ENGL 2011 Sections: Spring 2017

ENGL 2011 (Honors I: Literary Study through Reading and Research) is a four-credit Honors introduction to writing across the curriculum, and it fulfills the freshman English requirement for Honors students.

First-year Honors students who have not satisfied the freshman English requirement through AP, ECE, or transfer credit for ENGL 1010/1011 must take ENGL 2011 (instead of 1010 or 1011) in order to earn Sophomore Honors. This course is also strongly recommended for all first-year Honors students. Study of literature—and the development of important critical reading, writing, and information literacy skills—in the university setting is essential preparation for further study in a wide variety of fields.

There are three themed “pods” of ENGL 2011 for this semester, each of which consists of multiple sections supervised by an English faculty member.

Modern Immigrant Narratives

The history of America is inseparable from the stories of immigration, and while the country itself is often referred to as a “melting pot,” the path of immigrants has never been easy. In this class we will focus on the modern immigrant narratives, namely books, films, and even TV shows produced in the past few years. Some of these might reflect back on the immigrant experiences of the past, but most will be focused on the stories of recent immigrants. We will consider the most pressing (and persistent) issues faced by the immigrants today, such as the challenges of assimilation, the conflicts between parents and children, prejudices and anti-immigrant sentiments that the new arrivals often encounter, and of course, the controversial debate over immigration reform. As we read stories, memoirs, and poems, listen to podcasts, and watch documentaries and feature films, we will also discuss the advantages and limitations of each genre/medium used to tell the immigrant story.

Austen and Austeniana

While the novels of Jane Austen have always been popular, in recent decades they have become a media sensation. Movies and mini-series have proliferated, and the novels have been adapted to other formats, such as the Emmy-winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  Characters from the novels (and even Austen herself) have appeared in detective novels and zombie thrillers; writers have composed new endings to unfinished novels and even speculated about potential Jane Austen theme parks.

Why this fascination with all things Austen?  We will attempt to answer this question through a careful reading of Austen’s major novels as well as an exploration of the many ways in which her works – and Austen herself – have become part of modern culture.  In addition to Austen’s novels, we will examine a sampling of film adaptations and fan fiction; students will be encouraged to consider the ways in which adaptation constitutes interpretation.  Course assignments will include several short writing assignments, and the second half of the semester will be dedicated to researching a final project.

James Baldwin

This Honors First Year Writing course will consider many topics — race, religion, politics, sexuality, literary art, African American literature. Although we will read a range of materials, our guide through these topics will be the writer James Baldwin, one of the most important writers of the twentieth century. We will study his life and develop writing techniques in the process of responding to his work. Baldwin was a novelist and playwright, literary and cultural critic, and one of the greatest essayists of all time. Best known for his work produced during the height of the Civil Rights era, Baldwin’s voice remains relevant today. Many of the topics that drew Baldwin’s keen attention remain critical topics of our public discussions: race and racism, economic and social equality, gender and sexual orientation, the social role of the artist, the political role of literary art, as well as alienation, love, and faith. We will read selected major works by Baldwin and delve into his incredible insights into American race relations in the 1950s and 1960s, but we will also discuss the relevance of his thinking and writing for our own time. Students should expect very regular assignments and opportunities for discussion.  Students will conduct guided research exercises and projects related to the study of Baldwin’s work and his impact on American literature and culture. The final grade will be based on regular assignments, a midterm exam, a research essay, and class participation (including online discussion through a course HuskyCT site).