Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of English
Fall 2016


ENG210, Section 4: Foundations of Literary Study I: Transpacific Literary and Visual Representations.
Sheng-mei Ma
Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00-4:20PM
119A Berkey Hall

This course introduces students to the study of literature by analyzing a particular subject of utmost importance in our new millennium: Transpacific representations in literature and visual culture, by people of non-Asian as well as Asian descent. It traces the evolution of relationships between East and West from the early twentieth century to the present. We will venture into global cultural expressions by Englishmen (Maugham), Americans (Hammett), Asians (Mizumura), Asian Americans (Kingston, Gene Yang, Park), and more. While such minority groups reside in North America and elsewhere, this course highlights global hybridity that befits our time, including yellowface characters by Westerners as well as global cinema by Asians in Hollywood. The genres studied encompass fiction, film, graphic novel, and anime.

Reading assignment is intense and heavy, in addition to multiple visual culture examples. Close reading and critical thinking are required in order to do well in the class. Attendance and active student participation are a must.

 

ENG 211H: Honors Foundations of Literary Study I
Steve Arch
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:40-2:00PM
100 Berkey
Close reading skills practiced through the analysis of poetry, short fiction, one novel, creative non-fiction, graphic novels, and electronic literature. Writing in multiple forms to build expertise and confidence in explanation and analysis.

 

ENG 280
Jyotsna G. Singh
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:40 to 2:00PM
207 Berkey Hall

In this course we will study selected representative texts of literary and critical theory, applying some of the theoretical perspectives to key literary works and films.  We will begin with the premise that language is never transparent, but more often, it is opaque and mediated.  Then we will explore the ways in which literature is constituted and representation works, (or fails?). Thus, we will address questions such as the following: what makes literary and creative works (including films) distinct and unique modes of representation? How do such works represent “reality”? Do literary/cultural forms differ from historical and sociological texts? Do they perform important cultural, ideological work in shaping social and political values in any society?  How do creative works intersect with discourses/narratives of race, gender, sexuality, class, etc. in any given culture?

TEXTS:
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Mohsen, Hamid (and film)
Snowpiercer Vol I (and film)
Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, Peter Barry
Othello, Shakespeare, Michael Neill Ed. and Film (Iqbal Khan)
Harvest Jim Crace
Love in a Fallen City, Eileen Chang

 

ENG 318: Readings in Shakespeare
Stephen Deng
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:40-2:00PM
Location TBA

This course introduces various critical approaches to Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. We begin with political, religious, and social background on Shakespeare’s England, including the material conditions of textual and theatrical production. We then proceed to seven plays chosen across Shakespeare’s career and across genres (comedy, tragedy, tragicomedy, history and romance)—Titus Andronicus, Richard II, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Othello, and The Tempest—as well as a brief stint in the middle of the semester on Shakespeare’s sonnets. We will approach the plays and poems from a variety of perspectives such as anthropological, historiographic, economic, and socio-political, as well as those that apply early modern theories of genre, gender, sexuality and race. Two short (1 page) written assignments are designed to develop the most important critical skill in literary studies—how to do a close reading. These exercises will help students prepare for the two 5-6 page critical essays, which should perform close readings of a work within a clearly structured argument. In addition to the final paper and short writing assignments, there will be a midterm, a final exam, and several unannounced reading quizzes throughout the term.

 

English 320C: Methods of Literary History: Canon
Tamar Boyadjian
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:40-2:30PM
104 Berkey

This course offers an introduction to the idea of “crusade” by examining the ways in which the concept of “crusade” and “crusading” manifests itself in both medieval European literature and historiography, as well as literary texts from the “East” –such as those in the Arabic, Armenian, and Greek traditions. The later part of the course then traces the trajectory and development of the idea of "crusade" from the medieval to the contemporary period in film, television and pop culture. 

 

ENG 325: Readings in Graphic Narrative: “Genre and the Graphic Novel”
Gary Hoppenstand
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:00-4:20PM
304 Bessey Hall

This class will read and discuss graphic novels that cover the range of popular genre storytelling. Graphic Novels to be covered include Watchmen, Walking Dead, The Surrogates, Sin City, and Shutter Island, among others. Only prerequisite required: the completion of the Tier I writing requirement.

 

English 328: Readings in Novel and Narrative
Zarena Aslami
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00-4:20PM
A224 Wells

The novel is often taken to be the most self-evident of forms. In this course, we shall denaturalize the genre and ask the following questions: How do we know a novel when we see one? What do we expect novels to do? We will start with contemporary works, then look back to earlier novels, crossing time periods and national cultures, to gain a sense of the novel as a global genre. Throughout the semester, we shall supplement our primary readings with secondary works that illuminate the genre’s historical and formal aspects. By the end of the course, students should be familiar with the history of the novel and its narrative capacities to shape subjectivities, map social worlds, and build a sense of everyday life. Readings may include novels by Daniel Defoe, Hannah Foster, Gustave Flaubert, Honoré de Balzac, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Philip K. Dick, Abdelrahman Munif, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Junot Díaz, Lorrie Moore, Elena Ferrante, and Yiyun Li.

 

ENG 354: Readings in Native American Lit: American Indian Literatures?
Ned Watts
Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:20-11:40AM
048 Agriculture Hall

This course’s title is defined by three European constructs: America, race, and literature. This course will query all of these by looking comparatively at two distinct tribal/regional clusters in “American Indian literature”: Anishanabeeg (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potowotami) and “Five Civilized Tribes” (Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Seminole, Creek). Among the former, we will be reading Andrew Blackbird, Gerald Vizenor, Louise Erdrich, David Truer, and Gordon Henry.  Among the former, LeAnne Howe, Linda Hogan, Thomas King, and Louis Owens. Along the way, we will ask questions about the tribal, the racial, and the literary as a means of theorizing what it means for Indigenous peoples to write for and of themselves.

 

ENG 362: Studies in Modern/Contemporary Literature
William Johnsen
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:00-4:20PM
S134 South Kedzie

Virginia Woolf famously said “On or about December 1910 human character changed.” We can test her hypothesis by reading key modern novelists of the period (Joseph Conrad, DH Lawrence, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf) together with a contemporary neuroscientist like Antonio Damasio, whose Self Comes to Mind proposes an evolutionary model for the human self. Novelists can help characterize and situate this scaling up of consciousness in the modern period.

 

English 391: Special Topics in English
Tamar Boyadjian
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:20-11:40AM
A128 Wells

This is a special topics course on poetry and translation theory, where we will be looking at the ways in which translation (broadly defined) and theories of translating can help define, complicate, and develop the process of writing poetry.

 

ENG 443: Seminar in Nineteenth Century American Literature
Steve Arch
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:20-1:40AM
112B Berkey

Advanced analysis of 19th century American literature, seen through the lens of the best-sellers of the period. In this course, authors well-known to us today (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Henry James, for example) give way to names that are less familiar: Lew Wallace, Edward Bellamy, Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Lippard, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, and others. We will sample then-popular modes of writing, including the sentimental, the erotic, the melodramatic, the lachrymose, and the maudlin. In addition to studying forgotten best-sellers, we will theorize about popular culture, canon formation, and literary reputation. This is not 19th century American literature as you learned about it in high school! Crazy, weird, fascinating stuff that reveals American culture as it emerges in the modern world. Assessment: one formal essay/project, engaged participation, discussion threads or group blogs. Students will help lead discussion.

 

481/820: Mapping the Literary
Ellen McCallum

ENG 481: Seminar in Critical Theory: Mapping the Literary
Ellen McCallum
Mondays, 7:10-10:00PM
A106 Wells

This course will critically reflect on representations of space in maps, fictional narratives, and theories of space/place in the long 20th century.  The central problem of the course is how and why one would map the spaces of novels--what interpretive purchase does this activity provide, for the novel or for the map? what does it mean to map imagined or even purely imaginary spaces? How does the ability to map a novel rely on referentiality or realism in that fiction? How does comparing maps and narratives as modes of representation inform or challenge our understanding of how representation works? From there, we will consider questions such as how can the convergence of these different modes of representation contribute to knowledge about and discussions in the digital humanities. We will work with ArcGIS and other digital mapping models, drawing on a range of texts and cities, with preference for texts already encoded.  Readings may range from modernist works such as Forster's Howards End or Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway to postwar works such as Rechy's City of Night, or new narrative works like Acker's Pussy King of the Pirates, or Gladman's The Ravickians.  Our theorists will likely include Henri Lefebvre, Michel deCerteau, Gaston Bachelard, Samuel Delany, Gillian Rose, J.B. Harley.

 

ENG 484B: Crit. Questions in Region, School or Movements: Here: Literature/Local
Ned Watts
Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:40-2:30PM
218A Berkey

Using theories about race and place from figures such as Lefevre, Tuan, Hsu, and others, this course will visit Literature in Michigan and Michigan Literature. How have literary representation and expression reflected and effected the conquest, colonization, settlement, drainage, industrialization, suburbanization, and post-apocalyptic/industrial stages of Michigan life and history. We will be studying representations of Michigan from the Jesuit Relations, through Caroline Kirkland and up through contemporary figures such as Tery McMillan and Bonnie Jo Campbell, and across the literary genres from the literary strivings of Jeffrey Eugenides to the fantasy fiction of Jacqueline Carey.

 

ENG 820: Emphasis Area Seminar: Mapping the Literary
Ellen McCallum
Mondays, 7:10-10:00PM
A106 Wells

This course will critically reflect on representations of space in maps, fictional narratives, and theories of space/place in the long 20th century.  The central problem of the course is how and why one would map the spaces of novels--what interpretive purchase does this activity provide, for the novel or for the map? what does it mean to map imagined or even purely imaginary spaces? How does the ability to map a novel rely on referentiality or realism in that fiction? How does comparing maps and narratives as modes of representation inform or challenge our understanding of how representation works? From there, we will consider questions such as how can the convergence of these different modes of representation contribute to knowledge about and discussions in the digital humanities. We will work with ArcGIS and other digital mapping models, drawing on a range of texts and cities, with preference for texts already encoded.  Readings may range from modernist works such as Forster's Howards End or Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway to postwar works such as Rechy's City of Night, or new narrative works like Acker's Pussy King of the Pirates, or Gladman's The Ravickians.  Our theorists will likely include Henri Lefebvre, Michel deCerteau, Gaston Bachelard, Samuel Delany, Gillian Rose, J.B. Harley.

 

FLM 350: National/Transnational Cinema
Ken Harrow
Tuesdays, 9:10-12AM and Thursdays, 9:10-11:00AM
B122 Wells

Is film national or transnational? or both? what has film become today? what was it in its early days? this course will look at roughly four film traditions--two western, two non-western--to seek to answer these questions, and especially to determine what current film theory is saying about the complicated question of transnational cinema. The films to be chosen will include well-known "national" film classics, and contemporary works that challenge the easy classification of a film as being simply national.

 

FLM 451: Studies in Postcolonial Cinema: Popular Hindi Cinema
S. Eswaran Pillai
Tuesdays, 4:10-7PM and Thursdays, 4:10-6:00PM
307 Bessey

This course offers a critical overview of one of the world’s largest and most beloved film industries—the popular cinema produced mostly in Bombay (Mumbai) and consumed around the world often under the label “Bollywood.” Focusing on the post-Independence (1947) era to the present, it introduces key films, directors, stars, genres, formal techniques, and themes, as well as critical analyses of these and other topics. Special attention will be given to the pervasive role of music, song, and dance. Other topics to be addressed include: the cultural sources of Hindi cinema, cinema and nationalism, the star system, and global audiences. This course assumes no previous knowledge of Indian culture or cinema, and all films have English subtitles.

On Tuesdays, there will be screenings of carefully chosen films representative of the long and vibrant history of the Hindi cinema, and on Thursdays, we will be discussing these films in the context of the discourses surrounding them as reflected in the readings for the class.  We will focus on the historical, political, economical and cultural contexts of the production and reception of these films, besides engaging with the specificity of genre and authorship of Hindi cinema. We will also explore the way history is revisited, recycled, and reinvented by focusing on the influence of canonical films on contemporary Hindi cinema through the screening and discussion of relevant film clips on Thursdays. For instance, the relationship between Mother India and Chandni Bar, or the affect of Devdas on Dev. D. We will also analyze the role of the stardom of actors (like Madhubala, Tabu, Amitabh Bachchan and  Shahrukh Khan), the authorship of directors (like Guru Dutt and Mani Ratnam), and the contributions of technicians (for instance, cinematographer Binod Pradhan—Parinda, and music director A.R. Rahman—Dil Se and Fiza) in shaping the form and content of the popular Hindi cinema.