Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2001

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for official class times and locations and an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Lower Division (1000–2000) Special Content Courses

Note: Only course descriptions are listed below. For a comprehensive summary of course numbers, sections, times and locations, titles, and instructors, see the following web page:

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature and Culture:
Hollywood and the American Novel

Nick Melczarek

AML 2410.1615 introduces students to issues of sex(uality), race/ethnicity, class, and (ac)culturation explored in fiction by contemporary “women of color” in the U.S. The course continually requires students to question and investigate constructions of subjecthood and objecthood for women, treating the U.S. itself as a multilayered episteme. Combined readings of cultural theory and fiction immerse students in not only contemporary defining tropes for/of women, but also in critical methodology and praxis, encouraging students to challenge their own knowledge, thinking, and social environment through experiment with literary/cultural critique.

Our readings and writings intersect a few central concepts: Simone de Beauvoir’s refiguring of “Othering;” Michel Foucault’s notion of power/knowledge; bell hooks’ inquiries into the function of “blackness” for construction of “whiteness;” Mary Louise Pratt’s concepts of the “contact zone” and “transculturation;” Adrienne Rich and others’ conceptualizations of “lesbian,” as well as Rich’s critique of “white solipsism;” Gloria Anzaldua’s vision of the mestiza; Rita Chaudhry Sethi’s analysis of “cognizant racism;” and others. Each of these approaches helps us interrogate and problematize the construction of identity for and by “women of color” in the U.S.

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CRW 1101

HONORS Beginning Fiction Writing: Reading and Writing Short Stories

David Leavitt

What is a short story? No genre has so consistently eluded definition. Stories can range from eighty pages (Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice” ) to a single sentence (Amy Hempel’s “Housewife” ). The purpose of this seminar will be to explore the parameters of this seductive and evasive form, from the standpoint both of the practitioner and the reader.

The seminar will be built around the idea that writers learn by reading. Therefore you may find the reading load heavier than is typical for a fiction workshop. Each week you will be asked to read a selection of stories by an English or American writer, and to arrive in class prepared to discuss them cogently. This conversation will take up roughly a third of our allotted time; the other two-thirds will be devoted to discussion of your own work (presented according to a pre-arranged schedule) and occasional in-class exercises.

For the first several weeks, I’ll be giving you assignments of a vaguely experimental nature – for instance, to tell a story from the viewpoint of an historical figure of your own choosing (Janis Joplin, Jack the Ripper). You’ll then set to work on stories of your own devising, which may have evolved from these exercises. The requirement of the class, in terms of writing, is that you complete two stories, the first by midterm and the second by term’s end. (The second may be an outgrowth of the first.) It goes without saying that attendance is mandatory, and that failure to show up (along with failure to do the reading) will have an adverse effect on your final grade. Grading will be based on your informed participation in the seminar, the critical acuity you show when judging other students’ writing, and your willingness to work hard: to be the best writer you can be, and to emerge at the end of the semester a better writer than you were at the beginning.

The reading many include stories by:

Final note: although flexibility is essential to any writing workshop, so is structure. The same can be said – and must be said – of the writing process.

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CRW 2100

Fiction Writing

Josh Russell

This course will combine a fiction workshop with an ongoing critical examination of contemporary fiction. CRW 2100 will continue instruction in basic techniques of voice, plot and character, while introducing advanced ones. Students will write and offer for critique two full-length stories and a number of smaller fictions inspired by readings or suggested by exercises. Extra-workshop fiction will come via assigned readings and books on reserve (title(s) TBA).

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ENC 1145

Writing about Science Fiction Films: Aliens, Cyborgs, and (U)topias

Brian Doan/Brendan Riley

This course will be taught in a computer lab.

In this course you will develop your ability to think critically about the different stylistic approaches, historical periods, and filmmakers that have shaped the cinema, doing so specifically through the genre of the science fiction film, whose ability to conduct “research” in the most spectacular ways has made it a popular and fruitful cinematic mode for a variety of filmmakers, and which will allow us to think about the twin poles of fascination (spectacle) and critique (research) that have shaped both the history of cinema and the critical writings on the medium. We are here to think about film as a discipline and a form: what is it? What are its formal qualities? What kinds of cultural and historical forces have shaped those qualities? And, most importantly, how do be begin to think and write about film in a critical and theoretical way? There are no clear-cut answers to many of these questions, but, by exploring a variety of films using several different critical approaches, we should at least, by the end of the class, be able to start formulating some answers to them.

Required texts (available at Goering’s Textbook store):

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ENC 1145

Writing about Adventures: From The Iliad to Indiana Jones

Meg Norcia

This course will be taught in a computer lab.

Narratives of adventure have always been deeply embedded in pop culture. Adventure tales attempt to transcend/transgress/transmute the ordinary; epic battles, cat-and-mouse games, thrillers, castaways, and high-noon showdowns all reflect our cultural investment in the vicarious adrenaline rush and the archetypal hero figure. Using adventure texts, students will form arguments on such topics as the following: the uses of weapons or technology, representations of gender, exploitation of the natural world, economic motives of adventurers, and adventure spaces as contact zones. The course pack will include excerpts from the critical work of Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces and Martin Green’s The Seven Etiologies of Adventure to facilitate a deeper engagement with the genre.

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ENC 1145

Writing about Nineteenth-Century African-American Women’s Narratives

Youlanda Freeman

This course will focus on the discourse produced by African-American women writers during the mid- to late-nineteenth century. We will examine the ways in which these writers constructed their narrative identities and the ways in which they represented their experiences of nineteenth-century American life. While the texts in the first two units of the course were produced during a historic moment when slavery loomed large in the American imagination, this course will challenge students to move beyond conceptualizing slavery as a monolithic experience that defined all the discourse produced by African Americans during the antebellum period. As Carla L. Peterson argues in “Doers of the Word,” differences in region, birth status, class, and other allegiances and affiliations would have colored the experiences and discursive productions of Afreican-American women writers in the nineteenth century. In this course, we will consider the ways in which these multiple identifications shaped the texts of these writers. After considering the discursive productions of African-American women during the antebellum period, we will move on to consider the ways in which contextual differences and changes in the social and political landscape during the postbellum period impacted African-American women’s discourse.

While this course will give students the opportunity to develop their critical thinking and reading skills, it will primarily focus on helping students develop the writing skills they will need for successful academic and public writing.

Texts:

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ENC 1145

Writing about Caribbean Literature

David Hart

Required Texts:

ENC 1145 Course Goals:

We will read and write about Caribbean poetry, fiction, a play, and critical essays. We will explore some major issues in the Caribbean that are brought up by these texts – issues such as (post)colonial identity, culture, education, exile, rootlessness, history, and comparisons to other cultures. All of these issues, and more, are open for discussion (and definition).

This course satisfies the Gordon Rule requirement of 6000 words of written work which will receive feedback and a grade; therefore, a significant part of this class will be dedicated to teaching writing as a response to fiction and critical essays. A student will meet the Gordon Rule only if all assigned work is completed.

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ENC 1145

Writing about Law in Literature

Bernie O’Donnell

This course will be taught in a computer lab.

This course will stress the importance of persuasive/argumentative writing within the template of the law in literature by considering the guilt or innocence of fictive characters. An effective writer is an effective communicator and is therefore better prepared to succeed in the professional world, especially in the legal milieu. Consequently, this course does not so much stress the earning of a letter grade as it does the empowering of students to write persuasively. Eventually, you will forget the grade you will have earned for this class, but with continual practice, you will not forget the skills you will acquire from this course and will use them on a daily basis. This course aims to assist you in improving your argumentative writing skills in all facets: i.e., recognizing your audience, identifying and developing an appropriate voice, creating a well-structured argument, organizing your thoughts into a coherent and persuasive presentation, and improving basic grammatical and rhetorical skills. Such an endeavor will require you to write and revise numerous papers, interact with peers by critically reading and responding to rough drafts, and maintaining an open mind and positive attitude.

Required Matierials:

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ENC 1145

Writing About Countercultures

Christine Roth

This course will test current definitions of three major countercultural movements: the Gothics, the Pre-Raphaelites and Decadents (1849-1900), and the Beat Generation (1944-1960). We will look at the role of writers/artists within society, examine definitions of both the avant-garde and the countercultural, and explore the gender-theory and sexual politics in each period. Such a study will give perspective to all three movements as phases of broader global significance, as well as contextualize many of the cultural debates in today’s media.

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ENC 1145

Writing about the Metropolis

Raina Joines

This course will offer a range of works from various genres in order to strengthen your reading, interpretive, and compositional skills through oral and written prcatice. The common theme connecting the texts for this class is their focus upon the city as a location and a trope. In our study we will look not at places but at their descriptions in literature, keeping in mind that such descriptions have influenced the places themselves. As we investigate the idea of the metropolis in literature as imagined within different cultural contexts and focus on the way in which everyday life in the city is translated into various narratives, you will practice using the critical strategies necessary for your studies in other fields.

We will begin with texts that portray the nature of work and the workplace in the metropolis, move to discussions on displacement and migration in and between urban centers, and finish the course with works that speculate on the futures of cities. As we engage these texts, it may be helpful to begin with the following questions: What role have the cities played in the construction of culture in industrialized nations? What can we learn about the urban imagination from the cities described in literature? How do these texts represent, even help constitute, the city? What is the social function of imagined cities? Course topics will include the following: planned societies and simulations, representations of work, alienation, and urban segregation. We will also observe and critique how the metropolis has been portrayed as a theater of progress and/or disaster, as a strategic concentration of people and materials, and as an opportunity for narration and detection.

Required Texts:

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ENG 2935

HONORS SEMINAR: Artists Who Work In More Than One Medium

Sid Homan

We focus on Shakespare, Samuel Beckett, and Harold Pinter, artists who “cross-over” from one medium to another. At issue is how a particular medium influenced their work: that is, to what degree is “the medium the message.” With Shakespeare we look at his sonnets, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a special focus on the ways his poetry and work for the theatre are metadramatic: what does each say about its particular medium? With Samuel Becket, we read his collection of short stories, More Pricks Than Kicks (his version of Joyce’s The Dubliners), and his major play, Waiting for Godot, as well as some other shorter dramatic pieces. We also examine Pinter’s The Lover (a play written originally for television and then converted to the stage) and Old Times, which was inspired by a movie, The Odd Man Out, a “source” for the play with a special meaning for Pinter who has also written film scripts. There are several class reports as well as practice doing scene work for each playwright.

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ENG 2935

HONORS SEMINAR: Great Books of the Last Century

Mel New

That would be, of course, the 20th century, and we will read six undisputed giants of that century, namely: Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way, Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain, Franz Kafka, The Trial, James Joyce, Ulysses, Hermann Broch’s Death of Virgil, and William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom. The emphasis will be on reading these difficult books cover to cover, but there will also be written assignments based on each book. Students should be good readers, i.e., students who enjoy reading and are not easily discouraged by difficult and complex texts. This is a most challenging reading list, daunting in fact.

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