Undergraduate Courses, Summer 2010

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.

Upper Division (3000–4000) 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:

AML 3041

“Beautiful Nightmares”: Chiaroscuro in American Literature Since 1865

Cari Keebaugh

“You could be a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare”

–Beyonce Knowles, Sweet Dream

Chiaroscuro, Italian for “light-dark” and used in art history to denote the interplay between darkness and light, is the perfect term to describe much of American literature since 1845. As realism was shunned in favor of a subjectivist approach to life and literature, the subject matter of American books became concerned with dichotomies: the struggle between good and evil, sanity and insanity, life and death, and light and dark. While American literature has its roots in Puritanism and realism, its branches began to reach into Gothicism, utopian fiction, fantasy, and psychological dramas at this point in history, and it is these branches that will serve as the focus for this class. Even as the ideological foundation of American literature shifted from modernism to postmodernism, an attraction to the balances of light and dark has survived and thrived throughout.

This course seeks to examine major American authors from 1865 to the present whose works boldly explore life and death, sanity and neurosis, dreams and nightmares: in short, works that illustrate the subtle yet ferocious battle of chiaroscuro that exists within us all and that depict life as a kind of “beautiful nightmare.” Although some critical readings will included, throughout the semester emphasis will be placed on the primary sources.

Authors may include (but are not limited to): Stockton, Chopin, Twain, Benét, Hemmingway, Masters, Gilman, and Bangs.

Assignments will most likely include reading quizzes and/or responses, a presentation on an author, and two critical essays. For more information, please check the course webpage () for updates.

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AML 4242

The Politics of Southern Studies, 1905–1970

Jordan Dominy

Since at least the 1930s, scholars have acknowledged a regional distinctiveness separating the literature and culture of the South from the rest of the United States. These perceived, significant differences frequently stem from a “sense of loss” or “sense of place.” However, such markers prove problematic because they have roots in expressions of white identity related to the Civil War, Reconstruction, southern identity as defined along a North/South axis, and ill-defined concepts such as “tradition,” all of which are amplified to today in popular understandings of the South.

Our purpose in this class will be to investigate the foundations for understandings of the U.S. South and its literature during the twentieth century. Through the study of both canonical and non-canonical works, we will challenge conventional history and wisdom about the South by complicating its familiar myths and stories, blurring its boundaries, exploring the influence of subcultures and ethnicities inhabiting the region, and realizing how the U.S. South has always been in the middle of global currents of migration, trade, and politics. Within that framework, this course examines the political needs and implications for regional, specifically Southern, literatures. What were these authors’ attitudes towards the political challenges facing the United States before, during, and after World War II? How did they understand the South in relation to international issues, such as the Cold War, and how was segregation and the struggle for civil rights a factor in challenges facing a globalized nation and region? Moreover, this course will ask: why have some classic narratives and mythologies of the South become prevailing ones? And how is it that certain authors, such as Faulkner, are at the same time prized as regional and national (and international) literary heroes?

The reading list will include primary texts by Thomas Dixon, William Faulkner, Lillian Smith, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and Alice Walker. Secondary texts will include the work of scholars of southern literature and Frederic Jameson. Graded assignments will include 15 pages of researched writing, pop quizzes, and a panel presentation.

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ENC 3310

Advanced Exposition

Sid Dobrin

This is a course in modes and methods of expository writing. We will consider modes of exposition including definition, classification, analysis, description, compare and contrast, illustration and identification. We will also study principles of written style. You will write six essays to put these modes and stylistic principle to work in your own writing.

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ENL 3122

The English Novel: The 18th Century

Rachel Slivon

One of the goals of this course will be to understand the major cultural conversations occurring in Britain during the long nineteenth century. To do so, we will be reading and deeply analyzing a selection of the novels from the era and engaging with several themes through the framework of identity. We will explore questions including: How is English identity constructed and de-constructed during this era? How do gender, class, and race figure into these identities? What identity hierarchies are established and challenged and how? Exploring these various questions will serve as starting points for further discussions about other instrumental issues during the long nineteenth century, including aging, technological and scientific advances, marriage, the New Woman, colonialism, and several others. Students are expected to critically engage with these issues as well as issues of their own choosing in class discussions and in their writing, thus preparation for class and active, thoughtful participation are essential. 

Other goals of the course include developing critical close reading skills and constructing clear, thoughtful, persuasive, well-organized arguments. Course requirements include frequent reading quizzes, active participation, response papers, two major papers (one 3-4 pages and one 5-6 pages), and a cumulative final exam. Students will be expected to keep up with a lot of reading and know how to conduct research in the field. Carefully consider your reading speed and the expectations of the other courses you are taking before committing to this course, especially given the condensed summer session. Texts will likely include:

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ENL 4333

Shakespeare

R. Allen Shoaf

This course will be devoted to the ten tragedies Shakespeare wrote in his career, with especial attention to three factors: his transformation of the genre (most especially in King Lear); the rhetorics he renewed (e.g., pun) or refined (e.g., synoeciosis; paradox) to articulate his tragic vision; and his response to the sacramentality of nature that enabled him to comprehend and mourn humans' catastrophic denials and perversions of nature, sexual nature in particular, in consequence of which self-inflicted optionlessness must lead inevitably to the end of the human.

Mandatory attendance and two essays (5–7 pages in length), along with unannounced quizzes, will constitute evaluation of your performance in the course.

The one text for the course will be the Norton Shakespeare, 2nd edition, which I will order through the university's stipulated portal.

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LIT 3043

The Modern Theatre: Learning by Doing

Sidney Homan

The assumption in all my theatre courses is that the text of a play is not just what is written on the page but that text in performance, delivered by actors before an audience. This means the play’s text also includes gestures, movement, blocking (the stage picture), and sub-text (what the character is saying inwardly, beneath the lines delivered onstage, as well as the “history” for that character invented by the actor). In the theatre, we would further supplement this text with lighting, sound, set, costumes, props, and make-up. To be sure, one can approach a play in a thousand ways – as literature, as a repository for the thinking of an age, as the springboard for political or cultural issues. But, since I work both on campus and in the theatre, as an actor and director, and since the theatre itself is a unique medium with its own aesthetic principles, I approach the plays, with my students, and as a fellow “student,” as something meant to be performed by an actor and ratified by an audience. In the seminar each student will have a scene partner with whom he or she stages several scenes each semester. Once performed, the class and I, as co-directors, “work” that scene with the two actors, trying out options, rehearsing it. The emphasis, therefore, is on learning by doing, and I judge student work by intent, what goes into the performance – not by finesse. If there is finesse, that is considered a bonus.

In this course, we will thus consider Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Embers, All That Fall, Play, Eh Joe, Not I, and Come and Go; Harold Pinter’s The Lover, Old Times, Betrayal, and No Man’s Land, Sam Shepard’s True West, Curse of the Starving Class, and Buried Child; and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

We will also coordinate this course with summer productions of the UF Theatre Department; students will attend performances, meet the director who will conduct a class on the play, and record their experiences as members of the audience

A word of comfort: whether you have acted before or not, experience in the theatre is not a factor in the seminar. We use acting as a way of studying the text.  Have no fears on this issue! If you have any queestions or comments, please e-mal Professor Homan at shakes@ufl.edu.

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LIT 4535

Women and Popular Culture: Women and the Space Race
Stephanie Smith

From the moment Russia, the former Soviet Union, launched a small satellite named “Sputnik”" in October of 1957, America found itself in a “space-race” with its former WWII ally. Of course, America and the Soviet Union had been locked into a “Cold War” for some time by 1956, but once Sputnik orbited the earth, sending signals home, the two nations engaged in a “space race” to see which nation could reach the moon first. And thus from 1957 until the last man left the moon in 1972, American popular culture became deeply effected by what we now call the Space Age. Of course imagining a “trip to the moon,” is a very old story; but once America decided to put all of its resources into actually going, popular culture followed suit. In this course we will re-examine the popular culture of the Space Age with a particular eye on how women were- – and were not – imagined as part of that Age.

We will use a variety of text and media in order to construct a “space-age mythology,” using Roland Barthes’ Mythologies as a theoretical model for understanding how popular culture both constructs and comments upon historical events.

Requirements include a mid-term test and a final project.

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AML 3271

African American Literature II

Daniel Bell

This course will examine African American literature and culture in relationship to the tremendous social, political, and cultural change that characterized the post-war period (1945–present).  Special attention will be given to the ways in which African American social change movements such as Civil Rights, Black Power, Black Feminism, affect African American cultural production and African American aesthetic practices.

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ENL 3210

Medieval Literature

James Paxson

Medieval English Literature is a general introduction to the thought and culture of the Middle English period (c. 1100–1500 C.E.). It will thus serve mainly as a resource or backgrounds course designed to prepare students for Chaucer as well as for Renaissance authors. We’ll thus devote much attention to the influence of classical culture on the medieval imagination. We will study key genres including epic, romance, allegory, the philosophical debate, and the travel narrative not only to appreciate their literary or aesthetic dimensions but also to take into account medieval systems of psychology, ethics, history, theology, rhetoric, poetics, and semiotics; issues of gender and sexuality will figure prominently. We will have occasion as well to investigate some biblical texts and religious thinking important to our area. You should thereby develop knowledge in the various critical, literary, or cultural theories that have come to shape contemporary medieval studies in particular and English studies in general. Course work includes: two papers – the first due at midterm on classical backgrounds in early English poetry and the second due at the end of the course on a topic of your choice; two essay exams as well. Required attendance. Most readings are in the course’s main and required textbook, The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, Volume 1: The Medieval Period. Additionally required texts include the Penguin paperback editions of Piers Plowman and The Travels of Sir John Mandeville. Textbooks will be on order at OBT on NW 13th Street.

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ENL 3231

Age of Johnson

Brian McCrea

Johnson’s life spanned the years 1709–84. We will focus on his essays from the 1750s (the essays that, along with his Dictionary, made him famous) and on the works of his later contemporaries – Thomas Gray, William Collins, Christopher Smart, Frances Burney. We will place Johnson over against these writers to develop a sense of how he both fit into and rebelled against his age. As background for our study of Johnson, we will begin with selections from John Dryden and Alexander Pope, then study the relationship between Johnson’s most famous poem and the heroic couplets of his great precursors.

Students will write a final examination and will have the option of writing a long paper (10–12 pp.) on a topic of their choice or two shorter papers (5–6 pp.) on topics I suggest. Most classes will open with students writing informally for 5 to 10 minutes on that day’s reading. Class sessions will encourage discussion. The first hour of the Thursday class typically will center discussion upon a single essay. Students who have difficulty speaking in class should see me about other ways to participate.

The examination will include identification and short answer questions. Students will need to know the significance of specific characters, objects, events and quotations. All the questions will come from points repeatedly made in my lectures. All papers must be word-processed. I am happy to read and comment upon early drafts of papers and encourage e-mail submission of them via attachments in richtext format.

Books:

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ENL 3241

The Romantic Period

Donald Ault

This course will focus on Blake, Coleridge, and Byron, with some readings in Wordsworth, Keats, and selected literary theoretical texts. The work in the course will emphasize close reading of texts that present interpretive difficulties at the level of their material production (including variant editions, revisions, different versions, spatial layout of syntax, etc.), taking into account the tendency of Romantic texts to resist being “finished.” We will read these texts against the grain in order to explore interferences within their ideological and textual fields.

Text requirement: course pack from Xerographic Copy Center, 927 NW 13th St.

Requirements: good attendance, productive class participation, several short papers, and a final paper/project.

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LIT 3041

Studies in Drama: Citizen Comedy & Domestic Tragedy in the Age of Shakespeare

Robert Thomson

A study of a group of plays unified by being set in the contemporary London and environs of their authors in the late sixteenth century or the opening decades of the seventeenth century. The main focus will be upon the texts and their social, political, historical and cultural contexts.

It has been suggested that City Comedy (however we define it) moved to the center of the Elizabethan Stage when Londoners started to reflect upon their new social roles and their urban setting. Social mobility with its attendant pretensions, hypocrisy, greed, pathos etc, arose in the midst of the new middle class society of trade and commerce and gave substance to these plays, as did the threatened state of an increasingly impoverished and newly dependent gentry.

The plays to be studied will be :

Two essays will be set (ca. 2000 words) and in addition there will be a number of in-class tests and oral reports. There will be no final exam. Absences will affect final grades.

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LIT 4333

Literature for the Adolescent

Kenneth Kidd

This course examines literature primarily for but also about adolescents in the twentieth century, across a range of genres and with attention to the political and social history of adolescence as a concept and as a lived experience. We’ll concentrate on what’'s now called “young adult” literature from the 1960s forward, but we will read and discuss that material in light of earlier narrative traditions. The modern adolescent is of course intimately connected to material culture in particular ways. We will concentrate on contemporary literature in the hopes of assessing what's happening in young adult publishing and media culture.The course will be conducted as a seminar and participation is crucial. We will read at least one YA book per week, plus some criticism and theory. Requirements include weekly response papers, regular participation, and 2 essays to be negotiated later.

Possible Texts (Check with me before you buy books, as titles are subject to change)

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