Fall 2015 Course Schedule

FWIS 105      Greek Myth in Words
FWIS 106      Marriage, Inc.
FWIS 108      Graphic Novels
FWIS 116       American Journeys
FWIS 117       Rousseau: Enlightenment Genius
FWIS 122      Leaders and Leadership
FWIS 130      Writing Everyday Life
FWIS 131       Texts Against Humanity
FWIS 133      Latin American Art
FWIS 134      Artists, Patrons, and Museums
FWIS 135      Childhood on Film
FWIS 137      Pop Music and American Culture
FWIS 139      Golden Age Detective Fiction
FWIS 140      Writing Archaeology
FWIS 144      Representing China
FWIS 147      America Through French Eyes
FWIS 151       American Horror Stories
FWIS 160      Life Narrative/Narrating Life

FWIS 163      Medical Humanities
FWIS 164      Ways of Walking
FWIS 167      The Five Gospels
FWIS 169      What Are Human Rights?
FWIS 171       Word Magic
FWIS 179      Love & Death in Film & Fiction
FWIS 180      Legacies of 1960s America
FWIS 181       Golden Age Children’s Literature
FWIS 182      Intersections in Art & Science
FWIS 183      Famous Fakes in Christian Lit
FWIS 187      Science/Hist Houston's Bayous
FWIS 189      Post-Apocalyptic Lit and Film
FWIS 190      Youth Rebellion
FWIS 192      The Roaring Twenties
FWIS 194      Americans Abroad
FWIS 196      Costume Dramas
FWIS 198      Family in Fiction and Film
FWIS 199      Jews on Film

FWIS 105   Greek Myth in Words: Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns

Mackie, Hilary ∙ TR 2:30-3:45
This course introduces you to texts that are integral to the mythology, literature, and culture of ancient Greece. Hesiod’s Theogony, a creation narrative, includes the epic battle between the Olympian gods and the Titans. The Homeric Hymns celebrate individual Olympian gods and goddesses. The Works and Days is an early Greek example of wisdom literature.  Hesiod, as poet, challenges the authority of the local kings and educates his community about justice and the value of hard work. The course introduces you to these important texts through the regular practice of close reading, writing, and spoken discussion. You will learn to develop and articulate your own interpretations of them in response to the views of others, including your classmates. The assignments and in-class activities will help you to hone your communication skills, and to employ reading, writing, and speaking in the service of critical thinking. (All works read in English translation.) 

FWIS 106   Marriage, Inc.

Michie, Helena ∙ TR 10:50-12:05
This course looks at literary and cultural representations of marriage in the Anglo-American tradition: from Renaissance marriage bed poetry, to marriage plot novels and films, to present-day debates about the status of marriage as an institution. We will also explore cross-cultural and historical conceptions of marriage.

 

FWIS 108   Graphic Novels and the Art of Communication

Messmer, David ∙ Section 1: MWF 2:00-2:50 ∙ Section 2: MWF 3:00-3:50
While the image of spandex clad superheroes still dominates perceptions of graphic novels, the medium has evolved into a varied and complex form of expression in the decades since Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics (1938). From their inception, though, graphic novels have always showed a deep connection to the historical events, anxieties, and struggles that surrounded their creation. In this course, we will examine graphic novels from a variety of perspectives, including the historical, the political, the social, and the literary. Students will develop research skills through an engagement with the growing critical literature on graphic novels, and will strengthen communication skills by writing and presenting analyses of the cultural relevance of graphic novels, all while maintaining an awareness of the formal properties that make them such a unique and diverse medium.

FWIS 116   American Journeys

Hall, Randal ∙ Tuesday 2:00-4:59
The narratives of travelers in the US are a window into history. Drawing on authors like Crèvecoeur, Tocqueville, Trollope, and Kerouac, the class will discuss and write about themes such as Indian life and territorial expansion, democracy, slavery, civil war, western settlement, and 20th-cent. social movements.  This course is eligible for credit toward the major in history.

 

FWIS 117   Rousseau: Maverick Genius of the Enlightenment

Zammito, John ∙ MWF 2:00-2:50
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was one of the most brilliant and baffling figures in the epoch of Enlightenment. In this seminar we will explore the writer in his setting and his expression in writing as illustrative of the variety of generic modes of written articulation, the guiding force of authorial mood and intention, as well as the limits all of these face or impose. We will read widely across Rousseau’s oeuvre, noting the differences in generic form and the nonetheless unmistakable uniqueness of Rousseau’s authorial voice. Writing in a wide variety of genres – from formal essays in political theory and social anthropology, to sentimental novels, to path-breaking prose-poetic reveries, to autobiography – Rousseau managed always to endow these with his own extraordinary genius and sensibility. By making Rousseau as writing the focus of the seminar, the ambition will be to make the act of writing a historical problem and a present motivation. The goal will be to foster more self-conscious but also more self-expressive writing in the students.

FWIS 122   Leaders and Leadership: What We Know, What We Believe

Cornwell, John ∙ TR 2:30-3:45
For over a hundred years social scientists have studied leaders and leadership. The popular press and media pundits continue to expound on the topic with conflicting views. Students will explore what they believe and what science informs us about leaders and leadership and share their analyses through discussions, writing, and oral presentations. This course does not study individual leaders but instead is devoted to learning about scholarship in the field of leadership and applying it to better understanding oneself as a leader. Besides writing about their leadership experiences and applying leadership scholarship in analyzing those experiences students will also create visual images about leadership using digital technologies and share them with each other.

FWIS 130   Writing Everyday Life

Dib, Lina ∙ TR 1:00-2:15
This course is dedicated to the poetics of everyday life. It introduces its participants to cultural and historical writing that draws from the real world and from the forms and colors of the ordinary. First, we will experiment with some non-fiction writing styles, from journalistic, to poetic, to documentary and ethnographic. Then, shifting the focus from writing styles to writing topics, the course will delve into how we experience landscapes, bodies, and objects in prosaic ways. We will develop reading, research, writing, and presentation skills through creative assignments and workshops. Engaging in fieldwork around Houston, we will practice observational and literary tactics, such as experimenting with rhythm and repetition, shifting scales from the micro to the macro, and making the strange familiar or the familiar strange. In short, we will explore, evaluate, and communicate the everyday. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in anthropology.

FWIS 131   Texts Against Humanity: Modernity and Its Discontents

Geier, Ted ∙ TR 9:25-10:40
Since the nineteenth century, global networks, population increase, accelerated urban existence, and industrial activity like nuclear weapons and environmental extraction challenge human (and nonhuman) life. Major works respond to this troubled existence through a variety of formal and rhetorical approaches to suffering and atrocity: Can comedy and satire appropriately address serious problems? How/why? Is a serious, sincere first-person testimonial more effective? What about comics or cartoons? How can there be such diverse expressions of the worst things that ever happened? Does this formal distinction challenge the defining sense of life and “the worst thing ever” in important ways? By studying formal conventions and the interplay of form and content, we’ll examine society and individual life (and its supposed or recuperated value) and classic questions in the age(s) of practical function at the end of the world: What is to be done? What’s the point? What is real? Who can be trusted? Etc. 

FWIS 133   Latin American Art: Mexico in the Modern Age

Gutierrez, Manuel ∙ TR 2:30-3:45
This course examines Latin American art of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries, with a special focus on Mexico. It explores the relationship between art and nationalist discourse; how art appropriated the past as a means of legitimizing a particular ideology; what role art played in authoritarian regimes; how art was transformed by revolutions; and how gender and self-fashioning was employed in the art of the period. We will look at different art movements including romanticism, neo-classicism and modernism. Discuss religious and scientific representations in naturalism, realism, indiginism and socialist realisms. Our study of Latin American art will include work by many artists including José María Velasco, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siquieros, Frida Kahlo and María Izquierdo. Finally, we will learn how to critically think and write about art.

FWIS 134   Collecting Art: Perspectives of Artists, Patrons, and Museums

Fuqua, Kariann ∙ TR 10:50-12:05
This course is designed to explore the interconnected roles of those who make art, the individuals who buy it, and the institutions charged with preserving and displaying these important creative contributions to society. Do these three entities have a synergistic relationship or do their various ideas/agendas prevent a harmonious partnership? What role do collectors have in the career trajectory of artists?  The history of art collecting and patronage will be discussed as students explore the role of the museum, the art market, public and private collections, artists who are influenced by or incorporate collections in their work, and the psychology of collecting.  Practical concerns about museum management, conservation, provenance, and art law will also be addressed.  Houston has a large and active art community, and through this course, students will be encouraged to engage in the world of museums and galleries that lie just beyond the hedges of Rice University.

 

FWIS 135   Childhood on Film

Oukaderova, Lida ∙ TR 9:25-10:40
This seminar will examine the filmic representation of childhood across diverse historical periods and places. We will utilize a variety of critical perspectives to explore the place childhood occupies in modern cultures—and particularly, how cinema contributes to and complicates our understanding of that place. Of particular concern will be issues including children’s relations to nature, language, and sexuality; modern systems of education; children’s perceptions of race; children in horror films; and filmmakers’ interest in childhood as a metaphor for cinema itself. Our meetings will be grounded in discussion of films and critical texts, with substantial time dedicated to working on students’ writings skills.

FWIS 137   Popular Music and American Culture

Klein, Andrew ∙ Section 1: MWF 3:00-3:50 ∙ Section 2: MWF 4:00-4:50
This course will explore the world of popular American music by looking at a number of recent albums and songs as well as many critical and journalistic writings about music.  Ranging from Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love to Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap, and from a novelistic portrayal of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality to a memoir of the Riot Grrrl movement, these texts will also allow us to think critically not only about music itself, but about what other issues (race, gender, sexuality, class, taste, etc.) we talk about when we talk about music.  Assignments will include album reviews, song analyses, genre/region presentations, and personal essays.      

 

FWIS 139   Whodunnit? Exploring the Golden Age of Detective Fiction

Neill, Heather ∙ MWF 10:00-10:50
Although The Great Gatsby has become the seminal text of the interwar period, the 1920s and 30s also saw the flourishing of detective fiction, a wildly popular genre that still has a major presence in the publishing and television industries. In addition to studying the history and major practitioners of the genre, such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Ngaio Marsh, the class will wrestle with a variety of critical questions: Why did the detective novel flourish between the world wars? Why did the many famous women mystery writers create few female detectives? What kind of transatlantic influences were at work? Why has Golden Age style fallen out of favor with critics even as it remains popular with readers? Students will learn to read and write about popular fiction as a reflector, perpetuator, and occasional challenger of the wider culture.

FWIS 140   Writing Archaeology: Interpreting the Past for the Academy and the Public

Fleisher, Jeff ∙ TR 1:00-2:15
Archaeologists seek to understand the past through the material remains that people left behind.  While most people imagine archaeologists toiling away with a trowel in the field, they spend most of their time writing up their results for a variety of audiences.  This course introduces the various modes of archaeological writing, including academic reports, monographs, and articles as well as popular magazines, newspapers, blogs and fiction.  These modes of archaeological writing demand a variety of evidentiary forms and styles of argumentation and interpretation.  By focusing on how scientific practices like archaeology are ‘translated’ between different types of publications, this course will provide crucial skills to both analyze the quality of popular presentations of social science research (like archaeology) but also explore the challenges that archaeologists face in making their research understandable to a broader audience.  Through a series of essays, students will experiment with different approaches to ‘writing archaeology’ and learn how these are structured by such factors as disciplinary conventions, audience, and intent.  

 

FWIS 144   Representing China

Hargrave, Jennifer ∙ MWF 9:00-9:50
With its acceptance into the World Trade Organization in 2001 and its hosting of the Summer Olympics in 2008, China has assumed a more global presence. However, the events of the last decade are only the most recent developments in China’s long history of international relations. Beginning largely in the seventeenth century, Europeans’ interest in China prompted literary explorations of the Far East that continued throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This course will examine Western representations of China. How has China, both as a geographic reality and a fictional locale, been described within Western literature? Through multiple genres (travel narratives, engravings, novels, maps, poetry, etc.), we will examine the role that texts play in issues of nationalism, imperialism, religion, economics, children’s education, and aesthetics. We will analyze texts from the thirteenth century to the present to understand how Western textual representations influenced (and continue to influence) China’s international relations.

FWIS 147   America Through French Eyes

Fette, Julie ∙ TR 1:00-2:15
The United States has always been a source of fascination—both attraction and repulsion—for the French. This course aims to understand American culture and identity as revealed by transatlantic encounters with the French. We will study French intellectuals' observations (de Tocqueville, de Beauvoir) as well as images of America in French popular culture (comic strips, films). Some of students' coursework will be done online in a digital massive open format through Coursera, thereby giving Rice first-year students a rare opportunity to experience this new educational technology. Thanks to this access to other Rice professors Anne Chao, Jeffrey Fleisher, and Moramay López-Alonso, the course will broaden significantly beyond France to consider America from Chinese, African, and Mexican perspectives. The Fall 2015 version of this FWIS could therefore be called "America through Foreign Eyes."

 

FWIS 151   American Horror Stories: Literature, History, and the Gothic

Seglie, AnaMaria ∙ MWF 9:00-9:50
The U.S. is a nation haunted by history. Whether witches, ghosts, monsters, or jokers, that which we deem terrifying, horror-filled and frightening has taken many forms. Through a study of U.S. literature, this course will examine how these gothic forms have been shaped by major historical changes, such as shifting gender norms, economic instability, religious and racial conflict, and political unrest. Our readings will span a variety of historical periods and texts ranging from Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to Toni Morrison’s Beloved to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. As a writing course, American Horror Stories will help students develop critical reading and writing skills as they explore the ghastly and ghostly both today and throughout the course of American literary history.

FWIS 160   Life Narrative/Narrating Life

Fax, Joanna ∙ MWF 1:00-1:50
“This is the age of memoir,” observes writer William Zinsser, “everyone has a story to tell, and everyone is telling it.” In addition to telling stories, we are consuming them, thanks to the advent of podcasts, blogs, and other digital formats, at a remarkable rate. This course explores the historical and contemporary significance of life narrative in popular culture – from its origins in the 16th century to the popularity of This American Life. What various, often competing, versions of selfhood does the genre offer us?  What does life narrative reveal about shifting status of the “personal” in different historical and political moments? What counts as life narrative, anyway, and how is it different from autobiography, personal narrative, and memoir (is Facebook a form of life narrative?)? In addition to writing analytically about these and other questions, students will compose their own creative work.

 

FWIS 163   Medical Humanities: Literature, Medicine, and the Practice of Empathy

Nixon, Burke ∙ MWF 1:00-1:50
This course will provide an introduction to the field of medical humanities, focusing specifically on narrative medicine and the role narrative can play in illness and the clinical encounter. We’ll also examine the use of literary fiction as a way to increase empathy in doctor-patient interactions, which will lead to a series of questions: Can empathy be taught? If so, can the humanities, and literature in particular, teach it? To help us explore these and other questions, we’ll scrutinize academic research on empathy and fiction, as well as examining some of the most influential texts in the field of medical humanities. We’ll also read medical-themed short stories by Ernest Hemingway, Lorrie Moore, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the physician-writer Anton Chekhov, among others. Writing assignments will range from a work of personal reflection to a research paper and presentation arguing for or against the use of literary fiction in medical schools. 

FWIS 164   Ways of Walking in Literature and Culture

Klein, Andrew ∙ MWF 2:00-2:50
For most of us, walking is an activity of necessity: we put one foot in front of the other in order to move from Point A to Point B. For others, however, the act of walking holds far greater potential. Whether it's a pilgrimage, a nature hike, a city stroll, a protest march, or something else altogether, a walk can be much more than just a walk. In this course, we will explore the cultural history and significance of walking by looking at a wide array of interdisciplinary texts, ranging from a study of the marathon monks of Mount Hiei to Romantic poetry and from urban planning policy to experimental art practices.  These readings will be accompanied by integral writing assignments that will allow students to develop their abilities to write clearly and persuasively in a number of different genres. There will also be a number of field trips in and around the Houston area.

FWIS 167   The Five Gospels: How Were They Written?

Adamson, Grant ∙ MWF 3:00-3:50
Since they have so much in common, Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the synoptic gospels. Matthew and Luke have a lot in common too, even without Mark. Why? How were they written? The prevailing scholarly theory is that the author of the Gospel of Mark wrote first, then the authors of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke used the Gospel of Mark along with another lost sayings-source known as Q. Is the theory correct? Are there alternative theories about the composition of the three synoptic gospels from the New Testament? What about the Gospel of John? And what about the Gospel of Thomas that happens to be outside the covers of the Bible? In this course, we will address these and other historical and literary issues while you write argumentative papers, deliver oral presentations, and participate in class discussion and peer review.

FWIS 169   What Are Human Rights?

Wildenthal, Lora ∙ MWF 9:00-9:50
We hear and talk about “human rights” frequently, but few of us have an easy time defining them. This is because human rights are inherently contested and even pitted against one another. In this class, we read, discuss, and write about what human rights have been and could yet become, in the United States and elsewhere in the world. This class offers you basic literacy about the key documents and institutions of human rights.  In addition, it highlights differences in how historians think and how lawyers think, and how politics is mediated in both disciplines. I will argue that human rights are a special kind of rhetoric, and that makes a fitting subject of study for a class in which we foreground oral and written communication.

 

FWIS 171   Word Magic

Belik, Katerina ∙ TR 10:50-12:05
People create inner models of the world to represent their experience and guide their behavior. How we state and say things has direct impact on how we feel and affect others. Students will be introduced to art of persuasion, learn about the power of words, the importance of word choice, and might of a metaphor. They will learn to create effective messages through understanding patterns of communication and how they can be altered to bring about a change in human behavior. The course offers an opportunity to analyze and discuss various readings related to neuro-linguistics. It suggests recording observations, writing reports and a short research paper.

FWIS 179   Love and Death in Film and Fiction: The Art of Reading Closely

Harter, Deborah ∙ TR 4:00-5:15
This will be a course not just about five great films and seven extraordinary short stories, nor just about what they tell us about love and death, the chaos of marriage and affection, the layered meanings of prejudice and obsession, alienation and loss.  It will also be about the power we gain and the pleasure we feel when we learn to “read” them closely.  To study the art of reading, of course, is to have no choice but to study simultaneously the art of writing.  As students write and revise, share their work and present their ideas, they will be invited to explore a variety of formats and of purpose, experimenting freely with short response, personal essay, journal-writing, and formal exposition.  Our goal will be to create for ourselves a field of writerly expression that is both scholarly and personal, analytic and reflective—a source of confidence rather than trepidation.

 

FWIS 180   The Legacies, Myths, and Memories of 1960s America

Abramson, Sam ∙ MWF 10:00-10:50
In this course, students will analyze and explore the events, legacies, and myths of 1960s America. Perhaps no decade in twentieth-century American history is immortalized quite like the 1960s. Today, the 60s are often couched in the colorful rhetoric of peace and love, complemented by stirring images from the civil rights movement. For the post-World War II generation, the decade brought hopes for a forward-thinking, more inclusive America. While much of the 1960s are fondly remembered for music, art, and activism on university campuses, the decade was also plagued by strife, ranging from the Vietnam War to American inner-city riots to the untimely deaths of several public figures who symbolized the young generation’s ambitions. As this course will demonstrate, the 1960s were a complex, ever-changing decade where struggle and disillusionment often tempered social, cultural, and political change.

FWIS 181   The Golden Age of Children's Literature, or, How Alice (in Wonderland) became Harry Potter's Great-Great-Great Grandmother

Neill, Heather ∙ MWF 11:00-11:50
The “Golden Age” of children’s literature, approximately dated from 1865-1914, produced many of our most famous children’s classics, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Peter Pan. This course will discuss and write about why this period produced so many influential books and how those stories still shape our ideas about writing for children. We will read a number of children’s novels as well as excerpts from scholarly publications about children’s literature. Students will focus on writing strong academic essays. Students will also learn about different kinds of oral communication, from dramatic reading aloud to formal presentations.

 

FWIS 182   Intersections in Art & Science

Dib, Lina ∙ TR 2:30-3:45
In a survey of both classic and arcane material, this course looks at how these different ways of engaging with the world have crossed paths - from World Fairs, to cinema, as well as current exhibits in Houston galleries, hackerspaces and museums. Participants delve into modes and trends from surrealism and experimental film, to bio-art, interactivity and networked collaboration. Discussing these cross-disciplinary relationships, their ethics, ideas and outcomes, participants produce a variety of responses in the form of journal entries and critical essays. Sessions involve lectures, writing workshops, film screenings, and gallery visits. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in anthropology.

FWIS 183   Famous Fakes in Early Christian Literature

Adamson, Grant ∙ MWF 2:00-2:50
The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, the Gospel of Judas, the Secret Gospel of Mark ... 2 Thessalonians, the Pastoral Epistles. These are some of the famous fakes in early Christian literature. Or are they? Is it possible to tell, and if so, how? What makes one of them a fake and not another? Are ancient and modern forgeries really that different? What is a forgery, anyway? In this course we will read and write about these and other questions as we discuss these texts along with the canonical Gospel of Mark and the undisputed letters of Paul. We are interested in these questions because we want to discuss not only authorship and forgery but also: how academic information is produced, represented, and analyzed; what critical tools are available for analysis; and the ways in which the selection and use of such tools are part of broader cultural dynamics.

 

courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership; photo by Tom Fox/SWA Group

courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership; photo by Tom Fox/SWA Group

FWIS 187   Exploring the Science and History of Houston's Bayous

Masiello, Carrie ∙ TR 1:00-2:15
This course will begin with a global overview of watershed processes, focusing on the nitrogen cycle.  We will discuss the roles of agriculture and urbanization in altering river chemistry, and we will examine the downstream results of these land uses on a global scale.  After this initial global overview, students will focus on two of Houston’s watersheds, Buffalo and Brays bayous.  Through field trips, discussions, and presentations, students will explore the current state of our bayous. In this course students will be introduced to basic concepts of environmental chemistry, river ecology, and the methods of field science.  They will practice mapping, quantitatively analyzing environmental data, and presenting their findings.

FWIS 189   Post-Apocalyptic Literature and Film

Richardson, Laura ∙ MWF 10:00-10:50
Our culture is fascinated with its own destruction. From zombies to nuclear war, ecological disasters, aliens, disease, and killer machines, Armageddon takes many forms. Structured around ways in which we have imagined the world ending, this course charts the cultural consciousness of apocalypse. What’s at stake in envisioning annihilation? We will take a multimedia approach to the end of the world, exploring works as diverse as Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, the Wachowski siblings' The Matrix, and Max Brooks’ World War Z. As a writing intensive course, Post-Apocalyptic Literature and Film will teach you college-level critical writing and reading skills, along with a healthy dose of doomsday phobia.

 

FWIS 190   Youth Rebellion: Sixties Music and the Making of a Counter-Culture

Derrick, Scott ∙ MWF 1:00-1:50
The 1960’s still stands as one of the most tumultuous periods of US history. Many of the contending forces that still shape US life have complex roots there, among them civil rights, sexual liberation, environmentalism, and gay rights. In fundamental ways, however, the sixties were also about youth culture. A massive demographic wave of kids born after WWII came crashing down on an adult world a lot of them—though not all-- didn’t much like and felt little imperative to accept. Popular music, probably more than any other cultural form, served as this culture’s mode of self-expression. So, sixties popular music, both US and British, will be at the center of a multi-media course that also makes use of materials in television, fiction, and film. The most important focus of the course, however, will be on improving writing and oral presentation skills. Students should expect to write and revise a number of short essays in the course of the semester and to make a minimum of two oral presentations.

FWIS 192   The Roaring Twenties

Richardson, Laura ∙ MWF 11:00-11:50
Jazz. Flappers. Speakeasies. Art Deco. The Harlem Renaissance. After WWI, the U.S. and Europe erupted into frenzied cultural and aesthetic expression: the “Roaring Twenties.” New forms of art broke traditional modes of representation and inaugurated new structures and styles of narration, temporalities, and poetic form. The ’20s were about possibility, newness, change, and energy. In this course, we’ll read iconic ’20s literature by modernist authors, including Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. We’ll also study literary and cultural responses to WWI; high modernism’s poetry and novels; the Harlem Renaissance; prohibition, jazz, and dance; and popular comedic writing. Highlights include a screening of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, lessons on the Charleston and the Lindy Hop, and a Roaring Twenties-themed costume party, complete with jazz, mocktails, and dancing.

 

FWIS 194   Americans Abroad: Travel and American Literature

Seglie, AnaMaria ∙ MWF 11:00-11:50
Italy, South Africa, New Zealand, China, Brazil – the world is a big place and, today, there are endless possibilities for exploring it. In an age of increasing globalization, travel has become a commonplace part of our lives, whether we seek it as tourists, students, teachers, soldiers, workers, or missionaries. But why exactly do we travel? In this course, we will consider how American writers answer this question. We will examine how foreign travel challenges and reaffirms concepts of identity, and how it calls into question where we call home. Our readings will span a variety of historical periods and texts ranging from Edith Wharton’s short stories to Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises to Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. These readings will help students develop critical reading and writing skills as they explore what happens when someone gets bitten by the “travel bug.”

FWIS 196   Costume Dramas: Clothing and Fashion in Victorian Literature

Harvey, Margaret ∙ TR 9:25-10:40
Attention to clothing and fashion in Victorian novels often rewards the reader by revealing important cultural messages about class, gender, sexuality, and relationships. For this course, we will look at all three aspects of Victorian clothing—the literary, the visual, and the material—together to form a more comprehensive and ultimately instructive understanding of Victorian literature and culture as well as the role of clothing and fashion in society. By reading Victorian novels, looking at Victorian fashion plates and advertisements, and watching period costume dramas, this class will ask how clothing and fashion reflected, challenged, and disrupted Victorian ideas about gender, class, empire, and identity and also question the extent to which clothing and fashion play the same role in our society.

 

FWIS 198   Family in Fiction and Film

Nixon, Burke ∙ MWF 11:00-11:50
In this writing-intensive course, we’ll examine a number of short stories, novels, and films that all examine, in their own ways, the idea of family. The works will span multiple continents and time periods and will include fiction written by Franz Kafka, J.D. Salinger, Jamaica Kincaid, Junot Diaz, and Alice Munro, among others, as well as films directed by Yasujirō Ozu, Francois Truffaut, Wes Anderson, Sarah Polley, and Richard Linklater. In reading, watching, discussing, and writing about these works, we’ll confront a number of questions: What does it mean to grow up and leave one’s family? What does it mean to be a “good” parent, sibling, daughter or son? Was Tolstoy right that “all happy families are alike,” while “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”? Our course topic will also allow us to explore issues of class, gender, race, illness, and culture; we’ll read a number of critical arguments and cultural debates that relate to these issues. Over the course of the semester we’ll write in a number of genres, from personal essays and editorials to literary analysis and a major research paper that explores a question related to our topic and incorporates scholarship to develop and support an argument.

FWIS 199   Jews on Film: Cinematic Representations of Jewish Life

Weininger, Melissa ∙ TR 10:50-12:05
This course will explore the modern history and culture of Jews in America, Europe, Israel, and elsewhere through the medium of film. Students will be exposed to a diversity of Jewish communities around the globe while at the same time examining the way those communities are represented on film. The course will be organized around various themes and ideas that have shaped the Jewish experience in modernity, including secularization, immigration, assimilation, nationalism, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and religious practice. By situating the films in their historical, cultural, and political contexts, students will learn about the varied and changing forms of modern Jewish identity.