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Elizabeth Bishop

Adjunct Instructor


Classes taught

Fall 2016 Courses

ENG 204/810MWF1:50-2:45203 Mahar Hall
 HON 204/810MWF11:30-12:25107 Mahar Hall

ENG 204/810-This class will traverse the Atlantic, from Britain to Africa, then the Caribbean, the American South and back again, all during the height of the Slave Trade, from 1780-1830. The texts we will read—DISCUSS IN CLASS—and write about, will be influenced by a paradigm emerging in Romanticist scholarship termed ‘black romanticism.’ This valence argues that the enslavement of individuals which guaranteed the economic success of the British Isles must also be considered the foundation of all cultural activities. Therefore we will spend much time on understanding the Afro-Caribbean slave experience, British society’s perception of it, and various representations of it in the literatures which proliferated in these years. Throughout the semester we will analyze the overlapping concerns of Romantic writers, Sentimental novelists, and Abolitionist activists.

HON 204/810-The theme of this course is New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast Region. In this class we will analyze a series of issues which define the city, from its unique history of slavery to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (August 2005). Because this class is made up of students with a variety of interests I strongly encourage students to do independent research, which you can use to augment the class and your essays, with my prior approval. Each class we will discuss the assigned reading for the day, and pose questions to each other about it.

While most of the readings in this class are not literature per se we will engage in reading practices that are indeed literary. This means recognizing the rhetorical elements that populate a text such as narrative, metaphor and trope. Whether reading history, memoir or novel we will examine the stakes the author sets out and how they influence the reader. Understanding how these elements operate allow us to determine the ideological and aesthetic qualities a text may have. This is the beginning of critical thinking. Our subject, the city of New Orleans, indeed encourages such thinking through its history of hybridization, transgression, and tragedy. 

From this follows the form of your assignments: the essay. As you analyze other texts your own needs as an author will become apparent. What are the ideological stakes of your writing? What value system does your text communicate? What paradigms do you reaffirm? Which do you transgress? One cannot think critically about language without also considering her/his own position within it. Thus, our subject provides not only a chronicle of facts, but an opportunity to learn more about our own selves as writers.