In this course we will read literary works to critically engage with themes of life-altering loss, personal and social disintegration, and recovery. We will study multiple forms, including novels, short stories, poetry, oral history, memoirs, and testimonials. You will come away with an introduction to historical and contemporary literature that depicts experiences of crises precipitated by family breakdown, racial and gender discrimination, and geographical displacement by colonial occupation and war. The literary study of loss and regeneration offers unique and diverse perspectives about the troubling moments in life that challenge us all. The intention of this course is twofold: 1) to better understand literature through the narrative study of grief and its personal and social consequences and 2) to explore the relevance of literature for responding to the experiences of life-altering crises.
Through reading, discussion, presentations, lectures, and your writing, you will gain skills to analyze fiction from diverse theoretical perspectives in terms of form, content/theme, and cultural/historical context. We will refine what it means to close read and analyze complex literary texts. Moreover, we will question the intentions and stakes underlying the practice of literary analysis as a discipline. To this end, we will identify and develop strategies of reading, writing, thinking about, and discussing different kinds of texts—many of which are provocative and potentially challenging. As we will be explicitly engaging with difficult and at times problematic issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ideology, it is crucial to bring an open-minded, curious, and respectful attitude to this class in order to foster engaging and productive discussion.
To complement the primary texts listed below, the course pack includes readings from a variety of pivotal literary figures, including Michel de Certeau, Ronald Laing, Franz Fanon, N. Scott Momaday, Tomás Rivera, Alicia Schmidt Camacho, Sigmund Freud, David L. Eng, Shinhee Han, and John Murray.
This class counts for "W" credit, and will require students to write two 5-7 page revisable papers. Students can also expect to write several informal reading responses and to participate in a group presentation. **Please note that students are expected to keep up with the weekly reading and are expected to come to class prepared to discuss and engage with the texts**
**PLEASE NOTE: ALL REQUIRED TEXTS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE UW BOOKSTORE. PLEASE PURCHASE THE REQUIRED EDITION OF EACH TEXT. THE COURSE PACK IS AVAILABLE AT AVE COPY**
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison ISBN 978-0-307-27844-9
House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday ISBN 0-06-093194-9
Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena María Viramontes ISBN 0-452-27387-0
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss ISBN-13:978-0-393-32862-2
Course Pack (purchase at the Ave Copy Center)