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Course Descriptions - Winter 2015

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.

Winter 2015

TTh 9:30am - 11:20am
DEN 206 - SLN: 11772
Instructor: Gordana Crnkovic
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Literature—from simple oral styles such as jokes or riddles to modern day music lyrics, stories, or novels—has a history that is as long as that of the human race itself, and that has shaped human history in crucial ways. Intended both for those who have had little or no experience with literature as well as for the avid readers, this course provides an introduction to the ways in which great literature works and creates its magic.  We will read fiction and poetry from various times and places, a few selections from several of the world’s most famous novels, and one whole novel.  From poetry set to music by the Beatles, Beethoven, or anonymous Slavic folk artists, to Hemingway, Kafka, Proust, Borowski, Kiš, Bulgakov, Steinbeck or Murakami, with an emphasis on literature written in English and that from the Slavic area, the readings of this course will give a small “taste” of the incredible wealth and pertinence of world literature.  This beginning study of literature will also provide familiarity with some basic literary forms and stylistic devices (e.g., metaphor, allegory, irony, narrative styles, and so on).  While these specifically literary ways of using the language enable a literary text to pack so much meaning and energy in it, the familiarity with these forms will improve every student’s own speaking, writing, and thinking. 

MWF 9:30am - 11:20am
CMU 228 - SLN: 11773
Instructor: Mimi Nielsen
GE Requirements Met: C, W

Sci-fi renders the familiar unfamiliar and in so doing provides us, as readers, with the opportunity to perceive the world and ourselves in new ways.

In this course we will take advantage of sci-fi’s imaginative scope—in depicting utopic and dystopic societies—to consider portrayals of power and control, and the significance of language and symbols.  We will focus on rhetorics of individuality and collectivity and question how they are used to include or exclude. We will investigate representations of stewardship and ownership and their relationship to destruction and sustainability, as well as ponder instances of despair and euphoria. How do authors convey hope and meaning despite creating scenarios of immense destruction, totalitarianism, and pervasive futility?

We will engage in close readings and both class and small-group discussions to unpack our texts. We will consider these texts cross-culturally. How do the texts reflect different cultural perspectives? To guide our inquiry we will draw on

a variety of critical methods, such as eco-criticism, feminism, and post-colonialism. To learn to write well is to learn to think clearly, a process that is greatly helped by engaging with the ideas of other thinkers.

Course Objectives:

The goal of the course is to develop and strengthen critical reading and writing skills through responses to works of literature. To this end, we will practice how to articulate a point of view that relies on textual support.

Required Texts:

Genesis. Bernard Beckett. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2006) ISBN: 978-0-547-22549-4.

Shikasta. Doris Lessing. Shikasta: Re, Colonised Planet 5 (Vintage International) Paperback (1981) ISBN: 978-0-394-74977-8

The Swan Book. Alexis Wright.  Giramondo Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-922-14641-0

MWF 10:30am - 12:20pm
THO 211 - SLN: 11775
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.

MWF 11:30am - 1:20pm
MEB 250 - SLN: 11777
Instructor: Yasaman Naraghi
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.

TThF 11:30am - 1:20pm
MEB 245 - SLN: 11790
Instructor: Barbara Krystal
Course Website
GE Requirements Met: C, W

As people, we are socialized to accept, and adopt, standards of behavior (physical, psychological, and moral) that build our notions of civilization. That is how we separate the strange and foreign from the sane and familiar. Any deviation from an established norm is often labeled as “other.” That figure of “other” resides in us and consequently we find ways to cope with our drive for self-preservation, fear of loss, and desire for freedom. We live as “doubles.” Invisibility, double consciousness, and the crisis of identity are contained in the theme of the double. The double represents the complex, and often contradictory, relationship between the individual and society. Our study of the double, in all its variations, will lend itself to exploration and analysis of those relationships.

MTWTh 10:30am - 11:20am
SMI 304 - SLN: 11791
Instructor: Barbara J Henry
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

C LIT 250 Listed with Russ 210/Engl 242 F

Underworlds are both real and metaphoric: subways and coalmines, Hades and Hell, criminal subcultures, political undergrounds, horror-movie basements and windowless office cubicles. Stories of these underworlds address the most profound questions of our lives: what happens after we die?  Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are our responsibilities to our world, each other, ourselves? This class looks at works of art and literature from Russia, the US, and Europe, set in many different underworlds, which intersect with and shape our perceptions of the world around us today. You will learn to recognize the mythic underworld and understand how it functions not only in art, but in your own life.

MW 12:30pm - 2:20pm
CDH 139 - SLN: 11792
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Surrealism, which emerged in Paris in the early 1920s from the social upheaval of post-WWI Europe and more especially from Dadaism, is arguably the most influential avant-garde movement of the 20th century.  It rejected social, moral and logical conventions and sought to revolutionize art, literature, politics  and life in the name of freedom, desire and the unconscious.  Surrealist art, which was viewed by the surrealists as a means of liberation beyond purely aesthetic considerations, is characterized by a diversity of forms of expression:  writing, painting, drawing, photography, film, collage, found objects, sculpture, theater;  and of practices:  automatic writing, hypnosis, and somnambulic strolling in the streets of Paris. We will study all these forms of expression and examine the challenges surrealism poses to traditional notions of art, literature and politics. 

Readings:  André Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism;  Communicating Vessels;  Nadja;  Louis Aragon,  Paris Peasant.

MW 12:30pm - 2:20pm
SMI 115 - SLN: 11795 Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

It has been frequently said that what makes friendship truly unique among human relationships is the fact that we choose our friends.  That element of choice will serve as the focal point for this course as we undertake a sampling of the different ways in which friendship has functioned over the last five hundred years or so.  Starting with the Renaissance, we will explore how early notions of perfect friendship evolve into the much more practical vision that we encounter in contemporary literature and film.  Among the questions we will ask are:  What is the purpose of friendship?  What makes a friendship thrive—or not?  What should we expect of our friends?  Is it possible to have a friendship with someone very different from oneself?  What are the differences between love and friendship?  The readings and films for this class will be designed to open up a broad discussion on these and other questions relating to that most mysterious of human relationships, the friendship.

Readings may include, among others: Cervantes, Don Quijote (excerpts): Shakespeare, Hamlet; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn,Yasmina Reza, Art.  There will also be at least two films to be viewed on library reserve.

MTWTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
KNE 220 - SLN: 11796
Instructor: James Tweedie
Department Requirements Met: Pre-req to Declare Cinema Major
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course will provide an introduction to classical Hollywood cinema through the work of several key filmmakers, beginning in the golden age of the studio system in the 1930s and extending into the “New Hollywood” of the 1960s and 1970s. Directors may include Charlie Chaplin, Francis Ford Coppola, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Ida Lupino, Nicholas Ray, Douglas Sirk, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, and others. The class meetings will consist of lectures on TTh and optional MW screenings.

TTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
MGH 287 - SLN: 21784
Instructor: Stephen Groening
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA, W

TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
SAV 264 - SLN: 11805
Instructor: Eric Ames
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

The term film noir was coined in 1946 by a French film critic who, when viewing a number of recently imported American films (The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Laura, and others), described them all as noir or "black," referring not only to their stylistic features (deep shadows, claustrophobic settings) but also to the existentially bleak and morally ambiguous vision that seemed to unite the films. Initially, noir was a critical term used for describing a post-war group of American-made crime films and the pulp novels that inspired them (stories by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, to name a few). At the time, however -- and many of these films had been made during World War II -- none of the filmmakers involved set out to make a film noir. Rather, they made thrillers, gangster films, detective films, police procedurals, and various types of melodrama. This course asks, how and when did film noir become a genre, and what does it mean to call it that? Where does genre come from? How does it originate? Who makes it? And how does it change over time? On another level, this course explores the
films in terms of their historical contexts: namely, war, race, exile, trauma, gender, sexuality, modernism, and modernity. Finally, it touches on
the emergence of "neo-noir," in order to see how the process of genre revision works under changed social and political conditions and in various cultural contexts. How can we explain the enduring appeal of noir as an international phenomenon?

This year, we are partnering with the Seattle International Film Festival for a series of special events! During the week of February
12-16 we will attend part of the "Noir City Film Festival" at SIFF Cinema Uptown. SIFF and festival organizers will also visit our class at UW.
Festival attendance is required for the course, with two assignments based on festival films alone. A course fee of $35, the cost of a festival pass for students in this class only, will be applied at registration. Limit: 60 students. Questions? Email the instructor at

MTWTh 9:30am - 11:20am
SAV 132 - SLN: 11807
Instructor: Sudhir Mahadevan
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Covers the vast changes in filmmaking since 1960. Topics include the continuing influence of the French New Wave, the New German Cinema of the 70s and the "New Hollywood" of the 70s, American independent film of the 80s, and the resurgence of Chinese filmmaking since 1980.

MW 1:30pm - 2:50pm
SMI 211 - SLN: 21038
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 sweeping works of visual fiction 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.

TTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
MLR 316 - SLN: 11808
Instructor: Marshall Brown
Department Requirements Met: Literature Core
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

In this course we will read a selection of the books that shaped the emergence of modern Western civilization. The guiding theme will be the emancipation of human life from its binding to divine sanction. The Bible says that God created man in His own image. Medieval images show men and women as divine or demonic universals. The Renaissance developed individual portraiture and variable perspective. We will examine the parallel developments in literature and ideas. Particular attention to techniques for understanding challenging writings from other eras and to your own writing skills. Frequent paragraph assignments, concluding with a final exam or (optionally) longer final paper. Readings:

Dante, Inferno
Boccaccio, Decameron (selections)
Rabelais, Gargantua
Montaigne, "Of Repentance," "Of Experience"
Machiavelli, The Prince
Shakespeare, Hamlet
Descartes, Discourse on Method

TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
SAV 137 - SLN: 21439
Instructor: Naomi Sokoloff
Department Requirements Met: Literature Elective
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

Offered by visitors or resident faculty. Content varies.

MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
DEN 209 - SLN: 21440
Instructor: Galya Diment
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

Varying topics relating to film in social contexts. Offered by resident or visiting faculty.

TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
OUG 136 - SLN: 11810
Instructor: Stephen Groening
Course Website
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

Whatever it is called – the cellular phone, cellphone, mobile phone, or just plain mobile – it has become the preeminent communications device worldwide. Its uses include telephony, calendaring, mapping, instant messaging, time-telling/time-keeping, web browsing, and more. It
has hailed as the new solution to economic development in so-called emerging (and neglected) markets. It has been vilified as the cause of shortened attention spans, decrease in sociability, and increase in teen-age driving accidents. Whether villain or panacea, the cell
phone is seen as a necessary precondition for economic and social success in the contemporary world.

This course will explore these issues, treating the cell phone as a technological device whose cultural, social, and economic significance is a key indicator of the structures of contemporary society. After beginning with some foundational studies of the cell phone’s precursors, we will
examine contemporary histories and analyses of the cell phone and cell phone cultures.

Assignments include: a photo essay (using your cell phone), fieldwork on people using cell phones in public spaces, a silent texting class session, and organizing a flash mob.

MTWTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
SMI 404 - SLN: 11811
Instructor: Tamara Cooper
Department Requirements Met: Cinema Studies Elective
GE Requirements Met: I&S, VLPA

M and W Screenings

T and Th Lectures

We are in the midst of a television / media revolution in ways we could never have predicted 50 odd years ago, when the very idea of having a television in every American home was still new. But why is that so important? While Hollywood studios rang the death toll of Westerns, Bat
Masterson, Wild Wild West and Bonanza taught us what it was to be a man. This was  not the lone Hollywood cowboy who wandered off into the sunset. These were the new government spies, the US marshals and the cattlemen at work after the West was won. All the while from The Green Hornet and Batman to Bewitched and I Dream of Genie the magic possibilities of new television heroes took a seat in our family rooms every week without fail. Seemingly inevitably they led to Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman and The 6 Million Dollar Man.  We learned how to read on Sesame Street. We learned how 'make learning fun' on Zoom and while urban 'ghetto' life jostled its way into our consciousness in Good Times, urbane savvy comedy entertained with increasingly less restraint from Laugh In to SNL.  In '60-'70s TV we'll look at mid 20th century television in comparison to some film of the moment to see how media changed and/or reflected two generations of Americans who are in power now, the baby boomers now planing their retirement and so called Gen X. Through reading, watching and much discussion we'll look at genre blending, gender bending and the advent of new consumer technologies which would change how we see ourselves in the everyday irreversibly.

TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
MGH 231 - SLN: 11813
Instructor: Gordana Crnkovic
GE Requirements Met: VLPA

This course focuses on East European directors who moved to the “West” (e.g., Miloš Forman, Roman Polanski, Dušan Makavejev, Agnieszka Holland), on the comparison between their East European production and their American or Western European one, and on the things we can learn about these authors’ work in particular and Eastern European cinema in general from this comparative perspective.   We will examine in more depth the cinema of filmmakers such as Miloš Forman, who did outstanding films in his native Czechoslovakia at the time of the so-called Czech New Wave of the late sixties, and then proceeded to make some of the most “American” Hollywood films, such as One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The People vs. Larry Flint, Roman Polanski, director of the Hollywood classic Chinatown and the 2003 Academy Award winner The Pianist, Agnieszka Holland, who worked in her native Poland but also in Germany, France, Great Britain, and the USA, Hungarian István Szabó, and Yugoslav Dušan Makavejev.

This course will also offer a basic survey of Eastern European film production in the post-World War II period, examining issues of film making in a non-market society, the strong presence of women directors and gender-related themes in East European cinema, the vibrant tradition of experimental and animated films, and East European film in the socialist and post-socialist eras.  No prerequisites.

T 3:30pm - 6:20pm
PCAR 297 - SLN: 21215
Instructor: Jeffrey T Knight

From Gutenberg to Google Books, from the public sphere to the “proto-book” dissertation, the diverse legacies and uncertain futures of print culture touch all of us. This course serves as a graduate-level introduction to the study of print culture – a.k.a. “the history of the book” – in a comparative, cross-historical, and interdisciplinary frame. Beginning with the field’s origins in Anglo-American bibliography and European cultural history, we will move through the foundational accounts of print-modernity in works by Elizabeth Eisenstein, Jurgen Habermas, and Benedict Anderson to the revisionist, capacious print cultures of historians such as Adrian Johns, literary and media scholars such as Lisa Gitelman, and ethnographers such as Janice Radway. Topics of interest will include the materiality of the book and its shaping effects on literature and language; the historical “revolutions” of the hand press, the industrial press, and digital text technology; national and transnational print networks; periodicals and ephemera; authorship, intellectual property, and piracy; and academic publishing in a post-book age. This class will double as a primer on archival research methods and will incorporate guidance on funding opportunities through libraries and archives. In this winter’s offering, students will have the chance to interact with three distinguished scholars in the field who are visiting UW as part of the Histories and Futures of Reading speaker series co-sponsored by the Simpson Center and the Textual Studies Program: Christina Lupton (Warwick), author of Knowing Books: The Consciousness of Mediation in Eighteenth-Century Britain; Jerome McGann (Virginia), author most recently of The New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction, and Priya Joshi (Temple), author of In Another Country: Colonialism, Culture, and the English Novel in India.

Co-taught by Jeffrey Todd Knight (English) and Geoffrey Turnovsky (French & Italian). Course credit will count towards the Textual Studies degree track and the Textual and Digital Studies certificate now in the proposal stages.