2012 Fall ENG 101 course descriptions

Posted on April 18th, 2012 by

Nobel Prize Winners (1 Course Credit)

What does it take to win a Nobel Prize in Literature? Who has the authority to say that one book or writer is better than another? Do we still think that the winners from 50 or 100 years ago are “great” writers? We will read what winners have written, and what readers have written about winners. Along the way we will discuss and debate the politics of literary awards, celebrate and critique notable literary achievements. In the end, we will have read a selection of works by recent and past Nobel Prize winners, and we will form our own conclusions about what kind of literature might benefit humanity enough to merit an award alongside medicine or chemistry.

Professor: Eric Eliason

Literature & Culture Of Sport (1 Course Credit)

This course explores the various roles & functions that sport plays in society. What is it about sport that generates so much interest, revenue, acclaim, & controversy, & that inspires people to participate in and/or become a fan of so many different forms of sporting activity? We will analyze sport from the various perspectives of players, managers & coaches, as well as of fans. Reading numerous works of both fiction & nonfiction, we will use sport as both a window through which we view & interpret cultures around the world, and as a mirror reflecting some of a culture’s most important values & traditions. Issues of race, class, gender, regional & nationalism will certainly be considered. Some of the sports to be focused on will include baseball, basketball, football, soccer, cycling, mountain climbing, & fly fishing.

Professor: Donald Scheese

The World At The Margin (1 Course Credit)

This course will study literature that enters the world of the outcast, the alienated, or the marginalized. We are occasionally indifferent or even repulsed by these people and the worlds they inhabit, but at the same time we’re drawn to them, for they often seem more intriguing and interesting than the “normal” or “accepted” world we’ve grown accustomed to. Through the reading, studying, and discussion of our texts we will address a variety of ideas and questions, among them: What does it mean to be alienated, outcast, or marginalized? What causes these reactions in us, as readers and as people who are at times the included and at other times the outcast? What can we learn about the margins of our own society by reading literature that delves imaginatively into these worlds? How does one survive/live in a world they don’t necessarily belong to or are not wanted in? What causes a society’s acceptance or rejection of an individual, a group, or idea? We will read poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama in the humble pursuit of answers to these questions and more. Authors and texts include, but are not limited to: Johnson’s Jesus Son, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and A Hunger Artist, Welch’s Fools Crow, Sexton’s Transformations, and Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.

Professor: Matthew Rasmussen

Book Burning (1 Course Credit)

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 whereas 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?

Professor: Philip Bryant

In Search Of The American Dream (1 Course Credit)

In this course students will learn about the immigrant experiences of various peoples in different historical periods in search of the ever-changing, often-elusive American Dream. Through literature, film, and historical documents, students will learn about how immigrants envisioned America, which benefits were associated with living in this country, and how they struggled to achieve those goals. Students will also have the chance to bring themselves into the conversation by investigating their immigrant histories and exploring what the American Dream means in the present.

Professor: Sun Hee Lee

Body Works (1 Course Credit)

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.

Professor: Robert Kendrick


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