English 407: Deep Focus: A Cultural Studies Approach to Interpreting Fiction and Film
If an exploration of a particular culture will lead to a heightened understanding of a work of literature produced within that culture, so too a careful reading of a work of literature will lead to a heightened understanding of the culture within which it was produce.
--Stephen Greenblatt, "Culture"
Please read through the 407 description (below) immediately and thoroughly to understand what this course covers and what it does not cover--for example, I will not be using UW Canvas for our 407 course (except for final grade submissions and posting this general description) because of ongoing intellectual property right problems between faculty and UW. Another reason I am not using Canvas, frankly, is that I’ve found remote learning that requires too many applications causes more layers of stress, not learning---one student recently called Zoom “deadly” in terms of online discussion, which is stilted at best, and costs a lot of time that I’d rather have you focusing on the content and interpretation of the readings in cultural study theory, short stories, film theory, and films.
Other reasons concern financial costs to you and to me, as I fully realize that some or many of you do not have easy access to high-speed Internet (UW does not fund this for faculty or students--I’ve asked) and you may not have a budget to afford smart phones or broadband connectivity--my “smart” phone is an Android, one I purchased for my private use, as UW also does not provide loaded smart phones for faculty and, in fact, has advocated removing landlines from faculty offices: Moreover, faculty have very limited, difficult access to any of our campus offices because of the Covid pandemic and lockdown processes.
Also, In the past, UW Seattle IT loaned laptops to students but stopped that service as well years ago.
What UW IT does still provide is the listserv services for each UW course, why I chose it for our only remote learning tool. That will be our main communication platform in this course: If you don’t know what a “listserv” is, please contact UW IT. I will send all enrolled students the course syllabus and all lectures throughout the quarter on our 407 listserv before our class starts.
To access the listserv, you must log on with your UW email name (not a Hotmail, or AOL, or Comcast, etc). Then you will look in your UW email for any messages with this subject heading: firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, we will communicate through our listerv, email@example.com --not through Canvas.
Please make sure that you test on Day 1 of Winter Quarter your UW Net I.D. to read this listserv message that I send to you as a group, or you will get behind in the readings--and I will send messages every Monday and Wednesday. For your personal privacy legal rights, I cannot publish your UW email addresses to you as a group--again, my authority is quite limited, and I know you are under multiple stresses. I’m doing what is feasible in a time of global emergency as UW switches its policies.
So the most important point is: If you are not receiving messages/lectures from me on the first Monday of Winter Quarter, you need to contact via email or telephone UW IT immediately--one of the reasons I am opposed to late registrations is that often the late registrants have ongoing trouble receiving my notifications on UW email listservs, and I am not allocated the human nor financial resources to re-send all notifications in ways that reach you on your preferred email systems. More specifically, I do not have the funding or human resources to forward to your preferred non-UW email accounts the UW listserv messages--UW IT can give you those instructions. If I discover other resources that can do this for you, I will let you know.
UW Bookstore has textbooks for purchase but cannot order the course DVDS (the store can’t compete with Amazon). You can buy books as you find them, but be aware that you need to watch and re-read the films that are featured at the end of the course. I am obligated to keep to keep to a 10-week schedule, so plan ahead now. I chose two feature films that help to exemplify the theoretical principles of a critical cultural studies’ approach--you are free to stream, buy, or rent the films--whatever allows you to review clips/chapters/and still frames. UW libraries are still closed now, as I write this description in November, so I cannot put any DVDs on reserve. I doubt the libraries will re-open in Winter quarter, so be prepared, please.
I myself at my own expense (no UW recompense for course materials) have bought all the DVD versions of the feature films so that I can have them to view and review whenever I need to, and take still frame shots to send you, as need be, to illustrate explanations about “reading” film.
So my advice is: if you plan to take this course, don’t wait to order the textbooks or rent these films until the first day of the course--they could sell out, and we are in a holiday season, odd as this one is, and you will either need to pick up or receive by mail the texts. That takes time--at least a week.