Introduction to English Studies
3 Credit Hours
This course seeks to introduce students to the field of English Studies, broadly conceived, with special attention to the ways in which the different disciplines that constitute the field as specifically practiced in Illinois State University’s Department of English (composition and rhetoric, linguistics, technical and creative writing, publishing, literary and cultural studies) interact with and impact each other. English studies is a diversified multi-disciplinary, sometimes anti-disciplinary field. Developing an understanding of it means not only understanding the different disciplines with which it is comprised, but also recognizing and using the interplay among these disciplines in hopes of advancing your knowledge and skills. English Studies models and replicates itself in many ways on its curricular sibling, Cultural Studies. As it has evolved, Cultural Studies has found that writings in philosophy, linguistics, psychoanalysis, politics and social theory, anthropology, feminism, and cinema can be most valuable for understanding and reading texts, that is, interpreting culture and its funding ideology. By questioning disciplinary boundaries, Cultural studies/English studies opens up the possibility of studying culture/texts from a position which asks what is the nature and condition of these texts, discourses, and systems of meaning in general. We will consume and critique selected “texts” taken from drama, cinema, popular music, modern-postmodern prose, popular fiction, advertising, and TV. I anticipate visits from representative members of our Department. We will meditate upon and interrogate notions of coming into being through language, coming “of age,” and coming to “terms” with our ontological, aesthetic, and political position in the new millennium.
1. All students will post weekly responses to readings/lectures/discussion via NetForum
2. A Mid-Term Examination. (Historicized conceptual terminology [short answer] and a 3-5 page essay to be determined)
3. A written proposal of the final research project.
4. A final research paper (10-12 pages)
Grade evaluation will be determined by satisfying numbers 1-3 and the student’s ability to synthesize one or more of the theoretical approaches presented in readings and lectures, and apply such a perspective to a cultural “text” or “site” in a well-written, coherent final essay.