This course explores some of the important questions that scholars have raised about what has long been considered the traditional, Western literary canon. How does any literary text come to be considered essential or fundamental reading for English majors and minors? Who makes those decisions, and what are their criteria? How do literary authors engage with (revise, challenge, re-translate) fundamental texts? How have scholars challenged an all-white literary tradition and an all-white tradition of scholarship? Who gets to study and write about literature? How can we engage with so-called fundamental texts today without replicating exclusionary moves? How can engaging with these fundamental texts help us better understand, or think through, our own constructions of race and gender? Our case study as we dig into these questions will be the oldest, most dead white male text in the English literary tradition: Beowulf. Along the way, we will explore the diversity of English department offerings and requirements, beginning with our own and expanding to other institutions. 100-level courses are open to all students. Constructing the Canon courses are cornerstones of the new English curriculum (required beginning with majors/minors in the class of 2025). EGL 190 may alternatively count as a pre-1700 credit for English majors and minors.
Location & Meeting Time
Karp Hall-004+ M/W/F 11:45AM-12:50PM LEC