Fall 2011 Core-Literature Offerings

Core 161/A: Introduction to Literature (Stiles)
MWF, 12:00-12:50pm, McGowan 104

An examination of major literary works that provide a unique perspective on human experience and society.  Emphasis is placed on developing close reading and interpretation skills through the analysis of literary texts.  Special attention will be given to relations between thematic content and formal properties and readings must include key works of poetry, drama, fiction, and creative nonfiction from a range of historical moments and cultural contexts.

Core 161/B: Introduction to Literature (Barnes)
TTH, 2:00-3:15pm, McGowan 115

An examination of major literary works that provide a unique perspective on human experience and society.  Emphasis is placed on developing close reading and interpretation skills through the analysis of literary texts.  Special attention will be given to relations between thematic content and formal properties and readings must include key works of poetry, drama, fiction, and creative nonfiction from a range of historical moments and cultural contexts. 

Core 162/A: Russian Literature (Kraszewski)
TTH, 11:00am-12:15pm, Hafey-Marian 213

As a continental power comparable to the United States, stretching “from sea to sea,” Russia has traditionally had an impact on history that is impossible to ignore.  From the multi-national empire of the Tsars, through the rival mega-state that was the Soviet Union, to the “third power” dividing the world today with the USA and China, Russian culture informs our own, and no one’s store of knowledge is complete without at least a cursory understanding of the one Euro-Asian superpower.  This course will introduce the student to the major works and authors of Russian literature, from the middle ages to the contemporary world.  Readings will stretch from the Primary Chronicle and Song of Igor’s Campaign through the giants of the nineteenth century (Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky) to twentieth century authors such as Blok, Mayakovsky, and Solzhenitsyn.

Core 163/A: American Literature: From Poe to Pound (Kraszewski)
TTH, 12:30-1:45pm, Hafey-Marian 213

Although the United States possesses a relatively "new" literary culture, dating in the main from the eighteenth century, the American tradition in literature is remarkable for the number of world-class writers  it has produced in the short span of two centuries.  Charles Bauedelaire's translations of Edgar Allan Poe fundamentally changed French literature, and the influence of both Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound on the modern poetry of nations from Great Britain to Poland and Russia has been enormous.  Our course will focus on a number of great poets and writers of the American tradition, from the Romantic period through the twentieth century.  Some of the authors included will be Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, John Steinbeck, William Carlos Williams, E.E. Cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Ezra Pound.  The student of this section of Core 163 will get both a good grounding in many of the "classics" of modern American literature, as well as an introduction to some lesser-known regions of our literary tradition.  Not all American citizens who write, express themselves in English. Accordingly, we will also briefly explore the Francophone poetry of New Orleans, the writings of New Mexican poet Fray Angelico Chavez, and other non-Anglo writers "off the beaten track."

Core 164/A: Fairy Tale Themes in Literature (Sterling)
MW, 2:00-3:15pm, Hafey-Marian 111

This course will begin with a study of traditional fairy tales and their interpretations.  We will read versions of “Red Riding Hood,” “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” “Rapunzel,” “Jack and the Bean Stalk,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Bluebeard” (among others).  Additionally, we will read analytical pieces about these tales.  Once students are familiar with fairy tales, their meanings, and their uses, we will explore the ways that literature and film incorporate fairy tale elements and themes.  Readings may include work by Salman Rushdie, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, and Anne Sexton. 

Core 164/B: Science Fiction (Little)
MWF, 10:00-10:50am, Administration 222

This course is taught side-by-side with CORE 270/A: The Science of Science Fiction. The idea behind pairing these courses is to study science and science fiction as they relate to each other. Scientific progress is the playground of authors who work to imagine where science will take us and--significantly--how science may change us. Fiction can help us think about the implications of scientific progress, and scientific progress gives us new and exciting things to imagine and hope for in fiction. These two courses are separate but coordinated--we'll read fiction that explores the science taught in CORE 270, and CORE 270 will pick apart the science and pseudo-science in the fiction. As far as the literature half of this pair is concerned (that is, the CORE 164 part), we'll be reading science fiction not only as an introduction to literature in general but to the genre in particular. We'll also read science fiction as a way to think about who we are now by comparing us to who we might be as science pushes into newer and newer territory. All of the science fiction mainstays--interstellar exploration, galactic empires, first contact, time travel, and intelligent machines, among others--make science fiction a useful tool for thinking about ethical and political issues, and that's what we'll do this semester while we imagine futures that are bright and shiny, dark and grimy, cluttered, tidy, chaotic, orderly, sterile, robust, vibrant, quiet, and generally much better/much worse/more or less the same as right now. We’ll read mostly from an anthology, covering authors such as Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury, Robinson, LeGuin, Russ, Card, and others. We may read one short novel and watch one film.

THIS SECTION IS RESTRICTED TO STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE “BORDERHOUSE PROGRAM” AND WHO ARE THEREFORE ENROLLING IN “CORE 270/A: THE SCIENCE OF SCIENCE FICTION."

Core 164/C: Immigrant Fictions (Field)
MWF, 8:00-8:50am, Hafey-Marian 511

This course will examine the experience of immigrants in America in the 20th century in literature and film.  We will ponder:  How do immigrants see America?  And how does America view immigrants?   What does “the American dream” mean to immigrants?  And how do they achieve it?  What is the meaning of home?   We will study the range of immigrant experiences by reading such authors as Anzia Yezierska, Bernard Malamud, Hisaye Yamamoto, John Okada, Bharati Mukherjee, Doreen Baingana, Julia Alvarez, and Junot Diaz.  Possible films include The Immigrant, El Norte, Maria Full of Grace, The Namesake, Sweet Land, and In America.

Core 164/D: Science Fiction (Little)
TTH, 9:30-10:45am, Hafey-Marian 614

Science fiction is fun--escapist, exciting, and wildly imaginative. But it also provides a unique way for us to think about what it means to be human and just where our drive toward scientific progress might take us. For example--we might not ever encounter an alien civilization, but when we think about what might happen (how would we respond to aggression? weakness? something we cannot begin to understand?), we think about who we are and what we value right now. Do you know what it means to be human? Do you care? We might not ever develop artificial intelligence, but when we think about computers that think like humans, we think about what separates "human" from "everything else." All of the science fiction mainstays--interstellar exploration, galactic empires, first contact, time travel, and intelligent machines, among others--give us opportunity to think about who we are now by comparing ourselves to who we might be. This makes science fiction a useful tool for thinking about ethical and political issues, and that's what we'll do this semester while we imagine futures that are bright and shiny, dark and grimy, cluttered, tidy, chaotic, orderly, sterile, robust, vibrant, quiet, and generally much better/much worse/more or less the same as right now. We’ll read mostly from an anthology, covering authors such as Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury, Robinson, LeGuin, Russ, Card, and others. We may read one short novel and watch one film.