Spring 2017 Courses: Senior Seminars

ENG 4973.001, HON 3233.002: Black Autobiography

Instructor: Joycelyn Moody
Class Time: Mondays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: MB 2.404

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 4953.002, HON 3233.005: #BlackLivesMatter: Critical Perspectives

Instructor: Sonja Lanehart
Co-instructors: Drs. Stephen Amberg (PSG), Theodorea Berry (ILT), Kinitra Brooks (ENG), Langston Clark (KIN), Marco Cervantes (BBL), LaGuana Gray (HIS), Kim Lee Hughes (COU), Joycelyn Moody (ENG), Scott Sherer (AAH), and Howard Smith (BBL)
Class Time: Tuesdays 6:00p.m. - 8:45p.m.
Class Location: MB 2.404

Course Description
#BlackLivesMatter: Critical Perspectives is a multidisciplinary class cross-listed in English (ENG), Humanities (HUM), Honors (HON), African American Studies (AAS), American Studies (AMS), Curriculum & Instruction (C&I), and Bicultural-Bilingual Studies (BBL) and offered at both graduate and undergraduate levels. The goal of this class is to critically exam the sociocultural and historical contexts of the #BlackLivesMatter (http://www.blacklivesmattersyllabus.com/) and #CharlestonSyllabus (http://aaihs.org/resources/charlestonsyllabus/) movements. In order to do that, the first three weeks of class will focus on Critical Race Theory, Whiteness Studies, and Critical Discourse Analysis to theoretically ground students as they spend the course analyzing various literary, scholarly, and multimedia texts. At midpoint, the course will include a faculty, staff, and community panel of experts and activists to historically contextualize San Antonio, Texas, and the U.S.’s engagement in racial and social injustice and violence against Black and Brown peoples. The course will conclude with a student panel presentation based on research over the course of the semester.

ENG 4973.005: Senior Seminar: Portrait of the Modernist Artist

Instructor: Paul Ardoin
Class Time: Thursdays 1:00p.m. - 3:45p.m.
Class Location: MB 2.404

Course Description
In this course, we’ll read works about people who produce works. The modernist era, perhaps more than any other artistic period, focused on the production of art itself, from Marcel Proust’s astonishing Künstlerroman, In Search of Lost Time, to James Joyce’s appropriately titled A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. We’ll start with the Joyce text and move through a variety of canonical modernist works before turning to the 21st century, with Alison Bechdel’s “tragicomic,” Fun Home.

Required Texts

  • Bechdel: Fun Home; 978-0618871711
  • Fitzgerald: This Side of Paradise; 978-0486289991
  • Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; 978-0142437346
  • Lawrence: Sons and Lovers; 978-1420932287
  • Lewis: Tarr; 978-0199567201
  • McKay: Home to Harlem; 978-1555530242
  • Thurman: Infants of the Spring; 978-0486499895
  • Woolf: To the Lighthouse; 978-0156907392

ENG 3223: Shakespeare (Early Plays); ENG 4973: Senior Seminar: Shakespeare Early Plays

Instructor: Bernadette Andrea
Class Location: Study Abroad: Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo

Course Description
This course explores the profound impact of the Italian Renaissance on English literature and culture during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. We will anchor our discussions with Italian Renaissance touchstones such as Petrarch’s sonnets, Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, and Machiavelli’s The Prince, all of which were introduced into English Renaissance culture by the turn of the seventeenth century. Drawing on textual and spatial approaches, we will dwell on Castiglione’s representations of the ideal courtier and court lady, which he conveyed through an imaginary dialogue set in the Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in Urbino. As travelers ourselves, we will investigate the advice to and experiences of English Renaissance travelers to Italy from the late sixteenth to the early seventeenth century. Our attention will then turn to Shakespeare’s enduring representations of Verona and Venice in his comedies and tragedies from the same period. Our class will travel to the Veneto (Venice, Vicenza, and Verona) to gain an experiential, as well as an aesthetic and historical, understanding of these locales. We will conclude with the contemporary Anglo-Afro-Caribbean writer Caryl Phillips, focusing on his novel, The Nature of Blood, and his travelogue, The European Tribe. In both works, Phillips creatively and critically engages Shakespeare’s “extravagant strangers,” including Othello, the “Moor of Venice,” and Shylock, the “Jew of Venice.” Assignments will consist of reader responses, including your own travelogue, and will culminate in a final paper or project.

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