inadequate futures

course descriptions

engl 288: nature in literature - human @ the limit [spring 2017]
At the intersection of discussions about intensified global warming, diminishing populations of endangered species, and increasingly perceptive artificial intelligence stands the human, or, at least, the question of the human. In mapping these territories, we necessarily come up against the human and its connection to animals, nature, culture, and technology. While this course focuses on the relationship of human beings and the environment in which they function, as represented in a variety of literary works (the university course description), we will also attend to questions about how we understand and constitute both “human beings” and “environment”: How “natural” is nature and how is it similar or different from “culture”? What is our relationship to animals, plants, machines, and nature, and what kind of responsibility do these relationships entail? In addition to the assigned novels, poetry, film and television, we will utilize feminist and posthuman methodologies and theoretical texts to explore these questions. Ultimately, the goal of the class will be to deconstruct—that is, understand, critique, and re(con)figure—the human[’s] boundaries, limits, and thresholds. In an effort to explore these concepts and ideas, we’ll examine literary and theoretical texts that foreground these questions, including Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals, Yamashita’s Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Garland’s Ex Machina, and Westworld (2016) among others. // engl 288 schedule

engl 273: remediating narrative [fall 2016]
Twitter, Netflix, iTunes. Vimeo, Soundcloud, Tumblr. The way we access and consume both media and narratives has changed radically over the past decade and a half. With this transformation comes a shift in how narratives are formed and disseminated—television shows begin to look like novels while novels begin to resemble websites; entire seasons of television are released in a single day; Vimeo, YouTube, and iTunes become essential spaces for long form journalism and serialized narratives. These shifts prompt some questions: how exactly do these narratives differ (in form and content) from those 20, 30, or 40 years ago? How has technology, like the Internet or eReaders, changed the novel or how we read? How have televisual narratives adapted to streaming providers like Netflix or Amazon? Following Fredrich Kittler’s claim that “media determine our situation,” this class will examine two (among other) interwoven questions: How has narrative, especially the novel and television, adapted and responded to contemporary technologies, and how has our experience and consumption of these narratives changed as a result? Texts include novels by Mark Z. Danielewski and David Markson, work by Claudia Rankine, various films and television, podcasts including Alice Isn't Dead, and Chris Ware's unbound Building Stories. // engl 273 schedule

uclr 100: stranger than fiction - 20/21st century (meta)fiction [spring 2016]
What happens when characters in a novel recognize their own fictional status and begin exceeding the grasp of narration? What can poetry about poetry tell us about, well, poetry? Or drama about drama, for that matter? What happens when literature becomes aware of itself as literature, and what can these metafictional texts tell us not only about literature but also how we read? This foundational course in literary studies explores metafictional literature in a variety of modes and genres, including prose, poetry, drama, and film. Surveying literature from the late 19th century to the present, we will investigate texts that exceed their own fictional world or call attention to their own textual status. This course will emphasize close reading as a foundation for literary and cultural analysis, presenting strategies and key literary and critical terms to analyze and discuss literature. Texts will include Salvador Plascencia’s The People of Paper, Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, short stories by Jorge Luis Borges and Amy Hempel, and poetry by Emily Dickinson and Mark Z Danielewski.

ucwr 110: writing in the contemporary [fall 2015//spring 2018]
UCWR 110 is a rhetorically oriented reading and writing course in which you will analyze, evaluate, and critique both written and visual texts, as well as produce texts of your own. The goal of the course is to build on your preexisting writing and rhetorical skills—academic and otherwise—helping you become a stronger reader and more effective communicator. These writing and critical thinking skills you refine in this class will aid you during and beyond your time at Loyola. In addition to considering academic conventions of writing, this class will focus on writing “in” our contemporary moment, considering how writing responds to, is disseminated in, and produces (“writes in”) the present. Towards this end, the course assignments, reading, and your writing will engage critically with ongoing conversations about our present moment. // ucwr 110 schedule