Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2014

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 2014, Lower Division, Special Content

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature & Culture: The New World Laboratory: Scientific Inquiry and the American Identity

Angela Walther

This course will pair early scientific texts with early American literature as a means to reveal the contradicting themes of the American dream and to explore the formation of the American identity within this New World laboratory. Starting with the Puritans, we will compare Puritan modes of inquiry with their European counterparts to establish a distinct American “scientific” enterprise, a science motivated by divine prophecy to justify the settling of the New World. Next, we will explore the impact of this mode of inquiry on the native peoples using theories of disease. After which, we will explore how scientific statesmen such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson used scientific disciplines to construct new boundaries of an American nation. Lastly, we will explore the development of scientific racism, a racial rhetoric that employed biological and bodily differences (as opposed to cultural differences) to justify American slavery. Students do not need previous scientific knowledge; rather, we will interpret these sciences as literature to consider how the modern “objective” sciences were historically and subjectively constructed, creating legacies still apparent in America today.

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature & Culture: Transatlantic America: Making Contact with “The New World” and the Old

Samantha Banal

When explorers and pilgrims first arrived on American shores, they deemed this land a “New World,” a phrase that Shakespeare immortalized in The Tempest. Even today, our sense of “newness” is embedded in our places—New York, New England, etc.—and our politics—the New Deal and Obama’s “Change” campaign. By literally naming the land “new,” Spanish, French, and British settlers thought they would find a new humanity not only out there in the wild but also within themselves. In this class, we will investigate this desire for newness in the land and how that ideal ultimately failed, as evidenced by our continued treks on and across the sea, back to the “old” worlds.

In our first units, we begin at the moment of discovery and first contact to understand how we got here and how we first approached the promise of the New World. Then, like the writers we discuss, we will make a few “return trips” back to the major colonial power, England. This travel, both in the texts we analyze and how we analyze them, is called transatlanticism. Through this textual travel, we must ask ourselves what American texts drew from Britain and what the British pulled from us.

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature: Early American Women Writers

Sarah Hayes

This course will focus on American women writers to 1820. Often when we think of early American writing, we think largely of America’s founders and founding fathers, such as William Bradford, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. This course will focus on the early American women writers who either attempted to enter the budding American literary tradition, purposefully or not, or created a tradition of their own. We will examine genres such as poetry, captivity narrative, travel narrative, and spiritual narrative. We will discuss how women used literature as a space to discuss legal, political, marital and reproductive rights. Alongside issues of gender and sexuality, we will also emphasize notions of race, ethnicity and religion. Texts read in this class will include those by Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Phillis Wheatly, Susanna Rowson, Hannah Foster, Sarah Kemble Knight and Elizabeth Ashbridge. We will also read several critical essays to help us contextualize this early writing.

In this class you will learn how to read contextually and rhetorically, form arguments and write critically about literature. You will be responsible for writing response papers for the assigned readings and sharing the ideas of your papers in class. These response papers will prepare you to write one short essay that will address the themes of the course and one longer capstone paper.

AML 2410

Issues in American Literature & Culture: Digitizing Early American Literature

David Lawrimore

This course will explore how the recent digitization of various literary and newspaper archives has influenced early American studies, particularly the study of the early American novel. We will begin by familiarizing ourselves with such canonical works as William Hill Brown’s The Power of Sympathy (1789) and Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple (1791) and the scholarship that helped to recover them from obscurity. We will then turn to a number of digitized literary and newspaper archives to consider how lesser-known works complicate the portrait of these canonical novels. In this manner, we will begin to investigate how the recovery of “lost” texts is a fragmentary and deeply ideological process. Moreover, instead of merely discussing these scholarly gaps, we will actively work to bridge them by curating our own digital archive in the form of a class website. The goal of this archive is both to make lesser-known early American novels more accessible as well as to give students the opportunity to engage in the sort of digital collaboration that is essential to both academic and non-academic positions.

In addition to reading widely and deeply in early American fiction, assignments will include quizzes, reading responses, a mid-term essay, and a final project where each student will extensively research a lesser-known novel and create a webpage that will include such information as the text, a summary, a comprehensive bibliography, the author’s biography, publication information, and other pertinent data.

ENC 1145

Writing About the Rhetorical Tradition of (Student) Activism

Scott Sundvall

Over the last several years, America (as well as the global community at large) witnessed a resurgence in activism, precipitated by military occupations, economic crises, sex and gender legislation, and mounting student debt. Nonetheless, rhetoric remains the functional foundation for all of these movements. As such, this course aims to improve critical reading and writing skills by examining the culture of American activism, especially student activism, 1960s to the present day. Our guiding question and point of departure will be: what makes political pleas, or activist rhetoric, effective or ineffective (in terms of persuasion)? To this end, we will not only examine and analyze activist rhetoric, but students will also apply these (effective) rhetorical strategies to their own writing. Lastly, the course should be of particular relevance and interest to students as the topic directly implicates them.

ENC 1145

Writing About “Otherness”

Berit Brink

The “melting pot” is one of the most common and well-known metaphors for American society. It is powerful because it suggests that the fusion of different cultures and nationalities is what makes Americans “American.” But to what extent do differences really melt away? Is there such a thing as a homogeneous culture? If we assume there is such a thing as “the” American, then there are inevitably people who do not meet the criteria for this category. Who could be considered “Other” in American society, and why? This course will examine who is cast as “different” in the United States by considering how difference is constructed, to what ends, and whether the practice of “Othering” can be resisted. Social categories of difference might include race, sexuality, disability and (national) culture. Texts might include, but will not be limited to The Bluest Eye, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Rubyfruit Jungle, which will be supplemented by readings in the fields of psychoanalysis, critical race theory and gender studies. Through a series of close reading exercises, analysis, and synthesis, students will learn how to critique seemingly fixed categories of identity, and write about socio-cultural difference in a nuanced yet critical manner.

ENC 1145

Writing About Insanity & the Discipline of Psychiatry

Asmaa Ghonim

“Madness, in its wild, untamable words, proclaims its own meaning; in its chimeras, it utters its secret truth; its cries speak for its conscience” Michel Foucault asserts in his book Madness and Civilization (30). Here, Foucault provides a framework by which one might read the ambiguous “texts,” and the questionable and often frustrating literacy, of “madness” and its plethora of “confessions.” “Madness,” “insanity,” and “mental illness” are just a few words that offer a glimpse of the labels society puts (voluntarily or involuntarily, medically or jokingly) on people who Foucault sometimes ironically refers to as “non-human.”

In this course, we will critically, theoretically, and medically analyze the literature (auto/biographical or fictional, including pop culture “texts”) of the “mad” as a symptom of society. In doing so, we will attempt to understand the binary structure of the in/sane and how that fits in with other binaries that seem to exist in our society (normal/abnormal, citizen/non-citizen, inside/outside, etc...). Our course is meant to not only instruct on the elusive meanings of mental illness, but to also try to capture the evasive nature of language itself (whether written or oral), to identify its “truth/reality” or its purposeful lack thereof.

This course is a 6000-word course, so writings will follow accordingly to reflect that requirement.

ENC 1145

Writing About Theatre

Gabriel Mayora

This course will specifically focus on canonical, modern plays (starting with Chekhov and Ibsen) to address the ways in which playwrights employ theatre to tackle questions of gender, sexuality, race, class, and religion. Departing from the idea that theatre is a form of written and visual rhetoric, we will discuss the connections between how a text is written and/or performed, as well as the effects such rhetoric has on the audience. In order to directly address this issue, we will read plays and see theatre around Gainesville, along with filmed stage productions and filmed stage adaptations. This process will allow us to observe how plays—unlike other forms of literature—always invite translation and redefinition. Since this is a course about writing, we will pay special attention to building logical arguments, writing clear and concise sentences, and transferring thoughts into the page. At the same time, through our study and analysis of the plays, we will emphasize methods to build a persuasive argument across genres (reviews, literary criticism, reports, etc.). Hence, we will complete a variety of writing exercises in class, including peer reviews, outlines, and drafts. We will also visit the library to learn how to use campus resources to complete research, as well as learn how to seamlessly incorporate this research into your writing. You will submit four response papers throughout the semester (500 words each), a midterm paper (1500 words), a rough draft, and a final paper (2500 words). Selections will include: August: Osage County, Angels in America, The Seagull, The House of Bernarda Alba, and others.

ENC 1145

Writing About the Culture Wars in Contemporary Art

Jacob Riley

Even if the controversial art in museums have faded into the background, the culture wars are still alive and well when it comes to art and the humanities. The primary arc of this course will trace back the controversy of the culture wars to various 20th century avant-garde movements’ revolt against bourgeois, middle class values. To explore the avant-garde attitude, we begin with two exemplary figures, provocative comedian Lenny Bruce and Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Students will connect these figures with not only the European avant-garde but also to contemporary figures today and their own experiences and interests, encountering various genres of texts along the way: artist manifestos, historical accounts, and art theory.

Armed with the attitude and history of the avant-garde, the second part of the course will evaluate and engage contemporary works of art, asking after the avant-garde legacy in our everyday lives.

ENC 1145

Writing About Twentieth Century War & Conflict

Andrea Caloiaro

The twentieth century was arguably the bloodiest and most wart-torn century in history. The emergence of modern technology made it possible for militaries across the globe to engage opponents—and civilians—with unprecedented offensive strategies: attacks could be deployed from the air, from under the sea, even through the earth. Killings and destruction became increasingly distant, hauntingly impersonal, wide-scale, and without discrimination. This course will examine how our current understandings of war are influenced and shaped by our last century’s conflicts, and along the way, we will interrogate how the wide range of texts composed in response to those conflicts provide those understandings. Beginning with the First World War and ending with the Syrian Civil War, we will explore texts that address the physical, psychological, and hegemonic facets of war; our aim is to investigate how these texts create “narratives” which link the physicality of conflicts like combat and violence to more figurative conflicts of politics and ideology. This approach invites us to consider that the notion of “total warfare”—that is, the complete mobilization of humans and resources for the machine of war—is a thoroughly modern one, and a theme that permeates modern texts about war and conflict. Through our engagement with this material, we will pursue issues such as the relationship between the battlefront and the home-front, humans and technology, trauma and memory, and the rationales for seeking futures of peace, or continued belligerence.

Some readings may include but are not limited to: 1) material objects such as WWI and WWII war memorials and recruiting posters, 2) literature such Vonnegut’s WWII novel Slaughterhouse Five, Anthony Swofford’s Gulf War memoir Jarhead, and WWI combat poetry by Wilfred Owen, 3) audio-visual texts like David Rabe’s Vietnam trilogy plays and live performances of anti-war songs by Hendrix, Dylan, and the Ramones, 4) and even historically-set, avataristic texts such as RPG video games like Call of Duty.

Students will compose monthly reading responses, write two research-based essays, lead discussions on a regular basis, and present their final project in a conference-style format.

ENC 1131

Writing Through Media: Consumer Culture

Andrea Krafft

In the wake of the recent economic recession and the Occupy Wall Street movement, it has never been more important to reflect on the impact of consumer culture. This course will examine the evolution of modern consumerism from its roots in industrial production to its manifestations in advertising and material goods. We will read a range of texts from cultural critics and creative writers that scrutinize the effects of consumption. In addition, we will have weekly screenings so that we can consider representations of the marketplace in popular culture. These screenings will cover diverse genres, including children’s movies (The Brave Little Toaster), science fiction (Robocop), documentaries (The Queen of Versailles) and the hit TV show Mad Men.

Central questions we will explore include: Does consumerism necessarily degrade the individual? How are advertisements structured to appeal to shoppers? How can individuals and groups subvert advertisements for their own purposes? To what extent can reality and people become constructed and “consumed” by the marketplace? What are the environmental and global effects of consumerism? And, finally, how might consumer culture provide individuals the tools for creative expression?

ENC 1131

Writing Through Media: Games

Melissa Bianchi

This course offers students both a critical lens for studying video games and an introduction to English composition. The semester is divided into four units, the first of which will serve as an introduction to game studies where we will review the history of games and how they are employed as rhetorical and pedagogical tools. The following three thematic units—culture, technology, ecology—will each offer a unique theoretical lens through which we may interpret and write about a wide range of video games across different genres, platforms, and modes of production. Course screening times will give students an opportunity to play several video games, though occasionally we will watch game-related documentaries. Students will also contribute to a course discussion page and complete three essays during the semester—a definition paper, a rhetorical analysis, and a game design proposal.

ENC 1131

Writing Through Media: Transmedia Adaptation

Casey Wilson

While the adaptation of a story from one medium to another has a rich and varied history, recent years have seen an explosion in the number of transmedia adaptations, or those adaptations which seek to tell the same story by using multiple forms of media in conjunction with one another. Emma Approved, for example, transforms Jane Austen’s Emma into a YouTube series supplemented by Twitter and Tumblr accounts for the main characters, while The Hunger Games Adventures expands the world of the film adaptation upon which it is based into a simple point-and-click videogame. Thus, to fully understand and enjoy these stories, the audience must be engaged in multiple branches of the story at once.

In this class, we will seek to interrogate the definitions of adaptation and transmedia as laid out by academic and cultural critics, and determine why transmedia has become such a popular form for retelling stories. In order to ground our discussions, each screening period will be devoted to viewing one or more films, television shows, or online video projects that engage in this kind of adaptation. In addition, students will write in many different forms, including academic essays, blogs, and social media, and will learn to tailor their writing for various audiences. The course will ultimately culminate with students creating their own transmedia adaptation and writing a detailed rhetorical analysis of their creative choices.

ENC 1131

Writing Through Media: Image & Interactive Texts

NaToya Faughnder

ENG 1131 places emphasis on different forms of writing and sets out to critically examine how form and function deliver content. This class will engage image centric texts (including ancient cave paintings, tapestries, medieval illuminations, and comics) and interactive texts (including movable/pop-up books, youtube videos, and videogames) through both assigned readings/viewings and during the class’s viewing sessions. This class will examine the book as object and videogames as literature. Of utmost concern in this class is not just the inclusion of these media in the larger canon of literature, but the development of skills to analytically read and write these media with increased understanding of how context, presentation, and construction can affect readings of text. In this respect, Writing through Media addresses the production of arguments in traditional academic prose, but also by way of creating critical videos, thought-provoking comics, and fan-created responses to “official” productions. A key component of this class is the development of a professional and critical online identity, something that is essential in today’s job market and graduate school application processes.

ENC 1131

Writing Through Media: Remix & Remediation: The Art of Form and Style

Shannon Butts

In popular terms, a Remix alters elements of a song to create something new while still retaining aspects of the original. Likewise, a Remediation changes form or method of transmission, but often attempts to stay true to a narrative or argument. Yet, how does a Kanye song change when remixed in response to a Taylor Swift moment? What influence does a Baz Lurman “Gatsby” have on the reception of a classic work of literature? How has 140 characters, Instagram, or Snapchat altered the way we communicate and compose?

Technology is changing the way audiences understand and access various forms of information, in turn facilitating new forms of authorship and commentary. Working with various print, digital, aural, visual, and experiential texts, this class will analyze how remixing and remediation alter both form and content, working through changes in production, circulation, and reception. Beginning with basic principles of rhetorical analysis, the course will address methods of argument and organization, tracing the role of author, audience, form, and style. Building on this foundation, students will then work to understand how form and style both centralize and de-center media, acting as a driving force of production embedded in a specific culture, content, and context. Ideas of transition and adaptation will challenge interpretations of the “creative” and “original” as students remix and remediate classic works as well as their own “new” media.

ENL 2930

Myths of the Child

John Cech

From the ancient world to the present, from the cosmic to the personal, from the global to the local, myths have the power to seize our imaginations (Harry Potter), motivate our actions (the American Dream), and offer us hope (Happily Ever After). Myths can explain our origins (Genesis), inspire our yearnings for perfection (Shangri-La), and teach us how to treat our parents (Filial Piety). Myths can lead to war, conquest, and destruction as well as to extraordinary acts of innovation, heroism, and creativity. Through a wide range of examples from literature, film, the arts, and popular culture, this course will explore the nature of myth—those stories that shape both our daily and our deepest beliefs and that are woven into a rich network of narratives that inform our lives.

CRW 2300

Poetry Writing

William Logan

In naming colors, ... literate people said “dark blue” or “light yellow,” but illiterates used metaphorical names like “liver,” “peach,” “decayed teeth,” and “cotton in bloom.”
—Caleb Crain, “Twilight of the Books,” The New Yorker, December 24 & 31, 2007

One thing was clear to me. If you want to win a girl, you have to have lots of beetles.
Heaven Can Wait (1943)

The University of Florida has one of the strongest creative writing programs in the country, whose graduate faculty often offer a beginning workshop to honors students. The best students will afterward be eligible for upper-division workshops, always taught by graduate faculty. Poetry demands close attention to the meaning and music of language, to emotion and the structures of emotion, and to the burdens of the past. The best poetry has an understanding of psychology, botany, religion, philosophy, and how much French fries cost at the mall. No one can be a poet without reading. The beginning workshop is in part a course in poetic literature.

Poets will write one poem a week, which forms the basis of workshop discussion, along with poems of the past and present. No workshop can succeed without an inclination toward laughter and wry jokes (discussion will generally go from the sublime to the ridiculous, or vice versa). Field trips may be possible—no year in Gainesville is complete without a visit to the alligators. Students who complete this course may then take upper-division workshops in poetry.

Students are not expected to have written poetry before, but must have strong language skills (you can’t manipulate the language effectively without grammar and spelling). Please do not take this course if you aren’t interested in the difference between an adjective and an adverb, or the correct usage of it’s and its, lay and lie, and who and whom. Student who can’t write a complete sentence will be asked to drop the class. Numerous students who have taken this course have entered graduate programs at Columbia, Michigan, Johns Hopkins, and elsewhere. Others have gone into editing and publishing.