English 260, Literary Approaches to Poverty. Professor Suzanne Keen
While she serves as the chair of the English Department, Professor Keen will not be able to offer this course (2010-2014).
The course examines literary responses to the experience of poverty, imaginative representations of human life in straitened circumstances, and arguments about the causes and consequences of poverty that appear in literature. The critical consideration of dominant paradigms ("virtuous rural poor and criminal urban poor," "the deserving and undeserving poor," "the two nations," "from rags to riches," "the fallen woman," "the abyss") augments reading based in its cultural contexts. Course readings are drawn primarily from the literature of Victorian Britain, but also from the twentieth- and twenty-first-century experience. Preference will be given to students with experience or interest in the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capacity. http://shepherd.wlu.edu/ . Graduates of this Program are not only sensitive to the serious problem of poverty but also know what questions to ask so that their decisions as professionals and engaged citizens will impact favorably on impoverished communities and persons. The academic study of poverty from an interdisciplinary perspective enables students to pursue professional careers with a critical social consciousness, prepares students for objective analysis of ethics and poverty, and inspires a commitment to addressing human capabilities in the community. As a contribution to the Poverty certificate, Literary Approaches to Poverty supports the program objective of developing critical social consciousness through analysis of fictional and nonfictional literary texts. Specifically, learning to recognize dominant paradigms. The seminar counts as Lit GE 3, FDR HL, and for credit towards the English major, in the Later British category. According to the agreement of the English Department, 200-level courses train students to 1) write clear, persuasive analytical essays driven by arguments about texts; 2) read closely, recognizing subtle and complex differences in language use, and 4) broaden the range of literary texts and performances from which they can derive pleasure and edification.
Course writing includes two 6-7 page papers (25% each; 1800-2000 words), an hourly (10%), and an objective final examination (20%), failure of which results in the E grade. Participation in discussion is required (20%).
Ainsworth, William Harrison. Jack Sheppard ( Broadview # ISBN-10: 1551115913)
Danticat, Edwidge, Krik? Krak! (Vintage, # ISBN-10: 067976657X)
Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist , ed. Fred Kaplan. Norton Critical Edition. Norton # ISBN-10: 039396292X
Eggers, Dave. What is the What? (Vintage, # ISBN-10: 0307385906)
Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth (Grove # ISBN-10: 0802141323)
Mayhew, Henry. The London Labour and the London Poor (Penguin Classics # ISBN-10: 0140432418)
Morrison, Arthur. A Child of the Jago (Academy Chicago Publishers # ISBN-10: 0897333926)
Wood, Mrs. Henry. Johnny Ludlow (bound copy will be available from Mrs. O'Connell--tba).
Victorian journalism about the poor.
Workhouses in Britain.
Charles Booth's color-coded poverty map of London.
Kenyan novelist Ngugi laments violence in Kenya (BBC World News).
Poverty, ethnic violence, manipulation of poor by politicians in Africa (BBC Commentary).
Can the Subaltern Speak?
Tu 1/8 Paradigms of the impoverished: the Ratcatcher and the Penny Mouse-Trap Maker
Handout from Mayhew (Pick up before end of fall term from Prof. Keen in P32A)
Th 1/10 Eggers/Deng, What is the What? 1-103
Holocaust Musuem's slide show/video, Our Walls Bear Witness, about the Darfur genocide in the Sudan.
Tu 1/15 Eggers/Deng, What is the What? 104-207
Valentino Achak Deng Foundation.
Th 1/17 Eggers/Deng, What is the What? 211-326
Tu 1/22 Eggers/Deng, What is the What? 329-416
Th 1/24 Eggers/Deng, What is the What? 417-75
Tu 1/29 from Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor 5-91
Th 1/31 from Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor 447-509
Tu 2/5 Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist 17-108
Th 2/7 Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist 109-210. Paper #1, 6-7 pages, due in class.
Tu 2/12 Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist 210-96
Th 2/14 Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist 296-360
Heroic Criminals and Rebels
Tu 2/26 William Henry Ainsworth, Jack Sheppard 51-209
Th 2/28 William Henry Ainsworth, Jack Sheppard 213-311. Complete searchable Newgate Calendar.
Tu 3/4 William Henry Ainsworth, Jack Sheppard , 311-429
Th 3/6 William Henry Ainsworth, Jack Sheppard 429-481
Tu 3/11 Arthur Morrison, A Child of the Jago 1-159
Th 3/13 hourly exam : will not be rescheduled for any reason. Plan accordingly.
Perils of Paternalism and Imperialism
Tu 3/18 Mrs. Henry Wood, Johnny Ludlow , "Losing Lena," "Finding Both of Them," "Major Parrifer," "Coming Home to Him"
Th 3/20 Mrs. Henry Wood, Johnny Ludlow , "Dick Mitchel," "The Beginning of the End," "Jerry's Gazette". Paper #2, 6-7 pages, due in class
Tu 3/25 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth 1-96
Th 3/27 Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth 145-233
Tu 4/1 Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak!, "Children of the Sea," "Nineteen Thirty-Seven," "A Wall of Fire Rising"
Th 4/3 Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak!, "Night Women," "Between the Pool and the Gardenias," "The Missing Peace"
Return to The Shepherd Program homepage.
Return to Prof. Keen's homepage