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ENG 306: Understanding Culture Through Literature

Course Description

This course surveys recent novels, short stories and memoirs from around the world. In an age when the continents are increasingly linked by shared communication, travel, media and commerce, it might seem that we also share a single global culture, but the reality is far more complex. The class examines how local and traditional cultural identities are expressed, negotiated and interrogated in texts by Asian, South American, African, Middle Eastern, and Australian authors. Throughout, the clash between diverse cultures in the contemporary world will be a central focus.

Prerequisites

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Read fiction carefully, with understanding, attention to details, tone, audience, and cultural assumptions.
  2. Respond to prompts in written English that is clear and mechanically sound. Answers will be elaborated with evidence from the readings and supplementary research.
  3. Draw conclusions from the readings.
  4. Reflect on and revise previous assumptions about world literature, history and contemporary affairs.
  5. Show evidence of changes in values and assumptions about literature and a variety of world cultures.
  6. Understand the different expectations of different audiences of readers: scholarly, popular, literary, local, and global.
  7. Access and evaluate research sources for literary study.
  8. Understand cultural and ethnic differences among various communities around the world in contemporary times.
  9. Compare texts from a variety of cultural contexts to draw conclusions about theme, focus, tone, voice, and other literary qualities.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignment(s)

Weight

Weekly Discussions

25%

Written Assignments (Weeks 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6)

25%

Essay (Week 7)

30%

Final Exam (Week 8)

20%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

Available through our online bookstore

  • Aidoo, Ama Ata. Changes: A Love Story. 1991.
  • Lispector, Clarice. The Hour of the Star. 1977.
  • Lucashenko, Melissa. Mullumbimby. 2013.
  • Mda, Zakes. The Heart of Redness. 2000.
  • Murakami, Haruki. After the Quake. 2002.
  • Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. 2004.

Course Schedule

Week

SLOs

Readings and Exercises

Assignment(s)

1

1-9

Topics: Introductions and Contemporary Japanese Literature

  • Readings:
    • After the Quake
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in the Discussions

2

1-9

Topics: Contemporary Australian Literature and Aboriginal Culture

  • Readings:
    • Mullumbimby, pages 1-107
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit Written Assignment 1

3

1-9

Topics: Contemporary Australian Literature and Aboriginal Culture

  • Readings:
    • Mullumbimby, pages 108-280
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit Written Assignment 2

4

1-9

Topics: Graphic Novels as Literature and Contemporary Iranian Culture and Conflict

  • Readings:
    • The Complete Persepolis
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit Written Assignment 3

5

1-9

Topics: International Feminism and the Culture of Ghana

  • Readings:
    • Changes: A Love Story
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit Written Assignment 4

6

1-9

Topics: South African Culture and Speaking Back to History

  • Readings:
    • The Heart of Redness, pages 1-152
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit Written Assignment 5

7

1-9

Topics: South African Culture and Speaking Back to History

  • Readings:
    • The Heart of Redness, pages 153-277
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Submit Essay

8

1-9

Topics: Brazilian Culture and Postmodernism

  • Readings:
    • The Hour of the Star
  • Read assigned material
  • Review the Lecture material
  • Participate in the Discussions
  • Complete Final Exam
  • Complete Course Evaluation

Final Exam

SLOs 1-9

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies and the “Course Policies” link for specific policies related to this course. COSC Resources information regarding available COSC academic support services and resources.