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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sarah Dowling
BIS 206
Bothell Campus

Engaging Literary Arts

Foregrounds questions about literary arts: What are the purposes of literary arts? What approaches might we use to understand them? How to they relate to the societies and cultures in which they are located? May focus on individual writers, movements, historical periods, genres, or topics.

Class description

This course will examine the different ways we “hear” voices in writing, from traditional lyric poetry to new work in sound and media. Considering fiction, plays, and films, we will pay special attention to representations of fluency and stuttering, to accented and vernacular English, and to experimental portrayals of the voice in film and other art forms. Through creative and critical assignments, we will explore the social and political stakes of writing our voices: which voices are silenced, and which are allowed to speak? Which voices are granted the authority of self-representation? How does the process of writing shape and change the voices that we attempt to record? Students will compose short close reading essays, along with a series of creative responses to the course texts. Our meetings will allow for intensive discussions of works in every major literary genre, as well as several minor ones. We will also attend to our own writing; students will receive detailed feedback on their critical and creative works.

Student learning goals

Students will learn to write essays with clear thesis statements supported by strong textual analysis.

Students will learn to move flexibly between different writing styles in their creative work.

Students will learn to describe the relationships between literary works and the societies and cultures from which they emerge.

Students will learn to understand the differences between the major literary genres, especially how each one “thinks.”

General method of instruction

Class meetings will combine writing, small-group and whole-class discussions of readings, and a small amount of lecturing by the instructor. We will listen to and watch recordings of poetry performances in order to complicate and nuance our interpretations of the course texts.

Recommended preparation

No special preparation required.

Class assignments and grading

Students are expected to do the reading, to attend each class, to complete all assignments, and to participate actively in discussions. Bring your course texts to every meeting and arrive with something to say. Post one in-class writing per week to our Canvas site.

Assignments will include weekly in-class writings, 2 short papers, a mid-term exam, and a final portfolio.

The grades for the final portfolio will be assigned based on the extent and quality of the revisions completed. Students are encouraged to actively revise their work throughout the quarter, in consultation with the instructor.


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 Sarah Dowling
Date: 02/01/2013