Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2012

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:

Spring 2012, Lower Division, Special Content

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature and Culture: Environmental Issues in American Literature and Culture

Renee Dowbnia

This course will cover environmental issues in American literature and culture from the Transcendentalist period to the present. We will examine various authors’ portrayals of and reflections on nature, especially the relationship between humans and nature, as well as the changing definition of “nature” itself over time. Focusing on ecocritical approaches to American literature, we will explore the significance of these works to their historical contexts and environmental movement(s). We will also incorporate current environmental issues/events in our class discussions. Topics covered will include the American pastoral; the role of wilderness in American literature; apocalyptic writing as environmental parable; bioregionalism, the role of nature in science fiction writing; intersections of nature, gender, and race; and representations of nature and environmental activism in pop culture.

This course is designed to provide 6000 words toward the Writing Requirement. Besides daily participation in class discussion, assignments may include weekly responses on our course blog, reading quizzes, a discussion-leading presentation, at least one 4–5 page paper, and a final 7–8 page paper.

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature and Culture: Transnational Childhoods

Michele Lee

In its simplest definition, transnationalism describes the interconnectivity of today’s world. But how do we understand this concept when it is applied to the immigrant, exiled, or displaced child who is forced to cross national borders and adopt America as a new home while also retaining the culture of the land he or she has left? Many literary works, especially those by minority authors, explore this phenomenon as a crucial part of multicultural studies within the United States. We will read books by such authors as Julia Alvarez, Maxine Hong Kingston, Stephen Crane, Linda Sue Park, Laurence Yep, and Sandra Cisneros.

This course is designed to provide 6000 words toward the meeting of the Writing Requirement. Assignments may include a short mid-term paper (4 pages), one final paper (7 pages), at least 5 short responses (2 pages each), a book review (3 pages), as well as an oral presentation.

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature and Culture: The American Family

Gabriel Mayora

This course examines how contemporary American literature (1940s–present) has defined, represented and challenged notions of the American family. We will explore a variety of genres in order to get a sense of typical and atypical conceptions of the family in American literature. We will explore how those conceptions interact with issues of nationality, gender, sexuality, race, class, and other social forces. Questions of motherhood, fatherhood, “alternative” families and different generations will be at the center of the course. Some authors may include: James Baldwin, Eugene O’Neill, Toni Morrison, Cherrie Moraga, and Michael Cunningham.

This course is designed to provide 6000 words toward the meeting of the Writing Requirement. Assignments may include reading quizzes, five blog responses (total 2500 words), a midterm and final exam, a presentation with a written component (500 words), and a final research paper (3000 words). Participation will also be a key component of your grade.

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature and Culture: The Culture of Capitalism

David Lawrimore

From the rise of the Tea Party to the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is clear that Americans are becoming increasingly disillusioned with our precarious financial situation. This course explores the various grassroots and cultural responses to capitalism during the long nineteenth century in order to gain a better understanding of America’s current economic crisis. We will focus especially on how fiction, autobiography, and political and economic theory investigate capitalism’s internal contradictions as well as its paradoxical relationship to American ideals of democracy, equality, and universality. Though our concentration will be nineteenth-century American literature, we will also examine newer forms of media to better understand our modern global situation.

This course is designed to provide 6000 words toward the meeting of the Writing Requirement. Assignments may include weekly quizzes, 5 bi-weekly online responses, 1 discussion-leading presentation, 1 short paper (5 pages), 1 longer paper (7–8 pages), and daily participation.

ENC 1145

Writing about Crime Fiction

Patrick McGowan

This class will explore the crime story in various fictional and non-fictional forms. Readings will include nineteenth century “mysteries of the city,” Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, the conventional mystery novel and its various permutations, including the “genteel” and the “hard-boiled,” memoirs by political radicals of the 1960s, and “true crime” novels of the 1980s and beyond. Questions to be explored through discussion and writing include: how is criminality constructed and how is the criminal portrayed through these texts? How do these texts position the author and audience in relation to the criminal?

This course is designed to provide 6000 words toward the Writing Requirement. Weekly assignments will include reading quizzes as well as informal blog responses to readings (300 words each). Students will write four critical response papers that address topics from class discussion in more complete detail (1000 words each). These papers will each take different forms, including analysis, evaluation, and a bibliography. The class concludes with an argumentative research paper in which students investigate a certain issue related to the course using various sources (2500 words).

ENC 1145

Writing about Children’s Spaces

Poushali Bhadury

This course will introduce students to literary and theoretical notions of childhood; specifically, the politics of children’s spaces (whether imagined or real), as depicted in nineteenth and twentieth-century world literature. Along the way, we will investigate how children have been defined, confined, idealized, and represented in various cultures. Readings will be drawn from the novels, short stories, poetry and theoretical texts of authors such as L.M. Montgomery, Salman Rushdie, Lewis Carroll, Louis Sachar, Carol Ann Duffy, and Jacqueline Rose.

This course is designed to provide 6000 words toward the Writing Requirement. Assignments will include three close reading exercises, a mid-term exam, and a final research paper (6–8 pages), along with a class presentation on any one text and active class blog participation.

ENC 1145

Writing about Social Justice

Kiren Valjee

2011 has proven to be a tumultuous year from common people’s rebellions in North Africa and the Middle East to the SlutWalks across the globe to the We Are the 99% movement taking place in no discernable space here in the United States. We will begin the course by examining past and current social justice movements and the writing that accompanies them, and culminate in the student having developed a body of writing surrounding an issue of social justice of his or her choice.

This course is designed to provide 6000 words toward the Writing Requirement. Assignments will include a weekly personal journal, regular reading responses, and several graded papers that will define, explore, and argue a social justice issue.  

ENC 1145

Writing about Postcolonialism and Genre Fiction

Shaun Duke

Genre fiction has been the domain of the West for well over a century. But can it also be a useful avenue for survivors of empire to examine the influence of colonialism and imperialism on non-western societies? This course will explore how writers, artists, filmmakers, and “thinkers” from former European colonies use genre fiction to address, resist, expose, and/or “play with” colonialism and the postcolonial condition. We will look at how genres are formed and how creators from the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia use or manipulate these forms to address their historical present. These themes will be approached through multiple forms, including fiction, non-fiction, and film.

This course is designed to provide 6000 words toward the Writing Requirement. Assignments will include a response blog, several essays, and a research project.

ENC 1145

Writing about Walking

Sarah Mitchem

Our course investigates how walking shaped numerous authors’ perspectives, influenced literary works, offered avenues into different philosophies, and often illustrated cultural conflicts. We begin by focusing on narratives reflecting walking as an act created under duress: captivity narratives, forced marches, escapes from slavery, and traversing wilderness due to imperial endeavors. We then examine contrasts through texts (and numerous art works) depicting walking as a social engagement refined by the bourgeoisie. Walking as a solitary, reflective practice will then occupy our study. Lastly, we explore texts demonstrating how walking functions as an active form of resistance. With these objectives in mind, students will keep a “walking journal” to record their interactions with our local environment.

This course is designed to provide 6000 words toward the Writing Requirement. Major assignments will include two autobiographical essays, a walking journal, one presentation, and a final research paper.

ENL 2930

The American Short Story

David Leavitt

“Art is too long and life is too short.”

– Grace Paley, when asked why she only wrote stories

This course will serve as an introduction to the tradition of the short story in twentieth-century American and English literature. Rather than working from an anthology, we will focus on six acknowledged masters of the form – including three who have devoted themselves exclusively to the short story and UF professor Mary Robison – and read extensively from their collections. Topics to be considered will include:

  • Voice in the short story
  • Point of View in the short story
  • The matter of length: how long (or how short) can a story be?
  • The story collection: the art of arranging
  • The limits and possibilities of the story form

The reading list will draw from the short fiction of the following writers:

  • John Cheever (1912 - 1982)
  • Amy Hempel (1951- )
  • Denis Johnson (1949 -)
  • Flannery O’Connor (1925 - 1964)
  • Grace Paley (1922 - 2007)
  • Mary Robison (1949- )

This course carries University of Florida General Education Humanities (H) credit.