Level 400-415 Course Descriptions
LAIS 401: Dreative Writing: Poetry II (Professor: Toni Lefton)
This course is a continuation of LAIS 301A: Creative Writing Poetry I, which allows returning students the opportunity for further development of their creative work. Two contemporary book reviews and a researched presentation on a single poet of the student’s choosing are required. A new writing portfolio, a comparative biography, participating in weekly workshops and field trips/ “writing in the community” exercises will be expected of returning students. or instructor’s permission with record of previous creative writing courses at another institution) LAIS100. Prerequisite: LAIS 301 and SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 402: Writing Proposals for a Better World (Professor: Dr. Jon Leydens)
This course develops the student’s writing and higher-order thinking skills and helps meet the needs of underserved populations, particularly via funding proposals written for nonprofit organizations. Prerequisite: LAIS 100 or instructor’s permission with record of previous creative writing courses at another institution; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 405: Becoming American: Literary Perspectives (Professor: Dr. Barbara Olds)
This course will explore the increasing heterogeneity of U.S. society by examining the immigration and assimilation experience of Americans from Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia as well as Native Americans. Primary sources and works of literature will provide the media for examining these phenomena. In addition, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s thesis about the ‘unifying ideals and common culture’ that have allowed the United States to absorb immigrants from every corner of the globe under the umbrella of individual freedom, and the various ways in which Americans have attempted to live up to the motto ‘e pluribus unum’ will also be explored. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 406: The American Dream: Illusion Or Reality? (Professor: John Hogan)
This seminar will examine ‘that elusive phrase, the American dream,’ and ask what it meant to the pioneers in the New World, how it withered, and whether it has been revived. The concept will be critically scrutinized within cultural contexts. The study will rely on the major genres of fiction, drama, and poetry, but will venture into biography and autobiography, and will range from Thoreau’s Walden to Kerouac’s On the Road and Boyle’s Budding Prospects. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 407: Science in Literature (Professor: Toni Lefton)
Science fiction often serves as a cautionary tale that deals with the darker side of humanity’s desires in order to find a better understanding of who we are and what we hope to become. This class examines scientific and social progress as it is imagined by some of the greatest authors of the genre. We will examine the current events that may have influenced the writing and position our lens to the scientific and technological breakthroughs, as well as the social, cultural, and political state of the world at the time of our readings. An essay will be due for each novel; students will turn in close reading study questions for the stories; a presentation, as well as a final Sci-Fi Fanzine will be completed over the semester. This course focuses on classic science fiction from the late 1800’s to the present which may include: Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack Williamson, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfred Bester, Philip Jose Farmer, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula K. LeGuin and Mary Doria Russell, among others. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
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LAIS 409: Shakespearean Drama (Professor: Suzanne Northcote)
Shakespeare, the most well known writer in English and perhaps the world, deals with universal themes and the ultimate nature of what it is to be a human being. His plays are staged, filmed, and read around the globe, even after 400 years. This seminar will explore why Shakespeare’s plays and characters have such lasting power and meaning to humanity. The seminar will combine class discussion, lecture, and video. Grades will be based on participation, response essays, and a final essay. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 410: Critical Perspective on 20th Century Literature
This course is designed for students who enjoy reading, interpreting, and writing about fiction and poetry. Critical Perspectives on Twentieth-Century Literature studies literary adventurers struggling to represent the changing world of the last century. Confronting altered and unforeseen personal and political realities, these writers experimented with new forms and new fictions; their texts reflect dramatic changes in ethics and aesthetics. Readers of their works are faced with the challenge of interpreting dreams, memories, fragments, theories and conjectures about life and art—the myths and fictions by which these writers create a new imaginative vocabulary as they strive to make sense of a weird and wonderful new world. The 20th Century built strange and beautiful artifices with language as well as music and the visual arts, leaving behind the role of representation for more avant garde aesthetics. This course will explore the new roles of 20th Century literature in works by Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats, T.S.Eliot, Samuel Beckett, Kurt Vonnegut, and Donald Barthelme. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 411: Modern African Literature (Professor: Dr. James D. Straker)
This course examines African writers’ depictions of wide-ranging collective transformations and conflicts integral to the making of modern Africa. Fiction and poetry representing Anglophone, Francophone, Arabic, and indigenous language traditions will constitute the bulk of the reading. Alongside their intrinsic artistic values, these texts illuminate religious, ritual, and popular cultural practices massively important to social groups throughout much of East, West, and Southern Africa. Primary socio-historical themes will include generational consciousness, ethnicity, gender relations, the dramatic growth of cities, and forms of collective violence stirred by actions and inactions of colonial and postcolonial governments. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 412: Literature And The Environment
This reading and writing intensive course investigates the human connection to the environment in a broad range of literary materials. Discussions focus on the role of place - of landscape as physical, cultural, moral, historical space - and on the relationship between landscape and community, history, and language in the environmental imagination. Readings include texts that celebrate the natural world, those that indict the careless use of land and resources, and those that predict and depict the consequences of that carelessness. Additionally, we investigate philosophical, legal, and policy frameworks that shape approaches to environmental issues. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 413: Literature Of The American West
This course explores classic myths, stories and narratives inWestern American literature and film, and how the values reflected in these myths, stories and narratives shape our national character. Prerequisite: LAIS 100 and SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 414: Heroes and Antiheroes: A Tragic View (Professor: John Hogan)
This course features heroes and antiheroes (average folks, like most of us), but because it is difficult to be heroic unless there are one or more villains lurking in the shadows, there will have to be an Iago or Caesar or a politician or a member of the bureaucracy to overcome. Webster’s defines heroic as ‘exhibiting or marked by courage and daring.’ Courage and daring are not confined to the battlefield, of course. One can find them in surprising places—in the community (Ibsen’s Enemy of the People), in the psychiatric ward (Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), in the military (Heller’s Catch-22), on the river (Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) or in a “bachelor pad” (Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers). Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
LAIS 415: Mass Media Studies (Professor: Jon Leydens)
This introduction to mass media studies is designed to help students become more judicious consumers of mass media messages, primarily those that emanate from television, radio, the Internet, sound recordings (music), and motion pictures (film, documentary, etc.). Taking a broad rhetorical and sociological perspective, we will examine topics such as the economics of the media industry, political influences on media, media organizations, media and ideology, social inequality, active media interpretation, media and social change, and media and global culture. Students should complete this course with enhanced rhetorical and sociological understandings of how media shapes individuals, societies, and cultures as well as how those groups shape the media. Prerequisite: LAIS 100; Co-requisite: SYGN 200. Semester hours: 3.
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