Welcome to Harper Literature

This site contains information about Literature courses being offered at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois.

For information on registering for courses go to Registration. For more information about other English courses, go to the English Department.


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LIT 223: Minority Literature in America


3.000 Credits

Jan 17, 2012 – May 20, 2012

TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

L Building 221

Prof Richard E. Middleton Kaplan

LIT 223 investigates what it means to be a minority in the United States. The course examines the ways in which minority writers, through fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, question the quality of American life and the authenticity of American democracy, thus helping students appreciate more fully the range of American cultures and subcultures.

We will focus primarily on works by writers from four groups: African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino/as, and Native Americans. We begin with the Native American experience, including Black Elk Speaks (selections), N. Scott Momday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain, Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, and Sherman Alexie’s hilarious “Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” The Asian American experience is represented with Maxine Hong Kingston, Gish Jen, David Wong Louie, Li-Young Li, and others. Latino/a writers include Luis Valdez, Richard Rodriguez, Rudolfo Anaya (the classic novel Bless Me, Ultima), and the Chicago-born Sandra Cisneros (The House on Mango Street). African American authors include the Harlem Renaissance writers, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Chicago’s Lorraine Hansberry (the play A Raisin in the Sun), Toni Morrison (the short novel The Bluest Eye), and August Wilson (the play Fences). There are many serious topics to discuss, but I have also chosen several works that treat these subjects with humor. Expect an enjoyable as well as a thought-provoking class.

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CRN 62688 – LIT 206 – L02

Course Title: Lit 206-L02 (linked with ENG 102-L02)  “From Beowulf to Batman:  Comic Books and World Literature”

Jan 17, 2011 – May 21, 2011

Days /times class meets (or online):  M  11 – 12:15 (12:30 – 1:45 pm)

Class Location:  J-263

Instructor:  Richard Johnson (and Brian Cremins)

Instructor e-mail:   rjohnson@harpercollege.edu

Learning Community: “From Beowulf to Batman.” This class is linked with ENG 102-L02 (CRN 62687). You must register for both classes/CRNs at the same time. (NOTE: Prerequisite for ENG 102 must be met prior to registration.) 

Course Description:  This class will explore the expressive techniques particular to each of these art forms—comic art and epic literary narratives. While the two forms may appear disparate in their concerns and approaches, they in fact share representational strategies which communicate universal themes of human loss, suffering, memory, and hope.  Why is the loss of Batman’s parents central to his origin story?  How is the death of Enkidu central to the development of Gilgamesh as an individual and a king?  What is the connection between music and orality?  Memory and writing?  This class will create a learning environment in which students will draw on their own experiences with art, music, and literature to explore the central themes of the readings for the course.

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LIT 112: Literature and Film

January 17, 2012 – May 18, 2012

W 2:00-4:40 p.m.


Prof. Kurt Hemmer



This course examines the books To Kill a Mockingbird, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, In Cold Blood, and Capote: The Biography, while comparing them to the films that are based on each work of literature.

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CRN 60476 – LIT 208 – 001

3.000 Credits

Jan 17, 2012 – May 20, 2012

R  6:30 pm – 9:10 pm

L Building 222

Prof Kris E. Piepenburg

The literature selected for this course is intended to allow a view into the writing, culture, and recent history of non-Western areas of the world. Readings this semester include novels, short stories, and poetry from Africa, China, and India. One of the novels for this semester, Everything Good Will Come, by Nigerian author Sefi Atta, reflects on life in the African city of Lagos, Nigeria, during the 1970s – 1990s, and the other, Aravind Adiga’s Between the Assassinations, offers a look at life in India during the 1980s and 1990s. Both of these novels were published in 2008. Video presentations are used to supplement and enhance students’ understanding of the cultural and historical contexts for the readings. This course is intended to be manageable for students, with just two novels assigned, and the reading and shorter writing assignments broken into reasonable-sized installments. Two 4- to 6-page papers are required for the course, and there are three tests composed of in-class and take-home material. The course is 3 credit hours, acceptable for humanities and elective portions of Associates’ degrees, and it meets Harper College’s World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement. Credit for this course also transfers to many other colleges and universities.

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The Battle of Hastings: The French Conquest of the Anglo-Saxons

CRN 60484 – LIT 231 – 001

3.000 Credits

Jan 17, 2012 – May 20, 2012

TR 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm

L Building 304

Prof. Pearl S. Ratunil

Email: pratunil@harpercollege.edu

Race and Gender in English Literature

In this course we will survey selected texts in the English literary canon to understand England’s early notions of race and gender.  Is there a concept of “race” or “ethnicity” from 800 to 1800? What were the competing tribes or races? What did it mean to be “english” on an island which blended Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and French peoples? What was England’s idea of a perfect woman or a perfect man? In this course we will explore these questions and more in texts ranging from Beowulf, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Shakepeare’s Othello, and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

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CRN 60432- LIT 105 – 001

Jan 17, 2012 – May 20, 2012

T  6:30 pm – 9:10 pm

L Building 220

Prof Anne M. Davidovicz

In Literature 105-001, we will be exploring poetic form through a historical window, keeping in mind that in contemporary verse, “form becomes an extension of content.”  We will trace the roots of the villanelle, the sestina, the pantoum, the sonnet, the ballad, blank verse, the elegy, the pastoral, and the ode, but we will also review how current poets continue to recycle and revise such approaches in today’s verse.  We will trace the advent of open/organic verse and consider its rise as a dialogue with rather than a reaction against the past pressures of form.  The text used for the course (along with numerous handouts) will be The Making of a Poem, edited by contemporary poets, Mark Strand and Eavan Boland.  Poets encountered by students in their studies will  include the classics (Chaucer, Spenser, Wyatt, Dryden, etc.) through the contemporaries (Hayden, Plath, Ai, Komunyakaa, etc.).  Along the way, students will be encouraged to deeply analyze the poems and to write their own verse.

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