Monday, September 1, 2008

Fall 2008 Classes

I'm taking nine credits this semester; this works out to three classes, but one of those classes (three of those credits) is my writing my thesis, so aside from teaching a section of English 16 - English Composition - I'll be taking two classes:

English 579: Virginia Woolf and Modernism
Mondays, 6:10 – 8:00 pm

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is one of the most challenging and beautiful writers in the English language. Every time she began work on a new novel, she renewed her ambition to reinvent the genre and to make it penetrate to depths of human experience never before tried by writers of fiction. The course will trace the path from her early, tentatively realistic fiction (The Voyage Out), through her experimental short fiction of the late teens and early 1920s (“The Mark on the Wall,” “An Unwritten Novel”), to the achievement of her high modernist style in four major novels: Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves. Woolf was also an innovator in the art of the essay, and we will read some of her most famous works in the genre, including “Modern Fiction,” “On Being Ill,” and her revolutionary (and very funny) manifesto for women writers, A Room of One’s Own. Because Woolf was keenly interested in painting and was intimately associated with a circle of avant-garde artists, special emphasis will be placed on the intersection between verbal and visual art in her life and work.

Field trips to the Museum of Modern Art and the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library (which houses the largest collection of Woolf manuscripts in the world) will be arranged. In addition to on-going discussion, students will write a series of short essays in response to the readings, and one longer critical essay or creative term project.

English 641: Basic Writing and Literacy
Thursdays, 4:10 – 6:00 pm

In this course we will attempt to identify and understand what constitutes literacy in the academy and how “basic writers” are positioned within and against this term in their struggle to acquire academic discourse, a term we will also examine. We will investigate our own assumptions about literacy and test those assumptions against academy dictates and practices. We will problematize “Basic writing” in relation to theories and methods of teaching basic college writing. For example, is the social constructionist approach viable, or should students’ primary languages be included in the instruction and production of college writing? What is the relationship between reading and writing, and how might one inform the other? How might orality be utilized in the classroom to help students increase their awareness of standard English? How do we offer cohesive, productive instruction when students within the same class have different levels and types of literacy? The course will be particularly beneficial for students who plan to teach in academic institutions with students from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

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