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ENGL 494 B: Honors Seminar

Meeting Time: 
MW 10:30am - 12:20pm
GLD 117
Mark Patterson
Mark Patterson

Syllabus Description:

English 494: The Aesthetics of Extinction


Week 1:                            Time, Film, and the Genres of Extinction

Mon. Jan. 6                       Introduction:  The Aesthetics of Extinction.pptx


Wed., Jan. 8                      H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

                                          Elana Gomel, “Shapes of the Past and the Future”*

                                         The Discussion Prompt will be available on Thursday morning.

Week 2:                            Chronotopes of the Anthropocene

Mon, Jan. 13                     Wells, The Time Machine


Wed. Jan. 15                     Wells, The Time Machine

                                          Aaron Rosenberg, “Romancing the Anthropocene”*


Week 3:                            The Prehistory of Extinction

Mon.  Jan. 20:                   MLK Holiday


Wed. Jan. 22:                    William Golding, The Inheritors

                                                    Inheritors questions.docx


Week 4:                            What’s So Funny about Neanderthals?

Mon. Jan 27:                     The Inheritors

                                          Mark McGurl, “The Posthuman Comedy”*


Wed. Jan 29:                     Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven



Week 5:                            Powers of Performance

Mon. Feb. 3:                     Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

                                          Pieter Vermeulen, “Beauty that Must Die”*


Wed. Feb. 5                      Writing Groups


Week 6:                            Cyborg and Human

Mon. Feb. 10                    Jeannette Winterson, The Stone Gods


Wed. Feb. 12                    Winterson, The Stone Gods

                                          Theory as Practice Due Thursday


Week 7:                            The Genres of the Anthropocene

Mon. Feb. 17:                   Presidents Day Holiday


Wed. Feb. 19:                   David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas


Week 8:                            Scalar Narratives

Mon. Feb. 24:                   David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

                                          Mahlu Mertens & Stef Craps, “Contemporary Fiction vs.

                                          the Challenge of Imagining the Timescale of Climate Change”*


Wed. Feb. 26:                   David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas


Week 9:                            Agency and Action

Mon. March 2                   Ben Winters, The Last Policeman

                                          Bruno Latour, “Agency at the Time of the Anthropocene”*


Wed. March 4:                  Winters, The Last Policeman


Week 10:                          What Comes Next?

Mon. March 9:                  Writing Groups


Wed. March 11:                Conclusions



Wednesday, March 18th:  Final Essay Due


Wed. March 11:                Conclusions


Catalog Description: 
Survey of current issues confronting literary critics today, based on revolving themes and topics. Focuses on debates and developments affecting English language and literatures, including questions about: the relationship of culture and history; the effect of emergent technologies on literary study; the rise of interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Other Requirements Met: 
Honors Course
Last updated: 
October 8, 2019 - 11:10pm