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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Maya Smorodinsky
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

The overall goal of ENGL 200 is to equip students with techniques for critically reading, responding, analyzing, and hopefully enjoying various kinds of literature. In this course, we will focus on how the idea of “home� and “belonging� is constructed in different historical moments and through different literary forms. We will ask questions such as: how is home situated in relation to national, racial, and gendered discourses? How is the concept of home conditioned by structures of capitalism, globalization, and post-colonialism? What is the relationship between literature and its cultural and historical moment of production? In what ways does literature participate in, challenge, or reflect dominant conceptions of home?

Books may include: Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig (1859), Onoto Watanna’s The Heart of Hyacinth (1903), Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King (1959), James Baldwin’s Another Country (1962), Abdelrahman Munif’s Cities of Salt (1984), Aimee Phan’s We Should Never Meet (2005), Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2006), and selections from Terry Eagleton, Raymond Williams, Lisa Lowe, Edward Said and others.

With each text we read, we will focus on developing close-reading practices that help us engage in and reflect on the reading process. We will also read accompanying works of literary theory and criticism in order to better situate our critical responses within existing conversations. In this course, students will develop their own method for “reading literature,� and have good practice engaging literary works (and, by association, other kinds of texts) on a complex, thoughtful, and critical level. As this is a “W� class, course requirements include a demanding reading schedule, several short reading responses, active in-class participation, a group presentation, writing workshops with peer feedback, and a final paper.

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 Maya Smorodinsky
Date: 01/30/2012