The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Elon Lang


LecturerPhD, Washington University in St. Louis

Lecturer, Humanities Honors Program
Elon Lang

Contact

Interests


Medieval Studies, English Literature, Textual Studies, Digital Humanities

Biography


Dr. Elon Lang (Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis) is interested in the intersection between the study of manuscripts and book production and the study of medieval reading and performance practices. His research is currently focused on Thomas Hoccleve, fifteenth-century English poet, whose works demonstrate the kind of "poetics of reading" that forms at such an intersection owing to their survival in Hoccleve's own handwriting - a unique circumstance for a medieval writer. Dr. Lang is editing a digital archive of material for the study of Hoccleve's texts that is part of the Texas Digital Library and is working to transform his dissertation into journal articles on Hoccleve.  He teaches literature topics classes and researched-writing for both CTI and LAH. He regularly teaches CTI 350 "Masterworks of World Drama" focused on the theme of justice and LAH 305 "Reacting to the Past." He also regularly teaches CTI 345 "Satan and the Idea of Evil," which surveys the literary history of the Devil from the Bible through Dante, medieval mystery plays, Marlowe, Milton, Blake, Goethe, Baudelaire, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, and others. In other courses, he has offered UT students a chance to explore the ethics and ideals of leaders portrayed in literature about monarchs from King Arthur to Queen Elizabeth I, to study “strong women” in classic Western dramas from Aeschylus to Shakespeare to Ibsen, and to learn to do original research on rare books and performing arts collections at the Harry Ransom Center. In June 2015 he is piloting a summer UTEACH workshop for local high school English teachers called “Teaching from the Archives” utilizing resources at the Ransom Center and sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Center.

Courses


CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

33815 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM MEZ 1.212

Course Description and Objectives:

In our media-saturated culture, we encounter drama everyday on the various screens we watch as we live our modern lives. Although these shows and films may seem far removed from the theatrical stage, when we watch these dramas we are participating in a phenomenon that has been a principle means by which Western culture has described and perpetuated itself for over 2,500 years.

 

In this course we will focus our investigation of drama upon a perennial subject of the dramatic arts: the nature and pursuit of justice. We will seek to examine how different playwrights from different eras of Western literature have balanced elements like mercy, vengeance, fairness, due process, authority, altruism, noble character, prejudice, public opinion, and public service in their definitions of justice. Students will consider whether the dramas in selected ancient, Renaissance, and modern plays present idealistic, realistic, or polemical portrayals of how “justice is served.” We will discuss whether these dramas critique or celebrate the courts and other means society uses to define justice, to defend it, and to enforce laws and codes of conduct. We will bookend the semester by examining the way justice is portrayed being served by the American criminal justice system in contemporary pop-culture dramas (e.g. Law and Order) and the way drama instruction is used in some American prisons to facilitate rehabilitation among inmates.

 

Since no single course can exhaustively cover the subject of “dramatic masterworks in the Western tradition,” we will emphasize two major goals: (1) to develop critical and analytical skills that can be applied to all forms of literary art, (2) to broaden an understanding of drama’s civic value that can be gained from teaching and studying the classics or using drama as a pedagogical tool. To this end, course requirements will include close reading and in-class discussion of plays, light exploration of philosophies of justice, attendance at one assigned evening performance of a Shakespeare play presented by Actors from the London Stage, informal acting, written analysis, and (particularly for UTEACH student) the option to develop your own lesson plans.

 

Possible readings and video studies will include selections from:

  • Aeschylus, The Oresteia
  • Aristotle, Poetics and Nichomachean Ethics
  • Sophocles, Oedipus the King
  • Euripedes, Herakles
  • The York Mystery Plays
  • Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merchant of Venice, The Tempest
  • Henrik Ibsen, Pillars of the Community
  • Arthur Miller, The Crucible
  • Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men
  • David Mamet, Oleanna
  • Law and Order
  • Shakespeare Behind Bars

 

 Course Requirements and Evaluation: 

Participation, Preparation, Punctuality: 10 pts. 

  • Regular class attendance and adherence to the policy in the syllabus, careful preparation of the readings, timely submission of all written work, and active participation in class discussions and activities.

Written Assignments: 50 pts.

  • Four essays of various lengths will be assigned totaling 15-20 pages, the second and fourth of these will be revised, expanded, and resubmitted after receiving feedback from both peers and the instructor.

Dramatic Reading: 10 pts.

  • In small groups, students will meet with the instructor to select a section of dialogue from a text being covered during their assigned week. Each group will practice their dialogue outside class and present it dramatically in an out-of-class meeting with the instructor.

Exams: 30 pts. (15 pts. midterm, 15 pts. final)

  • The primary focus of both exams will be to assess students’ intellectual engagement with the texts (i.e. understanding of key concepts, synthesis of ideas based upon close reading of the text, etc.). Exams will also assess thoroughness of reading, retention of reading, and engagement with lecture content and class discussions.

 

Your total score for the class will then be calculated as a percentage of 100 points possible, and placed on a standard letter grading scale: A=93+, A-=90-92, B+=87-89, B=83-86, B-=80-82, C+=77-79, C=73-76, C-70-72, D+=67-69, D=63-66, D-=60-62, F=59 points or fewer.

CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

33820 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM MEZ 1.212

Course Description and Objectives:

In our media-saturated culture, we encounter drama everyday on the various screens we watch as we live our modern lives. Although these shows and films may seem far removed from the theatrical stage, when we watch these dramas we are participating in a phenomenon that has been a principle means by which Western culture has described and perpetuated itself for over 2,500 years.

 

In this course we will focus our investigation of drama upon a perennial subject of the dramatic arts: the nature and pursuit of justice. We will seek to examine how different playwrights from different eras of Western literature have balanced elements like mercy, vengeance, fairness, due process, authority, altruism, noble character, prejudice, public opinion, and public service in their definitions of justice. Students will consider whether the dramas in selected ancient, Renaissance, and modern plays present idealistic, realistic, or polemical portrayals of how “justice is served.” We will discuss whether these dramas critique or celebrate the courts and other means society uses to define justice, to defend it, and to enforce laws and codes of conduct. We will bookend the semester by examining the way justice is portrayed being served by the American criminal justice system in contemporary pop-culture dramas (e.g. Law and Order) and the way drama instruction is used in some American prisons to facilitate rehabilitation among inmates.

 

Since no single course can exhaustively cover the subject of “dramatic masterworks in the Western tradition,” we will emphasize two major goals: (1) to develop critical and analytical skills that can be applied to all forms of literary art, (2) to broaden an understanding of drama’s civic value that can be gained from teaching and studying the classics or using drama as a pedagogical tool. To this end, course requirements will include close reading and in-class discussion of plays, light exploration of philosophies of justice, attendance at one assigned evening performance of a Shakespeare play presented by Actors from the London Stage, informal acting, written analysis, and (particularly for UTEACH student) the option to develop your own lesson plans.

 

Possible readings and video studies will include selections from:

  • Aeschylus, The Oresteia
  • Aristotle, Poetics and Nichomachean Ethics
  • Sophocles, Oedipus the King
  • Euripedes, Herakles
  • The York Mystery Plays
  • Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merchant of Venice, The Tempest
  • Henrik Ibsen, Pillars of the Community
  • Arthur Miller, The Crucible
  • Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men
  • David Mamet, Oleanna
  • Law and Order
  • Shakespeare Behind Bars

 

 Course Requirements and Evaluation: 

Participation, Preparation, Punctuality: 10 pts. 

  • Regular class attendance and adherence to the policy in the syllabus, careful preparation of the readings, timely submission of all written work, and active participation in class discussions and activities.

Written Assignments: 50 pts.

  • Four essays of various lengths will be assigned totaling 15-20 pages, the second and fourth of these will be revised, expanded, and resubmitted after receiving feedback from both peers and the instructor.

Dramatic Reading: 10 pts.

  • In small groups, students will meet with the instructor to select a section of dialogue from a text being covered during their assigned week. Each group will practice their dialogue outside class and present it dramatically in an out-of-class meeting with the instructor.

Exams: 30 pts. (15 pts. midterm, 15 pts. final)

  • The primary focus of both exams will be to assess students’ intellectual engagement with the texts (i.e. understanding of key concepts, synthesis of ideas based upon close reading of the text, etc.). Exams will also assess thoroughness of reading, retention of reading, and engagement with lecture content and class discussions.

 

Your total score for the class will then be calculated as a percentage of 100 points possible, and placed on a standard letter grading scale: A=93+, A-=90-92, B+=87-89, B=83-86, B-=80-82, C+=77-79, C=73-76, C-70-72, D+=67-69, D=63-66, D-=60-62, F=59 points or fewer.

LAH 350 • Drama In The Archives

29110 • Spring 2016
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 0.122

 

Have you ever wondered how a play or film might have turned out differently? The production of a dramatic performance is by nature ephemeral and fleeting—years of planning and preparation can culminate in just a couple hours of activity and observation shared between a group of actors and their audience. Even when the dramatic performance results in a film that can be preserved and replayed for years, its production process is by nature hidden from the audience’s view.  It does not, however, disappear—it leaves significant traces in the form of scripts, drafts, notes, drawings, photos, playbills, reviews, correspondence, recordings, costumes, criticism, editions, and more. For some of the greatest dramatists and filmmakers in history, tracing such material leads to our very own Harry Ransom Center on the UT campus. 

In this class, students will explore the related questions: What can we learn about a piece of drama from its archival record? What do archival materials reveal to have changed in the course of a drama’s development and then over time in its production history? To address these questions, students will read and view representative samples from the Ransom Center’s strong holdings in modern and contemporary Anglophone drama, plus some Shakespeare. (Of Shakespeare’s plays, we might include the different published versions of King Lear in the first seventeenth-century editions of the text; Modern/Contemporary works might include those of Arthur Miller, David Mamet, Tennessee Williams, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, David O. Selznick, and Robert DeNiro.) While learning archival research methods, students will train their analytical senses to notice plays’ character development ambiguities and implicit nuances of plot and cultural commentary—many of which can manifest variously in performances. Then, they will explore what further complexities can be introduced into the interpretation of selected dramas by examining records of playwrights, actors, producers, costume companies, designers, film directors, etc. in the archives at the Ransom Center.

Objectives:

Beyond gaining familiarity with several significant examples of Anglophone drama and the cultural contexts in which their creators were situated, students will learn about the impact the study of textual variation, publication history, production history, and archival research can have on literary, theater, or film history arguments. Students will work to sharpen their analytical writing and scholarly research skills through several targeted close reading exercises involving descriptions and comparisons of primary sources and surveys of published secondary critical and historical research material. Students will gain skills in the study of Shakespeare and modern/contemporary English-language playwrights, screenwriters, actors, and participants in productions. They will also gain familiarity with how to go about pursuing archival research through practical examples presented in class and at the HRC, and through an independent final research project focused on an item or small group of items held there. 

Assignments and Grading: 

Class participation, regular meetings with instructor, presentation of work to class                       10%

Essay #1: Comparative close reading of two versions of a Shakespeare text                                15%

Essay #2: Study of an historical production (or film) of a Shakespeare play                                 15%

Essay #3: Response to a scholarly essay on a modern/contemporary play/film                             15%

Essay #4: Analysis of potential vs. made choices in a performance or production                          15%

Research Project:                                                                                                                    30%

Discovery and description of an item or set of items in the HRC that allow you to make a claim about the interpretation of a work in the context of its production and/or documentary history. Plus a thorough explanation of that claim and why it is significant for the analysis of the work, its dramatists, actors, and history.

Class Format and Selected Readings:

For roughly the first 4 weeks of the course, students will become oriented toward scholarly research in the Harry Ransom Center and University Libraries, while reading examples of archival research and essays on topics related to archival research practices and goals in theater, literature, and film. During this time, the first subject we’ll analyze from an archival perspective will be Shakespeare, since his works transcend boundaries between humanities disciplines. Students will become familiar with the range of materials the HRC houses pertaining to Shakespeare and all sorts of drama by viewing examples of varying seventeenth-century printed editions of plays like King Lear, costume designs from productions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (largely in the Simmons Collection of Costume and Production Design), and adaptations by other writers (both published, like Stoppard’s Shakespeare in Love, and unpublished like an adaptation of Macbeth rewritten by T.H. White). The first two essays will be due during this section of the class. 

In the next 6-8 weeks of the course, readings will be drawn from the works of modern and contemporary dramatists who are featured prominently in HRC collections that reveal the variable creative processes that have informed a work’s composition and history of performance. Each 3-4 class periods, the class will read one play, learn about the author and its production history, and peruse materials at the Ransom Center related to that play that have been selected by the instructor. During this portion of the class, students will sign up to develop and present their third and fourth essays on two of the plays during the weeks in which they will be studied.

During the final 3-5 weeks of the course, students will develop and write their final research projects. Full class meetings will be reduced to once-per-week or fewer to allow students more time to work in the HRC and set up meetings with the instructor. 

Readings and viewings of modern/contemporary works may be drawn from:

David Mamet, e.g. Oleanna, which underwent significant changes after its initial performances to make its social criticism more ambiguous)

Arthur Miller, e.g. The Crucible, Death of a Salesman

Tennessee Williams, e.g. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Glass Menagerie, Streetcar Named Desire (which all started off with really terrible titles)

Samuel Beckett, e.g. Waiting for Godot

Tom Stoppard, e.g. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

G.B. Shaw, e.g. Pygmalion

Robert DeNiro, e.g. A Bronx Tale, Goodfellas, The Deer Hunter

 

Essays/Chapters in:

Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage

Performing Shakespeare’s Tragedies Today

Research Methods in Theatre and Performance, ed. Baz Kershaw, 2011

Understanding Archives and Manuscripts, by James M. O’Toole and Richard J. Cox, 2006

Documentation, Disappearance, and the Representation of Live Performance, by Matthew Reason, 2006

 

Online resources:

 HRC sites:

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/guide/american/

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/guide/british/

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/guide/performing/

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/guide/film/

 

 Archival Research Methods:

http://www2.archivists.org/usingarchives

http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/archives-resources/terminology.html

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/988/01/

 

Course Description

by Elon Lang

emlang@austin.utexas.edu

Lecturer in HMN / LAH / CTI

Project Archivist at HRC

 

Possible Course Numbers w/ cross listing:

LAH 350

HMN 350

Flags:

Independent Inquiry

Writing

 

 

 

 

 

CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

33115 • Fall 2015
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WEL 3.266

CTI 350 Masterworks of World Drama: In Pursuit of Justice

Fall 2015

Dr. Elon Lang

emlang@austin.utexas.edu

 

Course Description and Objectives:

 

In our media-saturated culture, we encounter drama everyday on the various screens we watch as we live our modern lives. Although these shows and films may seem far removed from the theatrical stage, when we watch these dramas we are participating in a phenomenon that has been a principle means by which Western culture has described and perpetuated itself for over 2,500 years.

 

In this course we will focus our investigation of drama upon a perennial subject of the dramatic arts: the nature and pursuit of justice. We will seek to examine how different playwrights from different eras of Western literature have balanced elements like mercy, vengeance, fairness, due process, authority, altruism, noble character, prejudice, public opinion, and public service in their definitions of justice. Students will consider whether the dramas in selected ancient, Renaissance, and modern plays present idealistic, realistic, or polemical portrayals of how “justice is served.” We will discuss whether these dramas critique or celebrate the courts and other means society uses to define justice, to defend it, and to enforce laws and codes of conduct. We will bookend the semester by examining the way justice is portrayed being served by the American criminal justice system in contemporary pop-culture dramas (e.g. Law and Order) and the way drama instruction is used in some American prisons to facilitate rehabilitation among inmates.

 

Since no single course can exhaustively cover the subject of “dramatic masterworks in the Western tradition,” we will emphasize two major goals: (1) to develop critical and analytical skills that can be applied to all forms of literary art, (2) to broaden an understanding of drama’s civic value that can be gained from teaching and studying the classics or using drama as a pedagogical tool. To this end, course requirements will include close reading and in-class discussion of plays, light exploration of philosophies of justice, attendance at one assigned evening performance of a Shakespeare play presented by Actors from the London Stage, informal acting, written analysis, and (particularly for UTEACH student) the option to develop your own lesson plans.

 

Possible readings and video studies will include selections from:

 

Aeschylus, The Oresteia

Aristotle, Poetics and Nichomachean Ethics

Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Euripedes, Herakles

The York Mystery Plays

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merchant of Venice, The Tempest

Henrik Ibsen, Pillars of the Community

Arthur Miller, The Crucible

Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men

David Mamet, Oleanna

Law and Order

Shakespeare Behind Bars

 

 

Course Requirements and Evaluation:

 

Participation, Preparation, Punctuality                                                10 pts. 

Regular class attendance and adherence to the policy in the syllabus, careful preparation of the readings, timely submission of all written work, and active participation in class discussions and activities.

Written Assignments                                                                        50 pts.

Four essays of various lengths will be assigned totaling 15-20 pages, the second and fourth of these will be revised, expanded, and resubmitted after receiving feedback from both peers and the instructor.

Dramatic Reading                                                                             10 pts.

In small groups, students will meet with the instructor to select a section of dialogue from a text being covered during their assigned week. Each group will practice their dialogue outside class and present it dramatically in an out-of-class meeting with the instructor.

Exams                                                                                             30 pts. (15 pts. midterm, 15 pts. final)

The primary focus of both exams will be to assess students’ intellectual engagement with the texts (i.e. understanding of key concepts, synthesis of ideas based upon close reading of the text, etc.). Exams will also assess thoroughness of reading, retention of reading, and engagement with lecture content and class discussions.

 

Your total score for the class will then be calculated as a percentage of 100 points possible, and placed on a standard letter grading scale: A=93+, A-=90-92, B+=87-89, B=83-86, B-=80-82, C+=77-79, C=73-76, C-70-72, D+=67-69, D=63-66, D-=60-62, F=59 points or fewer.

CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

33120 • Fall 2015
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM WEL 3.402

CTI 350 Masterworks of World Drama: In Pursuit of Justice

Fall 2015

Dr. Elon Lang

emlang@austin.utexas.edu

 

Course Description and Objectives:

 

In our media-saturated culture, we encounter drama everyday on the various screens we watch as we live our modern lives. Although these shows and films may seem far removed from the theatrical stage, when we watch these dramas we are participating in a phenomenon that has been a principle means by which Western culture has described and perpetuated itself for over 2,500 years.

 

In this course we will focus our investigation of drama upon a perennial subject of the dramatic arts: the nature and pursuit of justice. We will seek to examine how different playwrights from different eras of Western literature have balanced elements like mercy, vengeance, fairness, due process, authority, altruism, noble character, prejudice, public opinion, and public service in their definitions of justice. Students will consider whether the dramas in selected ancient, Renaissance, and modern plays present idealistic, realistic, or polemical portrayals of how “justice is served.” We will discuss whether these dramas critique or celebrate the courts and other means society uses to define justice, to defend it, and to enforce laws and codes of conduct. We will bookend the semester by examining the way justice is portrayed being served by the American criminal justice system in contemporary pop-culture dramas (e.g. Law and Order) and the way drama instruction is used in some American prisons to facilitate rehabilitation among inmates.

 

Since no single course can exhaustively cover the subject of “dramatic masterworks in the Western tradition,” we will emphasize two major goals: (1) to develop critical and analytical skills that can be applied to all forms of literary art, (2) to broaden an understanding of drama’s civic value that can be gained from teaching and studying the classics or using drama as a pedagogical tool. To this end, course requirements will include close reading and in-class discussion of plays, light exploration of philosophies of justice, attendance at one assigned evening performance of a Shakespeare play presented by Actors from the London Stage, informal acting, written analysis, and (particularly for UTEACH student) the option to develop your own lesson plans.

 

Possible readings and video studies will include selections from:

 

Aeschylus, The Oresteia

Aristotle, Poetics and Nichomachean Ethics

Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Euripedes, Herakles

The York Mystery Plays

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merchant of Venice, The Tempest

Henrik Ibsen, Pillars of the Community

Arthur Miller, The Crucible

Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men

David Mamet, Oleanna

Law and Order

Shakespeare Behind Bars

 

 

Course Requirements and Evaluation:

 

Participation, Preparation, Punctuality                                                10 pts. 

Regular class attendance and adherence to the policy in the syllabus, careful preparation of the readings, timely submission of all written work, and active participation in class discussions and activities.

Written Assignments                                                                        50 pts.

Four essays of various lengths will be assigned totaling 15-20 pages, the second and fourth of these will be revised, expanded, and resubmitted after receiving feedback from both peers and the instructor.

Dramatic Reading                                                                             10 pts.

In small groups, students will meet with the instructor to select a section of dialogue from a text being covered during their assigned week. Each group will practice their dialogue outside class and present it dramatically in an out-of-class meeting with the instructor.

Exams                                                                                             30 pts. (15 pts. midterm, 15 pts. final)

The primary focus of both exams will be to assess students’ intellectual engagement with the texts (i.e. understanding of key concepts, synthesis of ideas based upon close reading of the text, etc.). Exams will also assess thoroughness of reading, retention of reading, and engagement with lecture content and class discussions.

 

Your total score for the class will then be calculated as a percentage of 100 points possible, and placed on a standard letter grading scale: A=93+, A-=90-92, B+=87-89, B=83-86, B-=80-82, C+=77-79, C=73-76, C-70-72, D+=67-69, D=63-66, D-=60-62, F=59 points or fewer.

LAH 305 • Reacting To The Past

29370 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 0.128

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  “Reacting to the Past” seeks to introduce students to major philosophical ideas and texts. Because ‘compulsory learning never sticks in the mind,’ as Plato noted, this course introduces these major philosophical concepts with role-­?playing games, letting the students re-­?create the historical context in which these ideas acquired significance. During this semester, students will play three role-­?playing games: “Democracy at the Threshold:  Athens in 403 B.C.;” “Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wan-­?li Emperor, 1587 A.D.;” and “Rousseau, Burke, and the Revolution in France, 1791.

In these games, students will be assigned different character roles, including some prominent historical figures and some fictional characters typical of their age and social positions, all derived from the historical setting. Each role is defined largely by its game objective, which corresponds to a political position in a country during a time of crisis. In the course of the semester, each student will play three or more roles, so the student who begins the semester as a radical may end it as a conservative. Students must determine on their own how best to achieve their victory objectives, drawing upon the course texts for intellectual guidance, as well as strategic advice from the instructor, the preceptor, and each other.

COURSE FORMAT:  For the first few sessions of each game, the class will meet in a traditional seminar setting, where we will discuss the historical setting of the game and the philosophical issues that will animate the debates. After these introductory studies for the game, the class will break into competing groups, where students with similar roles join forces to accomplish their objectives. Then, as debates begin, students will come to class in their character roles and will lead the sessions.  The instructor will evaluate all student writing and will serve as the Game Master, stepping in only to resolve technical issues concerning the operation of the game and ensuring the game stays true to the historical context. The student preceptor, Miranda Adkins (a former ‘Reacting to the Past’ student herself), will help the Game Master keep track of each game and will provide students with feedback on their public speaking. Both Dr. Lang and Ms. Adkins will be available at appointed times to offer students assistance and advice on sources and strategy, and you are urged to email them with questions. 

The heart of each game is persuasion.  For nearly every role to which you will be assigned, you must persuade others that your political and philosophical views make more sense than those of your opponents.  Your views will be informed by the texts cited in your game objectives; the more you draw upon these texts and the more cleverly you draw upon them, the better. You have two ways of expressing your views: verbally and in writing. Both will be graded.

 

 

LAH 350 • Arthur-Elizabeth:leadership

29484 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BEN 1.102

 

Arthur to Elizabeth: Ideals of Leadership, Lessons from the Literature of the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance

What makes a good leader? How bold, just, violent, charismatic, intelligent, ruthless, loyal, kind, patient are good leaders thought to be? And what were those characteristics in a time of social and political upheaval in England and Western Europe in the period encompassing the Black Plague, the usurpation of King Richard II by King Henry IV, the Wars of the Roses, the Reformation, and the Golden Age of Elizabeth? In this class we will examine literature that contemplates these questions and we will consider what poets and writers thought they could do to influence the leaders of their societies towards good conduct. Using both idealizations of fictional leaders like those described in the tales of King Arthur’s court and idealizations of real monarchs like Henry V and Elizabeth I, authors produced works that were intended to advise their noble audiences—gently—on how to be good rulers. In doing so, these authors also modeled the duties of good citizens. The popularity of these texts suggests that their civic-minded themes allowed their writers to enjoy a rare ability to traverse certain boundaries of class andstation in order to gain attention for their ideas in the very practical context of making a living in a dangerous world of patronage and allegiances.

We’ll use examples of popular poetry and drama of the 14th through 16th centuries, as well as works of philosophy and theology that circulated in this time period, to try to grasp the mutually perceived obligations between rulers and their subjects. In turn, we will examine how these worksmight help us understand the historical trajectory of events and rulers of this period along with the significance of the literature they read and helped produce. Through close reading and analysis, students will explore the ways ideals of leadership are reflected in late medieval and early modern literature, they will work to cultivate their understanding of the aesthetic trajectory of this time period, and they will refine their close reading and analytical writing skills.

CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

34215 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WEL 3.266

 

Course Description and Objectives:

 

In our media-saturated culture, we encounter drama everyday on the various screens we watch as we live our modern lives. Although these shows and films may seem far removed from the theatrical stage, when we watch these dramas we are participating in a phenomenon that has been a principle means by which Western culture has described and perpetuated itself for over 2,500 years.

 

In this course we will focus our investigation of drama upon a perennial subject of the dramatic arts: the nature and pursuit of justice. We will seek to examine how different playwrights from different eras of Western literature have balanced elements like mercy, vengeance, fairness, due process, authority, altruism, noble character, prejudice, public opinion, and public service in their definitions of justice. Students will consider whether the dramas in selected ancient, Renaissance, and modern plays present idealistic, realistic, or polemical portrayals of how “justice is served.” We will discuss whether these dramas critique or celebrate the courts and other means society uses to define justice, to defend it, and to enforce laws and codes of conduct. We will bookend the semester by examining the way justice is portrayed being served by the American criminal justice system in contemporary pop-culture dramas (e.g. Law and Order) and the way drama instruction is used in some American prisons to facilitate rehabilitation among inmates.

 

Since no single course can exhaustively cover the subject of “dramatic masterworks in the Western tradition,” we will emphasize two major goals: (1) to develop critical and analytical skills that can be applied to all forms of literary art, (2) to broaden an understanding of drama’s civic value that can be gained from teaching and studying the classics or using drama as a pedagogical tool. To this end, course requirements will include close reading and in-class discussion of plays, light exploration of philosophies of justice, informal acting, written analysis, and the option to develop your own lesson plans.

 

Possible readings and video studies will include selections from:

 

Aeschylus, The Oresteia

Aristotle, Poetics and Nichomachean Ethics

Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Euripedes, Herakles

The York Mystery Plays

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Merchant of Venice, The Tempest

Henrik Ibsen, Pillars of the Community

Arthur Miller, The Crucible

Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men

David Mamet, Oleanna

Law and Order

Shakespeare Behind Bars

 

 

Course Requirements and Evaluation:

 

Participation, Preparation, Punctuality                                                10 pts. 

Regular class attendance and adherence to the policy in the syllabus, careful preparation of the readings, timely submission of all written work, and active participation in class discussions and activities.

Written Assignments                                                               50 pts.

Four essays of various lengths will be assigned totaling 15-20 pages, the second and fourth of these will be revised, expanded, and resubmitted after receiving feedback from both peers and the instructor.

Dramatic Reading                                                                     10 pts.

In small groups, students will meet with the instructor to select a section of dialogue from a text being covered during their assigned week. Each group will practice their dialogue outside class and present it dramatically in an out-of-class meeting with the instructor.

Exams                                                                                      30 pts. (15 pts. midterm, 15 pts. final)

The primary focus of both exams will be to assess students’ intellectual engagement with the texts (i.e. understanding of key concepts, synthesis of ideas based upon close reading of the text, etc.). Exams will also assess thoroughness of reading, retention of reading, and engagement with lecture content and class discussions.

 

Your total score for the class will then be calculated as a percentage of 100 points possible, and placed on a standard letter grading scale: A=93+, A-=90-92, B+=87-89, B=83-86, B-=80-82, C+=77-79, C=73-76, C-70-72, D+=67-69, D=63-66, D-=60-62, F=59 points or fewer.

 

Flags:

 

Writing

Ethics and Leadership

LAH 305 • Reacting To The Past

30252 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 0.128

“Reacting to the Past” seeks to introduce students to major ideas and texts.  It uses role-playing to replicate the historical context in which these ideas acquired significance.  During this semester, students will play three games:  “The Threshold of Democracy:  Athens in 403 B.C.”; “Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wan-li Emperor, 1587 A.D.”; and “Rousseau, Burke, and the Revolution in France, 1791.”  Students will be assigned different roles-e.g. Thrasybulus, a radical Democrat, Oligarch, Supporter of Socrates, Rich Athlete--derived from the historical setting, each role being defined largely by its game objective-exonerate Socrates, banish Socrates, condemn him to death.  Students will determine on their own, however, how best to attain their goals, though they will receive guidance from important texts in the history of ideas, for example The Republic and the speeches of Pericles in “The Threshold of Democracy” game.  

 For the first few sessions of each game, we will provide guidance on the issues and historical context on which the game will turn.  Early in the third session of each game, the class will break into factions, as students with similar roles join forces to accomplish their objectives.  By the fourth or fifth session, the class will again meet as one.  Students in their roles will run the class.  We will serve as the Game Masters, intruding to resolve technical issues concerning the operation of the game or in other rare circumstances.  

 The heart of each game is persuasion.  For nearly every role to which you will be assigned, you must persuade others that your views make more sense than those of your opponents.  Your views will be informed by the texts cited in your game objectives, and the more you draw upon these texts and the more cleverly you draw upon them, the better.  You have two ways of expressing your views:  orally and in writing.  Both will be graded.

Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (Oxford); Carnes, Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wan-Li Emperor, 1587; The Threshold of Democracy Athens in 403 B.C.; Rousseau, Burke and Revolution in France, 1791; Confucius, The Analects (Penguin); Hacker, Rules for Writers (Bedford/St. Martin's); Plato, The Republic (Penguin); Rousseau, The Social Contract and The First and Second Discourses (Yale)

Your grade will be based on the following:  (1) regular class attendance, careful preparation of the readings, and active participation in the games; 40% (2) approximately six writing assignments- speeches, newspaper articles, poems, or whatever written expression that enables you to persuade your fellow students - totaling about thirty pages; 60%.   Timely submission of all work is essential.  A beautifully crafted defense of Socrates does him no good if he has already sipped the hemlock.

LAH 350 • Drama In The Archives

30275 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 0.122
(also listed as HMN 350)

Have you ever wondered how a play or film might have turned out differently? Dramatic performance is by nature ephemeral—years of planning and preparation culminate in just short hours of activity shared between actors and audience. Even when the performance results in a film that can be replayed, its production process is hidden from the audience’s view.  Yet it leaves significant traces: scripts, drafts, notes, drawings, photos, playbills, reviews, correspondence, recordings, costumes, criticism, editions, and more. For some of the greatest dramatists and filmmakers in history, tracing such material leads to our very own Harry Ransom Center on the UT campus.

 In this class, students will explore related questions: What can we learn about a drama from its archival record? What changes have occurred in the course of a drama’s development and through its production history? Students will study samples from the Ransom Center’s strong holdings in modern and contemporary Anglophone drama, plus some Shakespeare. (We might include different versions of King Lear in the first seventeenth-century editions of the text; Modern/Contemporary works might include those of Arthur Miller, David Mamet, Tennessee Williams, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard, David O. Selznick, and Robert DeNiro.) While learning archival research methods, students will train their analytical senses to notice plays’ character development ambiguities and implicit nuances of plot and cultural commentary. They will explore further complexities by examining records of playwrights, actors, producers, costume companies, designers, film directors, etc. in the archives at the Ransom Center.

Objectives:

Beyond gaining familiarity with several significant examples of Anglophone drama and the cultural contexts in which their creators were situated, students will learn about the impact the study of textual variation, publication history,production history, and archival research can have on literary, theater, or film history arguments. Students will work to sharpen their analytical writing and scholarly research skills through several targeted close reading exercises describing and comparing primary sources and surveys of published secondary critical and historical research material. Students will gain skills in the study of Shakespeare and modern/contemporary English-language playwrights, screenwriters, actors, and participants in productions. They will also gain familiarity with how to go about pursuing archival research through practical examples presented in class and at the HRC, and through an independent final research project focused on an item or small group of items held there.

 Class Format and Selected Readings:

 For the first 4 weeks, students will become oriented toward scholarly research in the Harry Ransom Center and University Libraries, while reading examples of archival research and essays on topics related to archival research practices and goals in theater, literature, and film. The first subject we’ll analyze will be Shakespeare, since his works transcend boundaries between humanities disciplines. Students will become familiar with the range of materials the HRC houses and all sorts of drama by viewing examples of seventeenth-century printed editions of plays, costume designs from the 19th and 20th centuries and adaptations by other writers (both published and unpublished). The first two essays will be due during this period.

 In the next 6-8 weeks readings will be from the works of modern and contemporary dramatists who are featured prominently in the Ransom Center. Each 3-4 class periods, the class will read one play, learn about the author and its production history, and peruse materials at the Ransom Center as selected by the instructor. Students will sign up to develop and present their third and fourth essays on some of these materials.

 During the final 3-5 weeks of the course, students will develop and write their final research projects. Full class meetings will be reduced to once-per-week or fewer to allow students more time to work in the HRC and set up meetings with the instructor.

Readings and viewings of modern/contemporary works may be drawn from:

David Mamet, e.g. Oleanna, which underwent significant changes after its initial performances to make its social criticism more ambiguous)

Arthur Miller, e.g. The Crucible, Death of a Salesman

Tennessee Williams, e.g. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Glass Menagerie, Streetcar Named Desire (which all started off with really terrible titles)

Samuel Beckett, e.g. Waiting for Godot

Tom Stoppard, e.g. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

G.B. Shaw, e.g. Pygmalion

Robert DeNiro, e.g. A Bronx Tale, Goodfellas, The Deer Hunter

 Essays/Chapters in:

Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage

Performing Shakespeare’s Tragedies Today

Research Methods in Theatre and Performance, ed. Baz Kershaw, 2011

Understanding Archives and Manuscripts, by James M. O’Toole and Richard J. Cox, 2006

Documentation, Disappearance, and the Representation of Live Performance, by Matthew Reason, 2006

Online resources:  HRC sites

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/guide/american/

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/guide/british/

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/guide/performing/

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/guide/film/

  Archival Research Methods:

http://www2.archivists.org/usingarchives

http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/archives-resources/terminology.html

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/988/01/

 Assignments and Grading:

 Class participation, regular meetings with instructor, presentation of work to class         5%

Essay #1: Comparative close reading of two versions of a Shakespeare text                  15%

Essay #2: Study of an historical production (or film) of a Shakespeare play                      15%

Essay #3: Response to a scholarly essay on a modern/contemporary play/film                15%

Essay #4: Analysis of potential vs. made choices in a performance or production           15%

Research Project:                                                                                                                      35%

Discovery and description of an item(s) in the HRC that allow you to make a claim about the interpretation of the work in the context of its production and/or documentary history and why it is significant for the analysis of the work, its dramatists, actors, and history.

 

CTI 345 • Satan And The Idea Of Evil

34585 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 302
(also listed as R S 357)

Course Description: Since antiquity, writers have attempted to understand and define the idea of evil by giving it a voice. From the perspective of the Devil, some of the world's greatest creative thinkers have sought to challenge the intellectual resolve and rigor of their faiths while encouraging their characters and audiences to query the strength and doctrine of their own beliefs. As a result, through temptation narratives, morality dramas, cultural satires, and Faustian dilemmas, explorations of “the Adversary” have yielded some of the most compelling stories and characters ever imagined. In this course students will become familiar with the history and breadth of Satan’s role as a character (or merely background presence) in literature while developing close-reading techniques for literary analysis that can be applied across diverse eras, forms, and genres. Students will be asked to strengthen their critical reading and writing skills and to consider how our class topic can help illuminate aspects of our present-day culture and its history. Students will also attend a performance of the contemporary play, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, by the National Theater of Scotland and participate in a public question and answer session with the actors.

 

Required readings will be drawn from several periods of English and American literature and European literature in translation. Specifically, texts will include selections from:

 

The Bible

Virgil’s Aeneid

Medieval English poetry, drama, and mystical writing

Dante's Inferno

Marlowe's Dr. Faustus

Goethe’s Faust

Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained

William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Charles Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal

James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Mark Twain's No. 44—The Mysterious Stranger

C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters

Glen Duncan’s I, Lucifer

David Grieg’s The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

 

Students' final projects may involve the analysis of another modern novel, the development of a creative exploration of Satan’s nature, or a detailed comparative analysis of themes across several texts in our class.

 

Assignments and their weights*:

Class-participation, attendance, response papers, and online discussions (20%)

1 long final paper or creative project (20%)

4 short essays plus at least 1 revision (60%)

 

*Grading Policy: participation assignments and essay drafts are graded on the basis of completion, revision grades replace original grades when applicable, and essays are assigned point values based on their relative weight in the overall course total (e.g. for a short essay worth 15% of the final grade, an “A” essay will receive either 14 or 15 points, a “B” will receive either 12 or 13, etc.). 100 total points are possible for the course.

 

Flag: Writing

LAH 350 • Drama Queens

30105 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CLA 0.122
(also listed as HMN 350)

“Drama Queens” will examine the relationship between the performed nature of gender, cross- dressing, and expressions of powerful femininity in a broad survey of Western theatrical literature. Students will explore some of the most dynamic women and gender-bending characters ever written for the stage, while contextualizing Classical and Renaissance works in the tradition of portraying women with cross-dressing actors in all-male productions. We will explore how this tradition may have influenced assumptions about the qualities of women and femininity portrayed on stage throughout history—and how modern and contemporary plays featuring powerful women and cross-dressing men respond to these assumptions.

Texts

Aeschylus, The Oresteia

Sophocles, Antigone

Aristophanes, Lysistrata

Shakespeare, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and Antony and Cleopatra (selections)

Ben Jonson, Epicœne

Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler

August Strindberg, Miss Julie

Doug Wright, I Am My Own Wife

David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly

Caryl Churchill, Top Girls

Neil Labute, The Shape of Things

David Harrower, Blackbird

Requirements 

Grades will be based on (1) regular class attendance, careful preparation of the readings, and active participation in class discussions and activities (30%); (2) approximately four writing assignments of varying lengths culminating in a final critical or comparative analysis paper and totaling approximately 20 pages (50-60%); (3) a dramatic presentation of one or two short monologues from the required readings (10-20%); and (4) timely submission of all work.

 

CTI 345 • Satan And The Idea Of Evil

34120 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 302

Course Description:

Since antiquity, writers have attempted to understand and define the idea of evil by giving it a voice. From the perspective of the Devil, some of the world's greatest creative thinkers have sought to challenge the intellectual resolve and rigor of their faiths while encouraging their characters and audiences to query the strength and doctrine of their own beliefs. As a result, through temptation narratives, morality dramas, cultural satires, and Faustian dilemmas, explorations of “the Adversary” have yielded some of the most compelling stories and characters ever imagined. In this course students will become familiar with the history and breadth of Satan’s role as a character (or merely background presence) in literature while developing close-reading techniques for literary analysis that can be applied across diverse eras, forms, and genres. Students will be asked to strengthen their critical reading and writing skills and to consider how our class topic can help illuminate aspects of our present-day culture and its history.

 

 

Grading Policy:

Class-participation and online discussions (20%)

1 long final paper or creative project (20%)

4 short papers plus 1 revision (60%)

(these will include a close reading of Milton, a comparative analysis of Faust narratives, a creative response to Baudelaire, an analysis paper in response to a prompt about Blake/Hogg/Twain)

 

Texts:

Required readings will be drawn from several periods of English and American literature, and European literature in translation. We will read selections from the Bible, Medieval poetry, drama, and mystical writing, Dante's Inferno, Marlowe's Dr. Faustus, Goethe’s Faust, Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Charles Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal, James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Mark Twain's No. 44—The Mysterious Stranger, C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, and the early 21st-century novel by Glen Duncan titled I, Lucifer. Students' final projects may involve the analysis of another modern novel, the development of a creative exploration of Satan’s nature, or a detailed comparative analysis of themes across several texts in our class.

 

LAH 112H • The Nature Of Inquiry

30085 • Spring 2013
Meets M 4:00PM-5:30PM CAL 22

Liberal Arts Honors 112H is designed to help students in their junior year who will be writing a Senior Plan I Honors Thesis the following year.  The class format will be a workshop setting in which we will discuss pertinent topics concerning the process of writing a thesis and share our on-going work.  

Texts:

Booth, Wayne, Colomb, Gregory, and Williams, Joseph.  The Craft of Research (Chicago:  U. of Chicago Press, Second Edition, 2003).

Trimmer, Joseph.  The Essentials of MLA Style (Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996).

Zerubavel, Eviator.  The Clockwork Muse (Cambridge, Massachusetts:  Harvard U. Press, 1999).

Requirements:

RESTRICTED to Juniors who plan to write a Liberal Arts Departmental Honors thesis in one of the Plan I B.A. majors (all majors except Plan II.)

Plan II students are not eligible for this class.

Humanities 112 (topic: The Nature of Inquiry)  and LAH 112H may not both be counted.

Your grade will be based on:  (1) attendance at all classes; (2) active class participation; (3) careful preparation of each week's assignments; (4) 40 pages of writing; and (5) a completed thesis proposal and working bibliography by the end of the semester. 

CTI 350 • Masterworks Of World Drama

33953 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WEL 3.266

Instructor- Professor Lang

Course Description

In this course we will investigate a perennial subject of the dramatic arts: the nature and pursuit of justice. We will seek to examine how different playwrights from different eras of Western literature have balanced elements like mercy, vengeance, fairness, due process, authority, prejudice, and public service in their definitions of justice. Students will consider whether the dramas in our selected classical, medieval, Shakespearean, and modern plays are idealistic, realistic, or polemical in their portrayals of the  (imperfect) enforcement of the law and its courts. Students will also consider the relationship between justice and the “court of public opinion.” We will bookend the semester by examining the way justice is portrayed as being served by the American criminal justice system in contemporary pop-culture dramas (e.g. Law and Order) and the way drama is used in some American prisons to facilitate rehabilitation among inmates. Our course requirements will include close reading and in-class discussion of plays, light exploration of philosophies of justice, informal impromptu acting, and written analysis.

 

Grading Policy

Grades will be based on (1) regular class attendance, careful preparation of the readings, timely submission of all written work, and active participation in class discussions and activities (10%); (2) approximately three writing assignments of varying lengths totaling 15-20 pages and a revision of one of these papers (50%); (3) a dramatic presentation of one or two short monologues from the required readings (10%); and (4) a midterm and final exam (10% and 20% respectively.)

 

Texts/Films

Law and Order, excerpts from selected episodes

Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Men

Aeschylus, The Oresteia

Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Euripedes, Herakles

Medieval Mystery Plays: Christ Goes Before Pilate, Herod, Annas and Caiphas

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Merchant of Venice

Henrik Ibsen, Pillars of Society

Arthur Miller, The Crucible

David Mamet, Oleanna

Shakespeare Behind Bars (2005 documentary by Philomath Films)

LAH 350 • Drama Queens

30065 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 112
(also listed as HMN 350)

“Drama Queens” will examine the relationship between the performed nature of gender, cross- dressing, and expressions of powerful femininity in a broad survey of Western theatrical literature. Students will explore some of the most dynamic women and gender-bending characters ever written for the stage, while contextualizing Classical and Renaissance works in the tradition of portraying women with cross-dressing actors in all-male productions. We will explore how this tradition may have influenced assumptions about the qualities of women and femininity portrayed on stage throughout history—and how modern and contemporary plays featuring powerful women and cross-dressing men respond to these assumptions.

Texts/Films:

 Aeschylus, The Oresteia

Sophocles, Antigone

Aristophanes, Lysistrata

Shakespeare, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and Antony and Cleopatra (selections) 

Ben Jonson, Epicœne

Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler

August Strindberg, Miss Julie

Doug Wright, I Am My Own Wife

David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly

Caryl Churchill, Top Girls

Neil Labute, The Shape of Things

David Harrower, Blackbird

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