ENGLISH 298 - Introduction to Literary Studies
Winter 2022, Section 005 - Identity/Crisis: Under-One-Roof Narratives
Instruction Mode: Section 005 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Other Course Info:
Prerequisite for the English major and English Honors Plan.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


What happens to our identities in moments of crisis? What transpires when a motley crew of characters—folks who ordinarily wouldn’t cross paths—find themselves all trapped together under one roof? 

In this course, we will read, watch, and evaluate artistic works that ensnare their protagonists (and audiences) in confined physical spaces: prisons and internment camps, ships at sea, banks being robbed, apartments too cramped, and “safe houses” in a zombie apocalypse. 

What do these instances of corporeal confinement teach us about social and aesthetic confinement—our racial and sexual labels, financial limitations, deadlines and word counts, legal obligations, diagnoses, requirements for citizenship or residency? When authors create art, or when critics create theory, what genres and approaches are available to them, and what rules of grammar, form, and communication do others urge them to follow? How, if at all, might we resist, amend, or escape these constraints? 

These questions are often at the heart of literary interpretation, as well as of literature itself. Our course will use them as a springboard for investigating many of the key terms and techniques of literary criticism, for developing our own critical writing skills, and for exploring the possibilities of an English major at U-M.

Texts we will read include Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor; Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun; Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage; Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine; and Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. We also will watch films by Miloš Forman, Spike Lee, Sidney Lumet, Jonathan Lynn, George A. Romero, and Ousmane Sembène.

Course Requirements:

Course assignments will include regular reading responses, a midterm exam, and three critical essays (of 4–6 pages each).


ENGLISH 298 - Introduction to Literary Studies
Schedule Listing
002 (REC)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
003 (REC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
005 (REC)
 In Person
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM

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