Archive for Teaching

Spring 2013 Course: The Nigh Fantastic

Posted in Teaching with tags , , , , , on 7 January 2013 by Ben

Here are the materials for my Spring 2013 course on “The Nigh Fantastic.” This course is part of CU English’s Modern and Contemporary Literature for Non-majors offerings.

I had wanted to teach Cloud Atlas and The City and the City for a while and finally found a way to do so. The premise here is that none of these texts are straight SF or fantasy works (with the possible exception of Oryx and Crake). Rather, all of them make use of SF and fantasy conventions in the service of something else. The City and the City is a work of detective fiction, but the impossibility of the two cities in question and certain technologies present within them push towards fantasy and SF respectively without turning the novel into a full blown generic text. I haven not really thought deeply about the connections among these texts, so I will be interested to see what comes of this class.

The reading list, if you don’t want to click through: Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle; Butler’s The Parable of the Talents; Whitehead’s The Intuitionist; Atwood’s Oryx and Crake; Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas; Miéville’s The City and the City; Kunzru’s Gods Without Men. I also considered House of Leaves; The Road; among others that I am now forgetting.

Here are the materials:

ENGL 3660-006 & -009: The Nigh Fantastic Syllabus

ENGL 3660-006 & -009: The Nigh Fantastic Daily Schedule

ENGL 3660-006 & -009: The Nigh Fantastic Text List

 

Spring 2013 Course: Baseball and American Culture

Posted in Teaching with tags , , , on 7 January 2013 by Ben

A newer iteration of the course I taught last year on Baseball and American Culture. Whereas last year’s course was focused on baseball literature and history as well as contemporary sportswriting, this year we are focusing more the literature and the history. My hope is still to use baseball as a means of understanding America’s problematic relationship with intellectuals and science, but I am trying to avoid letting the class turn into an exercise in statistical analysis. For example, we will start the class on the first day by discussing the nature of the 2012 MVP debate, but I do not want to address who should have won by parsing stats and making claims about whether Mike Trout was better than Miguel Cabrera or vice versa. Rather, I want to discuss how people were making those arguments and what assumptions support them. There is little or nothing this class can add to the debate–and nothing it can do to change the outcome of the vote. What it can do is try to understand the terms of the debate and how such arguments come into existence.

So, here are the materials, should you be interested:

ENGL 3246: Topics in Popular Culture: Baseball and American Culture Syllabus

ENGL 3246: Topics in Popular Culture: Baseball and American Culture Daily Schedule

ENGL 3246: Topics in Popular Culture: Baseball and American Culture Text List

Fall 2012 Course: Media and Technology: McLuhan, Flusser, Stiegler

Posted in Teaching with tags , , , , on 2 January 2013 by Ben

Here are the materials for my course from this past fall on McLuhan, Flusser, and Stiegler. The course was a senior capstone seminar (Critical Thinking in English Studies). This was difficult material and the students in the class responded well. I include here the syllabus, the reading schedule, and the assignment for the final project which produced some outstanding work. For example: a painting in response to Flusser.

ENGL 4038 Syllabus

ENGL 4038 Schedule

ENGL 4038 Final Project