Monday, December 6, 2010

Courses for Spring 2011

Class Schedule Spring 2011:

T,TH 12:30-1:45pm

An examination of fairy tales (e.g. Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella) and ways of understanding them.

M,W 2:00-3:15pm

Children’s literature is an intriguing and fascinating genre. Far more often than not, the picture books, chapter books, pop-up books, and mystery novels typically categorized (if not dismissed) as children’s fare work in complicated ways that are sometimes problematic, frequently brilliant, and always interesting. This semester we will explore some of the amusing, surprising, and even shocking aspects of a number of books for children. As we come face to face with sadistic barbers, spoiled brats, abused dolls, an idiosyncratic redhead, and a shark with some really sharp teeth, we will examine what books like The Secret Garden, Where the Wild Things Are, The Raggedy Ann Stories, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Castaway Pirates are really about. In all honesty, as we delve ever deeper into these and other works, mucking about in their messier elements, you can expect that we will engage ideas and meanings that—hopefully for better but maybe for worse—you would never expect to find in books defined and marketed as literature for children. Granted, for some people, thusly scrutinizing books with which they may have some emotional attachment (e.g., Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight, Moon, Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree) can be traumatizing. For me, it is a lot of fun and enables a profound appreciation and respect for the genre.

Reading List
Heinrich Hoffman Struwwelpeter
Robert Munsch Love You Forever
Shel Silverstein The Giving Tree
Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret Garden
Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann Stories
Robert Arthur The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot
Roald Dahl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Gary Paulson Nightjohn
Juan Felipe Herrera Downtown Boy
Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are
Jim Murphy An American Plague
Astrid Lindgren Pippi Longstocking
Mary Downing Hahn The Doll in the Garden
Anthony Brown Voices in the Park
Ray Marshall and Wilson Swain The Castaway Pirates: A Pop-Up Tale of Bad Luck, Sharp Teeth, and Stinky Toes
David Levithan Marly’s Ghost
Rita Williams-Garcia Jumped

T,TH 11:00-12:15pm

An introduction to children's literature, featuring fairy tales, novels, and picture books: e.g. The Emperor's New Clothes, Peter Pan, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

M,W,F 11:00-11:50am

This semester we will survey a broad yet by no means comprehensive swath of literature for and about adolescents. For the sake of some historical perspective, we will begin with Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick, the Nancy Drew mystery, The Hidden Staircase, and the German drama, Spring’s Awakening. After investigating the (perhaps surprising) nature, politics, and implications of these texts, we will delve into more recent fare. As we proceed through texts such as Monica Sone’s autobiographical Nisei Daughter, Joseph Bruchac’s folktale-inflected horror yarn, Skeleton Man, Laurie Halse Anderson’s historical Forge, and Ron Koertge’s story of an unlikely friendship, Stoner and Spaz, we will plot some of the
multifarious ways that authors have both depicted adolescence and written for adolescents. Our overarching aim is to develop critically and theoretically sophisticated methodologies for examining and understanding the representation of adolescents and adolescence in literature and other media in different historical and cultural contexts.

Requirement: Workload will include assigned reading (of course), plenty of short in-class and out-of-class writing (which will require that you do the reading), two exams, and a paper.

Reading List
Horatio Alger Ragged Dick
Carolyn Keene The Hidden Staircase
Frank Wedekind Spring’s Awakening: A Children’s Tragedy (Smith & Kraus 1575255138)
Monica Sone Nisei Daughter
Walter Dean Myers Fallen Angels
Juan Felipe Herrea Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box
Neal Shusterman Unwind
Virginia Euwer Wolff Make Lemonade
Francesca Lia Block Weetzie Bat
Ron Koertge Stoner & Spaz
David Levithan Boy Meets Boy
Brian James Zombie Blondes
Joseph Bruchac Skeleton Man
Laurie Halse Ander

W 7:00-9:40pm

In this course we will explore contemporary notions of “the child” and their representations in and correspondences to poetry written for and about young people. Informed by Randall Jarrell’s claim that Modernism is an extension of Romanticism (“End of the Line”) and Charles Bernstein’s related argument that the line between Modernism and Postmodernism is blurrier than generally believed, this course traces the legacies of Romanticism and its constructions of childhood from the early 20th century to the present, exploring the intersections between these constructions and our ideological assumptions about poetry and poetics. We will read widely, engaging the poetry of authors as varied as Joe Brainard (I Remember), John Ciardi (The Reason for the Pelican), T.S. Eliot (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats), Robert Frost (You Come Too), Lyn Hejinian (My Life), Langston Hughes (The Dream Keeper),

Randall Jarrell (The Bat-Poet), June Jordan (Who Look at Me), Robert Lowell (Life Studies), Theodore Roethke (I am! Says the Lamb), Carl Sandburg (Early Moon), and Gertrude Stein (The World Is Round, To Be, a Book of Alphabets and Birthdays).
Requirement: Students will be responsible for a group presentation, a critical review of a scholarly text pertaining to the course’s subject, and a final project of their design.

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