Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘contemporary literature

A Hypercontemporary Literature Syllabus! And More!

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The first week is already over and I realized I never got around to putting up my syllabi. I’m teaching two classes this semester, an all-Zoom revision of my Tolkien class and an all-Zoom survey of 21st Century Literature that I decided to focus on texts from more or less the last two years. (I also have an independent study on Gender and Sexuality in New Wave SF that’s been terrific; no formal syllabus for that one but we’re reading Le Guin, Russ, Delany, Tiptree, Lem, the Tarkovskys, all your faves.)

Thanks so much to everyone on Facebook and Twitter who flooded me with suggestions for the 21st Century course. In the end I was so overwhelmed by the possibilities I solicited suggestions directly from the students, which allowed me to craft a syllabus that was both inside and outside my usual wheelhouse, hopefully in ways that will be fun for both my students and myself. And we still get to be surely the first class in the world to study Ishiguro’s new book.

The syllabus doesn’t list the films they picked, but our class vote landed on Parasite and Soul for the last two weeks of class, an intriguing dialectic arraying the full possibilities of the human experience…

synchM1/25FIRST DAY OF CLASS
synchW1/27Among Us game and thinkpieces [D2L]
asynchF1/29Giorgio Agamben, “What Is the Contemporary?” [D2L]
    
synchM2/1PLAY/MOVIE: Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me (including bonus material) [Amazon Prime]
synchW2/3What the Constitution Means to Me discussion continues
asynchF2/5POEM: Andrea Gorman, “The Hill We Climb” [D2L] and online reactions 
    
synchM2/8SHORT STORY: N.K. Jemisin, “Emergency Skin” [Amazon Kindle]
synchW2/10SHORT STORY: Ted Chiang, “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom” [online]
asynchF2/12Jemisin and Chiang sandbox assignment
    
synchM2/15COMIC: Chris Ware, Rusty Brown, Vol. 1, part one
synchW2/17COMIC: Chris Ware, Rusty Brown, Vol. 1, part two
asynchF2/19COMIC: Chris Ware, Rusty Brown, Vol. 1, part three sandbox assignment
    
synchM2/22COMIC: Chris Ware, Rusty Brown, Vol. 1, part three discussion
synchW2/24COMIC: Chris Ware, Rusty Brown, Vol. 1, part four
asynchF2/26Haruki Murakami, “Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey” [D2L]optional: Haruki Murakami, “A Shinagawa Monkey” [D2L]
    
synchM3/1Haruki Murakami, “Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey” discussion
synchW3/3Hades [Steam or Nintendo Switch]
asynchF3/5Hades sandbox assignment
    
synchM3/8Hades discussion continues
 W3/10UNIVERSITY MENTAL HEALTH DAY—NO CLASS
asynchF3/12Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future, chapters 1-16
CLOSE READING DUE
    
synchM3/15Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future, chapters 17-30
synchW3/17Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future, chapters 31-45
asynchF3/19Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future, chapters 46-60
synchM3/22Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future, chapters 61-74
synchW3/24Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future, chapters 75-90
asynchF3/26Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future, whole book
    
synchM3/29Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future and responses
synchW3/31Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future and responses
 F4/2GOOD FRIDAY—NO CLASS
    
synchM4/5Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (page range TBD)
synchW4/7Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (page range TBD)
asynchF4/9Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (page range TBD)
    
synchM4/12Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (page range TBD)
synchW4/14Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (page range TBD)
asynchF4/16Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (page range TBD)
MINISTRY RESPONSE DUE
    
synchM4/19CREATIVE NONFICTION: Zadie Smith, Intimations (first half)
synchW4/21CREATIVE NONFICTION: Zadie Smith, Intimations (second half)
asynchF4/23MOVIE or TV SHOW TBD
    
synchM4/26MOVIE or TV SHOW TBD
synchW4/28MOVIE or TV SHOW TBD
asynchF4/30MOVIE or TV SHOW TDB
    
synchM5/3MOVIE or TV SHOW TBD
W5/5UNIVERSITY MENTAL HEALTH DAY—NO CLASS
synchF5/7LAST DAY OF CLASS
INTIMATION DUE

Spring 2021 Course Descriptions on Tolkien and Contemporary Literature!

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ENGLISH 4612/5612: J.R.R. TOLKIEN
DISCOVERY TIER: INDIVIDUALS & COMMUNITIES
ENGLISH PERIODIZATION REQ: POST-1900
MODALITY: FULLY ONLINE

The last decade has seen the hundredth anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s earliest writings on Middle-Earth (The Book of Lost Tales, begun in 1917) alongside the completion of Peter Jackson’s career-defining twenty-year project to adapt The Lord of the Rings for film (1995-2015). This course asks the question: Who is J.R.R. Tolkien, looking backward from the perspective of the twenty-first century? Why have his works, and the genre of heroic fantasy which he remade so completely in his image, remained so intensely popular, even as the world has transformed around them? Our study will primarily trace the history, development, and reception of Tolkien’s incredible magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings (written 1937-1949, published 1954-1956)—but we will also take up Tolkien’s contested place in the literary canon of the twentieth century, the uses and abuses of Tolkien in Jackson’s blockbuster films, the special appeal of Tolkien in politically troubled times, and the ongoing critical interests and investments of Tolkien fandom today. As Tolkien scholars we will also have the privilege of drawing upon the remarkable J.R.R. Tolkien Collection at Raynor Library, which contains the original manuscripts for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Farmer Giles of Ham.

Note: No prior knowledge of Tolkien is required. The course is designed for a mix of first-time readers, frequent re-readers, and people who are returning to the books for the first time as adults after many years away.

Readings: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and selected additional readings

Assignments: final critical paper or creative project; weekly sandbox posts on D2L; two “thinkpiece”-style mini-papers; enthusiastic and informed class participation

ENGLISH 4563/5363: LITERATURES OF THE 21st CENTURY
THEMATIC TITLE: CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE
DISCOVERY TIER: none
ENGLISH PERIODIZATION REQ: POST-1900
MODALITY: FULLY ONLINE

Giorgio Agamben writes: “The poet—the contemporary—must firmly hold his gaze on his own time. But what does he who sees his time actually see? What is this demented grin on the face of his century? … The contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light but rather its darkness.” This course takes up major literary and mass-media works of the twenty-first century, including short stories, comics, novels, films, music videos, and games, with an eye towards understanding Agamben’s future-facing call “to perceive, in the darkness of the present, this light that strives to reach us but cannot.” The book list is still in flux (and suggestions are welcome!) but focuses on works published in the last ten years; major texts will likely include Chris Ware’s Rusty Brown, Vol. 1 (2019), Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2014), N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season (2015), and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun (2021).

Assignments: final critical paper or creative project; weekly sandbox posts on D2L; two “thinkpiece”-style mini-papers; enthusiastic and informed class participation

Written by gerrycanavan

October 4, 2020 at 3:48 pm

Surprise! Tuesday Night Links!

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* CPF: JOSF Special Issue on Disability Studies. CFP: Walking in Other Worlds: Fantastical Journeys of Children’s Agency. Enter for the Nine Dots Prize and Win $100,000 and a Book Deal. io9 Wants Your Short Fiction on the Future of Death.

* Job alert! Assistant Professor, Science Fiction and/or Fantasy Lit.

* SFFTV 11.3 is here, with a special section on Orphan Black!

* What Makes The Good Place So Good? The Good Place and Prison Abolition.

A Premature Attempt at the 21st Century Canon.

* Decanonizing R. Crumb.

* The Sokal hoax squared. Trumpeted to the skies by exactly the sort of people you’d expect, we’re stuck with this silliness for the next twenty years despite the fact that it proves absolutely nothing about anything.

Banksy painting shreds itself moments after being sold for $1.4 million at London auction.

The UN report envisions 116 scenarios in which global temperatures are prevented from rising more than 2°C. In 101 of them, that goal is accomplished by sucking massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—a concept called “negative emissions”—chiefly via BECCS. And in these scenarios to prevent planetary disaster, this would need to happen by midcentury, or even as soon as 2020. Like a pharmaceutical warning label, one footnote warned that such “methods may carry side effects and long-term consequences on a global scale.”… Today that vast future sector of the economy amounts to one working project in the world: a repurposed corn ethanol plant in Decatur, Illinois. Which raises a question: Has the world come to rely on an imaginary technology to save it?

* Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100. Unbelievably, we have leapfrogged from “climate change doesn’t exist” to “it’s so bad there’s nothing we can do about it” without spending even an instant in the middle.

The Unequal Burden of Climate Change. Marx and the Two Crises in New York 2140. Why Growth Can’t Be Green. How San Francisco rebuilds its beaches every year to make you think San Francisco still has beaches. Geoengineering is inevitable.

Seven endangered species that could (almost) fit in a single train carriage.

* The suffocation of democracy.

* The president sure did some crimes.

* How Will Police Solve Murders on Mars?

* And how will they solve securities fraud?

* KSR: The Daring Journey Across Antarctica That Became a Nightmare.

The Bosses’ Constitution: How and why the First Amendment became a weapon for the right.

NC’s Rev. William Barber wins a MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ and its $625K prize. Kelly Link, too!

The Banality of Brett Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh and the Cruelty of Male Bonding. The Things Males Do for Other Men. Brett Kavanaugh Is A Poster Child For The American Aristocracy. Kavanaugh and Trump are part of a larger crisis of elite accountability in America. The SeaWorld Case. The Stolen Memos. A Sham. The High Court Brought Low. The Judge From Central Casting. The Unbearable Dishonesty of Brett Kavanaugh. The Supreme Court Is Headed Back to the 19th Century. In Defense of Court-Packing.

A new authoritarian axis demands an international progressive front.

Canceling Student Debt Would Stimulate the Economy—and Voter Turnout.

Underwater Yet Again, the Carolinas Face a New Reality. Climate Change Wrought Hurricane Florence, This Freak of Nature. Millions of Chickens Have Drowned in Florence’s Floodwaters. Poop. Most of Florence’s victims have died in vehicles, on the road during the storm. For small-town Carolinians, the question isn’t when they’ll rebuild — but whether they will at all. Nearly One Month After Hurricane Florence, This Campus Is Still Picking Up the Pieces. Hurricanes as unveiling. The unequal distribution of catastrophe.

Puerto Rico Has Not Recovered From Hurricane Maria.

* Mike Davis, The Last Man to Know Everything.

* Deaf, disabled Detroit immigrant in US for 34 years faces deportation. Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever. U.S. Loses Track of Another 1,500 Migrant Children, Investigators Find. Migrant Children Moved Under Cover of Darkness to a Texas Tent City. The US Claims It Has A Database To Track Immigrant Kids And Parents. But No One Will Talk About It. ICE arrested undocumented immigrants who came forward to take in undocumented children. Judge’s ruling may force Kansas Army officer’s adopted Korean daughter to leave US.  ICE Agents Arrested Miami Dad After They Found His Lost Wallet, Family Says. A 2-Year-Old’s Day in Immigration Court.

Mr. Weiner, who is married with four children, rebuts the claim. But he acknowledges that he was not a perfect boss. “I’m sad that I might have caused people anguish in the job, or made people unhappy,” he said. “Might have? I did.”

* Somewhere near the bottom of the Star Trek hope-dread hype cycle, but here you go.

* On the plus side, I’m near the top of the Twilight Zone hype cycle.

* Put her in charge. Rules are rules.

How Oregon Trail Took Over the World.

* The short, unhappy careers of NFL place-kickers.

I stopped writing when we saw the new, bad MRI. Rob Delaney on the loss of his two-year-old son, Henry, to cancer.

Geological time versus capitalist time.

The Radical Dissent of Helen Keller.

The Woman Who Made Aquaman a Star.

‘I Work 3 Jobs And Donate Blood Plasma to Pay the Bills.’ This Is What It’s Like to Be a Teacher in America.

* The Case for Unionizing Comedy.

Weeks after opening near San Diego, a model town for treating dementia is set to be replicated around the U.S.

In 2000, a Haitan American man named Patrick Dorismond was standing outside a bar in midtown Manhattan.

“The comic book industry is made up of freelancers. I think a lot of readers don’t understand the extent of that reality,” Cain says. “Certainly any comic book by Marvel or DC, those are the work of freelancers: Colorists, inkers, pencilers, letterers, cover artists, and writers. The editors work for the company. The freelancers don’t. Maybe some of them have exclusive contracts, which means that they get a little bit more money per page, and absolutely no benefits or protections, plus they don’t get to work for anyone else — but basically, every comic you pick up has been made by someone without health insurance. But these freelancers are still expected to behave like employees. They are told what to say and when to say it… I’ve said it before, but this whole industry is a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen. It’s astonishing.”

On Outgrowing David Foster Wallace.

* On raising a non-neurotypical child.

The film’s real heroes are the people, the modern Levellers and Diggers—the gravediggers of capitalism. Robin D. G. Kelley on the greatness of Sorry to Bother You.

* Rick and Morty and the Damaged American Male.

* I’m here only to present the facts.

The Love Song Of Dril And The Boys.

* Breaking: you just can’t win. Everything you know about obesity is wrong.

* Today in our total surveillance dystopia.

* You’re Probably Not Getting That Loan Forgiveness You’re Counting On: Out of almost 30,000 people who applied for a forgiveness program, just 96—less than 1 percent—had their debt erased. And it gets worse.

How I Quit Drinking in a World That Wants Me Drunk.

* From the Archives: the Dungeons and Dragons Epic Level Handbook.

* Of course you had me at Scuba Diving Magazine’s 2018 Underwater Photo Contest Winners. These are really, really good.

* And honestly I think we just can’t accept any visitors right now. We’ve got a lot going on.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 9, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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