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English literature courses carry humanities credit. 

ENGLISH 300-CN : Seminar in Reading and Interpretation: Crime and Criminal in American Narratives


In this writing-intensive course, we will read canonical and non-canonical American texts (novels, films, graphic novels) in order to develop some theoretical sophistication in reading narrative and crafting literary arguments. We explore different methods of interpreting narrative in terms of genre (What happens to us as readers when we place a text in a specific genre, such as the detective story or Great American Novel? How do generic expectations work on our interpretive experience?); aesthetic form (What do we mean when we call a writer's prose "beautiful" or a plot well-constructed? How do literary standards work to constitute values?); and ideological content (How do we judge a text's position in relation to historical and contemporary political issues, including-but not limited to-matters of gender, race and class?). Our focusing lens is the theme of criminality: What counts as transgression against norms, both within texts (Who are the criminals? Who makes the laws? What are appropriate punishments for crimes?) and in our wider literary culture (What makes a text worthy or not worthy of being considered literature? Who makes these literary "laws"?) As an introductory seminar and requirement for English majors, the course focuses deeply on the composition and revision of effective literary arguments.

Students who enroll should have fulfilled the SPS writing requirement or taken equivalent writing courses. This course was formerly ENGLISH 298.

Winter 2023
Start/End DatesDay(s)TimeBuildingSection
01/03/23 - 03/18/23Tu
6:15 – 9:15 p.m.University Hall 41864
InstructorCourse LocationStatusCAESAR Course ID
Savage, William
Evanston Campus
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