New Mexico Courses, Summer 2018

Group 1 (Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy)

7006a Creative Nonfiction: Personal Experience as Intimate Expression

S. Ortiz/T, Th 9-11:45

Languages, including the English we speak and write commonly, are a major part of experiences we have at Bread Loaf in Santa Fe; engaged experience is the basis of intimate expression and communication.  In the U.S. Southwest, this means being in direct interaction with Indigenous American peoples and their communities, cultures, and traditional Indigenous languages. Local Pueblos are Tesuque, Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Okeh Owinge, Santa Clara, as well as nearby Picuris, Taos, Cochiti, Santo Domingo. Traditional local Puebloan languages are Tewa, Towa, Tiwa, Keresan. And their peoples speak English and Spanish, too. Although Indigenous languages are threatened by modernism toward disappearance, they are resilient, insistent on existence, and they are culturally useful in a constant way. To be within the language is an intimate experience; one can understand the struggle to survive by interacting with Pueblo languages and peoples. This is possible by writing creative nonfiction assignments reflecting affiliation, association, and identification with the struggle to be existent, self-reliant, sturdy, creative, inventive as Indigenous Pueblo peoples within their community and culture – our aim in this course.

Texts: Lee Gutkind, The Art of Creative Nonfiction: Writing and Selling the Literature of Reality (Wiley); Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Neiman Foundation at Harvard University, eds. Mark Kramer and Wendy Call (Penguin).

7040a Creative Writing in the Landscape

D. Denisoff/M, W 2-4:45

A coffee shop. A cabin. A dry creek bed. We all find different locations conducive for creative writing, but we rarely appreciate the full impact of the environment on the work we produce. This course takes advantage of our inspiring surroundings, combining creative writing (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) with the study of nature literature. Through readings, exercises, and fieldwork/play, we will explore topics such as solitude and community, the genius loci (spirit of place), trans-species relations, and gender politics. In addition to developing a sense of the English nature-writing tradition, students will also engage with diverse creative modes in order to challenge their own understanding of what the written word can do. Marks will be based on creative assignments, an artist’s statement, and a portfolio of revised course materials. Additional readings will be available in the summer.

Texts: Any paperback edition of the following will do. John A. Murray, Writing about Nature (U. of New Mexico); Merrill Gilfillan, Chokecherry Places (Johnson); Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (Touchstone); Annie Proulx, Close Range (Scribner).

7090 Teaching Multimodal Writing in a Digital Age

C. Medina/M, W 9-11:45

This course looks at how we can think about teaching writing with technologies so that it is more in line with digital literacies used to compose in online spaces. Once we recognize how our beliefs about writing align with histories and traditions of teaching writing with technology, we can articulate and (re)mediate these teaching philosophies across multiple digital genres. Reflecting metacognitively on our own design and translation choices across media will provide opportunities to consider what makes ‘good’ writing and how these criteria can effectively be evaluated and assessed.

Texts: Jason Palmeri, Remixing Composition: A History of Multimodal Writing Pedagogy (Southern Illinois); Kristin L. Arola, Jennifer Sheppard, Cheryl E. Ball, Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects (Bedford/St. Martin's).

 

Group 2 (British Literature: Beginnings through the 17th Century)

7249 Locating (and Dislocating) Voices in Shakespeare

B. Smith/T, Th 9-11:45

This seminar will focus, at least to start with, on voice (as in lungs, larynx, tongue, and teeth), not “voice” (as we have come to think of it in political criticism). The social and the political will come in due course, after the physiological and the physical. We’ll attend to the positioning of voices in space and time as they appear in a selection of Shakespeare’s plays, poems, and life-documents. Among the topics to be considered are voices in the air, in the head, in the chest, in the ears, on the stage, in vacancy, on the page, in echo-effects, in ventriloquism, in recordings, in the ether. A small set of core readings will help us get our bearings in this sound-studies project: excerpts on voices in the heads of readers and writers from Charles Fernyhough’s The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves (2016), the short articles on various aspects of voice collected in Keywords in Sound (2015), and Roland Barthes’ seminal essay “The Grain of the Voice” (1972). With an aural and psychological agenda in hand, we shall consider a range of plays, poems, and maybe even Shakespeare’s last will and testament. During the term participants will be asked to produce one response paper and lead class discussion based on that paper and to pursue a final longer paper, which will be shared with other participants as work-in-progress at the next-to-last meeting. Opportunities for working with the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble will be built into the course.

Texts: Keywords in Sound, ed. David Novak and Matt Sakakeeny (Duke); William Shakespeare, The Bedford Shakespeare, ed. Russ McDonald and Lena Cowen Orlin, 1st ed., (Bedford-St. Martins, 2015); William Shakespeare, The Oxford Shakespeare Complete Sonnets and Poems, ed. Colin Burrow (Oxford).

7290 Liking Poetry: Reading, Writing, Teaching

L. Engle/T, Th 2-4:45

More teachers teach poetry than love it. More students study it than learn why to care about it and how to think about it. The seminar will address this erotic and intellectual deficit in a variety of ways, while reading a selection of wonderful poems in English, proceeding from past to present with the proviso that in this course I won't teach a poem I don't myself love. Participants in the seminar will be asked to carry out three writing projects: an essay in criticism, some poetry of their own, and a plan for teaching one or more of the poems in the anthology. (This course may also be used to satisfy a Group 3 requirement.)

Texts: The Norton Anthology of Poetry, ed. Margaret Ferguson, Shorter Fifth ed. (Norton).

 

Group 3 (British Literature: 18th Century to the Present)

7290 Liking Poetry: Reading, Writing, Teaching

L. Engle/T, Th 2-4:45

See description under Group 2 offerings.

7360 The Social Character of the Victorian Novel

J. Nunokawa/M, W 2-4:45

In this course, we will read a range of more or less familiar works in a variety of theoretical, historical, and critical contexts. Our general aim will be to study the social character of the Victorian novel in ways that take full measure of literary form and affect. We will be guided by big and little questions such as these: How do Victorian novels transform the pursuit of economic interests into dramas of romantic and erotic desire? How do they transform dramas of romantic and erotic desire into stories of economic interest? How are fascinations and anxieties about foreign races brought home to the domestic scene? How are questions of social class and individual character handled? What is the relation between verbal facility and social class in the Victorian novel, and how is this relation represented? How does the form of the Victorian novel extend, intensify, and expose the systems of social surveillance that developed in the nineteenth century? Why and how does the Victorian novel labor to produce bodily discomfort, both for those who inhabit it and for those who read it? How does the culture of capitalism haunt the Victorian novel? How does the Victorian novel imagine its relation to other fields of knowledge, for example, to the social sciences emerging at the same period and, like the novel, taking society itself as their object?

Texts: Jane Austen, Emma (the one technically non-Victorian novel); Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair; Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend; Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White; George Eliot, Middlemarch (all in Penguin editions).

7475 Gender and the Environment

D. Denisoff/M, W 9-11:45

Gender, sexuality, and desire have commonly been read through an anthropocentric paradigm that assumes the centrality of humans. And yet, our species makes up a minority of the planet’s sentient population. Engaging British literature of the past 150 years, this course addresses gender and sexuality through the theoretical lens of the animal. Using animality, eco-, feminist, queer, and gender theory, the course exposes the reliance of humanism and modern ethics on contentious notions of species distinctions. It also develops our awareness of the diverse philosophical and cultural issues that arise when nonhuman organisms are recognized as active agents in and influences on the formation of genders, sexualities, and desires. Topics for study include: relations between animalilty and sexual/gender politics; our animal desires; subjectivity vs. collectivity; trans-species affection; race; and anthropomorphism. Additional readings will be available in the summer.

Texts: Any edition of the following will do. Virginia Woolf, Flush: A Biography (Mariner); Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory (Simon & Schuster); Michael Field, Sight and Song (archive.org/details/sightandsong00fielgoog); H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau (Dover).

Films: In advance of class, please view Peter Greenaway’s A Zed and Two Noughts (1985).

 

Group 4 (American Literature)

7588 American Modernism

L. Hammer/T, Th 9-11:45

American modernism was a revolutionary cultural movement braiding art and daily life, in which writing and art were political and spiritual pursuits. Absorbing, but also resisting, the example of new European art and literature, modernism in this country articulated specifically American forms of thought and expression. Focused on the period from the Armory Show (1913) to the Stock Market Crash (1929), our course will examine this transformative moment against the backdrop of New York City and in regional settings from New England to New Mexico. While centering on poetry and fiction, we will read literature in the light of visual art and music, and in the context of First Wave Feminism, the New Negro, “Flaming Youth,” and self-consciously modern visions of democratic culture and American history. Students will prepare two papers and a presentation, choosing between critical and more pedagogically oriented options. Artists include Georgia O’Keefe, Alfred Stieglitz, Walker Evans, and Marsden Hartley. Additional readings will be available in the summer.

Texts: Robert Frost, A Boy’s Will and North of Boston (Dover); Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio, intro. Malcolm Cowley (Penguin); William Carlos Williams, Spring and All (New Directions); John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (Houghton Mifflin); Jean Toomer, Cane (Norton); Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues (Knopf); F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (Scribner); Hart Crane, The Bridge (Liveright).

7620 Latinx Literature

D. Baca/T, Th 2-4:45

We will investigate how Latino/a writers challenge basic assumptions ingrained in the Western understanding of literature and its ties to alphabetic literacy, Hellenocentrism, civilizing missions, and global capitalist expansion. Canonical literary history often preserves a Eurocentric imaginary timeline of Greece → Rome → Renaissance → Modern World, thereby relegating the immense planetary majority to the periphery. We will study how Latino/a writers displace this timeline with spatializations and periodizations in which Latin America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the peoples of the Rio Grande basin become central to an understanding of “new” literary possibilities. Finally, we will examine how Latino/a aesthetic practices rooted in lived and livable experiences foster decolonizing relationships to body politics and to each other as well as to the natural world. Readings will be paired with a class field trip to El Rancho de las Golondrinas living history museum in Santa Fe.

Texts: Juan González, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America (Penguin); Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (Aunt Lute); Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Codex Espangliensis: From Columbus to the Border Patrol (City Lights); Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History (Nation Books); Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Peluda (Button Poetry); Junot Diaz, Drown (Riverhead); Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies (Algonquin); Esmeralda Santiago, When I Was Puerto Rican (Da Capo); José Manuel Mateo, Migrant: The Journey of a Mexican Worker (Harry N. Abrams).

7649 Race and American Literature: Slavery’s Reinventions

D. Jones/M, W 9-11:45

Notwithstanding the ongoing firestorm it ignited, the forthcoming HBO drama Confederate, which offers an alternative history in which the American Civil War ended in a stalemate and slavery persisted, marks the immense public interest in engaging with the history of chattel slavery in popular culture. It seems that the further we get away from the history, the more we crave and return to its concepts, narratives, objects, and tropes in our imaginative endeavors. A boom in such literary “reinventions” of slavery erupted in the 1960s, but Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987) established the genre as a cornerstone of (African) American literature. This course begins with Beloved then moves to contemporary literature, film, and visual art to study the extent to which (fictive) histories of slavery offer explanatory frames for the race-based inequities of the present. We will ask if the proliferation of works about slavery signal the advent of a collective reckoning with the institution? Or, more cynically, are we simply capitalizing on a set of sociocultural conditions that make it possible to garner unprecedented profits (discursive, institutional, economic) from slavery’s history?

Texts: Toni Morrison, Beloved (Vintage); Toni Morrison, A Mercy (Vintage); Thylias Moss, Slave Moth: A Narrative in Verse (Persea); Suzan-Lori Parks, Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2, & 3 (TCG); Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, An Octoroon (Dramatists Play Service); Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad (Doubleday).

7657 American Drama: There’s No Place Like Home

D. Jones/M, W 2-4:45

This course will survey twentieth- and twenty-first century American drama, but will hone in on the signifying and symbolic potential of the figures of the family and the home. Such a survey not only allows us to trace the evolution of these significant figures in American dramaturgy, but also it will let us study several important dramaturgical movements, including naturalism, realism, absurdism, and postmodernism. Moreover, because of the historical range and ideological breadth of the plays this course will read, we will also pay attention to the ways dramatic representations of the home and the family have been instrumental to the politics of class, gender, geography, race, and sexuality in American culture and society.

Texts: Eugene O’Neill, A Long Day’s Journey into Night (Yale); Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (Vintage); Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Berkley); John Guare, The House of Blue Leaves (Samuel French); Sam Shepard, The Curse of the Starving Class (Dramatists); Wendy Wasserstein, The Heidi Chronicles (Dramatists); Suzan-Lori Parks, The Red Letter Plays (TCG); Nilo Cruz, Anna in the Tropics (TCG); Sarah Ruhl, Eurydice (Samuel French); Lucas Hnath, A Doll’s House, Part 2 (TCG).

 

Group 5 (World Literature)

7755 Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism

J. Wicke/M, W 2-4:45

This introduction to literary theory and criticism asks the key questions that energize literary and social discussions today: what is the basis of cultural value, how do ideology and power emerge in society, and what gives meaning to cultural objects, subjects, and identities? Who decides what has worth and significance? We’ll cover the major theories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—formalist, feminist, postcolonial, aesthetic, queer, critical race—that have changed the understanding of language and literature, self and Other, representation and misrepresentation. Since theories of literature are tied to what it means to be human, gender and sexuality are a focal point, with a wide spectrum of criticism. Literary theory untangles the issues of who counts and which voices matter, in literature and everyday life.

Texts: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (Knopf); Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (Graywolf); Claudia Rankine, Citizen (Graywolf). A course packet containing all other texts will be available through the Middlebury College Bookstore.

Group 6 (Theater Arts)

7812 From Oral History to Solo Performance

J. Fried/T, Th 2-4:45

In this class, students will embark on a unique creative process that engages them in journalism, playwriting, acting, and finally performance. Students will begin by interviewing a source whose personal narrative is of significant interest to them; that material will then be transcribed and will become the basis for a five-minute solo performance. Students will research and add related written text taken from any and all sources, such as world literature, old and new media, collected letters, journals, etc. All this material will be shaped and edited into a script, which the student will then rehearse, memorize, and perform for the Bread Loaf community at the end of the session. No acting experience is required, and students will be guided through the rehearsal phase with care. Students should expect to have to leave campus to conduct their interview(s).

Texts: Alvin Epstein and Jonathan Fried, Dressing Room Stories: The Making of an Artist (Blurb).