Matthew Harrison portrait

Matthew Harrison

Instructor of English
Office
JRC 351
Hours
(Spring 2018) W 11:00am-12:00pm; also by appointment
Phone
(651) 962-5656

Ph.D. University of California-Irvine

M.F.A. University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Spring 2018 Courses

Spring 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 203 - W10 Hocus Pocus: The Magic Touch M - W - - - - 1335 - 1510 SCB 104

Days of Week:

M - W - - - -

Time of Day:

1335 - 1510

Location:

SCB 104

Course Registration Number:

22405 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Matthew B. Harrison

Magic in literature and film is often portrayed as a secret skillset or way of seeing that enables vulnerable characters to escape, resist, or change restrictive environments. Characters who learn magic can suggest that, with the right mentorship, codes, tools, and focus—not to mention a good deal of luck—one can transform into someone or something more potent and resilient. But who, in the magical worlds of such stories, controls access to techniques of self-transformation? What other techniques are out there? What are the dangers and responsibilities of using systems of magic? What is “good” magic? What is “bad”? Is the dream of success behind magical thinking just a misguided fantasy? Do other “rational” systems of thought ever convey assumptions about the world that seem “magical”? We will debate these questions as they arise in several books and films. Our readings will include REDEMPTION IN INDIGO, by Karen Lord; THE MAGICIANS, by Lev Grossman; ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY, by Charlie Jane Anders; and selected short stories by Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi. Films will include THE MAGICIAN (1958), SPIRITED AWAY (2002), and NOW YOU SEE ME (2013). Students will write weekly short papers on guided topics and a final research essay. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing. This course satisfies the Writing Across the Curriculum Writing Intensive requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

Summer 2018 Courses

Summer 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 215 - L01 American Authors II - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

30435 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Matthew B. Harrison

How did the modern warfare of World War I change those who fought and those who stayed at home? Why did so many of the best American artists flee to Paris? How did the traditionalism and stability of the 1950s lead to the radicalism and rebellion of the 60s? How has technology, from the typewriter to the internet, reshaped literature? Such questions will be explored in a chronological framework though extensive readings in American literature from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. Threaded throughout the literature are themes such as progress and innovation, war, the “lost generation,” the New Woman, race, and conformity and individuality. This fully online course fulfills the Historical Perspectives requirement in the English major, counts as a second core literature/writing course for students who started that core requirement with ENGL 201, 202, 203, 204, or 206, and satisfies an allied requirement for select business majors. Prerequisites: ENGL 201, 202, 203, or 204.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

Fall 2018 Courses

Fall 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 121 - W32 Critical Thinking: Lit/Writing - T - R - - - 1330 - 1510 SCB 326

Days of Week:

- T - R - - -

Time of Day:

1330 - 1510

Location:

SCB 326

Course Registration Number:

40961 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Matthew B. Harrison

Students will read and write about literary texts critically and closely. The course emphasizes recursive reading and writing processes that encourage students to discover, explain, question and clarify ideas. To this end, students will study a variety of genres as well as terms and concepts helpful to close analysis of those genres. They will practice various forms of writing for specific audiences and purposes. Students will reflect on and develop critical awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses as readers and writers. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 12 pages of formal revised writing.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 203 - W03 Recent Tours of the Afterlife - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

42691 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours

Instructor:

Matthew B. Harrison

Literature has a long history of imagining possible afterlives: Odysseus summons the dead in Hades; Virgil speaks to the spirit of his father in the underworld; Dante journeys deep into Hell before climbing the Mountain of Purgatory and ascending into Heaven. While acknowledging these and other precedents, this fully online course focuses on narratives of the afterlife since the late 19th century. We will discuss what recent depictions of the afterlife might reveal about the values of those still living. In what ways do afterlife narratives uphold or question dominant cultural trends? Is the afterlife exclusive or inclusive? Somber or joyful? Is it a courtroom, a ballroom, a vast field, a forest, a cloud city, an underground city, a maze, a mansion, a cosmic choir, a light at the end of a tunnel—what and why and for whom? We will begin with some representative short stories, such as Ambrose Bierce’s 1890 “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” alongside excerpts from Mark Mirabello’s historical survey of afterlife beliefs, A TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO THE AFTERLIFE. We will then read a set of novels: Kate Atkinson’s LIFE AFTER LIFE; Kevin Brockmeier’s THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD; and George Saunders’s LINCOLN IN THE BARDO. Our films will include HEAVEN CAN WAIT (Lubitsch 1943), DEFENDING YOUR LIFE (Brooks 1991), AFTER LIFE (Koreeda 1998), and clips from WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (Ward 1998) and THE SEVENTH SEAL (Bergman 1957). Students will write weekly short papers on guided topics and a final research essay, as well as work throughout the semester to develop a map of an afterlife setting. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing. This course satisfies the Writing Across the Curriculum Writing Intensive requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)