Undergraduate Courses, Summer 2003

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) Courses, Summer Sessions A & B

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:

ENC 1145

Writing About the Female Body and Sexuality

Sharmain van Blommestein

Writing about the Female Body and Sexuality explores how contemporary and ancient scholars created models for writing about the female body and sexuality. Through investigating how language is related to the female body and sexuality, students will analyze arguments that foreground the workings of the discursivity of the female body, identifying interpretive and rhetorical strategies that make them effective. In sequenced writing assignments, students will then practice these schemes and should develop original arguments about the workings of this specific corporeal and sexed language that not only emanate from the texts used in class but through their own ideas. Students will explore the methods in which language can, not only transform the body into a site of inscription, but allow the body to exhume meaning – the body becomes a text and, to use Elizabeth Grosz’s term, becomes a “cultural product.” For example, through language and the written word, how does the female body “talk” and generate meaning and, in general, how do bodies “talk”? How do bodies, and the female body specifically, give one insight into the social norms of a particular era? Therefore, it is critical to ask the questions: Are women physically and functionally limited/not limited through these prescriptive descriptions, and do their bodies have room for creativity within these coded dimensions? Does the female body “talk” differently to that of a male body in text and why? Are women’s and also men’s bodies stereotypically constructed? What part does religion play/not play in this limited construction? An attempt to write the female body and sexuality requires one to go beyond limited and preconceived dimensions and would require a rhetoric that includes a more liberal discursivity of female bodies. This class will try to work towards such a rhetoric through the process of writing.

This class fits into different areas of interests: those interested in Feminist and Gender studies, Body theory, and also Medieval and Early Modern studies, since we will be reading texts from the Medieval as well as Modern periods.


ENC 1145

Writing About Work and Identity: Intersections of Class and Gender

Madhura Bandyopadhyay

This course will examine how identity, whether our own or that of others, something we often take for granted, may not be inherent in us or them, but socially constructed. We will look at identity as constructed, amongst other determinants, through intersections of gender, race and class. The focus of this class will be to look at how what a man is or what a woman is is not only determined by biological sex, but by politics of representation which involves gender politics and politics of class. We will talk about the impact of social institutions and cultural hegemonic relations in shaping our views of what work is and what it means to be a man or a woman doing certain kinds of work.

The aim will be:

We will read a novel, a play, two popular films and a few non-fiction essays, short stories, poems and songs centred around this theme. To reach these goals, we will concentrate on developing our argumentation and critical writing skills. We will learn how to arrive at a strong thesis and how to support it with effective, logical arguments by examining our responses to both fiction and non-fiction texts and some critical works on these texts. This is a Gordon Rule course, which means that once you complete all written assignments, you will have completed 6000 words.


ENC 1145

Writing about “Normal”

Nishant Shahani

“It is not normal to be a genius, die a virgin, or be well endowed. That, again, tells us nothing about what one should want.”
– Michael Warner, The Trouble with Normal Sex, Politics and the Ethics of Queer Life

This class will attempt to explore the various ideological narratives that inform our understandings of “the normal” and its equation with the moral, the natural, the objective, the ethical and the real. The insistence on the normal way of seeing mediates almost every aspect of contemporary social reality – from legal and political systems that refer to certain “abnormal” sexual practices as “abominable and detestable crimes against nature” (Florida’s laws still criminalize “any unnatural and lascivious act”) to “embedded” first world correspondents in Iraq reporting from the frontlines, who promise to offer balanced and impartial versions of the truth. Consequently, if what gets institutionalized as the norm or what is conferred with an ontological weight actually lacks any materiality of substance, the converse can also be true – as critic Slavoj Zizek has pointed out, under the conditions of the cultural logic of late capitalism, “‘real social life’ itself somehow acquires the features of a staged fake.” What then is the ‘normal’ and who gets to define its ideological terms? What constitutes normal sex and normal gender expression? Who gets to be the normal American? How does the desire for normality co-exist with the fetishization of difference and the pre-occupation with exceptionalism and American individualism? What are some of the ideological state apparatuses through which normative and regulatory ideals are achieved? This class will attempt to address some of these questions through an analysis of critical theory, film and contemporary U.S. literature. Some of the texts include:

  1. The Trouble with Normal – Michael Warner
  2. “Explanation and Exoneration, or What We Can Hear” – Judith Butler
  3. “Mesopotamia. The Babylon. Tigris and the Euphrates.” – Arundhati Roy
  4. The Body Beautiful – Ngozi Onwurah
  5. Paris is Burning – Jennie Livingstone
  6. Girls, Visions and Everything – Sarah Schulman