Program in Comparative Literature

Nina Sport


B.A. in French and Spanish, University of Texas at Arlington

Nina Sport

Contact

Interests


19th-20th Century Poetry and Poetics; The Avant-Garde in France; Latin American Modernismo; Caribbean Diaspora; 19-20th Century Women Writers; Spanish Baroque

Biography


A native Texan, Nina obtained her B.A. summa cum laude in French and Spanish from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2013. During her time at UT Arlington, she was awarded the Bart Lewis Memorial Scholarship and the Tony Litsey Memorial Scholarship, as well as being named a College of Liberal Arts Scholar. Prior to beginning her graduate study at UT Austin, she taught French and Spanish at an independent school in North Texas for 2 years. In the summer of 2014, she completed a program for Spanish teachers at the Centro Panamericano de Idiomas in Costa Rica. Throughout her undergraduate study and after, she has spent time in France, Italy, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica. 

Courses


RHE 309K • Rhet Of Fantastical Beasts

43330 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 7

What is it about animals that makes them such a compelling symbolic trope in fantastic narratives and public discourse? In 2001, celebrated author and cultural icon J.K. Rowling published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a fictional textbook used in the study of magical creatures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In 2016 Rowling made her screenwriting debut with a fantasy film of the same name that grossed approximately $814 million worldwide. Beginning with Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts, we will study the animals of fantasy narratives in the context of their cultural and political history to understand the popularity and success of these stories across the ages. Additionally, we will address problematic manifestations of the trope as a tactic to dehumanize women, people of color, queer folks, and those on the margins of mainstream society. In class, we’ll begin with a definition of “animal,” which we will complicate throughout the semester as we learn more about the tradition of the beast fable. Next, we will define “human” to explore how these stories have contributed to human exceptionalism, the idea that we are special among (or essentially different from) other living things. For example, we may compare how our relationship to animals changes from Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest’s Tale to the Disney film Zootopia.

As this course carries a Writing Flag, students should be prepared to write regularly and provide classmates with constructive feedback throughout the semester. In addition to major writing assignments, students will complete short blog posts and revise their writing based on feedback from the instructor and their peers. In this way, each student will refine their writing practice and improve writing skills according to their own strengths and preferences.  Together, we will explore fantastical beasts as vehicles for the discussion of the body, power, and public good. Under what circumstances is it empowering to be an animal, or be like an animal, and when is it an insult? What do fantastic beasts reveal about the way we view ourselves? For their final projects, students will write their own beast fable as a response to a contemporary controversy of their choosing.

Required Texts

  • Rewriting: How To Do Things with Texts, Joseph Harris (Available as an eBook on the UT Libraries website)
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling. (The 2001 and 2017 editions are both fine)

Supplementary reading selections will be provided via Canvas as PDFs (viewings of films or clips will be made available to students as necessary).

 

Course Assignments

All major assignments will be submitted through Canvas, while shorter assignments and class reading annotation will be done on a course website. 

Unit 1: Coming to Terms with the “Beast”

  • Blog Post 1
  • Blog Post 2
  • Blog Post 3
  • Project 1 (+ Conference feedback)

Unit 2: Political Beasts – the Body, Power, and the Public Good

  • Blog Post 4
  • Blog Post 5
  • Project 2.1(+ Peer Review)  
  • Project 2.2 (Revision)

Unit 3—Writing the Beast: From Analysis to Authorship

  • Blog Post 6
  • Blog Post 7
  • Project 3.1 (+Conference Feedback)
  • Project 3.2 (Final Draft + Peer Review)
  • Project 4

I will use the Learning Record in this course. After each assignment, students will receive a detailed copy of the assignment rubric with substantive comments and/or suggestions for improvement. There will be 3 conferences throughout the semester with the instructor to discuss the student’s overall semester grade, the first two as “Progress Reports” and the last as a final grade meeting.

RHE 309K • Rhet Of Fantastical Beasts

43750 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 6

What is it about animals that makes them such a compelling symbolic trope in fantastic narratives and public discourse? In 2001, celebrated author and cultural icon J.K. Rowling published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a fictional textbook used in the study of magical creatures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In 2016 Rowling made her screenwriting debut with a fantasy film of the same name that grossed approximately $814 million worldwide. Beginning with Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts, we will study the animals of fantasy narratives in the context of their cultural and political history to understand the popularity and success of these stories across the ages. Additionally, we will address problematic manifestations of the trope as a tactic to dehumanize women, people of color, queer folks, and those on the margins of mainstream society. In class, we’ll begin with a definition of “animal,” which we will complicate throughout the semester as we learn more about the tradition of the beast fable. Next, we will define “human” to explore how these stories have contributed to human exceptionalism, the idea that we are special among (or essentially different from) other living things. For example, we may compare how our relationship to animals changes from Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest’s Tale to the Disney film Zootopia.

As this course carries a Writing Flag, students should be prepared to write regularly and provide classmates with constructive feedback throughout the semester. In addition to major writing assignments, students will complete short blog posts and revise their writing based on feedback from the instructor and their peers. In this way, each student will refine their writing practice and improve writing skills according to their own strengths and preferences.  Together, we will explore fantastical beasts as vehicles for the discussion of the body, power, and public good. Under what circumstances is it empowering to be an animal, or be like an animal, and when is it an insult? What do fantastic beasts reveal about the way we view ourselves? For their final projects, students will write their own beast fable as a response to a contemporary controversy of their choosing.

Required Texts

  • Rewriting: How To Do Things with Texts, Joseph Harris (Available as an eBook on the UT Libraries website)
  • The Little Longhorn Handbook. Norton, 2014.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling. (The 2001 and 2017 editions are both fine)

Supplementary reading selections will be provided via Canvas as PDFs (viewings of films or clips will be made available to students as necessary).

 

Course Assignments

All major assignments will be submitted through Canvas, while shorter assignments and class reading annotation will be done on a course website. 

 

Unit 1: Coming to Terms with the “Beast”

  • Blog Post 1
  • Blog Post 2
  • Blog Post 3
  • Project 1 (+ Conference feedback)

Unit 2: Political Beasts – the Body, Power, and the Public Good

  • Blog Post 4
  • Blog Post 5
  • Project 2.1(+ Peer Review)  
  • Project 2.2 (Revision)

Unit 3—Writing the Beast: From Analysis to Authorship

  • Blog Post 6
  • Blog Post 7
  • Project 3.1 (+Conference Feedback)
  • Project 3.2 (Final Draft + Peer Review)
  • Project 4

I will use the Learning Record in this course. After each assignment, students will receive a detailed copy of the assignment rubric with substantive comments and/or suggestions for improvement. There will be 3 conferences throughout the semester with the instructor to discuss the student’s overall semester grade, the first two as “Progress Reports” and the last as a final grade meeting.

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