English 2600 Calendar, Fall 2018

Critical Introduction to Literature by Professor Lee Ann Mortensen, MFA at Utah Valley University

 



 

 

 

 

Updated 9/19/18 5:32 PM - subject to change, so don't print a lot at once if you need printouts

  M W M W M W M W M W M
August 20 22 27 29              
September 3 5 10 12 17 19 24 26      
October 1 3 8 10 15 17 22 24 29 31  
November 5 7 12 14 19 21 26 28      
December

3

5 10

12

13

         

 

Dates

Calendar--Discussions, Readings, & Exercises

Lee's Lecture Notes

Aug. 20 

Assumptions and Literary Theory
Introduction
: Syllabus & Calendar

Readings due before class:

--start getting used to this Web Calendar and how to turn things in to Canvas Assignments

Assignments due before class:

  • Be a committed, mature student and adventurous theoretical reader.

Day 1 Lecture Notes

 

The various lenses or theories we use to look at or interpret or critique a text (book, story, film, TV show, advertisement etc--semioticians can look at anything in pop culture, specifically if patterns are noticed)

We use Freud's ideas in colloquial speech: My mother is so in denial about her marriage; I think I'm repressing last summer...

Saussure was a linguist who said we think in binaries or either/or, masculine/feminine, American/Alien

If I look at a text with Marxist lenses, I will look at problematic socioeconomic themes and situations

Feminism: the Male Gaze is prominent in bro comedies

Aug. 22

"Natural" Lenses Aren't so Natural

Readings due before class:

--Read 1/4th of The Great Gatsby (try to finish this book quickly since Tyson uses it in each chapter; the link here takes you to the entire ebook online)
--Tyson ch. 1 "Everything You Wanted to Know..."
--Read over the Syllabus!

Assignments due before class:

  • Reading Reaction 1: 300 words--on page one, write a self-reflection about your "natural" reading lenses (identity/ideological laundry lists? but what does "natural" mean?); you will likely use one of these lenses to make some "natural" comments on a very focused example/quote from the start of The Great Gatsby (Paul Rudd version part 1?) or an example/quote/screen shot from pop culture like The Simpsons or a movie scene in our Canvas Course Media. When you create your reactions, be sure to save them as PDF's or your won't be able to upload them. Upload this to Canvas Assignments by 1pm or earlier.
  • Be sure to change your UVLink email so that it forwards to your most used email! And remember to email me from your most used email.

Lee's Lecture Notes:
Lecture Day 2

Lee has Packet 1 under Canvas Files which contains readings from Tyson for many of our class days!

 

 

The Theory Journal: sometimes for outside thinking assignments, sometimes for in-class writing...you will turn in 4 pages at midterm

 

Dreams and Freud--keep a dream journal for a week; the second you wake up, try to write down things from secondary revision that you remember. Ultimately, you are looking for patterns in your dreams that say something about your repressed psychosexual wounds (or what Lacan would call the wounds you suffer when you lose le petite objec a, and when you enter The Symbolic Order)...

Dream dictinoaries

Aug. 27

Psychoanalysis

Readings due before class:

--Read 1/2 of The Great Gatsby
--Tyson ch. 2 through p. 34
--Packet 1 (in Canvas Files): read Dickenson--read the intro about her, and poem 209
--Handout in Canvas Files: "The Death of the Author" pdf from Roland Barthes

Assignments due often before class:

Day 3 Notes

In-class writing: Death of the Author--is it literal? No, but yes? Be sure you read the Roland Barthes' handout in Canvas Files before class

 

Psychology Timeline

Psychoanalytic Notes

Theory Journal! Keep this, but I will collect pieces of it at midterms and finals

Dreams and Freud

Dream dictinoaries

Aug. 29

Psychoanalysis and Psychosexual Stages

Readings due before class:

--Read the first half of Death of a Salesman, or watch the video in Canvas Course Media (the version with Dustin Hoffman)
--Tyson ch. 2 finish
--Packet 1 (Canvas Files--a few hard copies are also outside my office LA 114B): read Olsen--can you see her famous story through psychoanalytic lenses?

Assignments due before class:

 

 

Day 4 Notes

--close reading of Dickinson poem small symbols (using Freudian dream theories)--you should always close read some text to illustrate your understanding of the theory...

 

Psychoanalytic Notes

Sep. 3 Labor Day  
Sep. 5

Lacan and Marxist Socioeconomic Theory

Readings due before class:

--The Great Gatsby 3/4ths
--Death of a Salesman--finish
--Start reading A Handmaid's Tale (1/4th; there are psych, marxist, and feminist aspects to this novel, so make notes about what you see)
--Tyson ch. 3 first half.
--Packet 1: re-read Olsen with Marxist lenses.
--Packet 2: read Gilman with psychoanalytic, Lacanian, and Marxist lenses.
--Watch Death of a Salesman on Canvas Course Media (if you haven't already).
--Optional: watch Oedipus Rex with the great Christopher Plumber if you want to understand Freud's Oedipal complex a bit more fully (it's the phallic stage of Freud's psychosexual stages I've been lecturing about)

 

Assignments due before class:

  • I highly recommend filling in (and adding to) the ch. 3 vocabulary sheet as you read or right after (look for italicized words in Tyson).

 

Notes Day 5

Psychoanalytic Notes

Lacan--the symbolic order vs le petit objet a

"The return of the repressed"...(Tyson 35)

...and how we all are pushed "ceaselessly into the past" (Tyson 79)

projecting our own self hatred onto others (Tyson )

questions p. 38

--close reading of Dickinson poem small symbols (using Freudian dream theories)--you should always "close read" some text to illustrate your understanding of the theory in a reading reaction...

--close reading of Olsen's mother's guilt story--very Freudian, but also very much lends itself to be read with Marxist lenses...

Marxist Notes

Sep. 10

Marxist Theory

Readings due before class:

--FinishThe Great Gatsby
--A Handmaid's Tale--2/4ths
--Tyson ch. 3: finish
--Packet 1 (Canvas Files): read the Faulkner "Rose for Emily" and Bambara stories
--There is a Packet TOC that tells you which stories are in what packet and the order of those stories in Canvas Files

Assignments due before class:

  • Reading Reaction 2 due to Canvas Discussions by 11:59pm: 600 words (30 pts) about Psychoanalytic theory--show off your vocabulary skills and theory summary/overview skills, and interpretation skills, and use short, textual examples from any of our readings to help illustrate some of these key concepts (textual evidence from Death of a Salesman like the scene where his memory can't let go of his high hopes for Bif's athletic carreer which you could say is an illusion, a piece of denial about his own failures; a piece in a Packet 1 like Olsen's story about mother's guilt--typical of parenting books from the 1950's and before; parts of the movie Oedipus Rex or Fight Club on Canvas Media Gallery, like the scene where Oedipus unknowingly kills his father gleefully--but isn't this a taboo feeling we all have since we all go through the Oedipal Stage? Or scenes/images from a movie or TV show will help you illustrate and apply the concepts, like the scenes from Fight Club where the narrator is fighting Tyler in the parkinglot, but other onlookers see the narrator fighting with himself--what part of the narrator's unconscious does Tyler represent? You can also suplement your examples with anecdotes from your life). You can, of course, also question or critique some of the concepts (while showing off/practicing your ability to use the concepts--ignoramousness or hubris will not get you points). You might also note places that were especially difficult for you (because they bring up unconscious fears? Or because Lacan truly is trying to be confusing? Or because you feel a great lack of connection to your origins and thus try to control all the chaos of your life with OCD, but control is impossible, so you will always be a miserable neurotic, and you want to write about that). Don't forget vocabulary examples!
  • Do an informal freewrite in your General Journal about your socioeconomic status and the effect it might have on you--how are you oppressed, or how are you priviledged?  Are you or anyone you know classists? This is for class discussion.
  • If you haven't already done so, be sure to change your UVLink email so that it forwards to your most used email!
  • I highly recommend filling in (and adding to) the ch. 3 vocabulary sheet as you read or right after (look for italicized words in Tyson).

Notes Day 6

 

Oedipal Conflict and fear of castration for boys, penis envy for girls (power envy according to Tyson)...how can we be sure our children turn toward the correct/non taboo love interests?

Compare to Lacan's more linguistic psycholinguistic woundings...

 

Marxist Notes--the harmful ideologies we capitalists believe in

 

Olsen's story from a Marxist POV

Death of a Salesman from a Freudian POV

" " from a Lacanian POV?

" " from a Marxist POV...

 

My socioeconomic status and how it effects me?

Sep. 12

Marxist and Feminist Theory

Readings due before class:

--A Handmaid's Tale--keep reading
--Watch The Great Gatsby in Canvas Media Gallery if you haven't already
--Tyson: ch. 4 Materialist Feminists (Marxist Feminists like Delphy)
--Packet 1: bring it if you have it (or bring it on a phone or laptop)

Assignments due before class:

  • Reply in an intelligent but rhetorically polite manner to two Reading Reaction 2's (psychoanalytic theory) in Canvas Discussions (find the ones you most want to converse with, argue with, admire via specifics; have an interesting dialogue, but be civil).

 

Day 7 Notes

Advertising: Superbowl, Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving, Black Friday...

Marxist Notes--The American Dream is one of the most powerful blinding ideologies in the US--some proletariats want to be owners which makes sense since they are making the widgets (Marx would agree), but when someone enters the bourgeousie, it can be hard to remember the difficulties and needs of being lower class workers...

Big Tobacco--old Marlboro Man vs. What are cigarettes costing you? vs. The Truth (anti-smoking campaigns, say, for gay people)

You can read A Handmaid's Tale with Marxist theory too, even though it's obviously a feminist book. Procreation is a commodity. Only the upper class married women (class at first determined by loyalty to the religious cause of Gilead, but then rewarded with mansions, servants, good food, cars and drivers, nice but similar clothing etc)...Eventually one of the revelations in the Hulu version is that the Handmaids are being sold to other countries since everyone is having a hard time procreating. Uterus slavery...

 

Feminisms Notes--materialist feminists are often Marxists

 

New Criticism Notes--close reading of words and phrases or small images...things that seem ambiguous or loaded with meaning

 

 

Sep. 13

Touchstonesjournal.com deadline for submitting literary creative writing. 5000 words max.

 

 

Sep. 17

Marxist and Feminist Theory

Readings due before class:

--A Handmaid's Tale--3/4ths (you can also watch the TV series 1st season on Hulu which is mostly well keyed in to the book, but Atwood's writing is supurb, poetic and gritty and beautiful and scary)
--Watch A Doll's House in Canvas Course Media (a link on the left of the main Canvas Screen, toward the bottom)
--Tyson ch. 4 through p. 98

 

Assignments due before class:

  • General Journal: Find some ads to see how cultural productions like advertising sell us ideologies that blind us to our socioeconomic and/or gender oppression--be ready to share examples and discuss in class. Last time we discussed Christmas advertising which at first is geared toward Thanksgiving and Black Friday...
  • I highly recommend filling in the ch. 4 vocabulary sheet as you read, or right after (look for italicized words in Tyson).
 

Day 8 Notes

What is your socioeconomic story?

What capitalist ideologies blind you?

Look at your ads! How do they blind people into buying something that they might not need?

 

Big Tobacco--old Marlboro Man vs. What are cigarettes costing you? vs. The Truth (anti-smoking campaigns, say, for gay people)

Marxist Notes--there are class issues in A Doll's House--Torvald and Nora are part of the boursiousie, but they interact with people who have fallen from Grace so to speak, and they also pay proletariats like their maid etc.

A Doll's House and Marx and Feminism and Freud; now there's A Doll's House 2 (which kind of disappoints me)...

Feminisms Notes

Sep. 19

Class and Gender and Feminisms (there are lots)

Readings due before class:

--A Handmaid's Tale--keep reading
--Finish Tyson ch. 4
--Packet 1: Hughes "Thank You Ma'am"
--Packet 1: Chopin (and rethink Bambara with feminist lenses)

 

Assignments due before class:


Day 9 Notes

Discuss A Doll's House

Discuss Handmaids

Feminisms Notes

Marxist Feminists like Delphy

 

Marxist Notes

Sep. 24

Feminism Practice, and French Feminisms

Readings due before class:

--Bring Packet 1 if you have a print out, or make sure you have an electronic copy with you
--A Handmaid's Tale--finish

 

Assignments due before class:

  • Reply to two Reading Reaction 3's in Canvas (have an interesting dialogue, but be civil--no trolls).
  • I recommend filling in the Ch. 5 vocabulary sheet as you read or after you read the New Criticism chapter.
  • General Journal: Watch something over the weekend on Youtube or TV, or a movie and take notes about the gender ideologies and the socioeconomic ideologies being pushed (I have a number of films on Canvas Course Media). You can look for the objectification of bodies, the male gaze of the camera, the perfection of bodies and faces, the way women may be shown doing things with children or home life, and men are shown doing things in the business world or the world of lumber and trucks. You can watch entertainment news and notice the the way high femme costmetic surgery may have a hand in the kinds of celebrities you see or don't see, their objectification (butt implants). Or watch for stories on harrassment or violence toward women or men--how are the women discussed? How are the men discussed? Write down any ideas you have from this.

 

Day 10 Notes

Feminisms Notes

New Criticism Notes

Marxist Feminists like Delphy

 

Marxist Notes--the $15 minimum wage still hasn't come to be

Sep. 26

Feminism and New Criticism

Readings due before class:

--Read half of Tyson ch. 5
--Handout on Canvas Files: Ursula LeGuin's famous "2nd wave" feminist story "She Unames Them" (a few pages into the handout)
--Bring The Handmaid's Tale


Assignments due before class
:

  • Re-read "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" in Packet 2, and be ready to discuss these questions: what reactions do you have that are based on outside emotions, context etc.? What reactions do you have that seem to be based on "the text itself"? What overall impression do you get about the poem's universal human theme or artistic organic unity?
  • I recommend filling in the Ch. 6 vocabulary sheet as you read or after you read.
  • Sign up for a consultation if needed or wanted...
  • Bring the poem or short story you want to read New Critically for your RR 5 (it could be your own choice, or one from our packets).
  • Reading Reaction 3: write 600 words where show off/practice your vocabulary skills and theory summary/overview skills, and use short examples to help illustrate some of these concepts (with textual evidence) of Marxist theory. Use one of our readings like Death of a Salesman or "The Lesson," or a film like Fight Club, or The Matrix, or A Bug's Life, or Oliver Stone's Wall Street, or the financial collapse movie The Big Short to support and illustrate the vocabulary in the chapter (see Canvas Media Gallery). Don't forget vocabulary examples! Post to Canvas by 11:59pm.

 

 
 

Day 12 Notes

Feminisms Notes

Love in the time of Gilead!


New Criticism Notes

Dickinson's 520 read with New Criticism and feminism?

 

A bit of Death of the Author--New Criticism discusses a similar intentional fallacy

--Handout in Canvas Files: "The Death of the Author" pdf from Roland Barthes--see file death_authorbarthes--sorry this link/file hasn't worked earlier, but let's try to read it for today if you didn't already.

Oct. 1

Feminism and New Criticism

Readings due before class:

  • Finish Tyson ch. 5
  • Packet 1: re-think Faulkner and Olsen
  • Packet 2: Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays"
  • Handout on Canvas Files: read Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 excerpt so we can try to do a New Critical Reading of a Postmodern story...
  • Bring The Handmaid's Tale

Assignments due before class:

  • I recommend filling out the ch. 7 vocabulary sheet...
  • Start Working on Essay 1: not due yet! But just start thinking about the essay which should be 1200-1800 words (double-spaced), a critical essay with a closed-form, tension-filled (argument) thesis at the end of a good intro using a theory (or one specific part of a theory, or theories) from Tyson's Psychoanalytic to Reader Response chapters (the thesis should be something a New Critic might be proud of which means you can think of it as the best interpretation of the film or text you can possibly make (more about Purdue on literary theses), and you must use close reading of textual evidence. . Each chapter in Tyson (right before the Gatsby analysis) has a list of literary ideas and texts for each theory. You might start by brainstorming theory and vocabulary tie-ins with your chosen film/text (see our novel readings--Death of a Salesman, A Dolls House, The Handmaid's Tale, or see the syllabus for some film choices, or choose another good text/media object), then idea map or brainstorm or freewrite to find some possible areas of emphasis you are most interested in (or have the most to say about), points that you can then have in your contestable thesis. Your theory-focused analysis/interpretation of the film/text also requires a tightly focused thesis so that you have plenty of room to spend close reading the text's details (visuals, language) in order to support your interesting, best possible thesis. Proper use of vocabulary is important. Please use MLA format and citation. Post to Canvas Assignments Nov. 1st by 11:59pm as PDF file.

 

Day 13 Notes

New Criticism Notes

1. Watch interviews with Anna Deavere Smith (trying to find the American Iamb)

Feminisms Notes

Examples of sexism today?

Examples of strong women today?

 

 

Good, Contestable Theses:

  • Avoid truisms
  • Are specific
  • Are things that "real people" and even academics can argue about
  • Have a clear structure so it's easy to follow and easier to write
  • ??

Examples in Tyson...


Oct. 3

New Criticism and Reader Response

Readings due before class:

  • Tyson ch. 6 finish
  • Handout: Barthes on Garbo and Wrestling (only read the first few pages)
  • Handout: Scholes on linguistics
  • Handout: well discuss some of the Pynchon Crying of Lot 49 excerpt from last time's readings today (in Canvas Files)
  • Packet 2: Porter
  • Bring The Handmaid's Tale

Assignments due before class:

  • Reading Reaction 4: write 600 words where show off your vocabulary skills and theory summary/overview skills, and use short examples from the readings to help illustrate some key concepts (with textual evidence) of Feminist theory. Don't forget vocabulary examples! Post to Canvas by 11:59pm.

Day 14 Notes

Day 15 Notes

 

Feminisms Notes

Images of strong women?

 

 

 

 

Film School Vocabulary--try to use some of this when you discuss films in your reactions and essays; Yale Film School's page is more exhaustive...

 

Reader Response and Narrative

 

 

 

Oct. 8

Reader Response and Structuralism

Readings due before class:

 

Assignments due by midnight:

 

  • Reply to 2 Reading Reaction 4's (feminisms) in Canvas Discussions (have an interesting dialogue, but be civil).
  • General Journal: Bring your Subjective Reader Response Experiential "Reponse Statement" about Gatsby the Film (see Canvas Media Gallery; and see p. 180-81 in Tyson). This response statement should have your 1. overall view or response to the movie/text, 2. and also your smaller, personal observations of the details of the movie/text that lead you to an overall thesis (key scenes like the roaring 20's party, the odd conversation between Nick and Gatsby, and their car ride).
  • General Journal? Also bring your "response analysis statement" where you try to get Meta by explaining how you came to your personal observations (from ch. . We will do the "fourth" step in class by negotiating meaning together.
  • Sign up for an Essay 1 consultation (15 minutes long, so keep me focused). I have more times on March 9 and March 14...
  • You should have critically watched your film or read your novel for the Essay 1 literary analysis by today, so by now you at least need to decide what theoretical lenses you want to use to write a focused, argument analysis essay.  See the syllabus for film choices. Also see the following example in Canvas Files: Fiona Tolan's "Feminist Utopias, and Questions of Liberty: Margaret Attwood's The Handmaid's Tale as Critique of Second Wave Feminism"

 

Day 16 Notes

Theses that are contestable and specific...vs. theses that are obvious, truistic, and general--see Purdue handout from our readings

Also look at an early draft in Canvas! Matt's

New Criticism Notes

Reader Response

Film School Vocabulary--try to use some of this when you discuss films in your reactions and essays; Yale Film School's page is more exhaustive...

Structuralisms and de Saussure' linguistic moves

 

 

 
 

Oct. 10

 

Structuralism and Close Reading

Readings due before class:

  • Tyson ch. 7 finish
  • Handout in Canvas Files: William Gass' "And" (demonstrates extreme close reading of the ambiguities etc. of the word "And")
  • Handout from Purdue on literary theses
  • Handout in Canvas Files: (academic ideas for your Essay 1)--Feminist Utopias in Handmaids Tale...

Assignments due before class:

  • Sign up for an Essay 1 consultation (15 minutes long, so keep me focused). I have more times on March 9 and March 14...

Day 17 Notes

Also look at an early draft in Canvas! Who wants comments?

Consultations coming up...

New Criticism Notes

Reader Response

 

Structuralisms

opposites, binaries, and the semiotic square

 

Northrop Frye's Mythoi


Oct. 12

Fri.

Consultations with Lee in her office, CB410d starting at 2:20pm--sign up before today, or send an EMERGENCY email with a catchy subject heading.

 

 

Oct. 15

Structuralism and Patterns and Semiotics

Readings due before class:

Assignments due before class:

  • Reading Reaction 5 (New Criticism and Reader Response): write 300 words for New Criticism where you analyze a poem or short story (your choice) using the techniques/vocabulary of New Criticism--show off your ability to look at complexities, themes, close reading of formal elements, and the artistic, organic beauty of a poem or lines in a poem, or a very short story or lines in a story, though poems are much easier to closely read. You can go easy on the "universal truths" part of New Criticism. I recommend the following poems: Kumin's "Woodchucks"; Plath's "Morning Song" or "Daddy"; Hayden's poem in packet 2 (or other things in our Packets that we haven't talked to death; you could also closely read parts of the novels/plays we've been reading/watching; one very short fiction is Forche's flash fiction "The Colonel"). Avoid the Affective Fallacy and the Intentional Fallacy. Don't forget some vocabulary about formal elements and tension elements--close reading of textual evidence! Then write 300 words about Reader Response where you show off your vocabulary skills and theory summary/overview skills, and use short examples to help illustrate some of the concepts (with textual evidence) of specific Reader Response theories. Don't forget vocabulary examples! Post to Canvas by 11:59pm.
  • Sign up for an Essay 1 consultation (15 minutes long, so keep me focused)...

 

 

Lecture Notes...17+

 

 

Consultations coming up...

Also look at an early draft in Canvas! Who wants comments?

 

Semiotics or the study of sign systems (patterns in X; patterns in Hollywood Iconography like Barthes' "The Face of Garbo"?

Lecture Notes...?

Oct. 17

No Class--Individual Consultations in CB410d

Consultation Day in CB410d my office--I will be grading and talking to students in my office CB410d, so if we haven't met, be sure to sign up before today. We can discuss theory, interpreting texts/films, essay writing craft, research, and grades.

Assignments due today:

  • General Journal: 4 pages due to Canvas to show me some of your non-graded or in class writing, or for class writing (worth a few A points)...
  • Be reading The Bluest Eye...due by Mar. 26
 

Day 18 Notes

Consultations coming up...

 

Closed form, contestable theses!

Structuralisms and de Saussure's parole vs langue (utterances/signs vs. structures/syntax)

sign=signifier+signified

Greimas's semiotic square (webs of signs?); Plots and Actants

 

Northrop Frye's Mythoi

Campbell's Monomyth or hero's journey...

Levi-Straus (anthropologist) thought about how to identify kinship ties, inheritance, taboo, and how these have similar structures across cultures...looks at Myths syntagmatically and diachronically...

 

Deconstruction overview


Oct. 22

Close reading by dipping in and out of a poem's elements to find the main meaning and artistry of a poem

Readings due before class:

  • Tyson: ch. 8 first half
  • Packet 3: Frost and Blake
  • Packet 1: re-think Chopin
  • The Bluest Eye: finish

Assignments due before class:

  • Essay 1 due by 11:59pm in Canvas Assignments as a PDF. 1200-1800 word (double-spaced) critical essay with a closed-form, tension-filled, argument-based thesis at the end of a good intro using a theory or theories from Tyson's Psychoanalytic to Reader Response chapters. The thesis should be something a New Critic might be proud of which means it's the best interpretation of the film or text you can possibly make about the text, and the evidence for your thesis uses good close reading of formal elements and tension like ambiguity; see Purdue on literary theses. Each chapter in Tyson (right before the Gatsby analysis) has a list of literary ideas and texts for each theory. You might start by brainstorming theory and vocabulary tie-ins with your chosen film/text (see the syllabus for many film choices; or use one of our novels/plays--Death of a Salesman, A Handmaid's Tale, or A Doll's House). You might end up lookind at multiple texts/novels/films/TV show. However, this is NOT going to be a summary paper! You can do freewriting or idea mapping (cluster) to find some possible areas of emphases you are most interested in (or have the most to say about), points that you can then have in your predictive, contestable thesis. Your theory-focused analysis/interpretation of the film/text requires a tightly focused thesis so that you have plenty of room to spend close reading the text's details (visuals, language) in order to support your interesting, best possible thesis. Proper use of vocabulary is important. Please use MLA format and citation (MLA in-text and Works Cited citations--our Writing Center can help with this, but so can Easybib.com). Post to Canvas Assignments Nov. 1st by 11:59pm as PDF file.
  • Be reading The Bluest Eye!
  • Of course I recommend filling in the Ch. 8 Deconstruction vocab. sheet.
 
 
 
 

Notes Day 19

Notes Day 20

 

New Criticism Notes--close reading is fundamental!

Close reading of Plath's "Lady Lazarus"

  • start with imagery, especially if it seems to get some repetition--does it then become a symbol with heavier meanings?
  • her metaphors and similes have a similar tone? If she mixes metaphors, are they metaphors we see in her other work? Do they therefore take on more meaning?
  • think of tension--does she use irony anywhere? certainly she uses a lot of ambiguity
  • what meanings does the sound play give to the poem?
  • what about the tone of the persona who speaks? What words seem to single this out the most?

 

Oct.24

 

Structuralism vs. Narratology vs. Deconstruction: it's all signifiers

Readings due before class:

  • Tyson: ch. 8 first half
  • Packet 3: Frost and Blake
  • Packet 1: re-think Chopin
  • The Bluest Eye: bring it




Assignments due before class:

 
 
 

Structuralisms and de Saussure's parole vs langue (utterances/signs vs. structures/syntax); our mind works in opposites

Semiotics and Garbo; Audrey Hepburn

Narratology and One Hundred Years of Solitude

From Saussure's binaries (the way our minds order the universe), to Greimas's semiotic squares, to Derrida's infinite webs of signifiers...

 

 

 

From Signifiers to Signifiers, and Deconstruction overview

 

Deconstruction notes 2014 (including critiques of Marxism and 2nd Wave feminism's desire to embrace the natural positives of femininity)...Quick Notes from 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Oct. 29

 

Structuralism, Semiotic Squares and Mythoi; introduce Deconstruction New Historicism,

Readings due before class:

--Tyson ch. 9 first half
--Packet 3 (ereserve): Blake, Cather
--The Bluest Eye: to 100
--Bring Handmaids Tale

Assignments due before class:

Notes Day 21

 

Deconstruction overview

 

 

 

see New Historicism lecture

New Historicism 2 lecure

Other New Criticism

Oct. 31

Halloween

Cultural Criticism and Pop Culture, and LGBT without Q or Iand Pop Culture (and Semiotics Again, and Feminism Again)

Readings due before class:

--Tyson ch. 9 finish
--Tyson ch. 10 first half
--Packet 3: Faulkner
--Packet 4: O'Connor
--The Bluest Eye: finish
--Achebe: Things Fall Apart 1-50

Assignments due before class:

  • I strongly recommend you fill in the ch. 10 vocabulary sheet as you read (or create your own).

 

Notes Day 22

see New Historicism lecture

Another Basic Idea: Does the text you are looking at deconstruct any ideologies? Does it collude with any ideologies?

Ads and cultural criticism...

  • expensive ads are usually trying to sell a product, but even more than that they want to sell an attitude, an identity, an inner brand meaning
  • what ideologies do ads sell? The Melissa McCarthy ads from 2017 sell the hipness of wanting to help animals, but also the absurd, physical humor of McCarthy
  • the use of absurdity in Skittles ads--who is this for? 16-25 year olds might get it more than I do?

 

 

New Historicism and Henry Louis Gates' "Signifyn' Monkey"--a look at how African Americans pushed back against the white power nation--see Topsy in Uncle Tom's Cabin; Jim Crow and monkey imagery ("blackface")

New Historicism and WWII Jewish history: The MS St. Louis turned back by America with Jews who were later put in camps; Henry Ford, American Capitalist, and his Jewish problem...

Deconstruction Theory, New Historicism and Cultural Criticism questions? And how these lead into LGBTQI theories...

Some notes from today...from Deconstruction to New Historicism and AIDS and Gay Activism

An interesting article about power circulating, and the problem of making things new--Micael Berube's Public Access essay "Just the Fax, Ma’am: Or, Postmodernism’s Journey to Decenter" (this is from Google books); how innovative, rebellious movements are co-opted by the powers that be...

More New Historical and Cultural Criticism issues (which are always already deconstructive): see below

New Historicism and Cultural CriticismNew Historical analysis, and power circulating from the top and the bottom...

Nov. 5

Vote Tues.

 

 

Deconstruction and Queer Theory, and Fluid gender and sexual Identities

Readings due before class:

--Tyson ch. 10
--Achebe: Things Fall Apart to 50-200

 

Assignments due before class:

  • I strongly recommend that you fill in ch. 11/12 vocabulary sheets as you read (or add to them as you see fit).
  • Sign up for an essay consultation!
  • Complete the course evaluation on UV Link! There's extra credit.

 

Structuralism and binaries, and semiotic squares, and semiotic cubes (my phrase) leading to webs of signifiers always in play...

Deconstruction looks at webs of chaotic signifiers linking up in order to show us culturally constructed meanings--it wants to critique binaries that are set up as natural when they are actually constructs...you can often see something as less natural when you put yourself in the shoes of the Other

New Historicism--no master narratives with absolute truth, only competing narratives from multiple POV's about, say, the Trail of Tears; Captivity Narratives a popular thing to read in the 17-1800's

Postcolonialism--stories of heroic conquest driven by a desire for Empire--Portugal, England, and Spain planting their flags on whatever land they happened upon with no thoughts of the people already there...colonization of African countries, and Asian countries

African American Theory--slavery and colonization

 

Nov. 7

Queer Theory; African American Theory, and Essay 2 (your final)

Readings due before class:

--Tyson ch. 11 finish
--Things Fall Apart through pg. 200-250
--The Bluest Eye: bring it

Assignments due before class:

  • Reading Reaction 7 (we combined 5 with 6): write 600 words about one or two of your "favorite" structuralists with specific examples and vocabulary (though you should start with the basic idea of what structuralism is which is that we want to read synchronically, or find the smallest universa-Tyson ch. 8 finishl structure in language, narrative, movies, sitcoms, romance movies, Hollywood icons etc).  You will need to apply one or two theorists' universals to multiple examples in multiple stories or books we've read, or to something from pop culture since no structuralist only looks at one text, but at many to show how their universal works throughout all examples. Don't forget vocabulary and closely read textual examples! Post to Canvas by 11:59pm.
  • Come with Questions!
  • Sign up for an essay/grade consultation!
  • Complete the course evaluation on UV Link!

Lee's Lecture Notes:

 

Lesbian and Gay theory practice with texts-- (and the problem of monolithic definitions or lables; 2nd waver's putting sexuality under erasure vs.3rd waver's embracing of sexuality); looking for homophobic representations; looking for compulsory heterosexuality

Lesbian continuum, or a variety of woman centered woman identities

Subjectivity and Identity--Lesbian and Gay theory--and see notes from the last class's lecture notes

Why gay men are such gym queens...shame and the perfect body

Queen Latifa as lesbian/femme/African American icon

"Denaturalizing" sexuality, gender, and race...

Look at Hollywood Icons (Barthes' "The Face of Garbo," Garbo's faces, or Drew Barrymore's faces)--who are they posing or performing for? The male gaze? The lesbian gaze? Is their sexuality, and their task, compulsory heterosexuality?

Sedgwick (in Tyson p. 335-36)--sexual object desire is very varied--not monolithic

Jagose p. 122--the fiction that separates gender and sexuality (and I would also say one's sex)

2. Queer theory practice with texts.

Judith Bulter: performativity (the reiteration of a cultural fiction)

Androphilia and Gynephilia

Lee's Lecture Notes:
Back to AIDS and New Historicism, and Gay Activism, and Gay Identity--LGBTQI theories, and notes from last time--see above (Reagan and AIDS and Act Up from How to Survive a Plague)

Subjectivity and Identity--most people think these things are out of play, but what ideologies are part of that thinking?

Queer Theory: deconstructive--identity of all kinds are fluid, slippery, performative (and the fluidity doesn't stop at our skin as Judith Butler discusses)...

Transgendered and Intersexed people/texts--read from Nat's story in Beyond Magenta (Kindle location 1664)...what are the typical elements in transgendered narratives?

Kinsey Scale--where do you fit? Ideologies about the Kinsey Scale (it was skewed with prisoners and prostitutes who were "depraved" and full of psych problems...or was it?)

Adrienne Rich's Lesbian Continuum (from sisterhood to lesbian separatists)...

Martha brought up male kids getting harrassed for liking My Little Pony (and the enforcement of gender and sexuality "norms")...

An interesting article on the Evolution of Queers on TV (see lecture notes Types of Gay Texts)

 

Ch. 10 vocabulary.
"Gender Bending" on reality TV (J. Alexander); Ru Paul's Reality TV show "Drag Race" ; Dragulator (see yourself in drag); backstage; Trantasia a beauty pageant (documentary; ideas of female beauty a la Las Vegas)

Hedwig's angry inch (and transitions, borders,, gay, queer); Yitzak's transformation ("Midnight Radio")


AA theory and Grace Jones Slave to the Rhythm
(gender, race deconstructions)

Drag and Camp, and more LGBTQI literary/thematic concerns...

An interesting article on the Evolution of Queers on TV (see lecture notes Types of Gay Texts)

Important Postcolonial theory (see table for main ideas)

Important African American theory

--Everyday racism and Microagressions (Henry Louis Gates Jr. getting "harrased" by a cop for trying to break into his own home...and Obama getting blasting for saying the cop over stepped) vs. Institutionalized Racism (--Plessy vs. Fergesson (laid the groundwork for Jim Crowe segregation--Jim Crowe and Lester Maddox vs. laws about drug posession in the 90's) vs. the power of writing (see Phyllis Wheatley)

--Racialism: that superior morals and intelligence are also as ingrained as biological race...

--No voice of the people (deconstruct monoliths) if you're a deconstructionist, but as bell hooks says in "Postmodern Blackness" (par. 9):

  • "It never surprises me when black folk respond to the critique of essentialism, especially when it denies the validity of identity politics, by saying "yeah, it's easy to give up identity, when you got one." Though an apt and oftentimes appropriate comeback, this does not really intervene in the discourse in a way that alters and transforms. We should indeed suspicious of postmodern critiques of the "subject" when they surface at a historical moment when many subjugated people feel themselves coming to voice for the first time."

--Signifying and the Chain of ambiguous Signifiers...Signifying Monkey and Reading or Throwing Shade Performativity--Henry Louis Gates discusses how Signifyn' is often made up of indirect insults and reversals, puns with double and triple meanings:

  • monkey tells lion that the elephant thinks he's ugly (but the monkey has now indirectly insulted the lion, but likely gets away with it)
  • Like Claudia's mom in The Bluest Eye with all her anger directed at "someone"

--Ch. 11/12vocabulary.

Spike Lee's films often deal with racial issues of all kinds like intra-racial racism and double-consciousness (belonging to two cultures, two races, and thus conflicted)


--The Harlem Renaissance;

--The Great Migration;

--Black Arts Movement--Amiri Baraka's 9/11 poem (still going strong as a beat protester)

--Postcolonial and Latino and Chicano Rights:Brown is Beautiful, and Cesar Chavez (organized grape workers for Huelgas or strikes--their life expectancy was 47 years old; fired without cause; thought of as lazy, dirty etc.); in to Ugly Betty--a latina star in a postmodern TV show...

 

Nov. 12

African American Theory
Readings due before class:

--Tyson ch. 12 first half
--Things Fall Apart through p. 250-300
--The Bluest Eye: bring it

Assignments due before class:

  • Think about your Essay 2 ideas--Come with Questions!!
  • Sign up for an essay/grade consultation! See Canvas Announcements!
  • Complete the course evaluation on UV Link!

Lee's Lecture Notes:
 

LGBTQI theories

Important African American theory

 

Important Postcolonial theory (see table for main ideas)

 

-- Discuss essay feedback and ideas--Questions?

The Bluest Eye and beauty issues and socioeconomic issues...

  • the poverty and depression that allows Cholly to keep and pay for a new couch with a tear in it (34)
  • color and white stars (Greta Garbo p. 13; Shirly Temple and white dolls p. 17--and Claudia's loathing of white dolls)
  • beauty and ugliness and the Breadloves p. 36

--Postcolonial; we focused on Tyson list of colonial and post-colonial concerns/themes (like Othering--the colonizer makes the colonized inferior, like with racialism; Mimickry (as signifyn'?) (421--the colonized try to be like the colonizer and "pass"; Exile--the colonized or post-colonized doesn't fit in anywhere); cultural colonization and colonialist ideology/discourse (the colonizer writes and speaks about their superiority; go back to Marx and New Historicism--the colonizers and their countries were metropolitan 419); eurocentrism is seen in how we number "worlds" as first, third;

Double consciousness applies here too--people who are both white and black, Belgian and Tutsi, African and American, Chicano and Angelino, Gay and Queer...

Hotel Rwanda and the "difference" between Tutsis and Hutus that was pushed during colonial times--when the journalist asks the girls about how they know who's Tutsi or who's Hutu (12:30)--Tutsi's were "more elegant" with thinner noses--the Belgians put them in charge during colonial times, but put Hutus in charge as they pulled out; radio messages "do not trust the Tutsi rebels" (8 min), or the Tutsis are cockroaches;

--the problems of power and idenity after the colonizers pull out...

Think about the British colonization of India, and their eventual withdrawal in 1948--the country fell into civil war because of double consciousness; think about colonizers leaving many places in Africa (like the Belgians leaving Rwanda), and leaving sectarian and tribal violence in their wake...

 

 

--Quiz 8-11for your study needs...

 
Nov. 14

African American and Postcolonial Critismism

Readings due before class:

--Tyson ch. 12 finish
--Tyson ch. 13 finish
--Things Fall Apart finish
--The Bluest Eye: bring it

Assignments due before class:

  • For essay 2, you should have a contestable thesis by today

 

 

 

 

 

LGBTQI theories

Important African American theory

Important Postcolonial theory (see table for main ideas)

 

--consultation sign ups

 

A Passage to India: part 1 the English reception vs. the Indian reception of the ship, and Mrs. Moore asks about "your Indian friends"; part 2 India POV of Dr. Aziz, and "why do we spend so much time admiring the English? The disregard the English have for the Indians (taking the buggy as if he's not there); part 3 "I want to see the real India;" part 4; part 11 Dr. Aziz in jail after accusations from Miss Quested, and "there's not the least cause for alarm"; part 12 the trial (or how to rail road a defendant); part 13 Miss Quested testifies; part 14 Aziz is free and a hero--8:19 Aziz "returns" to Indian roots;

Outsourced from NBC (on Hulu) 3:22, 8:08 a team vs b team, 12:00 explaining the novelties they have to sell (and cultural clashes)

Chitra Divakaruni: arranged marriage and caste system has changed over time (caste as a social construct, in the US too; Master class vs. Servant class); she would like to believe Indian women are superior, but they are like anyone else--women pulled down by society;

 

 
Nov. 19-23 Thanksgiving Week--no class  
Nov. 26

African American and Postcolonial Critismism, and Questions about Essay 2

Readings due before class:

--Tyson bring it
--Things Fall Apart bring it
--The Bluest Eye: bring it

Assignments due before class:

  • Essay 2 Theses?
  • Reading Reaction 8/9--due Sat. at 11:59pm (YOU CAN CHOOSE THIS ONE OR THE OTHER ONE): 300 words on Deconstruction, and 300 on New Historicism/Poststructural Cultural criticism--pay attention to Tyson's overview of each theory, but even then you'll see that they basically do similar things--take apart "natural" ideologies. Deconstruction theory is the basis of Poststructural theories which include most of the later theories in the book, and is focused on all our language being a slippery web of signifiers often formed into hierarchical and harmful binaries.. You can discuss Queer theory here too since it's more deconstructive than other LGBT theories. New Historicism deals with more historical moments/texts, and the exchange of power, and master texts being given more power than they should have; and Cultural Criticism often deals with the meanings of popular culture and even power exchanges within that--look at how advertising has such a huge effect on even our identities). However, be sure to focus on some key concepts/vocabulary with the examples you use: Old Historicism might ask, is The Bluest Eye accurate to African American Experience of that time? Is the author's life experience similar or different than what the novel covers? New Historicism might ask, What kinds of texts or reviews circulated ideological discourses about the novel or about history and narrative styles when The Bluest Eye was published? What reviews circulate now about the text? A Cultural Critic might ask, what master narrative ideologies about race, beauty, and gender does the text deconstruct (this is likely the easiest question), and where does the text collude with ideology? What pop culture productions from Hollywood and television represent black or latino or native american self-loathing, and what does this tell us about the way these discourses circulate freely in our society? The Color Purple, or Jungle Fever are films many critics look at for African American theory but with a knod toward New Historicism and Cultural Criticism. Do black sitcoms like those from Tyler Perry ignore harmful binaires and thus harmful ideologies? Don't forget vocabulary examples! Post to Canvas.



 
Nov. 28

African American and Postcolonial Critismism, and Questions about Essay 2

Readings due before class:

--Tyson bring it
--Things Fall Apart bring it
--The Bluest Eye: bring it

Assignments due before class:

  • Essay 2 Theses?

 

 

 
Dec. 3

Postcolonial Critismism, and Questions about Essay 2

Readings due before class:

--Tyson bring it
--Things Fall Apart bring it
--The Bluest Eye: bring it

Assignments due before class:

  • Essay 2 Theses?
  • Reading Reaction 10/11: due Sat. by 11:59 (YOU CAN CHOOSE THIS ONE OR THE OTHER ONE): 600 words about identity politics in LGBTQAI theory, African American Theory, and Postcolonial theory (a quick definition of key concepts in each, and an example in each will likely be sufficient). Be very focused about one main theory and one main short text or short scene as an example. Queer theory since it's more poststructural and deconstructive (but you can do lesbian or gay or trans as well). Where do you see very focused gender queer examples (small examples) in pop culture (Will and Grace is in a new reincarnation--the most queer characters are the drunk rich woman and the old Consuela, her maid/soul mate), and what do you think about their effects? How are queer identities fluid and even performative?  Comedies often work in stereotypes. Are these kinds of cliches solidified (or mocked--often drag is mocked, though drag often mocks itself), or is there deconstructive play in the "assigned" and assumed roles?  The Crying Game is a classic "nonbinary" thriller.  You can watch I Am Cait for pop culture trans issues.  You can think about Trans and Non-binary genders from Paris is BurningTransamerica is also an excellent Hollywood film about a trans woman and her son.  Transparent on Amazon is a great series about Trans issues but also issues for many identities. Don't forget vocabulary examples and close reading! Post to Canvas.
 
Dec. 5

Postcolonial Critismism, and Questions about Essay 2

Readings due before class:

--Tyson bring it

 

or consultations...
Dec. 7

Reading Day--No Class. Lee will have Consultations in her office CB410d--sign up earlier in the week

Assignments Due:

  • All extra credit due (5 visits to the writing lab, or up to 2 outside film reactions with a theory you haven't used--if you don't see a place to put these in Canvas, email them with Extra Credit 1, or 2, or 3 etc. in the subject line.
  • If you meet with me, come with theory and Essay 2 questions!!
  • Complete the course evaluation on UV Link!

 

Sign up to discuss theory and your essay 1 and 2--see Canvas Announcements!

Dec. 10

Mon.

No Class. Last day to upload to or check Canvas by policy of UVU--upload anything you need by 11:50pm to be sure you get it in, or it won't be graded. You can upload until 11:50pm, but I'm just trying to help you be sure to get your essay etc. in before they cut you off.

 

 

 

Dec 12

Wed.

Assignments Due:

  • Essay 2 Due: 1200-1800 word (double-spaced) critical essay with a closed-form, contestable, predictive poststructuralist thesis at the top using a theory or combination of theories from Tyson's Deconstruction and latter chapters (the thesis should be something a New Critic might be proud of which means it's the best interpretation of the film or text you can possibly make about the text, and you use close reading of the text to build a case for your thesis). There are a number of films in Canvas Course Media you can use.  You might start by brainstorming theory and vocabulary tie-ins with your chosen film/text (see the syllabus for some choices--see Course Media for some), then idea map (cluster) to find some possible areas of emphasis you are most interested in (or have the most to say about), points that you can then have in your predictive, contestable thesis. Your theory-focused analysis/interpretation of the film/text requires a tightly focused thesis so that you have plenty of room to spend close reading the text's details (visuals, language) in order to support your interesting, best possible thesis. There are some academic essays using theory in Canvas Files (look for article samples in Canvas Files). Proper use of vocabulary is important. Please use MLA format and citation. Post to Canvas Assignments by 11:50 in PDF.
 

Dec 14

 

Be sure you check Canvas and email for any missing assignments over the next few weeks.

 

 

 


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