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Spring 2022 Topics Course Descriptions

LIT 170-01 Topics in English: Hippie Bookshelf
Professor: Juda Bennett
Tuesday 3:30-6:20pm
Please note this is a half unit course that meets the weeks of January 24 to March 11, 2022

This course examines the books that influenced and/or reflected the countercultural revolution of the 1960s associated with the hippies.  These books helped define an era but were not always written by self-defined hippies.  Instead, the reading list for this class represents texts cherished by those people who embraced the term “hippie.”  For example, the Beat writers of the previous generation exerted a tremendous influence on the hippies of the 1960s and beyond.  Some of those writers, such as Ginsberg and Di Prima, may also be considered hippies, but others, such as Brautigan and Dylan, never identified with the movement and have even voiced criticism of the hippies.  They are part of our readings because their work appeared on the hippie bookshelf.  Some writers, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Baldwin inspired hippies and, of course, others, but we will examine these texts for their specific relevance to the countercultural movement of the 1960s.  For each text, we will ask what the hippies found meaningful and relevant, and we will consider both the content and, in many cases, the innovative form of these representative texts from the hippie bookshelf.  


LIT 370-01/WLC 371-01 Studies in Literature: Kung-Fu Cinema
Professor: Jia-Yan Mi
Tuesday 5:30-8:20pm

This course explores the mainstream Chinese Kung-fu/ martial arts films, its sub-genres, and contemporary variations in the context of transnational cinema. The course samples films made by master directors from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and America. The course examines the cultural and cinematic formation of this particular genre and the ideological conventions of its global production. Genres range from Hong Kong swordplay films to Tarantino’s kung-fu thrillers and the Matrix digital kung-fu. Related topics include the construction and representation of masculinity and femininity, heroism and nationalism, the paradox of individuality and collectivity, honor code and cultural politics, sexuality and gender constructions, history and violence, stardom and youth culture. All films screened in class will be in English subtitles. Fulfills Global, Race & Ethnicity, and Literary, Visual & Performing Arts


LIT 371-01/AAS 370-03 Topics in African American Lit: Contemporary African American Literature
Professor: Piper Williams
Monday/Thursday 2:00-3:20pm

A study of literature in the African American tradition, with possible units on Afrofuturism, Toni Morrison (& other Black women writers), the 21st century Black Arts Renaissance, and the neo-slave narratives. We will interrogate how the social matrices of competing definitions of black identity are reflected in and through writing produced by African Americans, while we trouble notions of authenticity, representation, and essentialism. The course will also explore the canon of African American Literature, its literary traditions, and the intersections with and diversions from the canon of American Letters.