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Spring 2014 Graduate Cross-Listed Courses
EFR 506 Multicultural Education
(3 credits) with Joshua Hunter
A review of the conceptual, historical and theoretical aspects of multicultural education. A major goal will be to provide educators with processes for incorporating multicultural education into educational environments; to meet the needs of culturally diverse students and to increase the cultural awareness and sensitivity of all students. North Dakota/Native American issues are primary elements of this course.
ENGL 415. Seminar in Literature. 1-4 credits.
This course is an Essential Studies Capstone Course, and fulfills the goals of Written Communication and Critical Thinking. This course is approved for graduate credit.
As Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2007, more than one media outlet debated whether or not Obama would be able to carry the African-American vote by questioning whether he was "black enough." Such reactions unintentionally highlighted the ongoing, problematic, and contested nature of "race" and any number of terms and issues surrounding it. Why do questions of who can authentically or authoritatively speak for/about African-Americans, not to mention assumptions about the responsibilities of racially marked public figures to their respective communities, continue to gain mainstream traction? In a broad sense, this course will highlight and explore the longstanding persistence and effects of these kinds of questions through a historical analysis of African- American short fiction and novels. Starting with the Harlem Renaissance, we will work our way through the realism and modernism of the 40s and 50s to the upheavals of Civil Rights and the Black Arts Movement and through to contemporary times. Based in part on the migration out of the rural South and into the northern urban landscape, the 1920s marked a time of explosion in African-American published writing and thought. Intense dialogue and conflict over the role and composition of literature and the writer in many ways set the stage for the kinds of questions that Black intellectuals and writers would continue to circle around, even today:
What is the role and responsibility of the writer to his/her racial or cultural community? On the one hand, this question is literary:
Must literature be "serious"? What about the vernacular, including the role of folktales, oral traditions, and musical expression? On the other, it broadens to incorporate issues of identity politics, "community," and traditions that one does/should identify with; concerns about how and to what extent to continue to address the violent dislocations of a slave past versus a focus on a "new" future; the influences of local, regional, and (inter)national environments and economic class as many African American writers sought to imagine new communities while also searching for a sense of rootedness in a more distinctly African ancestry.
ENGL 511 Problems in Literary Criticism
(3 credits) with Michelle Sauer
The semester's focus will be on two related schools of criticism—Gender Theory & Queer Theory. Our focus will be on the theories themselves, with literature and literary applications being a secondary focus of our classroom experience. Queer theory calls into question the efficacy of traditional categories of sexual identification such as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, and bisexual, and focus instead on a more fluid constituency, who share non-hetero-normative positioning as their identity-forming characteristic. Queer Theory pays particular attention to the tension between non-normative sexualities and the concept of heterosexuality against which they are typically defined. Gender studies focuses on issues of sex and gender in language and society, and often addresses related issues including racial and ethnic oppression, postcolonial societies, and globalization. Queer
Theory and Gender Theory also closely examine the roles that bodies and pleasures play in power constructs, and have therefore substantially reconfigured the ways in which subjectivity gets discussed in contemporary academic settings.
Some topics that we may encounter and/or explore (not an exhaustive list) include:
How assumptions of biological sex, gender, desire and sex shape our society
How language is used to support and shape assumptions and definitions
The intersection of sexuality and identity construction (e.g. self-formation and self-dissolution)
The intersections of race, class, and queer theory
The historical emergence of the concept of sexuality
Fetishism, perversity, fantasy, s/m
Femininities, masculinities, transgender, polymorphic identity
A course in applied criticism. Repeatable when topics vary. 3 credits.
PSYC 521: Diversity Psychology
(3 credits) with Karyn Plumm, online
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an advanced consideration of the major issues in the study of diversity as it applies to the field of psychology.