Reading & Composition
Asian American Aliens, Black Bayou Magic, Indigenous Inventions, A.I.D.S.-Inducted Angels. Genre fantasy isn’t often deemed worthy of study in university-level courses, but writers, comics creators, musicians, and dramatists have been engaging the fantastic for a long time. What were they up to? How can we engage with their works? And who decides what’s “fantastic” and what's “real” anyway? These are some of the jumping off points for this course that is rooted in the idea that fantastic fiction is not only worthy of study, but also fun. We'll explore the genre of fantasy from a number of angles--as a self-contained world, an affective response, a historical tradition, a marketing ploy--and tap into meanings and experiences generated by fantastic frames. Throughout, we’ll be keeping tabs on our own experiences engaging the fantastic works on the syllabus to pinpoint what theories of fantasy get right, and what they get wrong.
As part of the University’s R&C requirement, this course aims to give you the conceptual tools to engage and evaluate other’s ideas, as well as to form and present your own in writing. People--whether in a university classroom, on twitter, or at lunch--make arguments, and we will work carefully to understand how that is done and how we can insert ourselves into the conversation: how to ask questions about the texts we read and the things we do; how to think about meaningful details; how to turn observations into argumentative claims; and how to support those claims through close reading, research, engagement with other people’s arguments, and most importantly revision. By the quarter’s end, you will be able to close read diverse works including novels, comics, and music videos; select and enlist evidence in a focused argument; and organize your thoughts into structured piece of writing.