Back to school

Last year, I posted the syllabi for my fall courses. People seemed to enjoy this activity, so I am doing it again. Due to a scheduling issue, I have only one class this fall, and the spring semester will be my heavy one. The course is full already, has had a waiting list for months, and is only available at Stony Brook. (I don't teach any online courses, as that's not part of the terms of my postdoc. I would if someone wanted to pay me to do so, however.)


This fall's course is The Fantastic as Place. As you might guess from the name, it focuses on the role of setting in works of the fantastic. Here's the booklist:


Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner (selections, not all of it)
War for the Oaks, Emma Bull
Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J. K. Rowling
Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
The City and the City, China Miéville
The Magicians, Lev Grossman


Yes, that is in the order we'll be reading them. It's pretty close to the booklist for last fall. I added Bordertown, because I would have used it if it had been out last year, and War for the Oaks makes a great companion to it. Locke & Key is on there because after I taught some of Sandman in a different course last fall, I learned that only about 10% of my students had ever read a comic/ graphic novel, and I wanted to include one. (Also, because it's completely great.)


I dropped The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because, even though I liked teaching it, our discussions were about many things, but not so much Narnia as setting. This meant that I also couldn't keep Laura Miller's brilliant The Magician's Book in the course. I love it (and highly recommend it), and the students loved it, but I can't assume people have read the Narnia books, so I can't teach it this time.


I'm looking forward to teaching the course. And I'll give extra credit to anyone who gets me a Stony Brook Quidditch t-shirt.