English 101 Reading in the World

Posted on March 24th, 2010 by

Book Burning: What makes Literature So Dangerous?

Professor: Phil Bryant

This course will explore the question of why literature incites people to ban, outlaw and burn it (often times burning the authors along with their books). We will read a wide selection of literatures from different countries, societies, historical periods, both past and present. We will first read them as literary works of art, examining them through close, critical readings to ascertain their form and substance as literature. We will then bring these works of literature into the larger, broader social, political, religion context where as works of literature they have been deemed by the authorities, dangerous and unsuitable for persons in that particular society to read. We will look at why this happens, specifically and generally, throughout human history, occurring in almost all societies. The underlying question in this course could be: What makes literature so dangerous?

Body Works

Professor: Rob Kendrick

This course compares how  writers in many disciplines in Western culture understand the human body and use it to justify or to question widely held beliefs and cultural norms.  As we closely read literary, philosophical, and medical/scientific texts as well as the visual arts and film, we’ll question how texts speak to one another and differ in their evocations of the body, and what work the body is made to perform in each text.  Works include Plato’s Symposium, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Galen/Hippocrates, Michel Foucault, King Lear, John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, William Harvey’s Anatomical Exercises, J. G. Ballard’s Crash, Gunther van Hagen’s Body Worlds, and The Dark Knight.

The Literature of Laughter

Professor:  Baker Lawley

This course will cover comedy in several genres, including poetry, nonfiction, drama, and fiction, and in several different time periods.  Students will read (and laugh) and respond to these works in writing and speaking, to discover how comedy in literature reveals larger ideas and themes.  The course will cover critical theory about these literary works as well as their historical contexts, showing how writers respond to their times and how they do so with humor.  And we will read the funny works very closely on their own, to reveal how the art of comedy functions in literature.

Literature from the Local to the Global

Professor: Sun Hee Lee

Students in this course will have the opportunity to study the literature of various places, to read for personal growth, to see the connection between literature and important social issues, and to consider their relationship to different realities of the world.  The readings in this course are weighted toward issues of justice and equality as they relate to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and class. The coursework will begin close to home, with readings that are set in Minnesota and the Midwest, as well as other rural locations, and move onto those set in U.S. urban areas and finally beyond the borders of the U.S. to such regions as Haiti, London, and South Africa.

Reality of Fiction

Professor: Sun Hee Lee

This course introduces students to ways of reading fiction, beginning with an emphasis on its form and close reading and moving onto historical and political reading practices.  Within this framework, students will think about the ways in which literature matters in the real world, engaging with such issues as religion, class, gender, race, and sexuality and reflecting on contemporary and personal connections.  Readings will include short and long works by such writers as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Zora Neale Hurston, Charlotte Bronte, William Faulkner, Sherman Alexie, and Joseph Conrad.


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