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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sue Y Shon
ENGL 200
Seattle Campus

Reading Literary Forms

Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This course explores the ways in which "race" have been defined in select cultural texts in various forms, including literary fiction, films, visual art, and critical theoretical essays. We will examine how the definitions of race that emerge from each text rely on or critique (implicitly or explicitly) 20th-century American legal, scientific, economic, and aesthetic logics. We will also explore how knowledge about race and its social order is shaped by the form or medium of expression: how is the "medium" related to the "message"? In short, our approach to reading and viewing texts will trace how the definition of race, the definition of social structures, and its formal expressions are co-dependent.

Fiction will include Octavia Butler, Dawn (1987) and George Schuyler, Black No More (1931). All other texts will be in the course reader or posted to the class website. These "texts" include paintings by Glenn Ligon and Byron Kim (1990s) and Sayeeda White's film White (2011). Additionally, we'll be studying the Paul Gauguin exhibition currently showing at the Seattle Art Museum.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Though not required, it is very strongly recommended that you have taken 100-level English (109/110, 111, 121, or 131) prior to taking this class.

Class assignments and grading

To analyze course texts, we will focus the on the practice of close reading through writing of essays that make clear arguments based on evidence found in the text and other sources. Class time will be dedicated to comprehension, examination, close reading, and application of the texts we have read. Daily attendance, active participation, and a clear engagement with class materials are vital for your success in this course.

This course fulfills the University of Washington's W-requirement. It will include 10-15 pages of graded, out-of-class writing, most likely in the form of two 5-7 page papers. The course will also most likely include a presentation component, with the additional possibility of in-class quizzes, short writing assignments, etc.


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 Sue Y Shon
Date: 03/21/2012