Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cool Science Fiction Class Back on the Roster for Fall 2009!!!

Here's the course description (watch for more details when the schedule goes live on June 22, 2009):

English 409: Science FictionDr. Stephen Potts

You find yourself in a world that is decaying, but the question is, are you alive? In a far-future galactic civilization, a group of mismatched pilgrims journey to the shrine of an enigmatic killing machine that may be from the farther future. Tentacled aliens have saved the human race from self-destruction, and ask only two things in return: they will keep the earth, and any human who wishes to endure must mate with them. These adventures and more await you in this course devoted to science fiction. We will read novels that span the genre’s history as well as space and time, and pursue science fiction through other media such as movies and graphic novels. In the process we will explore matters (and antimatters) from physics to metaphysics, from the alien to alienation, from the human to the posthuman. And expect a visit from an award-winning science fiction author. Prepare to have your mind blown open, reassembled, and perhaps even replaced.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chicana Poet Gloria Vallina, Teaching Intro to Creative Writing, Summer 2009

Gloria Vallina, SDSU MFA Alum and a lecturer in the Department of Chicana/o Studies and the Deparment of English and Comparative Literature, is teaching a summer intro class in creative writing for, Engl 280. Take it if you can! Here's some of her work from 2004 on your right {click to enlarge}.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our Door is Always Open

SDSU Lit-heads should always make the time to come by our offices and say "Hi." Here's the note that awaits you on your left. Click it to make it humongous!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

See Your Words in Special Collections

Hello again to all of you in Literature Land from Anne in Library Land! In response to an energetic request to "do comics soon!" I reply that I shall, soon--but until then, as a teaser, here's a neat little item from our children's literature collections. A New Hieroglyphical Bible, for the Amusement and Instruction of Children was published in New York in 1815. In this palm-sized gem, the author selected the most memorable and memorizable Bible verses for little minds, and substituted some words with pictures meant to represent the word itself. A significant break from the rote memorization methods common to the time, these "hieroglyphs" were intended to "make the lesson delightful as well as profitable to the juvenile mind" and to teach reading skills while improving recall of religious lessons. The book is unusual not only for its inventive approach to literacy, but also for the fine quality of the wood engravings themselves. Pictures appearing in children's books of the early nineteenth century, when they appeared at all, were usually very crude cuts, worn from frequent reuse in multiple titles. These are striking in their detail, and must have been great fun to see for new little learners.

Though of course these emblematic verses might not count as "comics" as we define them today, they do represent a fascinating shift in American visual culture and help set the stage for the more expansive blending of word and image that would develop continuously throughout the century and end up later with early comics like
The Yellow Kid and Little Nemo. This is a great primary source for anyone studying reading in America, religion and literature, or general visual culture. (Also, there's neat pictures of dragons and unicorns, yes, unicorns!)

To see our copy, stop by Special Collections! For more about hieroglyphical Bibles, see David Morgan's awesome Protestants and Pictures published by Oxford UP, 1999.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pictures from the Diane Ackerman Reading at SDSU April 2009

Photography from the Diane Ackerman reading at SDSU in April 2009--Bianca Chapman reading from The Zookeeper's Wife; Ackerman with Professor D. J. Hopkins, Theatre, SDSU; Diane Ackerman at her reading/luncheon at the San Diego Zoo; another shot of Chapman's dramatic reading (note mood lighting!); and, finally, a shot of English and Comparative Literature Chair Bill Nericcio with Ackerman after her conversation with the audience.

An Inspirational Profile of Cornel West

Cornel West

Our Own Children's Literature Guru, Jerry Griswold, in the New York Times Review of Books!

{click to enlarge} to Host Major International Women's Writing Conference