Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Amy C. Lanning
C LIT 240
Seattle Campus

Writing in Comparative Literature

Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.

Class description

Narratives of Kinship, Gender, and Desire. ...At a moment when popular culture is obsessed with the psychology of happiness and the importance of individual choice, our understanding of the impact of family and of social bonds is being highlighted more than ever before. As the sciences discover more about the nature of emotions, intuitions, biases, longings, and predispositions, novel questions are being raised about how we come to find our place in the world of family and of community and, as a result, former ideals about manhood and womanhood are being revised in relation to newly defined kinship roles. This course will draw upon various traditions of world literature as a means to examine the evolving concept of the rapport between kinship, revolt, and the transgression of gender roles regarding both immediate and extended family across the ages. We will read and analyze primary texts that develop characters who define happiness in their own terms, whether or not they are able to generate the social and familial environments that will support and sustain it. The syllabus includes plays, short stories, and novellas by Sophocles, Edward Albee, Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Mansfield, Rabindranath Tagore, Alice Monroe, Tillie Olsen, Sherman Alexie, Jhumpa Lahiri, and the film Monsieur Lazhar (2011, dir. Philippe Falardeau). Students will be introduced to relevant secondary writings and will learn to write academic essays on primary texts, as well as on multiple texts that include comparative analysis and the integration of secondary sources.

Student learning goals

In this course you will learn to construct arguments analyzing the texts that we read in terms of genre, form, culture, and history. You will also learn to support your ideas using formal elements within the course texts and to write papers that engage in larger academic conversations at the college level. In the process you will become a more efficient reader of literature and learn to seize and address concepts that are integral to your own purposes as a writer as well as to those of the discipline of Comparative Literature.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Grades will be a composite of in-class participation, the HW close reading blog, and multiple written papers.


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 Amy C. Lanning
Date: 09/20/2013