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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Raj G Chetty
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

Reading Haiti

This course will examine Haiti as represented in literature, including representations across the novel, dramatic, poetic, and cinematic forms. The devastating earthquake ravaging Haiti in January 2010 drew attention to the way in which popular media representations of Haitian culture, politics, and history have been a touchstone in U.S. cultural, political, and economic engagement with the country. As an alternative focal point to these mainstream representations, the course’s attention to Haiti in literature will help develop critical and engaged reading practices, attempting to fulfill the official description above (primarily the first sentence).

In focusing on the literature surrounding Haiti, this course will explore how these representations engage with historical, political, economic, and environmental issues on the island and in its global presence. Additionally, the course will explore how a U.S.-based readership can engage with Haiti and its literature, and the issues facing the Americas. This engagement is three-part: 1) immersing ourselves critically in the texts under study, 2) understanding the cultural and historical context of their production, and 3) engaging with Haiti’s literary production in relation to us as readers who inhabit the large next-door neighbor to this island nation.

Student learning goals

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

Students understand the investments, contexts, and effects of the kind of close/critical reading skills or approaches under study/use.

Students have an appreciation for and knowledge of literature’s relationship to related areas or disciplines.

Students improve their writing skills generally, and with regard to writing about literature and culture.

General method of instruction

Small and large group discussion, writing workshops.

Recommended preparation

It is recommended that you have already completed the University's Composition (C) requirement.

Class assignments and grading

As a "W" course, this one carries a specific writing focus: 10-15 pages of graded, out-of-class writing, in the form of three short papers (2-3 pages) and one longer paper (5-7 pages). The purpose of this writing is not to demonstrate mastery—of Haiti, of its literature—but to help engage with the texts and their and our contexts. Writing for this course has both a formal (as mentioned above) and informal place, but in both cases is a place to explore meanings, connections, and ideas. As such, all of the formal course writing will involve substantial peer and instructor feedback, and substantial revision, and all of the informal writing will help both discussion and development of the formal writing assignments.

Grades will be determined based on two parts: 1) Participation (30%), including in-class discussions based on completed reading, completion of informal writing and other assignments, and timely completion of the formal writing assignments, drafts and revisions. 2) The quality of the four formal writing assignments (70%), based on the writing goals listed above and rubrics developed for the class.


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 Raj G Chetty
Date: 01/29/2010