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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sharon E. Crowley
B CUSP 190
Bothell Campus

Contemporary Literature

Critically engages with contemporary fiction, poetry, drama, cross-genre writing, or new media texts to investigate questions such as methods of interpretation, cultural identity, historiography, gender formations, or political analysis. Offered: ASp.

Class description

Postmodern Detection: This course will focus on the elements of postmodernism as refracted through the genre of mystery/detective fiction. We will read three full novels from across the range of years that are usually called "the postmodern era": Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley; Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49; and Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn. Along with these novels, we will read some short stories, excerpts, and essays that discuss postmodernism. The course will begin with readings and discussion about how postmodernism has been defined, as well as a brief introduction to the mystery/detective fiction genre.

Student learning goals

Interpreting texts through different theoretical "lenses."

Writing about literature, making literary arguments.

Understanding literary genres, and the interplay among form, content, and meaning.

Understanding literary periods, aesthetic shifts, relationships between art and culture.

General method of instruction

Mix of lecture and discussion, plus in-class writing exercises.

Recommended preparation

I strongly recommend that students complete at least 1 college-level composition course prior to taking this course (BCUSP 134 or equivalent--emphasis on critical thinking/reading and written argument). Some familiarity with literary studies a plus.

Class assignments and grading

--Weekly reading journal --Quizzes --Midterm (shorter) and final (longer) papers --Class discussion leadership

Written work (journal + papers): 60% Quizzes: 30% Participation: 10%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Sharon E. Crowley
Date: 09/20/2012