Rae X. Yan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of British Literature, 1830-1900
University of Florida
Syllabi change year by year in accordance with the ways student feedback, research, and reflection help me change and develop as a teacher. Please feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions about these syllabi.
ENL3122: "The British Novel: 19th Century" (1 section each Spring)
Taught by Dr. Yan during the spring semesters, this is an upper-division undergraduate English course covering 6 novels of different genres that span the course of the nineteenth century by authors such as Charles Dickens, Anne Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and Oscar Wilde. Because each novel read in the course could be counted as a "bildungsroman" (in addition to other nineteenth-century genres, such as the Gothic or realist novel), students are asked to take into consideration themes of "growth" and "development" embedded into the form, history, and literary tropes of each text. Students in this course not only come to better understand literary and cultural movements of the nineteenth century but also work on assignments meant to help develop critical capabilities in close-reading and argumentation. Texts change every semester, please review individual syllabi for information about primary materials used.
Syllabi Available: Spring 2021, Spring 2020, Spring 2019
ENL3251: "Victorian Bodies" (1 section each Fall)
Taught by Dr. Yan during the fall semesters, this is an upper-division undergraduate English course exploring Victorian texts filled with anxieties about old, young, classed, gendered, racialized, and pathologized bodies meeting and mixing in the nineteenth century. Students in this course read a diverse selection of Victorian works including short stories, poetry, prose essays, political tracts, and scientific treatises alongside novels as they shape arguments about the array of discourses surrounding Victorian bodies. Authors of such works may include such figures as the Brownings, Alfred Tennyson, Emily Brontë, John Ruskin, Mary Seacole, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Arthur Conan Doyle. In the process, we practice the research methods of biographical, historicist, and textual analysis and look to relevant literary criticism to help us establish a model for research. Texts change every semester, please review individual syllabi for information about primary materials used.
Syllabi Available: Fall 2021, Fall 2020, Fall 2019, Fall 2018
ENG4936: "Worldly Victorians" (1 section Fall 2021)
This special topics course on “Worldly Victorians” is an upper-division Honors course based on my graduate course of the same name, with revisions to the course structure based on graduate student input. Students in this course read a diverse selection of Victorian and neo-Victorian literary fiction, travel writing, and essays alongside literary criticism that consider the future of Victorian studies as field. Authors of such works include figures such as Charlotte Brontë, Jean Rhys, Patricia Park, George Eliot, Mary Seacole, Charles Dicknes, Mulk Raj Anand, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Anthony Trollopoe, Sarah E. Farro, and Fakir Mohan Senapati. We study in-depth context about Victorian culture and major historical events and expand upon research methodologies that will serve students interested in pursuing more independent research projects in the future.
Syllabi Available: Fall 2021
ENG4936: "Narrative Games" (1 section Fall 2019)
This special topics course on “Narrative Games” is an upper-division Honors course that runs as half-seminar, half-workshop. During the first half of our semester, students focus on seminar-style discussion and debate to define a concept of the “narrative games." Discussions are guided by 3 central questions: (1) What kind of language for narrative games do we need to build in order to describe this genre and media form? (2) What are the possibilities—for creating narratives, engaging discourses, etc.—that are opened up in “narrative games”? (3) What are the limitations of “narrative games” and why are these limitations significant? During the second half of the semester, students will learn how to create a narrative game (using Twine), screen-capture, and edit video. We will begin to focus on composing our own “narrative games” while thinking through the possibilities of a more playful way of narrating our arguments and analyses, thoughts and ideas. Games we play include such works as Bioshock Infinite, Papers, Please, Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa), Her Story, Gone Home, Virginia, That Dragon, Cancer, Dys4ia, Doki Doki Literature Club, and Hatoful Boyfriend.
Syllabi Available: Fall 2019
ENL4930: "19th Century Literature and Scientific Imagination" (1 section Spring 2019)
This special topics upper-division English course has a research component that introduces students to the major themes of nineteenth-century British literature and science studies. Students in this course read both nonfiction and fiction prose from the nineteenth century, including works by Erasmus Darwin, Mary Shelley, G. H. Lewes, Charles Darwin, Charles Kingsley, Wilkie Collins, and H. G. Wells to learn the cultural and historical contexts under which the natural sciences grew into a professional discipline. Part of the work of the course is to evaluate how scientific fact gets translated (and mistranslated); who gets to translate science and who doesn’t; and what aspects of scientific imagination caught “popular” attention during an era of mass literary production. Besides becoming familiar with scholarship already in circulation about the nineteenth-century literature and science, students produce scholarship themselves. Students are assigned the task of finding an underdiscussed or underread text that needs recovery in the archives at Smathers Library; bring this text into conversation with contemporary debates by making an annotated bibliography; argue for the significance of this project via a project proposal; and then compose a scholarly introduction to this text to teach a general and scholarly audience how to engage with the material. This course is meant for those considering a career in English or similar Humanities fields.
Syllabi Available: Spring 2019
LIT4334: "Golden Age Children's Literature" (1 section every other Fall)
In this course, we turn to works of the Golden Age of Children's Literature by Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, L. Frank Baum, Kenneth Grahame, J. M. Barrie, and A. A. Milne to explore the construction of childhood during the Golden Age. Additionally, we will contextualize this formative era in children’s literature by dipping into other literary traditions: Augustan, Romantic, and early twentieth-century African American literature. Over the course of the semester we will be developing our skills as literary critics in practicing biographical, historicist, generic, and theoretical approaches to studying texts. Students will conduct original, independent research with materials from the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature here at the University of Florida and/or other digital archives to recover an underdiscussed piece of children's literature from our unique collections through the composition of a scholarly introduction. Texts change every semester, please review individual syllabi for information about primary materials used.
Syllabi Available: Fall 2020, Fall 2018
ENL6258 "Victorian Literature and Science" (1 section Spring 2021)
This course explores the interchanges between literary and scientific writing of the nineteenth century on topics including (1) the work of natural history, (2) optics and technologies of vision, (3) geology and time, (4) natural selection and evolution, (5) religion and science, (6) scientific ethics, and (7) the laboratory. The class has been designed to increase student knowledge of Victorian literature and science studies and take into consideration some pedagogical approaches that may be of value to graduate students in their future professional life. Readings include works by Charles Lyell, Robert Chambers, Alfred Tennyson, G.H. Lewes, Charles Darwin, George Eliot, A.S. Byatt, Wilkie Collins, and H.G. Wells. Assignments include short reading responses, YouTube mini-lectures, an undergraduate syllabus, and a final written project equivalent to 5000-6000 words.
Syllabus Available: Spring 2021
ENL6258 "Worldly Victorians" (1 section Spring 2020)
This course explores an ever-expanding Victorianist terminology for Victorian literature about and from regions of the world beyond the British Isles. Over the course of this semester, we will consider the significance of terms including cosmopolitanism, internationalism, globalism, planetarity, transnationalism, and Victorian world literature. At the heart of this course is the question: how can we reimagine the possibilities of studying and teaching Victorian literature to reflect a much broader view of the world of “the Victorians” that we cannot but recognize now? Additional questions include: What terms should we be focusing on? What texts help us understand this worldlier Victorian era? This course explores such questions through works by writers such as Charlotte Brontë, Mary Seacole, Lin Zexu, Elizabeth Gaskell, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Anthony Trollope, George Meredith, Flora Annie Steel, and Fakir Mohan Senapati. While we will primarily focus on anglophone literature, we will attempt to bring in the voices of “Victorian” writers and Victorianist critics reconsidering the literary and cultural boundaries of this worldly age. Assignments include discussion leading, a formal presentation on a secondary source, a journal review, a conference paper and proposal, and an annotated bibliography.
Syllabus Available: Spring 2020