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Course Descriptions - Spring 2013

For the most up-to-date information, please consult the UW Time Schedule. Keep in mind that future course listings are tentative and subject to change.

Spring 2013

TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
MLR 316 - SLN: 11627
GE Requirements Met: VLPA, W

Reading, understanding, and enjoying literature from various countries, in different forms of expression (e.g., dramatic, lyric, narrative, rhetorical) and of representative periods. Emphasis on the comparative study of themes and motifs common to many literatures of the world.

MW 9:30am - 11:20am
MLR 302B - SLN: 11628
Instructor: Laura Eshleman
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Literary modernism is generally known by the form it took in European and American literature in the late 1800s and early 1900s: as a movement away from Romanticism and Realism toward the fragmented and the psychological. But just a glance at global forms of modernism in literature complicates this narrow view. While many national traditions characterize their literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as “modern,” few call it “modernist” because it does not share the specific historic and literary trajectory of Euro-American Modernism. Yet there are traits that are shared— for many national traditions, the development of modern literature was directly linked to use of the vernacular, rejection of tradition and universality, globalization, reaction to traumatic historical events and the fragmentation of culture, and development of nationalism or social critique.

The goal of C Lit 240 is to hone your individual writing skills while also giving you the opportunity to grow as a critical reader. To this end, the course will examine an international sampling of modern texts using the problematic terms “modernity” and “modernism” as points of comparison for texts and as starting points for composition. We will seek an understanding of what is meant by “modernism,” explore how its meaning is consistent or changes in various contexts and traditions, and probe the gap between “modernity” and “modernism.”

Potential Texts:
Virginia Woolf _To The Lighthouse_, Lu Xun “Diary of a Madman,” Alejo Carpentier _The Kingdom of this World_, and a selection of poetry, critical essays, and short fiction.

TTh 9:30am - 11:20am
THO 231 - SLN: 11629 GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.

MGH - SLN: 11630
Instructor: Amy C. Lanning
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.

MW 11:30am - 1:20pm
MGH 271 - SLN: 11631
Instructor: Sima Daad
GE Requirements Met: C, W

This writing course focuses on a selected body of fiction by women from Iran, Palestine and Egypt along with films by/about women from Iran. In particular, we will compare and contrast various ways women register socio-political circumstances in modern history of their homelands through literature and cinema. The selected texts and films will also help us gain deeper understanding of modern/contemporary history of these cultures through feminine sensitivity. Among other questions we will ask: how does each author comment on the nation’s modern history? In what ways, to what extent and to what effect does women’s sensitivity inform the representation of historical events? How are women situated within socio-political transformation of their homelands?

MW 8:30am - 10:20am
SAV 139 - SLN: 11633
Instructor: Cuauhtemoc Mexica
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.

TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
MLR 316 - SLN: 11634
Instructor: Yizhong Gu
GE Requirements Met: C, W

How can we understand a film from the perspective of culturally distinct audiences? How can we organize clear and cogent arguments when faced with complex human issues such as self-sacrifice? The primary goal of this writing course is to explain the basic terms and concepts of film analysis, introduce the approaches to writing analytical papers with accuracy and poignancy, and provide essential procedures for peer-editing and essay revision.

To investigate different perspectives on martyrdom, the primary texts of the course (feature films) will cross various cultural contexts and genre boundary. Revolving around the contested concept of martyrdom in war film genre, this course will tease out specific topics in cinema studies, including genre theory, cinema and nationalism,  ideology construction and gender politics. Besides the required textbook (Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing about Film), we will read some analytical essays focusing on the cinematic representations of martyrdom in multiple layers. Key questions include: can we clearly delineate the boundary between the sacrificed subjects as martyrs (self-sacrifice) and as scapegoats (forced to sacrifice)? How do some films make us take for granted of martyrs’ voluntary sacrifice for the nation, whereas some other films explicitly (or implicitly) subvert this assumption? How do the representations of martyrdom differ thematically or stylistically among national cultures? How does the genre hybrid influence the representations of martyrdom when war film genre is mixed with the generic elements from action, comedy, melodrama, martial-arts, spy film, etc?  

Films discussed in class will include recent Hollywood cinema (Flags of our Father; Tropic Thunder); European art cinema (Ivan's Childhood; The Carabineers); East Asian cinema (Hero; Lust, Caution; Patriotism); and Middle Eastern cinema (Paradise Now). There will be two in-class film screenings. Students are required to watch the rest films in the Media Center Reserves on their own.

MW 10:30am - 12:20pm
SAV 155 - SLN: 11635
Instructor: Yasaman Naraghi
GE Requirements Met: C, W

The goal of C Lit 240 is to hone your individual writing skills while also giving you the opportunity to grow as a critical reader. To this end, the course will examine an international selection of texts compiled around the themes of the carnival, the grotesque, and the political, as a point of comparison for texts and as a starting point for composition. The theme of this course is the Fascist Carnival, thus we will begin by reading works dealing with the political structure of carnivals and the grotesque body such as Thomas Mann’s Mario and the Magician and Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love that mirror the rise of Fascism in Europe. We will, then, read works such as Italo Calvino’s Into the War that treat the structure of a Fascist war as a circus. Alongside the primary reading, we will also examine essays by Charles Baudelaire, Georges Bataille, and Mikhail Bakhtin that theorize the grotesque and the carnivalesque.

*There will also be a screening of the 1932 film, Freaks.


GWN - SLN: 11636
Instructor: Francisco Benitez
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

“Modern Science Fiction is the only form of literature that consistently considers the nature of the changes that face us, the possible consequences, and the possible solutions.” ---Isaac Asimov

“SF is, then, a literary genre whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition, and whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author's empirical environment.” ----Darko Suvin

Science fiction as speculative fiction inquires into how we might imagine alternative worlds and alternative ways to organize society. Such thought experiments and fictive imaginings in the form of either utopias or dystopias have a long history but gain specific contours in our postmodern technological society. We will look at science fiction that traced the possibilities and pitfalls of industrial society, feminist science fiction, and cyberpunk in filmic and literary texts. This class will explore what thought experiments found in science fiction might mean for critiquing the present and envisioning alternative futures. What does it mean to be human? Should we be defined and confined by our class, gender and race? Can we imagine a better future? Are we condemned to reproduce the same, or can we imagine society otherwise? What, in the end, does it mean for us to hope?

Filmic texts include Bladerunner, The Matrix, Solaris, and Paprika


MTWTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
KNE 220 - SLN: 11641
Instructor: James Tweedie
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Cinema Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course provides an overview of the career of Alfred Hitchcock, one of the most popular directors in history, one of the key artists for post-WWII film critics and scholars, and one of the most profound influences on filmmakers from the French New Wave to the present. The course examines each of these aspects of his career: the film themselves, from his early days in Britain to his migration to Hollywood, from the series of masterpieces of 1950s and 1960s to his final days; his crucial role in film criticism and theory, including his foundational importance in academic cinema studies; and the film world that developed under his influence, including the domestic thrillers of Claude Chabrol, the many Hitchcockian Cold War spy stories, and the various recent remakes and homages to his work. Course work includes weekly lectures, reading, and screenings, as well as short papers and examinations.

MTWTh 9:30am - 11:20am
SAV 166 - SLN: 11652
Instructor: Tamara Cooper
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Black Contemporary Cinemas is open to AIS, AES, CHID, ENGL, GWSS, DRAMA and C Lit students during Period 1 registration as well as students in performance culture. No prior film analysis knowledge is necessary.

C Lit 303 runs 4 days/ week with two days for screening and two days for lecture. While students are responsible to watch both films, unless otherwise indicated, most films will be streamed online so students can decide which screening day is best for them to attend regularly.
In this class we will look at a broad range of contemporary filmmakers from around the world who for whatever reason self-identify as Black from the 1970s to the present. Some of them were born in the US, some of were trained in the US and share citizenship elsewhere. If post-Obama does not mean post-racial, then what does it mean? And what does it mean to an American public who sees black faces more frequently on screens than ever before, screens where black men are allowed to kiss white women and black men are allowed to kiss each other. We will look at the challenges of black film authorship and will ask: What is at stake in African American cinema? What is the visceral, gut-level function of motion pictures in African American and Black communities? Can we speak of a distinctive practice given the diverse experiences and variable conditions that affect Black lives? What do motion pictures mean for people whose sense of home has been dislocated by migrations and fraught with attacks on their citizenship and humanity, largely through visual representation? We will also trouble notions of nation, ability, gender, sexuality and class as they locate and destabilize blackness.
Together through film watching and interactive lecture, we will explore our present moment and ask ourselves if black citizenship is still in question in America in the same ways it may or may not be around the world?

MTWTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
JHN 111 - SLN: 11653
Instructor: Cynthia Steele
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Overview of major developments in Hollywood, US Independent, and global cinema during the period 1989-2012, including new forms of realism, transnational trends, the conscious revision of cinematic traditions, the function of trauma and memory in film, and the role of international film festivals. During the first six weeks of class we will view, read essays about, and discuss twelve key films from this period; you will also write reviews of three of these films. (You may watch these films either in class on Mondays and Wednesdays, or on instant streaming.) On Tuesdays and Thursdays we will discuss the films and readings. During the last four weeks of the quarter, there will be no class. Instead, students will attend pre-screenings and screenings in the Seattle International Film Festival and will write reviews of five of the films seen; they will also write a short final reflexive essay on SIFF as a film festival. Texts: Cindy Hing-Yuk Wong, Film Festivals: Culture, People, and Power on the Global Screen. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2011; Amresh Sinha and Terence McSweeney, eds. Millenial Cinema: Memory in Global Film. London: Walllower Press, 2012; and additional essays available through Catalyst. Films: Do the Right Thing, The Piano, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, City of God, Moolaadé,  Memento, Mulholland Drive, The Namesake, Pan’s Labyrinth, In the Mood for Love, Oldboy, and The Kids are All Right.

TTh 9:30am - 11:20am
SAV 132 - SLN: 11654
Instructor: Justin Jesty
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Examines the cinema of a particular national, ethnic or cultural group, with films typically shown in the original language with subtitles. Topics reflect themes and trends in the national cinema being studied.

MWF 11:30am - 1:20pm
MGH 295 - SLN: 11655
Instructor: Amal Eqeiq
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

The contradiction between the absence of an independent and viable Palestinian state and the increasing presence of a vibrant tradition in Palestinian filmmaking, including several nominations for the Oscar and regular participation in international film festivals, raises a set of significant questions about the very definition of Palestinian national cinema.  What is Palestinian cinema? Who makes it? Where is it filmed? Who sponsors Palestinian films or films about Palestine?  In this course, we will address these questions through a survey of key institutions, periods, styles, popular films, filmmakers and trends since the early 20th century. We will also discuss the different genres and trends, including documentaries of refugees and diaspora, occupation and resistance, checkpoints and walls, activism and solidarity, love and other themes. Students will write one analytical research essay (4-5 pages), three in-class response papers, and an in-class final exam.

Required Texts:

Dabashi, Hamid, and Edward W. Said. Dreams of a Nation. London: Verso, 2006.

Gertz, Nurith, and George Khleifi. Palestinian Cinema: Landscape, Trauma and Memory. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008.



Course Reader with selected historical and critical essays.

MLR - SLN: 11656
Instructor: Albert Sbragia
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Examines the cinema of a particular national, ethnic or cultural group, with films typically shown in the original language with subtitles. Topics reflect themes and trends in the national cinema being studied.

MW 11:30am - 1:20pm
SAV 166 - SLN: 11657
Instructor: Gary Handwerk
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Comparative Literature 321 (Special Topics); English 365 (Literature and Discourses on the Environment); Environmental Studies 450 (Special Studies): Living in Place: Literature and the Environment

Our focus for this course will be upon how literature deals with the environment, i.e., how literary texts represent environmental issues and why it matters that they be represented in this form.  How, that is, does where we live and, even more importantly, how we imagine the place in which we live, affect who we are?  How do our relationships to nature and our relationships with other people intersect?  We will be considering a range of prose texts, including fictional narratives, non-fictional essays and journalism, primarily texts written or set in the Americas. 

Course goals include: 1) developing the analytical reading skills appropriate to different kinds of literary texts, 2) working on how to formulate and sustain critical arguments in writing, 3) learning how to uncover the supporting logic and stakes of specific attitudes toward the natural world, 4) understanding how environmental issues are linked to other social and cultural concerns, 5) seeing how those linkages are affected by particular historical and political conditions.  The course will contain a significant writing component, both regular informal writing assignments and several medium-length analytical papers; it can count for W-credit.

Texts include Defoe, McPhee, Encounters with the Archdruid; Abbey, Desert Solitaire; Robinson Crusoe; Faulkner, Go Down, Moses; Appleman, Darwin; Butler, Wild Seed;  Silko, Ceremony; and a reading packet.

MWF 11:30am - 12:20pm
MOR 220 - SLN: 11658
Instructor: Ellwood Wiggins
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Elective for both Literature and Cinema
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

In this course we will examine three television serials that transcend the common practice of episodic TV entertainment and aspire on a variety of levels to the complexity and import of great literature (Heimat, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica). These are sweeping works of visual fiction that are conceived not as endless serials, but as stories with a beginning, middle, and end. In addition to identifying the marks of aesthetic practices that are unique to this genre, we will address the social, political, and ethical issues raised in novel ways by the shows. We will also investigate the material processes of production of each of the series: how do economic structures, financial constraints, institutional organizations, censorship (explicit or unspoken), and collaborative labor practices help to shape the final product on the small screen (and in the DVD box)?  In each case, we will observe the material and social constraints imposed on writing and production from the outside as well as the rhetorical and artistic creation each series manages to achieve despite (or because of) these external forces. At all times we will be concerned with television as a collaborative enterprise, in which the creative ideas of writers, directors, actors, designers, and hosts of production workers must engage at many levels with economic and institutional systems in order to produce a work of art.

We will begin the course with forays into traditional genres that have influenced the form and content of the Tele-Novel. Shakespeare’s history plays, Homer’s oral epics, and Dickens’s serialized novels can be read as vying prototypes and templates for both the collaborative creative processes and the finished episodic wholes of the Tele-Novel. In addition to viewing multiple episodes of the TV shows under discussion, we will also read articles in the history and theory of television. Students will learn to practice both close and distant readings of the shows we watch.

MW 9:30am - 11:20am
MLR 316 - SLN: 11659
Instructor: Míċeál Vaughan
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

At the end of the fourteenth century, the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer produced, among his last works, a collection of narratives he called “Seintes Legende of Cupide.” Alternatively titled The Legend of Good Women, the collection contains stories about a dozen ancient women (and their men), e.g., Cleopatra, Dido, Thisbe, Medea, to mention a few. A close reading of the Legend reveals how Chaucer’s late-medieval narratives about these classical heroines have been influenced by genres like the Christian saint’s life and the traditions of so-called “courtly love.” The tensions between the ideals of Christian hagiography and courtly romance lend a lively complexity to his stories, and to their interpretation.

This course will attempt to define these competing ideals by discussing literary examples from ancient times – in the Old Testament (e.g., the books of Ruth, Judith, and Esther) and Ovid’s Heroides -- through the Middle ages, with its rich range of saints lives, retellings of Ovid, and classic works like the Romance of the Rose, Dante’s Vita Nuova, and Boccaccio’s Famous Women. After looking at Juan Ruiz’s Book of Good Love, we’ll turn to Chaucer’s Legend (and perhaps some of his other works), and conclude with his near-contemporary, Christine de Pizan, esp. her Book of the City of Ladies.

Requirements for the course will include active participation in discussions, weekly short writing contributions (response papers), and two longer (4-5pp) papers.


Books ordered:

Ovid. Heroides. Trans. Harold Isbell.  London/New York: Penguin, 1990 (ISBN13:  9780140423556)

Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun. The Romance of the Rose. Oxford: Oxford U Press, 1994 (ISBN10: 0199540675)

Dante Alighieri. Vita Nuova. Trans.  Mark Musa.  Oxford: Oxford U Press, 1999 (ISBN10: 0199540659)

Juan Ruiz. Book of Good Love.  Trans. Elizabeth Drayson Macdonald. London: Dent ; Rutland, Vt.: C.E. Tuttle, 1999. (ISBN10: 0460877623)

Giovanni Boccaccio. Famous Women. Trans. Virginia Brown.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003 (paperback: ISBN10: 0674011309)

Geoffrey Chaucer.  Love Visions. Trans.  Brian Stone.  London/New York: Penguin, 1983. (ISBN13: 9780140444087)

Christine de Pizan.  The Book of the City of Ladies. Trans. Earl Jeffrey Richards. New York: Persea, 1998. (ISBN13: 9780892552306)

TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
DEN 206 - SLN: 11660
Instructor: Leroy Searle
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course will focus primarily on Modern literature of the North Atlantic countries—England, America, France, and Germany—from about the turn of the 20th century to the 1940s.  We will concentrate primarily on novels, with some poetry.  This will be a course devoted mainly to reading, treating literature as a primary form of reasoning about people, culture, and political forces.  The selected texts, listed below, are not only great reading, they are important documents in learning how to deal with a world rapidly expanding and transforming itself.

There will be a number of short written exercises (one page, single spaced),  a short in class midterm, and a final paper, 5-10 pages, on assigned topics.

Please check the ISBN designation for the texts: you  must use the assigned text.



Henry James.  The Ambassadors. Norton Critical Edition, ISBN-13: 978-0393963144

Joseph Conrad:  The Heart of Darkness Modern Library, ISBN-13: 978-0375753770

Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse  Harvest Books, ASIN: B009CRPDSQ

Franz Kafka: The Metamorphosis and Other Stories Oxford U Press, ISBN-13: 978-0199238552 

Albert Camus: The Stranger Vintage Books/ Mass Market, ASIN: B00333IA1M

Gunter Grass: The Tin Drum Houghton Mifflin, ASIN: B005DI8T3Y

MilanKundera: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting  Harper, ISBN-13: 978-0060932145

Poems by Stephen Mallarme, Paul Valery, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Rainer Maria Rilke

TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
THO 101 - SLN: 11665
Instructor: Russell Black
Department Requirements Met: Elective for both Literature and Cinema
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course will investigate the relationship between word and image, and the processes underlying the transformations that occur when texts or ideas are translated and adapted into a new medium. Does a film adaptation degrade or damage the original text? Is the adaptation a unique and independent work of art? What are the fundamental differences between literature and film, and how consequential are these differences? In what ways do tradition, politics, and context change the the reception of each work?

MWF 12:30pm - 1:20pm
DEM 104 - SLN: 11666
Instructor: Jennifer E. Dubrow
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course introduces the modern literature of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) from the fifteenth century to the present. We will read a selection of short stories, novels, and poetry drawn from the diverse literary traditions of the region. Major readings include The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, Umrao Jan Ada, a novel about a 19th-century courtesan, by Mirza Ruswa, short stories by Sadat Hasan Manto and Premchand, and bhakti and ghazal poetry. No prior knowledge is assumed, and all works will be read in English translation.

TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
SAV 131 - SLN: 11669
Instructor: Jameel Ahmad
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course is a survey of Urdu poetry from the 18th century to the present. We will read Urdu poetry in translation, moving from the early period with poems mostly about matters of love. In the modern period Urdu poetry’s subject matter changes to broader social concerns such as patriotism, social justice and liberty. During the course we will learn about cultural and literary milieu including performance aspects of Urdu poetry in Musha’era, Qawwali and Bollywood.  We will discuss major poetic genres such as Qasida, Ghazal and Nazm. The major poets we will read are Mir Taqi ‘Mir’, Mirza Ghalib, Mohammad Iqbal and Faiz Ahmad Faiz. We will also read some original English Ghazals

No knowledge of Urdu is required for this course. All works will be read in translation.

TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
ARC 147 - SLN: 11670
Instructor: Galya Diment
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Offered by visitors or resident faculty. Content varies.

MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
SMI 309 - SLN: 20070 Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

C LIT 396 D / SPAN 318 A

Those who approach Cervantes’s Don Quixote for the first time are often surprised at the ease with which a contemporary reader is able to enter a fictional world that was created over 400 years ago.  Despite its interest to academics, philosophers, and historians, among others, Don Quixote nevertheless remains surprisingly accessible to readers with no prior knowledge of the writer or his historical context.  As will become clear through our readings, that accessibility reflects the novel’s inherent modernity, that is, its embodiment of a way of thinking about the world that is, in the final analysis, not that different from our own.  Our goal over the ten weeks of this course will be to explore various aspects of the Quixote’s modernity through the reading of selected chapters and much classroom discussion.

This class assumes no previous knowledge of Spanish or Spanish literature.

TTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
SAV 169 - SLN: 11676
Instructor: Laura Chrisman

Offerings vary to cover individual theorists and particular manifestations of cultural criticism and ideology critique.