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Registration: Interim

Interim 2013


ENGL W10 Finding God in the Movies: The Very Best. This course will focus on the very best religious films ever made, a list that will include works as diverse as The Shawshank Redemption to Babette’s Feast. Although Hollywood and film generally are usually seen as bastions of gleeful secularism, these films comprise an extraordinary body of film--some of filmdom’s greatest, in fact--that is religiously acute and moving. The course will look at the sorts of religious statements these films make and how they go about making them, concentrating on the interrelation between means and “message.”  The course will begin by asking the question of what makes a film religious, and then move on to consider the drama of religious experience in the journey from darkness to light, from despair to hope, and from tragedy to comedy. We will also reflect on the nature of audience response and the legitimacy of oft-drawn distinctions between religious film and Christian film. As much as possible the course will follow a seminar format. Recent viewing of all films in the course is a requirement. Class sessions view films and discuss, including some time for the professor’s lecture on filmmakers and meanings, though this is kept to a minimum. Students will be responsible for viewing the films and reading analysis of written critical texts. The course is rather intensive, examining a film about every day of the term. It should also be noted that a number of the films in the course are R-rated and often dark in their estimate of human life. The viewing list will include such films as Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Blue, Malick’s The Tree of Life and The Thin Red Line, and Robbins’ Dead Man Walking. The course is designed to immerse students in the work of the great masters of religious cinema in order to develop their own awareness of the religious capacities of cinema but also their exploration of the presence and character of the divine. Evaluation will be based on a daily log of reactions to films, three analytic papers, and a final exam on the substance of the course. R. Anker. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

CANCELLED ENGL W11 The Blues as Secular Spiritual. This course presents a study of the spirituals and the blues, analyzing their common origins in American slavery and the historic divide between sacred and secular music in African American culture. Whereas blues singers were often condemned for singing “the devil’s music,” James Cone, in his seminal book, The Spirituals and the Blues, argues in contrast that the blues should be interpreted as “secular spirituals.” Students will read descriptions of the spirituals and blues written by influential African American authors, including Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison. Students listen to and analyze lyrics from spirituals and blues music in order to evaluate the validity of Cone’s thesis. The course also includes presentations by local blues musicians. Evaluation is based on an oral presentation and a final exam which asks students to develop their own analysis of the relationship between the spirituals and the blues, the sacred and secular music of African American culture.  B. Ingraffia. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

ENGL W12 The Great American Short Story. What constitutes greatness in an American short story. What, in fact, constitutes an American short story. Our aims in this course are to establish some criteria by which to judge the worth of the American short story, or perhaps any short story, to enjoy, discuss, and understand some contenders for the accolade “The Great American Short Story,” and to designate one story for the honor. The class uses a common anthology from which stories are read in a roughly chronological order and in a wide variety of styles and authors. Evaluation is based on lively participation, reports, and testing. J. Timmerman. 8:30 a.m. to noon.

ENGL W40 Portraits of a "Lady": Women & Power in Contemporary Culture. Students will analyze and evaluate cultural representations of femininity. While the primary cultural texts studied—from Margaret Atwood’s novel A Handmaid’s Tale to Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita to Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster—are narrative, students also examine visual representations of women from the history of art and contemporary advertisements. Evaluation is based on daily response papers that will demonstrate students’ engagement (including literary interpretation and rhetorical analysis) with these texts, and a final presentation. This course may fulfill an elective in the English majors. J. Holberg, J. Zwart. 8:30 a.m. to noon.

ENGL W41 Vamps & Vixens: Modernist Women Writers in Paris. The literary life of Paris and London between 1900 and 1940 was equally marked by both its intellectual fervor and its giddy self-indulgence. Perhaps even more remarkable is the contribution of women to this heady mix. Following Shari Benstock’s survey, Women of the Left Bank: Paris: 1900-1940, this course will ask “What was it like to be a part of literary Paris?” and will examine the works of female authors. Students will look at a number of women whose contributions illuminate aspects of Modernism that are often overlooked by standard accounts. Students will study women who participated in Paris and London life through a number of venues -- writers, publishers, book sellers, and salonières -- in order to question how these women positioned themselves as both women and intellectuals. Readings will include work by Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, Djuna Barnes, Coco Chanel, Edith Wharton, and others. Evaluation will be based on one-page responses for each novel read. This course may fulfill an elective in the English majors. J. Williams. 8:30 a.m. to noon. 

ENGL W42 Language & the African American Church. This class will focus on discourse practices that are a part of the oral cultural of many traditional African American churches, with particular emphasis on the complex performance of preaching and church testimony. Students will learn about the linguistic structure and socio-cultural meanings of the variety of English spoken by many blacks in the United States: African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Through daily exercises, students will learn linguistic tools for analyzing the variation found in AAVE and other non-mainstream varieties of English. Through lecture, class discussion, and visits to local African American churches, students will learn about the history of the black church and the creative language use of its participants. Student learning will be assessed by regular short quizzes and exploratory essays. Each student will make a presentation at the conclusion of the class. This course can serve as an elective for the English Major, the Linguistics minor, the ESL minor, or the English minor. A. Kortenhoven. 8:30 a.m. to noon.

ENGL W43 Revising for Publication. This class will operate as a writing workshop in which students revise their writing with the goal of submitting it for publication at the end of the course. As members of this workshop, students will learn about and practice a range of strategies for developing new material and refining that material into writing that is reader-ready. Throughout their revising, students will receive feedback from professors and peers in small-group settings and one-on-one. In addition to daily workshop sessions, students will hear from editors and published authors about strategies for and the joys and frustrations of getting writing into print.

This workshop is open to students who are writing in a variety of creative, academic, and professional genres. Since students in this course will focus on revising, they should have completed a substantive rough draft of the writing that they hope to publish at the end of the course. Students will be evaluated based on the quality of their participation in the writing workshop, their engagement with the revising process, and the completeness of a writer's journal. This course m may fulfill an elective for the English Writing major and minor. S. Moore. 8:30 a.m. to noon.

ENGL 374 English Grammar. A study of traditional grammar, focusing on its history, its system, its applications, its competitors, and its place in the middle-school and high-school classroom. Special emphasis will be given to the system and terminology of this grammar. Student work will be evaluated by means of daily assignments, in-class projects, a test, and a short paper. W. Vande Kopple, E. Vander Lei. 8:30 a.m. to noon.

CANCELLED IDIS W12 Taos Art & Literature. Course dates: January 3-23. Fee: $ 2200. L. Naranjo-Huebl. Off campus.

IDIS W22 January Series. K. Saupe. 8:30 a.m. to noon and 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.