Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘What Is the Contemporary?

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

This Semester’s Syllabi

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First day at my new job! I’ll tell you this: it’s not half-bad. I’ll be teaching two courses this semester:

Introduction to Literature: Fiction—”Contemporary” American Fiction [PDF]

“Contemporary” is in quotes above because one of the early hooks of the course is Agamben’s essay “What Is the Contemporary?”, which I use to justify a syllabus filled with slipstream science fiction texts I really like: Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, Mary Doria Russell’s Jesuits-in-Space novel The Sparrow, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Ted Chiang’s wonderful short story “Exhalation.”

The Contemporary Period in American Literature, 1945-Present—Comics as Literature [PDF]

This is a new version of the Comics as Literature course I’ve taught once before, now divided roughly equally between superheroes (first third), graphic memoir (second third), and true graphic novels (third third). New on the syllabus this time around: Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s Daytripper and David Mazzucchelli and Paul Karasik’s comic adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass.

Let’s go!