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Current Courses

Graduate Courses

Spring 2012 Course Offerings

6200-01: Seminar in Children’s Literature: Graphic Novels
(Mondays, 7:00-9:30) Smith, Kate Capshaw
This course will focus on the history and theory of sequential art.  Landmark texts including Spiegelman’s Maus and Satrapi’s Persepolis, among others.  Tentative list, Jessica Abel, LaPerdida; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home; Daniel Clowes, Ghost World; Howard Cruse, Struck Rubber Baby; Neil Gaiman, The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes; Derek Kirk Kim, Same Difference; Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen; Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret; Art Spiegelman, Maus I: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began; Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese.  Coursepack of secondary readings/theory, including texts by Scott McCloud, Will Eisner, Bradford Wright, David Carrier, Charles Hatfield, and others.

 

Fall 2011 Course Offerings

CLCS 5301 – 001: Word and Image
(TU 3:00-6:00) Margaret Higonnet

 

Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2012 Course Offerings

3420 Children’s Literature
3420-01 (MW 4:30-5:45) Stabell, Ivy
This course will be a critical survey of children’s literature written in English, including canonical selections of fairy tales, novels, poetry, drama, picture and pop-up books, as well as contemporary works, popular texts, nonfiction, and works by women and minority writers. We will also examine some classic and contemporary political, aesthetic, and cultural controversies in children's literature: banned and controversial books, popular and heavily merchandised texts, competing allegories, American politics and history in children's literature. Our focus will be critical, rather than pedagogical; our discussions will engage in textual analysis and literary criticism rather than considering how these texts might be taught. Texts may include Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, J.M. Barrie‘s Peter Pan, Phillip Hoose's Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass, Edward Bloor‘s Tangerine, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, and M.T. Anderson’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, as well as critical readings from Perry Nodelman, Bruno Bettelheim, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Ann Phillips, Philip Nel, and Michelle Abate. Course requirements will include lively class participation, quizzes, 1-2 papers, a midterm and final exam, and potentially one presentation. Interested students should feel free to email me with any questions at ivy.linton.stabell@uconn.edu

 

Fall 2011 Course Offerings

Children’s Literature
3420-01 (Tu Th 9:30-10:45) Higonnet, Margaret
This survey of the modern canon of children’s literature analyzes the development of writing for children that accompanies changing views of “the child,” from John Locke to Sigmund Freud.  We begin with a selection of great fairy tales and their variants, next to a few interpretations of the cultural meaning of fairy tales.  Those oral roots of narrative intersect with the orality of nursery rhymes and narrative for the pre-literate child.  By the eighteenth century, the illustrated book begins to emerge, especially as a way to catch the interest of the child learning to read.  And in the nineteenth century, technological change enables the “Golden Age” of children’s books: elegant “toybooks” by Caldecott and Crane, as well as masterpieces like Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden.  Twentieth-century novels that turn to serious themes will include Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, but we will also explore aesthetically fascinating picture books for younger children that innovate in forma s well as a graphic novel for older readers.  We will ask questions about the construction of the identity of the “child” and the social agenda of those who use the image of the child.  Who reads children’s literature?  Does children’s literature “teach” or “entertain”?  How do words and images collaborate in different kinds of texts?  How would you present your own favorite children’s book?

3420-02 (M 6:00-8:30) Smith, Kate Capshaw
This course examines the features of the modern canon of children’s literature, analyzing children’s books both as works of art and as powerful cultural influences.  The class begins by studying landmark fairy tales like Cinderella, Puss-in-Boots, and Sleeping Beauty, noting their roots in oral culture as well as their significance to contemporary child readers.  We will then turn to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the “golden age” of children’s literature.  By examining Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Daddy Long-Legs,and Winnie-the-Pooh, we will gain a sense of the historical and ideological currents that fashioned this important moment in children’s literary history.  We will examine the interaction of text and image in Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are.  We will also investigate the role of children’s literature to the Harlem Renaissance by reading poems by Langston Hughes, pageants by schoolteachers, and didactic material by prominent religious and political figures.  Finally, we will explore modern canon formation by considering issues of ethnicity, taboo, and form in contemporary children’s books.  Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust, Walter Dean Myers’s Monster, Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and M.T. Anderson’s Feed should offer much fodder for lively discussions about our vision of modern children’s literature

3711: Creative Writing for Child and Young Adult Readers
3711-01 (W 6:00-8:30) Shea, Pegi
This course offers instruction in writing books for young readers, from board books, preschool concept books, poetry and picture books to easy readers, nonfiction, middle grade, and young adult novels.  Instruction is also given on preparing and submitting books for publication.

 

Past Courses

Graduate Courses

English 6200 - 001: African American Literature and Childhood
Katharine Capshaw Smith

This course explores representations of black childhood within particular historical moments, including enslavement, the fin de siècle, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movements, and the contemporary period.  Our texts are various: popular culture materials (everything from nineteenth-century minstrelsy to modern documentary film), etiquette books, magazines, photographs, poetry, political writing, and novels.  Reading “children’s” texts alongside “adult” texts will offer us a sense of their common narratives and goals, as well as of the specific demands that black children’s literature places on its readers.

In investigating representations of black childhood, we will be particularly attentive to visual culture (photographs and illustrations) and to political investments in children’s bodies.  We will consider sentimentality and black childhood (paying special attention to the domestic 1950s) and explore the tensions between fictional and autobiographical representations of “coming of age.”

English 497-08
Ethnic American Children’s Literature
Kate Capshaw Smith

CLCourse Description:
Although many ethnic groups in the United States have a rich historical tradition of literature for children, this course on ethnic American children’s literature focuses on contemporary texts. We will ask the following questions: How does ethnic children’s literature fit into the literary tradition? How does it fit into ethnic studies? What happens when “major” ethnic writers for adults also write for children? Does the children’s work share common thematic, stylistic, aesthetic, and political purposes with the adult? Are dividing lines between an ethnic writer’s “children’s” work and “adult” work fixed? What is the place in the academy of ethnic writers who publish mainly for a young audience? Are their purposes distinct from “crossover” writers? Writers include Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, Virginia Hamilton, Linda Hogan, Francisco Jimenez, Cynthia Kadohata, Pat Mora, Nicholasa Mohr, Walter Dean Myers, An Na, and Gene Luen Yang.

CS 5301-001: Word and Image
Margaret Higonnet

Ubdergraduate Courses

Undergraduate Courses

NGL 3420: Children’s Literature

This course is will be a critical survey of children’s literature written in English, including canonical selections of folk and fairy tales, novels, poetry, drama, picture and pop-up books, as well as contemporary works, popular texts, nonfiction, and works by women and minority writers. Our focus will be critical, rather than pedagogical; our discussions will engage in textual analysis and literary criticism rather than considering how these texts might be taught. Texts may include Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Lawrence Yep’s Dragonwings, Marilyn Nelson’s Carver, Edward Bloor’s Tangerine, and M.T. Anderson’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing. Course requirements will include lively class participation, quizzes, reading responses, 1-2 papers, a final exam, and potentially one presentation.

3422 Young Adult Literature
3422-01 (TUTH 5-6:15) Abbye Meyer

ENGL 3711:  Creative Writing for Child and Young Adult Readers
(W 6:00-8:30) Pegi Deitz Shea

This workshop course enables students to draft and revise original children’s texts in the major genres, including picture books, fiction, and poetry. Shea is the author of Tangled Threads (2003), the winner of the Connecticut Book Award for Children’s Literature.  She has published more than 250 articles, essays, and poems for adults and children.  Her latest books include The Boy and the Spell (2007), Patience Wright, America’s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy (2007), and Noah Webster: Weaver of Words (2009).

Children’s Literature, English 200
Emily Cormier

Children’s Literature, English 3420
Kate Capshaw Smith

This course examines the features of the modern canon of children’s literature, analyzing children’s books both as works of art and as powerful cultural influences. The class begins by studying landmark fairy tales like Cinderella, Puss-in-Boots, and Sleeping Beauty, noting their roots in oral culture as well as their significance to contemporary child readers. We will then turn to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the “golden age” of children’s literature. By examining Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Daddy Long-Legs,and Winnie-the-Pooh, we will gain a sense of the historical and ideological currents that fashioned this important moment in children’s literary history. We will examine the interaction of text and image in Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are. We will also investigate the role of children’s literature to the Harlem Renaissance by reading poems by Langston Hughes, pageants by schoolteachers, and didactic material by prominent religious and political figures. Finally, we will explore modern canon formation by considering issues of ethnicity, taboo, and form in contemporary children’s books. Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust, Walter Dean Myers’s Monster, Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone should offer much fodder for lively discussions about our vision of modern children’s literature. Please note that this is not a course in pedagogical strategy. Although we may discuss the interaction of text and reader, we will not concentrate on teaching practices. The course is intended to expand your critical appreciation of children’s literature.

Young Adult Literature, English 3422
Emily Cormier

This course examines literary constructions of adolescence.  We will explore questions like, “What constitutes a young adult text?,” “Can or should there be a canon of young adult literature?,” “How does young adult literature cross boundaries of audience and genre?,” “How does young adult literature differ from children’s literature?,” and “How do social and political contexts influence the construction and reception of young adult texts?”  We will investigate issues of collective and individual identity formation, dimensions of young adult texts (like violence and sexuality) that rupture conventions of children’s literature and kindle censorship, and problems of generic boundaries and border crossings.  We will pay particular attention to the origins of young adult literature as a genre, as well as to ethnicity and gender in contemporary books.  We will be sensitive to the historical and cultural context for each text.  Our readings will include critical and theoretical texts in addition to primary sources.