Undergraduate Course Descriptions
All Department of English courses are "R" courses, except for the following "D" courses: ENGL-303, ENGL-304, ENGL-407 and ENGL-490. A Department stamp is not required for "R" course registration prior to the beginning of the semester, but is required for "D" course registration. On the first day of classes all courses will be closed—admission is granted only by the instructor's signature and the Department stamp (available in Taper Hall of Humanities 404). You must then register in person at the Registration office.
Departmental clearance is required for all "D" class courses.
Be sure to check class numbers (e.g., 32734R) and class hours against the official
Schedule of Classes at http://web-app.usc.edu/soc/.
Spring 2014 Special Interest Courses
ENGL-376 Comics and Graphic Novels
Johnson, TTh 9:30-10:50am
In this course we'll look at 13-14 graphic novels with widely varied themes and literary styles. Through these novels we will explore the writer and artists' cultural, psychological, social and political agendas while we also explore and analyze how this increasingly popular literary form has evolved. We will consider what common (or uncommon) elements comprise the most effective novels.
ENGL-497 Senior Seminar in Early Modern Studies
Smith, B 2:00-4:20pm
This course will be the first in the world to use the resources of Cambridge World Shakespeare, a comprehensive reference resource in early modern studies that is slated for public release online in late 2014. (Bruce Smith is the general editor of the project.) The seminar will be tailored to the majors and the particular interests of participants. CWS will facilitate that plan, since the resources are interdisciplin- ary, with contributions by major scholars in social, political, and economic history, art history, cultural studies, the history of medicine, musicology, philosophy, the history of science, and theology, as well as Shakespeare studies. Majors in English, History, Art History, and early-music performance are invited to join the seminar. Class discussion and individual reports on readings from CWS will begin the semester by giving participants an overview of the field of early modern studies and a chance to try out a particular field; presentations of a major research and/or performance project by each participant will conclude the semester. Two external events will be required: attendance at a lecture on “Early Modern Sex Acts” by Prof. Valerie Traub of the University of Michigan at the Huntington Library in San Marino on Saturday morning, January 18, and attendance at a half-day session of a conference on “Living English Broadside Ballads, 1550-1750: Song, Art, Dance, Culture” at the Huntington on Saturday, April 5.
For registration and course information, please contact Rebecca Woods at (213) 740-3725 and email@example.com.
ENGL-499 Forster and Isherwood: Master and Student
Freeman, Th 9:30-10:50a.m.
This class will focus on two 20th century masters of English prose, E. M. Forster (1879-1970) and Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986). These two men knew each other well—they met in the early 1930s and remained friends until Forster’s death. Forster was a peripheral member of the Bloomsbury Group; Isherwood’s first two books were published by Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press. Forster became known for his liberalism, his humanism, and his clean, precise writing. As a young writer, Isherwood saw Forster as a role model, but then, as he grew and matured as a man and a writer, there was a shift, as the younger man became a kind of role model for the older one. Isherwood moved to the United States in 1939 and lived the second half of his life in Los Angeles, much of that time in a relationship with a much younger man, the artist Don Bachardy. Forster admired Isherwood’s ability to be open in his life and, eventually, in his writing; Forster himself was never really able to live that way. He did write that way, but only secretly.
After publishing A Passage to India (1924), Forster published no more fiction. However, he wrote plenty and he had a literary secret, a gay novel he had written just before the outbreak of World War I. He allowed Isherwood and a few other close friends to read the manuscript. Isherwood was especially moved by the book, and this forged such a strong bond between the two writers that Forster left Isherwood the manuscript, which Isherwood saw it into publication in 1971. It nearly ruined Forster’s reputation. How that happened will be part of our course.
We will cover a representative sample of both writers’ work—fiction and nonfiction—as well as critical and biographical scholarship about them. Both men wrote about the writing process, so that will also be a concern in this class. Students will also present projects and research papers on other writers of their choice from this era. These projects will allow our course to cover the breadth of the period while also going in depth on these two important, masterful writers.
ENGL-499 Exercises in Imitation
Cervone, T 12:30-1:50pm
Courses for university students in sixteenth/seventeenth century England weren’t anything like the ones offered at USC, or any university in the 21st century. Students studied Aristotelian logic, theology, law, and medicine, but they did not study literature as students do today. Many students intended to pursue social careers at court after graduation. Yet, obtaining a degree was only one step in becoming a respected courtier in London. One was expected to have well-honed skills in composing poetry, essays, and (sometimes) drama. How was one expected to do that without formal literary study? Students were expected to learn the poetic and literary skills of “the masters” (such as Terence, Aristotle, Dante or Boccaccio) and imitate their styles and themes in their own work. Such work could be original, but often graduates produced adaptations and rewritings of existing works. In this course you will do as the Renaissance poets did, but with an updated process: you will read poetry, essays, and drama by Renaissance authors like Erasmus, Sidney, Shakespeare and Milton, and imitate them in works of your own. For each class meeting students will turn in a piece of “imitated” work: a series of sonnets, an essay, a longer narrative or allegorical poem, or a short dramatic piece. These assignments will be graded on their ability to reflect the form, tone, and theme of the original piece and adapt them to reflect 21st century issues, themes, and literary tastes. I want you to bring your game and produce poems, essays, and short dialogues that communicate a sophisticated understanding of life, love, language, and mind. Don’t be afraid to add irony or cynicism that comes from a beautiful, dark place. And be prepared to perform your work: each student will present a piece of their work to the class for enjoyment, discussion, and analysis. The presentation will consist of a performance/recitation of the piece, accompanied by a 3-5 page description of your inspiration, motives, and creative process concerning your adaptation of the original piece. Prerequisite: ENGL 261 or equivalent.
Spring 2013 - Special Interest Courses
ENGL-444 Maymester in Minnesota: Writing on the Rez
Writing On the Rez is a month-long course offered in the USC Maymester program between May 15 and June 15, 2012. The course will bring up to twelve USC students to Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota for a month-long immersion writing experience where they will write, study, and work with Native American students from Bemidji State University. All students will spend 1/3 of their time reading everything from treaties to Native American fiction and nonfiction and traveling to Leech Lake, White Earth, and Red Lake Reservations for first-hand immersion experiences, 1/3 of their time writing nonfiction essays and articles based on those experiences, and 1/3 shooting, editing, and creating (collaboratively) a documentary about contemporary Native American life. This years focus will be on American Indian soldiers and veterans of WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, the Gulf War, and Iraq and Afghanistan.
The class will meet four days a week in the morning to discuss readings and to analyze student writing. Typically we will present and discuss the readings on Monday and Tuesday. Students will focus on their writing on Wednesday and Thursdays and some evenings will be spent out in the community. In addition to the classroom work and nonfiction writing the students—in pairs and small groups—will shoot video documentary footage on and around the reservations, at their discretion and based on the relationships and experiences they forge with the place and people over the month of study.
Course Goals and Expectations:
This course is designed to collapse the distance between what we all imagine about Native American lives and how those lives are expressed on the ground, to bring USC students into direct contact with their Native peers and vice versa, to collectively and productively question the assumptions we share about culture and communication, and to, with the final documentary project, share our discoveries with a wider audience. This is not a study of Native life; rather, it is a study with Native peoples. Students will have a chance to socialize with and interview tribal members, attend cultural events (such as powwows), examine tribal structures and government, schools, and engage in cultural activities (subsistence gathering and fishing, etc).
Students are expected to read a great deal, write daily, and interact socially and professionally with a great number of people of all ages in the broader Native community. Students are also expected to be able to work and travel independently as they document their experiences and exhibit the motivation and self-direction necessary for independent work.
Students will be houses on the Bemidji State University campus in Bemidji, MN and can (if they wish) take their meals at the cafeteria on campus. (Students may also elect to find their own lodging off campus). Classes will be held in the American Indian Resource Center, the home of the Bemidji State University American Indian Studies Program, one of the oldest such programs in the country. Situated in the beautiful lakes region of northern Minnesota not far from the Canadian border, Bemidji is a small town on the Mississippi River, (population 10,000) surrounded by three large Ojibwe reservations: Leech Lake, White Earth, and Red Lake (total reservation population: 30,000).
DAVID TREUER is Ojibwe from Leech Lake Reservation in northern MInnesota. He is the author of three novels, a book of essays, and the forthcoming book of nonfiction: Rez Life. His writing has also appeared in Esquire, Bomb, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Slate.com. He is the winner of a Pushcart Prize, the Minnesota Book Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Bush Foundation. A professor of literature and creative writing at USC, he divides his time between Los Angeles and Leech Lake Reservation.
ELIZABETH DAY is Leech Lake Ojibwe. An experienced filmmaker and educator she has written and directed a number of highly successful short films and features. She is the recipient of a Bush Artist’s Fellowship, and has worked as a community arts coordinator and gallery manager and also has worked as a program director and case worker at Ain Dah Yung in St. Paul.
**** The Maymester course is described in “Spring 2012 English Course Descriptions” on the English Department website and the application can be downloaded from here as well: /engl/undergrad-maymester/
**** Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis
ENGL / HIST / AHIS 497: Senior Seminar in Early Modern Studies
with Professor Emily Anderson
497-32765R 2:00-4:20 PM
Wednesday WPH 400
Shakespeare through the (Early Modern) Ages
“He was not of an age, but for all time.”
This coming spring, the capstone course required for the Interdepartmental Minor in Early Modern Studies will be organized under the topic “Shakespeare through the (Early Modern) Ages.” Using the seemingly timeless appeal of Shakespeare as our anchor, this seminar explores current research, problems, and methodologies in the study of the early modern period, ca. 1500-1800. The first part of the course will look at the eighteenth-century reception of two Shakespearean plays, Hamlet and The Tempest, in order to consider questions specific to early modern scholarship—such as how to study the ephemeral aspects of early modern culture, or how to approach concepts of race and gender from an historical versus contemporary perspective. We will then consider how a range of early modern media—texts, portraiture and music—contributed to the more general phenomenon of “Bardolatry,” or Shakespeare-worship, that persists today. How and why did responses to Shakespeare move among early modern disciplines, and how might this movement help us understand interdisciplinarity in our own scholarship? Our class discussions will be augmented by readings keyed to public scholarly events on these topics, as organized by the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute (EMSI), and meetings with guest scholars. We will also have two archival field trips (during class time) to the Williams Andrews Clark Memorial Library to look at early modern adaptations and editions of Shakespeare’s plays. Students will have the opportunity, in the latter half of the class, to pursue their own interests through guided research projects.
Frontispiece, in _The Works of Mr. William Shakespeare_, ed. Nicholas Rowe, 1709
"The Tempest," in _The Works of Mr. William Shakespeare_, ed. Nicholas Rowe, 1709
Fall 2012 - Special Interest Courses
ENGL-262 The Literary Technologies of Memory, 1800-1950
Can books think? Can they remember? Our memory and our sense of the past is mediated by complicated neurological circuits, dispersed over millions of cells throughout the brain, generated through complex circuits of neurological impulse. And yet, when we are asked to describe our past, we tell simple stories and describe vivid scenes. This class will explore how literature shapes the stories we use to describe our selves, our past, and our environments. We will read a range of authors, from George Eliot and Charles Dickens, to Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, who explore how the mind works through imaginative fiction. A key focus of this course will be to examine how insights drawn from cognitive science, psychology and sociology can help us to understand the British novel as a technology of memory—a tool that teaches how to make sense of what happened and how to remember it.
ENGL-422 Literature and War in Seventeenth-Century England
This course examines the way seventeenth-century English writers reckoned with and reimagined warfare both at home and abroad, focusing on the questions they themselves asked: What makes a war just? What are the social and political consequences of warfare? What moral role do the arts have in a time of war? And above all, what literary forms can best capture the heroic, tragic or merely sordid atmosphere of battle?
ENGL-425 Victorian Radicalism
The Victorians were recast by the twentieth century as stifled radical conservatives, afraid of everything from sex to leggy furniture. But the Victorians lived in an age of rapid social and cultural shift – they advanced an earth-shattering theory of evolution, perfected the modern serial, and responded to waves of social revolution with radical reforms. Most importantly, they worked out how to incorporate political radicalism into civic life through an expanded franchise and stable print ecology that coordinated the radical, conservative and moderate press. This class will explore the literary, scientific, and religious radicalism of the Victorian period and consider how it has shaped political and popular culture today. A key component of the course will be to connect readings for the class to digital forums including major print publications and blogs. Coursework will include weekly online blogging assignments and a final critical research project.
Readings will include works by William Godwin, Wordsworth and Coleridge, Elizabeth Braddon, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Gissing. Critical readings may include selections from Anne Cvetkovich, Hayden White, Judith Butler, Peter Bürger, Thomas Kuhn, Bruno Latour and Joanna Drucker.
- USC Dornsife Department of English
- 3501 Trousdale Parkway
- Taper Hall of Humanities 404
- University Park
- Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354
- Fax: (213) 741-0377
- Phone: (213) 740 - 2808
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org