English Seminars: 2007 - 2008
• English seminars are open to juniors and seniors. Any exceptions must have department approval.
• Similarly, any junior or senior wishing to take more than one seminar in a semester must have department approval.
• Juniors and seniors must take at least one English seminar each semester.
• By the time of graduation, students must have taken one American literature seminar. Writing for College is considered an American literature class.
• Be sure to list more than one choice (there is no guarantee that you will be placed into your first choice).
• Return the completed sign up form to your English teacher.
English Seminars Fall 2007
Topics in American Literature
SURVEY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE & THOUGHT Alex Seeskin
Survey of American Literature Part I will trace the history of American Literature from the early Puritan settlements to the end of the nineteenth century by exploring a series of artistic movements that changed the way Americans think about themselves and their country. Along the way, we will read essays by Emerson and Thoreau, poetry by Whitman and Dickinson, memoirs by Franklin, Douglas and Jacobs, and novels by Hawthorne and Twain.
20TH CENTURY WOMEN WRITERS Jenny Nauss
This course will examine the roles in which women writers of the 20th century have called into question traditional female stereotypes that often undermine their quests for individuality and freedom - freedom to be, think and live. Their characters strive to create personal identities amidst cultural alienation and, oftentimes, displacement. This course will explore themes of gender within contexts of silence, resistance, family, and place through close reading and analysis of contemporary novels, short stories, essays, and poetry. Core texts may include: The Awakening by Kate Chopin; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston.
EXPLORATIONS IN IDENTITY Sam Cuddeback
This seminar will explore what it means to be American by looking at a wide range of different cultural voices. The focus of the course will be on works of fiction that compel the reader to experience the diverse lives that make up the country’s rich diversity. Opportunity will be given for students to contribute to this richness by writing their own stories. Attention will be paid to develop students’ reading and writing skills, and vocabulary.
THE SHORT STORY Maureen Kavanaugh
Short stories: they’re short, quick, condensed, focused, and intense. While the length of the stories we study will not vary much, the content will. So, this American short story course can also be considered a literary sampler. This semester, we will sample from following types of stories. First, we will read “coming of age” stories of childhood and adolescent mishaps, adventures, and epiphanies. Second, we will study stories that revolve around the theme of relationships – relationships between parents and children, spouses, and siblings. We will then travel to Latin America and read the works of Quiroga, Borges, Cortazar, and Allende, all who challenge us, the readers, to question our realities. We will end the semester with the Drew favorite: Science Fiction. Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury offer searing social criticism through tales of 14-year old superheroes and mechanized houses. Assessments will include creative projects such as crafting your own coming of age and science fiction stories as well as crafting regular reading response journals and expository essays.
The Western Tradition
MODERNISM Jeremy Lane
This is an ambitious course that will introduce students to some of the radical changes in literature that arose during the opening, turbulent decades of the Twentieth century when writers broke with formal conventions in their drive to more fully express the psychological and sociological realities of the human condition. Particular attention will be made to examining the range of stylistic innovations these writers developed. While the primary focus is on the literature of the period, as time permits, we’ll look at both the visual and performing arts. We will be reading works by James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, etc.