Black Water is both a personal and stylistic meditation on terror as well as an indirect indictment of the terror a powerful political leader has over an innocent civilian.
Course Objectives: This is a global literature course, introducing students to close textual analysis, primary and secondary source research, and creative role-playing to better understand the aesthetic, cultural, political, philosophical, structural, and psychological components of the work. The creative webfolios and oral presentations make up 50% of the grade; participation, attendance, and WEEKLY assignments make up the other 50.Sometimes real life provides so much terror that the reader hides in literature for escape, seeking fantasy, happy endings, funny, harmless stories that eschew the turmoil of an unlivable situation.Often cultures will move through a transformation like New York did after 9/11, moving from the transformation of reality into tragedy with heroic stories, to silly, innocuous escapes, to some social comedy, and finally to stories that deal with fictional terror. When New Yorkers were coughing from the smoke and toxins downtown, they did not go to the movies to see sci fi representations of Manhattan blowing up. But literature is different from film because we can choose when and how often to put the book down.Formalist agenda about character, plot, style/language, theme, setting/geography, descriptive techniques and narrative point of view must be supplemented and developed to deal with how "literature engages with contemporary critical understandings of nationalism, race, gender, sexuality, global multiculturalism..." I would add cyberspace to the list.I also believe that it is stultifying to repress critical reflection on difference to be politically correct.Reading List The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad The Devils by Dostoyevsky All Quiet on the Western Front by Erick Maria Remarque The Penal Colony by Kafka No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre The Myth of Sisyphus, Rains of New York, and The Rebel by Albert Camus Snow by Orhan Pamuk Falling Man and Mao II by Don De Lillo Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer Terrorist by John Updike Saturday by Ian Mc Ewan How to Survive as an Adjunct Professor by Wrestling (Parts II and III) by Julia Keefer Hiroshima by Marguerite Duras Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh Martyr's Crossing by Amy Wilentz The Day the Leader was Killed by Naguib Mahfouz The Yacoubian Building by Alaa al Aswany Night Song by Chris Abani The Water Cure by Percival Everett Gardens of Last Days by Andre Dubus III A Disorder Peculiar to this Country by Ken Kalfus The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud The Road by Cormac Mc Carthy City of Tiny Lights by Patrick Neate The Attack, Swallows of Kabul, and The Sirens of Baghdad by Yasmina Khadra This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar ben Jelloun Bel Canto by Ann Patchett The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi One Man's Bible by Gao Xingjian Weekly poetry of your choice inspired by fear and terror Projects In addition to close textual analysis, you will be expected to develop a project of your own from the beginning of the semester, related to your major, interests, and career objectives. Cluster One: No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre, The Plague by Albert Camus, Cluster Two: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Night by Elie Wiesel Cluster Three: The Day The Leader Was Killed by Naguib Mahfouz, God Dies by the Nile by Nawal el Saadawi, and War in the Land of Egypt by Yusuf al-Qa'id, Un-clashing Civilizations by Julia Keefer, from Cluster Four: Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh, Martyr's Crossing by Amy Wilentz, Satanic Verses or Fury by Salman Rushdie Cluster Five: Red Azalea by Anchee Min, Soul Mountain or One Man's Bible by Gao Xingjian Cluster Six: Mao II by Don De Lillo, News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Hostage by Zayd Mutee'Damaj, Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates Attendance/Participation Policy: The professor is not in a position to evaluate excuses so do not give her any.