Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of English
Summer 2016


ENG 130 (Section 732): Film and Society: History of Horror Films
Josh Wucher
Summer Session II (July 5-Aug 18)
Online

The horror genre is one of the oldest and most popular cinematic genres, drawing its appeal from both a tradition of Gothic and Romantic literature featuring fantastical creatures and dark imagery and the cinematic potential for depicting mystical subjects through special effects, make-up, and sheer ingenuity. While remaining popular among audiences, the horror genre has long been dismissed by critics, marginalized and considered a disreputable genre for its unabashed and sometimes nihilistic propensity for grotesque imagery, which contemporary advances in visual effects and CGI have made even more gruesome. But what opponents of the genre rarely acknowledge is the potential for horror to be both progressive and socially radical in its ideologies, i.e. social values, and its reflective nature toward human existence.

This course will present a critical/historical survey of the cinematic horror genre as it has developed primarily in the United States and Western Europe from the silent era to the end of the 20th century. We will explore horror imagery and themes across multiple texts including Gothic literature, graveyard poetry, Renaissance paintings, 19th and 20th century theatre, fan magazines, and cinema. Throughout the course, we will discuss the development and refinement of the genre’s codes and conventions, the relationship of horror to various social and cultural norms, the construction of a visual culture in terms of representation and identity,and the range of ideologies the genre has represented over the years, from reactionary conservatism to social subversion.

 

ENG 153 (Section 731): Introduction to Women Writers
Jessica Kane
Summer Session I (May 16-June 30)
Online

In this course we will read a variety of women’s writings from the 19th-21st centuries, focusing on the ways in which women writers talk about men in their texts. We live in a historically patriarchal culture in which men have typically been granted much more of a public voice than women - when permitted to express themselves, women typically wrote to and about other women. Despite often writing female protagonists, however, women writers also include a variety of male characters in their texts, and we will look at how these men are portrayed and discussed. The course will ask you to practice interacting with these ideas in a number of different mediums, from Twitter to formal essays. Our readings will include Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Harriet Jacobs), A Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood), Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal (G. Willow Wilson), as well as poetry and short stories by Maya Angelou, Warshan Shire, Audre Lorde, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, and Mohja Kauf.

 

ENG 342 (Section 101): Readings in Popular Literary Genres
Session I (May 16-June 30)
Gary Hoppenstand
Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:10-7:00PM
A116 Wells

“Crooks, Con-Artists, and Culprits: The Criminal Protagonist in Popular Crime Fiction”

This course will survey the criminal protagonist in popular crime fiction and visual media, examining the major novels and films of this anti-hero category. Presented in a rough, chronological ordering over a 150-year period, the popularity of the amateur cracksman, con-artist, thief, and professional assassin waxes and wanes at various points in time and place, depending on such things as the reading tastes of a given audience and the cultural dynamics of a given historical period.