Approved by Faculty Senate

Curriculum Approval Form: New Course

English 221: Topics in World Literature

 

  1. Course Description:

 

1. Catalog Description:

 

A general introduction to literatures which reflect cultures outside of the United States and Great Britain. Each class will have a specific focus. Grade only. Prerequisite: English 111.

2. Course Focus and Objectives:

Statement of Major Focus:

This course provides an introduction to reading literature (primarily in translation) from cultures outside of the United States and Great Britain and using a comparative approach in the study of literature. Students will be exposed to the cultural context of literary traditions and be introduced to literary genres and strategies that are unique to particular cultural traditions.

Course Objectives: bulletStudents will demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values and beliefs as manifest in different cultures. bulletStudents will understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences. bulletStudents will examine different cultures through their various expressions.

  1. Course Outline [Sample Topic: "Portraits of Families across Cultures"]

 

  1. Using the "Family as Metaphor" concept as a vehicle for discussing the following topics:
    1. Family acts as a microcosm of society: Within the family context, larger issues of cultural values, changing attitudes and social conflict can be viewed:
    2. Family acts as a vehicle for understanding how individuals deal with various family/societal roles.
    3. Individuals gain a sense of individual identity within the family context
    4. The depiction of the family reflects a larger worldview and attitude: View of fictional family reflects views of society as a whole.
    5. Family observances of rituals and ceremonies reflect how cultural values are practiced, passed on, and changed within a society (rituals/ceremonies associated with birth/death, marriage, secular and religious holidays, etc.)
  1. The following are some of the recurring themes and topics that emerge from literature to which the "family as metaphor" strategy is applied:
    1. The individual’s struggle to gain a sense of identity: conflicts between the individual, family and society.
    2. The conflict between the desire for the ideal in the face of reality
    3. The problems of facing change
    4. Dealing with loss of innocence
    5. The need for a sense of home
    6. Resolving internal and external conflict
  1. The following literary strategies are defined and then applied to individual works to examine similarities and differences in their use from one cultural tradition to another:
    1. Characterization
    2. Setting
    3. Plot
    4. Genre
    5. Point of View
    6. Diction/Use of language (figures of speech, symbolism, etc.)
  1. The "family as metaphor," the recurring themes, and literary strategies are applied to a variety of works, examined in the context of their cultural tradition:
    1. American traditions and works
    2. East Asian (Chinese/Japanese) tradition and works
    3. Middle Eastern tradition and works
    4. African tradition and works
    5. Latin American tradition and works
  1. Basic Instructional Plan and Methods Utilized:
  2. Lectures, discussion, presentations, and films

  3. Course Requirements:
bulletReadings: quizzes and short writing assignments bulletTwo tests and final exam bulletTwo short essays bulletGroup presentation
  1. Texts:
bulletBiddle and others, Global Voices bulletAmy Tan, Joy Luck Club bulletChinua Achebe, Arrow of God bulletJunichiro Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles bulletLaura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate
  1. References

 

General Resources/Anthologies:

Achebe, Chinua. Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays. New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1990.

Ahmad, Aijaz. In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures. New York: Verso, 1992.

Badawi, Mustafa. Modern Arabic Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993.

Biddle, Arthur, Gloria Bien, Vinay Dharwakder, Eds. Contemporary Literature of Asia.

Upper SaddleRiver, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1996.

Boyce Daview, Carole, and Elaine Savory Fido, Eds. Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean

Women and Caribbean Women and Literature. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1990.

Caws, Mary Ann, Patricia Laurence, and Sarah Bird Wright, Eds. Issues in World

Literature. New York: Harper Collins, 1994.

Caws, Marry Ann and Christopher Prendergst, Eds. The Harper Collins World Reader.

New York: Harper Collins, 1994.

France, Peter, Ed. The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation. Oxford:

Oxford UP, 2000.

Gikandi, Simon. Reading the African Novel. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1987.

Gonzalez Echevarria, Roberto, and Enrique Pupo-Walker. The Cambridge History of

Latin American Literature. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995.

Hamalian, Leo, and John D. Yohannan. New Writing from the Middle East. New York:

Mentor Press, 1978.

Henderson, Gloria Mason, Bill Day, Sandra Stevenson Waller, Eds. Literature and

Ourselves. New York: Longman, 1997.

Hibbett, Howard. Contemporary Japanese Literature: An Anthology of Fiction, Film and

Other Writing since 1945. New York: Knopf, 1977.

Hodgson, Marshall. The Venture of Islam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.

Horowitz, Michael M., Ed. Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean. New York: The

Natural History Press, 1971.

Jameson, Fredric. "Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism."

Social Text (Fall 1986): 65-88.

Keene, Donald. Japanese Literature: An Introduction for Western Readers. New York:

Grove Press, 1990.

Liu, James J. Y. Essentials of Chinese Literary Art. Flushing, NY: Asia Book Corp.,

1979.

Mack, Maynard, Ed. The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. New York: W.W.

Norton & Company, 1977.

Moore, Geraldo. Twelve African Writers. London: Fabver, 1974.

Ngara, Emmanuel. Ideology and Form in African Poetry. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann,

1990.

Nkosi, Lewis. Tasks and Masks: Themes and Styles in African Literature. London:

Heinemann, 1981.

Rodriguez Monegal, Emir, Ed. The Borzoi Anthology of Latin American Literature.

New York: Knopf, 1977.

Rosenberg, Donna, Ed. World Literature: an Anthology of Great short Stories, Drama

and Poetry. Lincolnwood, Illinois: NTC Publishing Group, 1992.

Rye, Marilyn. Making Cultural Connections. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s

Press, 1994.

Said, Edward W. "The Politics of Knowledge." Raritan II:I (Summer 1991): 17-31.

Verburg, Carol J., Ed. Making Contact: Readings from Home and Abroad. Boston:

Bedford Books, 1997.

Westling, Louise and others, Eds. The World of Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice-Hall, 1999.

Video Resources

African Religions: Zulu Zion I, II

Beggar of Soutile. (A story from Ivory Coast)

Buddha in the Land of Kami. (Buddhism in Japan)

Buddhism: Man and Nature

A Family Gathering (Story of Japanese-American experience)

Family Matters (Family in the Middle East)

Heart of the Dragon Series: Marrying (Central role of family/women in China)

Isabel Allende: The Woman’s Voice in Latin American Literature

Japanese Performing Arts: Noh

Joy Luck Club (Story of Chinese-American experience)

South Africa Belongs to Us (Women talk about effects of apartheid)

To Live (Story of Chinese family during the rise of communism)

A Wedding in Galilee (Story about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the viewpoint of a Palestinian family)

  1. Rationale:
  2. This course addresses the expansion of the literary canon of world literature to include post-modern, postcolonial, and historically excluded texts from non-white populations. Interpretation of these texts examines historical, cultural, and political as well as literary contexts.

  3. Notification:
  4. Does not increase or decrease total credits required by an English major or minor.

  5. "G" Course:
  6. Not for graduate students

  7. General Education:

See University Studies proposal: Unity and Diversity / Multicultural Perspectives

 

  University Studies Course Approval

 

Department or Program English

Course Number 221

Semester Hours 3

Frequency of Offering every semester

Course Title Topics in World Literature

Catalog Description A general introduction to literatures which reflect

cultures outside of the United States and

Great Britain. Each class will have a specific

Focus. Grade only. Prerequisite: ENG 111.

This is an existing course previously

Approved by A2C2: No

Proposal Category: Unity & Diversity / Multicultural

Perspectives

Departmental Contact: Ruth Forsythe

Email address: rforsythe@winona.edu

English 221

Topics in World Literature—3 s.h.

A Multicultural Perspectives Arts & Sciences Core Course

Proposal and Rationale

Catalog Description

A general introduction to literatures which reflect cultures outside of the United States and Great Britain. Each class will have a specific focus. Grade only. Prerequisite: English 111.

 

General Course Information

English 221, Topics in World Literature, is an elective course designed for the Multicultural Perspectives core of the WSU University Studies Program. The program is designed to provide a broad base of skills and knowledge to equip students for informed, responsible citizenship in a changing world. The purpose of the Multicultural Perspectives requirement is to develop student’s understanding of diversity (gender, ethnicity, race, etc.) within and between societies. As a course fulfilling the objectives for the Multicultural Perspectives requirement in the Unity and Diversity category, English 221 will promote students’ abilities to: bulletDemonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values and beliefs as manifest in different cultures; bulletUnderstand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas and experiences; bulletExamine different cultures through their various expressions.

 

Rationale

USP course objective (a): Students will demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and

similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different

cultures.

While part of the course will echo the content of any 200-level English class—students will be introduced to the terms and techniques of literary analysis and will be encouraged to read closely and interpret the literature assigned—it is evident that the study of literature originating in cultures which are not native to the majority of WSU students will produce unique challenges to interpretation and analysis. Students will be required to understand the main features of those cultures which have produced the literature under study in order to grasp the themes and in order to comprehend underlying aesthetic assumptions. The course may vary in approach, ranging from an intensive concentration on the literature of one particular culture, such as Russia or Chin, to a broader consideration of the literatures of a number of cutlres, with the unifying principle in this case being either theme or genre. In either case, the course will provide students with an opportunity to consider both similarities and differences in the values and beliefs expressed by different literary traditions (it is assumed there are always at least two cultures under consideration, the unstated one being the American culture in which most students participate).

 

USP Course Objective (b). Students will demonstrate an ability to understand the

extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation

and expression of events, ideas, and experiences.

Through the comparative analysis of literary texts from diverse cultures, students will come to see how cultural differences can influence such elements as narrative, structure, literary style, plot conventions, point of view, or the construction of character and voice. In addition students will be able to see how similar literary themes may be handled with different emphases by different cultures, or how cultural biases can result in different or even completely opposite moral conclusions.

 

USP Course Objective (d). Students will examine different cultures through their various

expressions.

Students will consider literary forms and specific literary works as primary means of understanding cultural differences. Because literature is always an integrated expression of some aspect of the moral, intellectual, historical and aesthetic traditions of the culture in which it arises, the student will come to appreciate the unique value of literary expression as a tool for greater multicultural understanding.

 

English 221-- Topics in World Literature

Portraits of Families Across Cultures: Course Information

(Specific topics and course syllabi will vary by instructor)

 

 

General Course Description:

This course introduces students to reading literature as a way of understanding how writers reflect their particular cultural values and historical context in their works. Special focus will be placed on examining how modern writers across cultures use family structure ("family as metaphor") to help organize what they say and how they express themselves. Examples will be taken from American culture and then compared with examples from a variety of non-western cultures to give students a broader cross-cultural perspective. The focus of the course is to introduce students to the way in which culture shapes literary expression, so the discussion of literary traditions is abbreviated and narrowed to deal with areas related to the topic of modern families. Literary examples from various genres (particularly fiction) will be examined.

 

Course Texts: bulletBiddle and others, Global Voices

Amy Tan, Joy Luck Club

Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God

Junichiro Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles

Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate

Course Requirements: [350 pts. total] bulletReadings: Reading Quizzes and Short Writing Assignments [80 pts]: You are responsible for the readings listed on the syllabus. Periodically there will be unannounced quizzes on the readings and short writing assignments to be completed in class or outside of class. These quizzes and short assignments cannot be made up. bulletEssays: Two essays (2 x 40 pts.) [80 pts. total]: During the course of the semester, you will be assigned to write two essays (3-4 pages each). Topics and instructions for the essays will be given to you later in the semester. The due dates for the essays are included on the instruction sheets. bulletTests: (2 x 40 pts.) [80 pts. total]: The dates for the tests are listed on the syllabus bulletGroup Project/Presentation [60 pts. total]: You will be assigned to work in a group to complete a written project and presentation of one of the works listed on the syllabus. Group assignments and project requirements will be given separately. bulletFinal Exam [50 pts.]: The date for the final exam is listed on the syllabus

 

University Studies Program Course Objectives

The particular topics and assignments used to address the USP objectives are outlined in the Course Outline and the Guide to Literary Analysis [see attachments]

 

USP Course Objective (a): Students will demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures.

This objective is addressed at various points in the course in the following ways: bulletIntroduction to using a comparative approach to reading literature: Introductory lectures explain how the "family as metaphor" can be used as a pattern for looking at literature. Readings and lectures focus on how family can be seen as a microcosm of society, so that within the family context as it is depicted in a literary work it is possible to see the larger issues of cultural, historical, and social context. bulletIntroduction to various cultural traditions (non-western): Readings and lectures will be used to introduce students to the basic cultural/historical/social context of a variety of modern non-western literary traditions. Students will be exposed to how cultural values are formed out of different contexts and how that affects literary expression. In the case of each tradition, students will be introduced to basic principles/forces that have shaped the tradition (for example, in discussing the East Asian tradition, topics such as Confucianism and family structures/roles will be highlighted. Also, there will be a focus on the impact of the lyric poem as the foundation of the East Asian literary tradition). The cultural traditions that will be highlighted are East Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and Latin American. bulletIntroduction to Literary Strategies: Readings and lectures will introduce students to basic literary terms that are commonly used to analyze and discuss literature. The terms will be explored in relation to how various choices of strategies shape the literary expression.

 

USP Course Objective (b): Students will demonstrate an ability to understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences.

This objective is addressed at various points during the course in the following ways: bulletExploration of American cultural values and how they are reflected in modern literary expression: Students will begin by identifying basic American cultural values (a value system that they are already familiar with), and then they will explore how those values are express in literary works, focusing particularly on the use of the "family as metaphor" concept. In addition, the issue of how different cultural/social contexts affect literature will be introduced by examining differences in the literary expression by writers from a variety of American minority groups. bulletExamination of individual cultural traditions and how the cultural/social/historical context is reflected in the literature, focusing particularly on the unique implications for the way in which the "family as metaphor" concept may be applied. Reading and lectures will expose students to each of the cultural traditions. In each case, unique use of literary strategies and genres will be highlighted (for example, in the case of the Japanese tradition, students will explore the impact of understatement and use of nature imagery, along with the impact of traditional Noh drama and haiku poetry). bulletFocus on making comparisons: As students are exposed to the background information and examine individual works for the principles associated with that tradition, they will be encouraged to identify areas of similarity and difference. They will explore the way in which themes are repeated in a variety of ways from one culture to another.

 

USP Course Objective (d): Students will examine different cultures through their various expressions.

This USP objective will be met as students read examples of literature from various traditions. In working with the literature, students will explore how the literary strategies are applied in individual works and how that application is related to culture. The literary example are drawn from the following cultural traditions: bulletEast Asian (Chinese/Japanese) bulletMiddle Eastern bulletAfrican bulletLatin American

 

 Sample Course Schedule

Portraits of Families Across Cultures

Aug. 29-Sept. 5 Intro to course (Course goals; Course methodology; course requirements); Introduction to "Family as Metaphor" concept; Introduction to analyzing literary forms (genres) and applying literary strategies ["Introduction" 1-9; "A Family Gathering" ; "Tender Offer"; Poetry selections; "Separating"]

Sept. 7-14 Introduction to American Family/American Cultural Values

[Joy Luck Club]

Sept. 19-26 Introduction to East Asian Culture--Chinese Culture:

[Family Background 533 "To Live" (film); "Glory’s by Blossom Bridge" 739; "Why Parents Worry" 701]

Sept 28-Oct. 3 Introduction to East Asia Culture--Japan Culture: Family

["Boxcar of Chrysanthemums" 768; "Yoroboshi" 786; "Up in a Tree" (handout) Kawabata stories 761]

Oct. 5-10 Some Prefer Nettles [Book to be read by Oct. 5]

 

Oct. 12 Test

Oct. 17-19 Introduction to African Culture: Family

["Background" 273; "The Collector of Treasures" 288; "Death of a Son" 391; "Something to Talk About on the Way to the Funeral" 304]

Oct. 24 "A Strong Breed" 339

Oct 26-31 Arrow of God [Book to be read by Oct. 26]

Nov. 2-14 Introduction to Middle Eastern Culture: Family

["Background" 409 "Wedding in Galilee" (film)]

Nov. 16 ["An Arab Woman Saying No" (handout); "There Is No Exile" 420; "The Doum

Tree of Wad Hamid" 512]

Nov. 21 Test

Nov. 28-30 Introduction to Latin America Culture: Family

[Background 13-20, 133-142; Like Water for Chocolate]

Dec. 5 ["Girl" 23; "The Day They Burned the Books" 52]

Dec. 7 ["The Third Bank of the River" 155; "The Youngest Doll" 264]

 

Final Exam:

 

Guide to Literary Analysis

Portraits of Family Across Cultures

 

Family in Literature: "Family as Metaphor"

Using the "Family as Metaphor" concept as a vehicle for discussing the following topics: bulletFamily acts as a microcosm of society: Within the family context, larger issues of cultural values, changing attitudes and social conflict can be viewed: bulletCultural context (role and impact of cultural values; language; religious/philosophical foundations) bulletHistorical context (impact of historical events) bulletSocial Context: Social Problems/Issues (dealing with change: modernization, postcolonialism, changing role of women, etc.) bulletFamily acts as a vehicle for understanding how individuals deal with roles: bulletFamily members learn/practice roles within the family: characters establish their sense of identity in this context bulletFamily members change roles over time: characters face change, passing of time in this context bulletFamily members clash in their roles: characters deal with conflict because of their roles; pairing characters by role reveals sources of conflict bulletIndividuals gain a sense of individual identity within the family context: bulletThe depiction of the family reflects a larger worldview and attitude: View of fictional family reflects views of society as a whole: bulletTone: hope/disillusionment bulletConflict between ideal and real (romantic/realistic approach) bulletElements of tragic versus comic bulletFamily observances of rituals and ceremonies reflect how cultural values are practiced, passed on, and changed within a society (rituals/ceremonies associated with birth/death, marriage, funerals, holidays, religion, etc.)

 

Recurring Themes/Topics:

The following are some of the recurring themes and topics that emerge from literature to which the "family as metaphor" strategy is applied: bulletThe individual’s struggle to gain a sense of identity: conflicts between the individual and family and society bulletThe conflict between the desire for the ideal in the face of the reality bulletThe problems of facing change: impact of historical events; changing family/social structure; changing role of women; facing social problems; dealing with changing cultural values/rituals bulletDealing with the loss of innocence: dealing with the transition from child to adult bulletThe need for a sense of home: problems faced by individuals and societies/nations as a whole (including such issues as colonialism/postcolonialism) bulletResolving internal and external conflict

 

 

Analyzing Literature: Using Literary Strategies:

The following are terms that are used in discussing individual works of literature:

 

Element Strategy Implementation Options/Method

Characters: Characterization actions, dialogue/internal monologue, interactions,

reactions; flat/rounded characters; static/dynamic

characters; change--epiphany; conflict--protagonist/antagonist

Situation: Setting Time    Place

Events: Plot Change

Conflict/Tension: climax; resolution

Shape: Genre novel, short fiction, drama, poetry, film

Organization: structure: beginning/end; chapters/divisions;

use of myth/allegory; use of motifs

Angle: Point of View first person/third person; limited/omniscient;

shifting point of view; tone (irony)

Language: Diction word choice--sensual appeal; imagery; symbolism;

figurative language (simile/metaphor); mood

 

Bibliography for English 221 (Portraits of Family across Cultures)

General Resources/Anthologies:

Achebe, Chinua. Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays. New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1990.

Ahmad, Aijaz. In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures. New York: Verso, 1992.

Badawi, Mustafa. Modern Arabic Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993.

Biddle, Arthur, Gloria Bien, Vinay Dharwakder, Eds. Contemporary Literature of Asia. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1996.

Boyce Daview, Carole, and Elaine Savory Fido, Eds. Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and
Caribbean Women and Literature. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1990.

Caws, Mary Ann, Patricia Laurence, and Sarah Bird Wright, Eds. Issues in World Literature. New York:
Harper Collins, 1994.

Caws, Marry Ann and Christopher Prendergst, Eds. The Harper Collins World Reader. New York: Harper
Collins, 1994.

France, Peter, Ed. The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000.

Gikandi, Simon. Reading the African Novel. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1987.

Gonzalez Echevarria, Roberto, and Enrique Pupo-Walker. The Cambridge History of Latin American
Literature. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995.

Hamalian, Leo, and John D. Yohannan. New Writing from the Middle East. New York: Mentor Press,
1978.

Henderson, Gloria Mason, Bill Day, Sandra Stevenson Waller, Eds. Literature and Ourselves. New York:
Longman, 1997.

Hibbett, Howard. Contemporary Japanese Literature: An Anthology of Fiction, Film and Other Writing

since 1945. New York: Knopf, 1977.

Hodgson, Marshall. The Venture of Islam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.

Horowitz, Michael M., Ed. Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean. New York: The Natural History Press,
1971.

Jameson, Fredric. "Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism." Social Text
(Fall 1986): 65-88.

Keene, Donald. Japanese Literature: An Introduction for Western Readers. New York: Grove Press,
1990.

Liu, James J. Y. Essentials of Chinese Literary Art. Flushing, NY: Asia Book Corp., 1979.

Mack, Maynard, Ed. The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. New York: W.W. Norton & Company,
1977.

Moore, Geraldo. Twelve African Writers. London: Fabver, 1974.

Ngara, Emmanuel. Ideology and Form in African Poetry. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1990.

Nkosi, Lewis. Tasks and Masks: Themes and Styles in African Literature. London: Heinemann, 1981.

Rodriguez Monegal, Emir, Ed. The Borzoi Anthology of Latin American Literature. New York: Knopf,
1977.

Rosenberg, Donna, Ed. World Literature: an Anthology of Great short Stories, Drama, and Poetry.

Lincolnwood, Illinois: NTC Publishing Group, 1992.

Rye, Marilyn. Making Cultural Connections. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

Said, Edward W. "The Politics of Knowledge." Raritan II:I (Summer 1991): 17-31.

Verburg, Carol J., Ed. Making Contact: Readings from Home and Abroad. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997.

Westling, Louise and others, Eds. The World of Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1999.

 

Video Resources

African Religions: Zulu Zion I, II

Beggar of Soutile. (A story from Ivory Coast)

Buddha in the Land of Kami. (Buddhism in Japan)

Buddhism: Man and Nature

A Family Gathering (Story of Japanese-American experience)

Family Matters (Family in the Middle East)

Heart of the Dragon Series: Marrying (Central role of family/women in China)

Isabel Allende: The Woman’s Voice in Latin American Literature

Japanese Performing Arts: Noh

Joy Luck Club (Story of Chinese-American experience)

South Africa Belongs to Us (Women talk about effects of apartheid)

To Live (Story of Chinese family during the rise of communism)

A Wedding in Galilee (Story about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the viewpoint of a Palestinian family)