My goal in the classroom is to teach my student to make connections for themselves. I want my students to learn to read and write “beyond the words,” as I say in my Teaching Philosophy (PDF). In other words, I not only teach them about audience, rhetorical strategies, sound, and structure, but I also teach them to see connections between what they are reading and writing, and their daily lives.
This page features syllabi for classes I’m currently teaching.
Welcome, travelers, to this course focused on science fiction. Sci-fi has long been pushed to the fringes, and even the ditches, of literature by “serious” scholars and writers. No longer! This class is predicated on the belief that science fiction is not only “real literature” but also that, like all literature, it is artistic, philosophical, political, and communal. What did Arthur C. Clarke mean when he said, “Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories”? What does science fiction offer us in terms of how we think about our universe, our planet, our neighbors, and ourselves? To enter into this discussion, we will a) read stories by established authors, both old and new, b) read supplementary works that contextualize or analyze the stories in order to further class discussion, c) learn about the historical, cultural, and ideological contexts of science fiction, and d) produce essays relating what we’re reading to key themes present in the stories and inherent in science fiction.
(For a discussion of how I formulated this syllabus, please check out this blog post.)
English 299 is designed to prepare students for upper-division coursework in English. Using three major literary genres—fiction, poetry, and drama—students build their critical vocabularies and practice close reading and textual analysis. We also examine the aims and conventions of the literary critical essay. The two associated paper assignments develop the writing and research skills required of literary studies. Our goal is to better understand the nature and function of literature as well as the types of questions that literary criticism seeks to answer. Along the way, we become more creative and critical thinkers, more effective writers, and more resourceful scholars.
Women in Literature (PDF):
This course, cross-listed under Gender Studies, examines images of women in English-language literature, focusing on works from the 18th century to today. Authors to be covered include Mary Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Ursula K. LeGuin, Margaret Atwood, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Through the lens of these authors, we cover the history and development of feminist theories. This writing-intensive course features weekly response assignments as well as one longer writing assignment to foster research skills and emphasize literary terminology.