicksand
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God
Thurman, Wallace. The Blacker the Berry
McKay, Claude. Home to Harlem
Woodson, Carter G. The Mis-Education of the Negro (OU Library Online)
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man
W. E. B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices
Midnight Ramble: The Story of the Black Film
English 4533.001: Shakespeare Tragedies
Dr. Su Fang Ng
This course will engage in a close study of selected Shakespearean tragedies, including the late romances. We will consider the plays both as poetic texts and as theatrical works in order to understand Shakespeare’s language and his culture. Although Shakespeare’s dramatic works have become canonized and lionized as “great works” in the western literary tradition, they were not perceived as high art in Shakespeare’s time but as works of popular culture. We will endeavor to keep both of these aspects in mind—the use of Shakespeare as a standard for high culture and his popularity. We first begin by learning to read his often highly metaphorical language, paying some attention to Renaissance poetic and rhetorical theory and practice. As we consider the works as playtexts for performances, we will also learn something about the practical components of Elizabethan stagecraft, the material aspects of the theater, and the audiences for these theatrical productions. The course will incorporate some brief performances and blocking of scenes in class as a method to understand Shakespearean and Renaissance stagecraft. We will also study the political and social realms in which Shakespeare’s plays and early modern popular theater emerged. To connect the literary with the historical, we will trace important themes in the Shakespearean canon: gender, social class, performance, the transformative agency of art and language, power, and the nature of kingship. The final paper is a research paper that will be the culmination of the semester’s work. We should leave the class with a greater facility in reading Shakespeare, a firmer grasp of his dramatic art, and a better understanding of these plays in their historical context.
Assignments: quizzes, midterm and final exams; analytical papers; performance of scene; attendance and compelling participation.
Greenblatt, Stephen et al., ed. The Norton Shakespeare. 3rd edition. New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2015. (You may use any annotated, scholarly edition).
ENGL 4853.001 Capstone: Caribbean Literature
T/R 9:00-10:15 a.m.
In this course we will read texts by writers from the Caribbean (from and about Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Haiti, Martinique, and the Bahamas). We will study how European colonization of the islands and the African slave trade have impacted their peoples and cultures. Through a variety of writings styles, such as travelogue, essay, novel, short story, and poetry, we reflect on the human condition in the “postcolony”. We enrich our reading experiences through watching films and listening to music. Grades are based on class participation, short weekly writings, and a term paper.
Naipaul, V.S. The Middle Passage
James, C.L.R. The Black Jacobins
Lamming, George. The Pleasure of Exile
Chamoiseau, Patrick. Chronicle of the Seven Sorrows
Lovelace, Earl. A Brief Conversion and Other Stories
Lovelace, Earl. The Wine of Astonishment
Cliff, Michelle. Abeng
Mais, Roger. Brother Man
Campbell, Christian. Running the Dusk
Life & Debt
Fire in Babylon
Joebell and America
ENGL 5613/001 Sexual Transgression and the Victorian Novel
In this course we will study nineteenth-century English novels in which sexual transgression is a central concern, and so throughout this semester we will pay attention to this topic and others related to it, such as Victorian conceptions of marriage, gender, and the family. (Three of these novels, for instance, use cross-dressing as a plot element; what nineteenth-century radicals called “free love” is an issue in others; and the relationship between sexual decorum and family honor or inheritance shadows them all.) I wish to emphasize, however, that our discussions will not be limited to any particular set of topics; the issues raised, questions posed, and directions taken by our discussions throughout this semester will be determined in large part by the interests of our group of students. These novels also deal with the class system, political economy, industrialization, violent crime, madness, and social ambition, among many other things, in settings that range from beautiful estates to smoke-choked cities, from schoolrooms to circuses, from an imaginary Africa to darkest England, and from farms, country fairs, and dances to genteel parlors, clamorous union halls, and lonely graves. Grades will be based on class participation, short weekly writings, and a term paper.
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)
Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847)
Charles Dickens, Hard Times (1854)
George Eliot, Mill on the Floss (1860)
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret (1862)
Olive Schreiner, Story of an African Farm (1883)
H. Rider Haggard, She (1886)
Grant Allen, The Woman Who Did (1895)
Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure (1895)