English 436: Major Authors

Our first course featured this week is one that is returning for Spring 2021. English 436: Major Authors will be taught virtually by Dr. Jessica Van Slooten and feature Jane Austen! This is the first time in many years that this monumental author will be featured in the course.

Here’s a little insight about the course from Dr. J:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is enshrined in the literary canon. Her novels continue to be read and endless adapted, most recently in the ITV/PBS series Sanditon. Her iconic character Mr. Darcy continues to be touchstone for romantic heroes. Her fans—known by some as Janeites—are legion and loyal. In this course, we will use cultural studies, feminist, and postcolonial approaches to explore Austen’s novels, legacy, and enduring popularity. We’ll dive deep into her novels, analyzing the significance of genre conventions, and social and historical realities; we’ll also learn some of the arts of Austen’s time, like country dances and visiting etiquette, as well as explore popular adaptations. We’ll engage with challenging questions, like how does the historical reality or British imperialism haunt Austen’s novels? How do her novels replicate and challenge systems of privilege and oppression? Are the endings truly happily-ever-after? Together, we’ll focus on a number of themes and topics in detail. Students will participate in reading activities (like various kinds of note taking) and regular written discussions on Canvas, as well as work on a semester-long project creating literary scholarship for a broad audience. This class is taught asynchronous online, with options to connect with Dr. J and other students via video, audio, or chat.

Check in tomorrow for a look at English 333: Literary Themes!