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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joann L Kelly
ENGL 302
Seattle Campus

Critical Practice

Intensive study of, and exercise in, applying important or influential interpretive practices for studying language, literature, and culture, along with consideration of their powers/limits. Focuses on developing critical writing abilities. Topics vary and may include critical and interpretive practice from scripture and myth to more contemporary approaches, including newer interdisciplinary practices. Prerequisite: minimum grade of 2.0 in ENGL 197 or ENGL 297; a minimum grade of 2.0 in ENGL 202 or ENGL 301; may not be repeated if received a grade of 2.0 or higher.

Class description

This course approaches the study of literature as a critical practice. The specific focus of this class will be the novel in relation to theory. For as long as the novel has been around, there has been an attempt to explain the particular kind of story it tells, and what happens when readers seek to make sense of it. Students will learn to participate in this discussion by working with a variety of critical perspectives on the matter. We will be concerned with such questions as: does the novel adhere to a particular narrative form (and does that matter)? What is the role of language in the novel? How does the novel function as a cultural artifact that both reflects and perpetuates ideology? The theorists we take up will come from various schools of thought, including those concerned with formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, new historicism, post-colonialism, race, gender and sexuality, but they all seek to account for the novel as a literary and/or cultural object.

Students will develop their own reading and writing practices as they work intensively with both theoretical and literary texts. Course requirements will include extensive reading, class discussion, a presentation, and a series of shorter response papers leading up to a 5-7 page final paper. We will take as our case study three novels, likely to be: Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Joann L Kelly
Date: 11/15/2013