Fall 2017 Courses: Senior Seminars

ENG 4973.001: African American Autobiography

Instructor: Joycelyn Moody
Class Time: Mondays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: MB 1.102

Course Description
This senior seminar considers the variety of ways that African Americans reconstruct and narrate the stories of their lives. We will examine several texts that all fall under the rubric of “African American Life Writing.” This label expands how we interpret the genre: fundamentally by expanding ways of understanding how people document, preserve, share, write, report, reconstruct, and speak their life stories or the lives of others. Meanwhile, the debate rages on about the truth value—and the readerly naiveté of expecting the complete telling of a life, whatever the life writing form. Fundamental to black autobiography is the exploration of what it means to develop a black identity and of the imaginative ways black life can be expressed. What does it mean for black people to affirm their lives in books or other texts in a white supremacist nation? How do a people still confronting white supremacy construct and articulate a black subjectivity and a self? How do the stories black women formulate and narrate about their lives differ from black men’s representations of theirs? What motivates the construction and publication of a black life? What renders a black life worth narrating—is it acclaim, renown, wisdom, celebrity, notoriety, or merely vanity? Reading the list of required texts below, we will explore black autobiography in the forms of autobiographical polemical essays (Baldwin, 1955), a graphic version of a classic slave confession (Gray, 1831; Baker, 2008), a television celebrity autobiography (Rhimes, 2016), an autobiography in verse by a lesbian author of children’s literature (Woodson, 2014), a mixed-race poet’s autobiographical “meditation” (Trethewey 2010), and a journalist’s letters to his son (Coates, 2015).

ENG 4973.002: Dystopian America

Instructor: Jeanne Reesman
Class Time: Tuesdays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: TBA

Class Description
Dystopian literature goes back into the most ancient of cultures; the future, especially at certain times in history, has often seemed doomed. Today in particular, many people are concerned about the future of the United States. The course would cover such writers as Mark Twain, Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert Chambers, Ignatius Donnelly, Edward Bellamy, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Dean Howells, Sinclair Lewis, Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick, Margaret Atwood, and Philip Roth. It will be a challenging survey of major novels of the genre, a glimpse of the future from the past. Films and film clips will include "Bladerunner," "Never Let Me Go," "Ex Machina," "Snowpiercer," "Mad Max," and "Alphaville." Requirements will include an oral report, a midterm, final, and weekly journals. We will examine the sub-genre of dystopian fiction through a contemporary lens, but we will begin with the late 19th-century and conclude in the present day.

ENG 4973.003: Murder on the Border

Instructor: Sonia Saldivar-Hull
Class Time: Wednesdays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location:TBA

Class Description
Full description forthcoming. Please consult UTSA's ASAP site for registration information.

ENG 4973.004: War Literature & Film

Instructor: Ben Olguin
Class Time: Thursdays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: TBA

Class Description
Full description forthcoming. Please consult UTSA's ASAP site for registration information.


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