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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Erik B Jaccard
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 is a survey of modern and contemporary literatures which take globalized forms of English as both a theme and medium. The last thirty years have witnessed a significant emergence of English language writing from outside its metropolitan strongholds in the United States and United Kingdom. A number of critical debates have arisen along with this proliferation of ‘New Englishes,’ each offering fruitful and compelling opportunities for interrogating the problems and possibilities posed by these fresh, dynamic, and (quite often) culturally and politically subversive voices. As a class, we will consider the politics of language, place, nation, and class from within the prism of a number of different forms, including novels, short fiction, poetry, drama, and film. We will focus both on the globalization of the language as kind of cultural capital connected to the international printing industry, as well as locating the texts we read in their regional and national contexts. We will ask what kind of new ways of knowing and seeing these texts offer us, and what they can tell us about our place in a world at once decentralized and different, but also locked into larger patterns of sameness offered by global capital. The texts and authors we will read may include, but are not limited to the following: Novels - Sozaboy, by Ken Saro-Wiwa; The African Origins of UFOs, by Anthony Joseph, The Stone Virgins, by Yvonne Vera, Trainspotting, by Irvine Welsh, The Temple-Goers, by Aatish Taseer. We will likely read poetry by Les Murray, Claude McKay, Tom Leonard, Mongone Serote, Lesogo Rampolokeng, Grace Nichols, Liz Lochhead and others. We will also read Brian Friel’s play Translations and watch either Neil Blomkamp’s film District 9 or Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi.

This class will focus on the practice of close reading, and the subsequent translation of our analytical success into well-crafted 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 term papers. The course will also most likely include a presentation component, with the additional possibility of in-class quizzes, short writing assignments, etc.

Student learning goals

Students are able to perform competent close readings of course texts and similar texts.

Students are able to contextualize and analyze the materials or topics covered, historically, politically, culturally.

Students develop more sophisticated discussion and presentation skills in the interest of being better able to construct and defend their own arguments or interpretations.

Students develop both an appreciation of literature and a lifelong habit of reading.

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 Erik B Jaccard
Date: 11/02/2011