ENGL 244 A: Reading Drama

Theatres of Violence

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 1:30pm - 2:20pm
Location: 
JHN 175
SLN: 
13916
Instructor:
Jennifer Van Houdt

Syllabus Description:

English 244

Reading Drama: Theatres of Violence

This course will explore how the advantages and limits of reading drama are illuminated through the problem of staging violence. Reading drama demands a complexity unique to the genre, since a play must be read not only as literature, but as a performable work and as a representation of the culture which produced it, and the series of cultures (including our own) which has allowed it to endure. This course will attempt to approach the study of the dramatic text accordingly, from a variety of angles including selections from theoretical texts and in-class reading and performance, and through different types of assignments. Focusing on violence in dramatic texts and what it means to read and see violence, we will explore how the reading of violence drastically changes in its visualization, what purpose the depiction of the gruesome or brutal serves, and how the norms of acceptable violence shift from within the cultures that plays are produced. With this in mind, we will periodically reflect on the nature, purpose, and value-sets of violence and brutality within literature and popular culture today.

This course will not pull any punches (what a metaphor), and as such students should CAREFULLY consider whether they are prepared for a 10-week course that critically focuses on the horrifying, gruesome, and grotesque nature of staging scenes of violence.

In sum, this class will emphasize the close reading of, and critical thinking about, dramatic literature, as well as the development of complex and well-supported written arguments. This course satisfies the “W” requirement, which means that students can expect to produce 10-15 pages of writing on the above texts over the course of the quarter.

 

Additional Details:

This course will explore how the advantages and limits of reading drama are illuminated through the problem of staging violence. Reading drama demands a complexity unique to the genre, since a play must be read not only as literature, but as a performable work and as a representation of the culture which produced it, and the series of cultures (including our own) which has allowed it to endure. This course will attempt to approach the study of the dramatic text accordingly, from a variety of angles including selections from theoretical texts and in-class reading and performance, and through different types of assignments. Focusing on violence in dramatic texts and what it means to read and see violence, we will explore how the reading of violence drastically changes in its visualization, what purpose the depiction of the gruesome or brutal serves, and how the norms of acceptable violence shift from within the cultures that plays are produced. With this in mind, we will periodically reflect on the nature, purpose, and value-sets of violence and brutality within literature and popular culture today.

This course will not pull any punches (what a metaphor), and as such students should CAREFULLY consider whether they are prepared for a 10-week course that critically focuses on the horrifying, gruesome, and grotesque nature of staging scenes of violence.

In sum, this class will emphasize the close reading of, and critical thinking about, dramatic literature, as well as the development of complex and well-supported written arguments. This course satisfies the “W” requirement, which means that students can expect to produce 10-15 pages of writing on the above texts over the course of the quarter.

Catalog Description: 
Critical interpretation and meaning in plays, representing a variety of types and periods.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:14pm