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Fall 2024 LIT 499 Topic Descriptions

LIT 499-01 Seminar in Research and Theory: Monster Fiction
Professor: Graham
Tuesday/Friday 9:30-10:50am

Monsters are all around us! In this course we will focus on monsters in classic and young adult literature, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Richard Matheson’s I am Legend, Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, and Nnedi Okonafor’s Noor, with some attention paid to films. Starting with Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s monster theory, we will consider issues of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and other forms of alterity. 


LIT 499-02 Seminar in Research and Theory: Environmental Children’s Literature
Professor: Meixner
Monday/Thursday 12:30-1:50pm

In this seminar, we will be looking specifically at contemporary children’s, middle grade, and young adult literature that focuses on the “environment,” climate change, and climate justice. We will read fiction, non-fiction, poetry, as well as a variety of digital texts drawing on scholarship from the fields of children’s literature, ecocriticism, and queer theory


LIT 499-03 Seminar in Research and Theory: The Future of Life Narratives 
Professor: Ortiz-Vilarelle
Monday/Thursday 9:30-10:50am

This capstone seminar will cover the autobiographies of climate crisis, global politics, social justice, and social media. 


LIT 499-04 Seminar in Research and Theory: Dante
Professor: Steinberg, G.
Thursday 5:30-8:20pm

In this section of LIT 499, we read the entire Divine Comedy and examine Dante’s poem in the light of current literary theory (including Louis Althusser, Judith Butler, and Jacques Derrida).  Themes explored in the course include the text’s role in reassuring (or challenging) its readers’ subjectivity within a particular ideology (particularly in terms of gender politics) and the nature and limits of language (particularly in relation to metaphor).  Along the way, we enjoy the creative imagination of Dante’s vision of the afterlife — from the horrors of hell to the pleasures of paradise.