Undergraduate Courses, Fall 2005

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:

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Imagining Hollywood

Brian Doan

Beginning with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Love of the Last Tycoon (published in 1941, but begun in1939, a year sometimes referred to as the height of “Classic Hollywood”), and ending with Michael Tolkin’s The Player (published in 1988, when the centralized, assembly-line system of the 1930s had given way to a Hollywood of agents, “high-concept” movies and corporate intrigue), this class will explore the ways in which “Hollywood” – as town, site of American filmmaking, and source of myth– has been portrayed in the cultural imagination of America over the last century.

A wide range of critics and novelists (as well as films and television shows) will be examined in order to think about how Hollywood has shaped, and been shaped by, American culture, particularly within three crucial, overlapping periods: the era of the Studio System (1927–1960); the age of American cinephilia (1945–1975), and post-classical Hollywood (1960-present). Fitzgerald subititled his novel, “A Western,” while Tolkin’s novel draws heavily on the traditions of the murder mystery and the film noir; that shift in genre tells us one potent tale about the nation’s shifting perceptions of Hollywood, and the purpose of this class is to discover other critical and theoretical tales about this vital site in American cultural mythology.

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AML 2410

American Childhood and Its Books

Aaron Talbot

Children’s literature can be read to congeal with most any interpretation: a Bildungsroman, an innocent tale of times past, a recollection of memories distant and painful, a didactic tale espousing moral values and the ways children should behave, a fictional escape from a troubled, or just a boring existence. What is so fascinatingly intriguing about children’s literature is that all of the interpretation are simultaneously true. A story can be a coming-of-age narrative that allows the reader to escape a mundane existence while learning culturally acceptable behaviors.

But children’s literature is also subversive, undermining the very cultural norms it supposedly accepts and affirms. And just as our social definition of what a child is and what a child should read has changed, especially over the past ten years, so has their literature. This class will explore the aspects of successful children’s books, not to ask and find specific answers as to what a child is, should be, and should read; but to explore just what composes a child and their literature. At the end of this class, we will not be able to concretely define “children’s literature” any more so than we were able to before the class. However, we will be able to intelligently grasp how a “children’s literature” is defined by American culture, what, if any, are its limits, and why it is necessary to have the category “children’s literature” in the first place.

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AML 2410

Race & Identity Politics

Angelique Nixon

This course introduces specific aspects of American literature and culture through a critical examination of race and identity politics. We will engage in a range of issues, such as racial and ethnic identities, intersections of race and gender, immigration, history, and the nation, among others. We will consider these issues in the context of American literature and culture with a particular focus on multi-ethnic literature (i.e. Native American, African American, Caribbean American, and Asian American). Overall, the goal of this course is to investigate the ways in which American identities are produced and represented in literature and culture. We will develop strategies on how to speak and write about these issues using contemporary tools for analysis (i.e., schools of theory such as Feminist and Postcolonial).

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AML 2410

Constructing African-American Identity: Literature and Music

Craig Smith

This course seeks to investigate the literary cultural productions of African Americans within the Twentieth Century. Specifically, we will explore the interplay between African American literature and African American Music, with a focus on issues of Race, Gender, and Sexuality. The goal of the class is to consider how Black identities are formed and re-inscribed in both the music and literature, but we will also consider how these productions have shaped the entire American cultural landscape. By course’s end, students will have learned to use literary and cultural theory to critically think, speak, and write about these issues.

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AML 2410

Word Magic: Reading Contemporary African American Literature and Culture

Robin Nuzum

From the literature of African Americans to blues and rap music, Black cultural forms are potent expressive forces providing critical insight and needed critique of the workings of American culture. This corpus is, unfortunately, both under-analyzed and utilized in critical discussions about life and living in the United States. Those who do engage this work, however, are richly rewarded. This course will model this important engagement of the work of many contemporary Black artists and intellectuals to challenge and strengthen class participants’ thinking and writing. The course will work with a variety of literary genres as well as other cultural and media forms with special attention given to the development of the necessary theoretical skills for informed reading and analysis of contemporary African American literature, culture and debates.

As we explore the impact of the transformative potential of African American speech acts – what we will call word magic – we ourselves will also be performing such acts in word and text as we write and speak throughout the course. Therefore, the course will also pay close attention to the student’s own developing potential both as a writer and a speaker of words. We will be reading great and powerful writers and utilizing their example to better our own abilities at critical acumen and development of an engaging style with convincing argumentation. Essays and assignments will be graded on content, organization, grammar, punctuation, spelling, persuasive force, wisdom, lucidity and other criteria according to each assignment.

By the conclusion of the semester, students will be able to:

Required Texts & Materials

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Jewish American Literature: From Margin to Mainstream

Traci Klass

This course explores the representations and interpretations of Jews and Judaism throughout American literary history and culture, from the earliest Sephardic immigrants through present day. Readings will trace how Jewish writers use numerous genres in their attempt to define what it means to be Jewish, what it means to be American, and thus what it means to be a Jewish American.

Required texts:

– All materials available at Goerings Bookstore.

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