Department of English

Rachel Roepke


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E 314L • Cult Classics

34424 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 308
Wr

E 314L  l  9-Cult Classics

 

Instructor:  Roepke, R

Unique #: 34424

Semester: Fall 2019

Cross-lists: none

 

Prerequisites:  One of the following: E 303C (or 603A), RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 303C (or 603A).

 

Description:  “What an excellent day for an exorcism.” —The Exorcist, 1973

Saturday morning cartoons, video games, Dungeons & Dragons, heavy metal: what do these all have in common?  Why, Satan, the Prince of Darkness himself, of course!  During the 1980s, particularly in the United States, widespread alarm rose over the supposed influence of Satan and satanic cults on popular culture—particularly pop culture aimed toward teenagers.  Aided by (now-debunked) confessions of ritual killings and cult kidnappings in the suburbs of major American cities, satanic panic marked a moment of intense cultural anxiety over—well—basically nothing.

 

This course will look at moral panic in 1980s literature—with a heavy dose of film, television, cartoons, and video games to supplement our studies. In addition, we will consider our current obsession with 80s culture, best exemplified by Netflix’s Stranger Things,and what that might tell us about living in 2019.  Students should expect to draw from (and sharpen) their writing and research skills as we study a variety of texts—literature, film, television, comics, video games, and more—to investigate these questions.

 

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines. They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities.  Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.

 

This course contains a writing flag.  The writing assignments in this course are arranged procedurally with a focus on invention, development through instructor and peer feedback, and revision; they will comprise a major part of the final grade.

 

Tentative Texts:  The Handmaids Tale,by Margaret Atwood; Neuromancer, by William Gibson; A Visitation of Spirits, by Randall Kenan; Watchmen, by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins.

 

Requirements & Grading:  Attendance/participation, including possible short assignments – 20%; Short Essay 1 -- 10%; Short Essay 1 revision – 15%; Short Essay 2 – 25%; Short Essay 3 – 30%.

RHE 309K • Rhetoric Of Superheroes

44045 • Fall 2017
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 104
Wr

RHE 309K: Rhetoric of Superheroes 

Over the past century, superhero comics have given us a glimpse into a world we can only dream about: one where anybody—whether by birth or accident—can have super-strength or telekinesis, x-ray vision or maybe just really cool gadgets. But, as we already know, with great power comes great responsibility. Day after day, these heroes struggle to save humanity from every kind of threat; they sweat and sacrifice, often without compensation or acknowledgment, just because they’re the only ones who can. Superheroes have inspired readers with their resolve since the Great Depression and through other difficult times in our country’s history like the Vietnam War or the 9/11 attacks.

Using Marvel’s Captain America as our central example, this course will examine the history, cultural significance, and rhetorical superpowers of the superhero genre and specifically (though not exclusively) in comic books. We will explore critical questions about the role of superheroes, both in the fictional universe of the books and in our own, and how these roles evolve to match contemporary ideologies; analyze how comic books directly and indirectly reflect and respond to current events and ethical concerns; and evaluate superheroes’ (sometimes) enhanced abilities to appeal to wide audiences who have little in common.

 

Each student will choose a superhero to work on throughout the semester. As a writing flag course, students will develop their compositional skills in multiple genres, focusing their assignments on their chosen hero. The course will consist of three units of reading and short writing responses, each unit culminating in a major writing assignment and subsequent revision that incorporates peer and instructor feedback. You should expect to write regularly during the semester, as a substantial part of your grade will come from written work. 

Grades will be determined by a Learning Record, a self-reflective method that will ask students to evaluate their own work in the class in six areas: confidence and independence, skills and strategies, knowledge and understanding, use of prior and emerging experience, reflection, and collaboration.At the end of the course, the students will submit a portfolio of their work throughout the semester as well as an evaluation of their work and a grade proposal. I will review these and assign final grades based on the work and their assessment.

 

Required texts:

  • Faigley, Lester and Jack Selzer. Good Reasons: Researching and Writing Effective Arguments. 6th edition. Pearson, 2014.
  • McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Reprint edition. William Morrow, 1994.
  • Additional texts provided on Canvas or in a course pack.

RHE S309K • Rhetoric Of Superheroes

84940 • Summer 2017
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM WAG 208
Wr

Rhetoric of Superheroes

 

Over the past century, superhero comics have given us a glimpse into a world we can only dream about: one where anybody—whether by birth or accident—can have super-strength or telekinesis, x-ray vision or maybe just really cool gadgets. But, as we already know, with great power comes great responsibility. Day after day, these heroes struggle to save humanity from every kind of threat; they sweat and sacrifice, often without compensation or acknowledgment, just because they’re the only ones who can. Superheroes have inspired readers with their resolve since the Great Depression and through other difficult times in our country’s history like the Vietnam War or the 9/11 attacks.

Using Marvel’s Captain America as our central example, this course will examine the history, cultural significance, and rhetorical superpowers of the superhero genre and specifically (though not exclusively) in comic books. We will explore critical questions about the role of superheroes, both in the fictional universe of the books and in our own, and how these roles evolve to match contemporary ideologies; analyze how comic books directly and indirectly reflect and respond to current events and ethical concerns; and evaluate superheroes’ (sometimes) enhanced abilities to appeal to wide audiences who have little in common.

Each student will choose a superhero to work on throughout the semester. As a writing flag course, students will develop their compositional skills in multiple genres, focusing their assignments on their chosen hero. The course will consist of three units of reading and short writing responses, each unit culminating in a major writing assignment and subsequent revision that incorporates peer and instructor feedback. You should expect to write regularly during the semester, as a substantial part of your grade will come from written work. 

Grades will be determined by a Learning Record, a self-reflective method that will ask students to evaluate their own work in the class in six areas: confidence and independence, skills and strategies, knowledge and understanding, use of prior and emerging experience, reflection, and collaboration.At the end of the course, the students will submit a portfolio of their work throughout the semester as well as an evaluation of their work and a grade proposal. I will review these and assign final grades based on the work and their assessment.

Required texts:

Faigley, Lester and Jack Selzer. Good Reasons: Researching and Writing Effective Arguments. 6th edition. Pearson, 2014.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Reprint edition. William Morrow, 1994.

Additional texts provided on Canvas or in a course pack.

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