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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Travis J Sands
ENGL 442
Seattle Campus

The Novel: Special Studies

Readings may be English or American and drawn from different periods, or they may concentrate on different types - gothic, experimental, novel of consciousness, realistic novel. Special attention to the novel as a distinct literary form. Specific topic varies from quarter to quarter.

Class description

Sovereignty and the Contemporary Novel: This course will query the extent to which contemporary U.S. literatures "theorize" a historical moment where both political and individual sovereignty are undergoing considerable transformations in light of the ongoing expansion of transnational capital and the attendant reorganization of the U.S. nation-state. After opening with an introduction to the social contract theory of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau and engaging with critical responses to this archive from theorists such as Arendt, Schmitt and Foucault, we will focus on how a handful of novels written in the past thirty or so years represent the relation between and non-coherence of sovereignty as “absolute rule� and as “freedom and autonomy.� Expect to read Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Fae Myenne Ng’s Steer Toward Rock, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, Samuel R. Delany’s Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand, the critical material marked above and several additional short critical pieces. Grades will be based on participation, weekly written responses, and a final 10-12-page 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 Travis J Sands
Date: 02/21/2011