Elective Courses 2019/20

Year 2 and 3 B.A. ELECTIVE COURSES (3 ECTS) / 2 DSL i 3 DSL (razem) ZAJĘCIA FAKULTATYWNE, lista A (realizują tylko studenci, którzy wybrali program studiów ze “ścieżką filologiczną”):

1. dr Renata Barzycka - Language and communication
The objective of the course is to demonstrate the inferential character of human communication as well as to show that communicative effectiveness is not merely a matter of knowing grammar and vocabulary, but relies heavily on the interlocutors’ pragmatic awareness. In other words, we would like to to introduce pragmatics as a discipline of linguistic analysis. Thus we will be exploring how language is affected by the situation in which it is used, how it is used to get things done and how words can express things that are different from what they appear to mean. On the other hand, as pragmatics can also be viewed as a capacity of mind, that is an information-processing system for interpreting communication, we will try to identify cognitive processes involved in utterance comprehension.

2. dr Agata Zarzycka -From Drizzt Do’Urden to Commander Shepard: Theoretical Approaches to the Protagonist in Role-Playing Games
Literary studies offer a lot as far as the analysis of fictional characters is concerned. Still, any research project involving game protagonists, whether analog or digital, requires also other tools to handle the hybrid nature of a story character who is also a carrier of the player’s interactions with the game world. Those two dimensions of the protagonist – and tensions between them – are especially prominent in role-playing games, which constitute the main scope of the course. Still, its particular case studies encourage also a more general reflection about the complexity of relationships between texts of culture and their audiences.

During the course we will consider the narrative, communicational, and navigational functions of the player’s character. We will also discuss different ways of interpreting the connection between the character and the player. Finally, we will consider the issue of the game protagonist’s agency and subjectivity, engaging for that purpose psychological, political and constructivist approaches to identity.

The list of games we will talk about includes (though is not limited to): Dungeons and Dragons, The World of Darkness / The Chronicles of Darkness; Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Mass Effect and Dragon Age.

In terms of the research workshop, the course will offer an opportunity to practice academic discussion based on theoretical texts and practical analysis of case studies, as well as employ those skills in an individual research project.

Recommendation

To join (and possibly enjoy) this course, you do not need to be a dedicated gamer, or play video/tabletop games on a regular basis. It is enough if you are ready to explore something new, and keep your mind open to different kinds of storytelling.

3. dr Wojciech Witkowski - Language and Computers
This is a practical course on the use of computer-assisted tools used in the analysis of language. During our meetings we will see where and how to search for language data; how to organize them; and how to present and analyze the data. In doing so, we will use language corpora, lexical databases and web applications for language processing. As online resources will provide us with a substantial number of language usage examples, in the second part of the course we will look at language through the lenses of numbers, and become familiar with their interpretation. The last part of the course will take us towards using R programming language. This will introduce you to writing simple scripts with which you will be able to carry out the basic analyses of your own texts. After completing the course you will have the foundational knowledge and skills which will allow you not only to look at language from a different perspective, but will also allow you to create learning and teaching aids.

Year 3 B.A. ELECTIVE COURSES (4 ECTS) / 3 DSL ZAJĘCIA FAKULTATYWNE, lista B (realizują wszyscy studenci):

1. dr hab. Anna Budziak, prof. UWr - The Ways of Telling a Tale: Conventions and Techniques Used in Short
During the course, students will discuss various short narratives. The selection of texts will be broad. They will range, for instance, from a simple Eskimo folk-tale to a modernist story exploiting the fairy-tale tradition, or from a classical ghost story by the Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu to the aestheticist parody of the ghost story tradition by, also Irish, Oscar Wilde. The course will have two foci. The first focus will be on the genres these stories represent, or the literary traditions they exploit. In order to provide an overview of their generic versatility, the list of primary texts will comprise a satire, a lyrical narrative, the formula literature—including a fable, a doppelganger story, the ghost story, the horror story, and the detective story—and also the modernist and post-modernist texts which rely on experimenting, frequently tongue-in-cheek, with these conventions. The second focus will be on the formal devices. Thus, attention will be paid to the effects produced when authors change the point of view from which the story is told, shift the end of the story to its beginning, write a text that undermines the teller’s reliability, or interweave into the story diverse allusions and cultural intertexts. We shall see how these techniques create distance, result in an allegory, produce humor and irony, keep the reader in suspense, or challenge and subvert our commonsensical ideas of time and space.
The reading list includes the works of the nineteenth-century authors: M. R. James, Oscar Wilde,  E. A. Poe, Sheridan Le Fanu, A. C. Doyle; the modernist writers: E. M. Forster, D. H. Lawrence, J. Joyce, J. Toomer, E. Hemingway, V. Nabokov; and the postmodernist authors: I. Calvino, J. L. Borghes, R. Coover,  J. Cortazar, and A. Robbe-Grillet.

2. dr Jacek Woźny - Linguistic and cultural aspects of translation
This course is an  exploration of linguistic and cultural aspects of  the key topics in translation studies, such as translation equivalence, translation strategy, translation methods, tertium comparationins,  translation of proper names and nonstandard language. The presentations, followed by discussion,  will delivered mainly by the course instructor but active participation, including presentations (voluntarily) prepared by participants, will be an important  component of the final grade.

3. dr Elżbieta Klimek-Dominiak - Trans/national Comics, Film and Short Fiction
The trans/national comics, films, and short fiction provide a fascinating opportunity to reflect on American and British cultures from multiple perspectives and to understand the divergent points of view. In this course, we will explore graphic, cinematic, and fictional narratives which often use irony and subversive humor to challenge cultural stereotypes and shatter social taboos. Theoretical concepts, which we will use in our discussions, are indispensable not only for writing about Anglophone culture but also for understanding cultural diversity and working in the globalizing world. Students will also acquire visual and verbal literacy, which is useful in many professions dealing with international communication dominated by multimedia.

4. mgr Elaine Horyza - The changing face of Bollywood: filmic representations of India in the new millenium
This course will endeavour to comparatively explore recent film representations of India within the general framework of cultural studies. We will be considering some mainstream Hindi films by Indian directors such as Ayan Mukerjee, Imtiaz Ali and Karan Johar; films by two directors of Indian origin living outside India (Mira Nair, Gurinder Chadha); and recent non-Indian representations of India (The Second Best Marigold Hotel, Lion). We will discuss specific aspects of some of these films, referencing our own cultural background and expectations. The main cultural focus will be on India in the new millennium, reflecting major shifts both within and beyond the country, particularly with regard to the Indian diaspora, as well as changes in the nature and structure of the Hindi film industry itself.
We will be watching mostly extracts from films in the classroom and you will be able to choose on this basis which films to watch independently in their entirety. You will need to invest time outside class in watching them (Hindi films in particular are notoriously long). You will also need to explore a range of online resources, as many of the films are recent and have not yet been widely discussed.
The main goals of the course are to:
-    contrast recent film representations of India by British directors, directors of Indian origin and Indian directors
-    set Hindi films (Bollywood) in their cultural and (briefly) historical context, focusing mainly on films released from 2009 onwards
-    consider Indian attitudes to European culture and to the Indian diaspora as well as how India represents itself in the 21st century based on selected films
-    explore specific aspects of Hindi films in particular in greater depth and also explore the role of Hindi cinema in contemporary Indian culture
-    encourage discussion comparing your cultures with Indian culture as presented in the films, as well as considering such issues in India as (post) post-colonialism, the diaspora and multiculturalism.

5. dr Anna Klimas - Classroom research
This course will provide participants with an opportunity to establish or advance their understanding of classroom research. For this purpose, the scope of and current trends in classroom research will be reviewed so that participants will have a working knowledge of how to design and evaluate their own research projects. Focus will be on basic principles and methodologies used in classroom research. Moreover, participants will be acquainted with the ways of designing their own data collection instruments, such as questionnaires and observation sheets. The ways of analysing and presenting data will be also discussed. Participants will be involved in a group project during which they will learn how to plan and conduct classroom research as well as analyse and present its findings.

6. dr Maciej Litwin - Closer to the source: A translation theory survey class
About the course
This course is a response to the realisation that student papers on translation today feature mostly secondary sources to talk about translation theory classics. This often leads to misconceptions which hardly do justice to contributions by the heavy weights: Eugene Nida, Roman Jakobson, George Steiner, Hans Vermeer, Jean-Paul Vinay and Jean Darbelnet, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Andre Lefevere, Katherina Reiss, Lawrence Venuti, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Martin Luther, St Jerome and others…
This course is designed to create undergraduate level work space to go back to classic translation theory texts in search of finding out what these texts DO NOT SAY. This will be achieved thanks to an intensive reading schedule and class discussions in which diverse theoretical pronouncements will be explored and compared.
Each week students will have to read an article, an essay or an extensive book fragment.
Theories advanced by different authors will be…
… contrasted. We will read texts that are at odds with each other, or which belong to different traditions of scholarship, and different genres.
… contextualised. They will be discussed in terms of their historical, cultural and material background. This may require considerable investment in the Bible (Hebrew and Christian exegesis) as well as the history of civilisation in Europe. It will certainly require that we go back to defining questions of linguistics and literary studies.
A large part of class discussions will be based on Anthony Pym’s Exploring Translation Theories (2014).

Disclaimer
If you have
•    no interest in the Bible (the Hebrew, the Protestant and the Catholic tradition);
•    no interest in the history of civilisation (including dates and particulars, evolution of sciences and scholarship);
•    no interest in linguistics,
•    little or no interest in scholarship before the 20th century;
•    no intention to invest energy in extensive reading;
you may feel your intellect is underused or else unnecessarily burned out if you sign up.
A class in translation, this course will require knowledge of English and Polish.


Year 1 M.A. ELECTIVE COURSES (5 ECTS)

1. dr Elżbieta Klimek-Dominiak - Representations of Gender and Violence in Film, Graphic Narrative and Fiction
Contemporary films, graphic novels, and fiction often represent diverse models of masculinity, femininity, and non-hegemonic sexual subjectivity in the context of the prevalent collective, interpersonal, and self-directed violence. In this course, we will consider literal or symbolic acts of witnessing, resisting or giving testimony to gendered, race, and class-based violence. We will also discuss how films, alternative comics, and fictional narratives often challenge America’s cult of violence by powerfully communicating the impact of traumatic experiences, the role of non-violent defiance, and by promoting equality as well as nurturing relationships. After screenings of the selected films, we will be comparing how graphic and cinematic adaptations engage with taboo subjects, use irony and subversive humor to undermine social stereotypes encouraging coercion.

2. dr Maciej Litwin - Understanding contemporary models of language scholarship: The economy of translation studies.
This course is concerned with how many concepts you need to create a viable model of communication across languages, or else -- with the economy of translation studies.

Why is this interesting?
Translation studies is acclaimed as one of the fastest-growing fields in humanities (and deservedly so). But its rapid expansion invites contrasting responses. For many people (including translation scholars), the study of translation is as sublime a philosophical endeavour as men and women will ever aspire to. For others, translation studies is a sophisticated academic industry, where theories are compounded and concocted as if to honour originality of men and women who aspire to study translation. The point is: a methodological reflection on translation studies today holds a promise of understanding something of the Western mind as it is emerging from the 20th c. philosophical crisis.

What will this course involve?
This course is dedicated to a discussion of approaches to translation theory. The main theme running through each meeting will be the economy of models underlying English-language translation studies discussions.
The steps taken during the semester will involve the standard scholarly practice of reading important theoretical texts on translation only to discuss them in class. But this will come with an important innovation: we will start in 2012 with Lawrence Venuti’s reflection on translation theory and we will go back to St Jerome’s classic “Letter to Pammachius” drafted in AD 393. In other words, the endpoint of this course will be to view our modern scholarly models of language and translation in light of translation theory formulated two thousands years ago. My promise is that – if you take the pain of an uphill struggle to get there – the view from the top will make you smile.

What should I consider before signing up?
This course will be intensive.  Some of the texts proposed in the syllabus will be among the most challenging material you have read at university.
We will dwell on old texts and will discuss in depth a number of Biblical examples, which will require a lot of contextual information on civilisation: Christian faith, philosophy and technology.
Also, this class is about translation, so the language regime will be English with a lot of Polish. If you are not comfortable with your Polish, you may feel somewhat alienated when we ponder over niceties of translation examples set in this language.
Finally, this course will partly involve turning to theories, times and people that have been largely consigned to oblivion by the modern university discussants. So if you have no interest in the modes of thought and action that shaped Western sensibilities before what we call Modernity, you may feel your intellect is underused in this class.

3. dr Agata Zarzycka - From Cosmic Horror to "Chibi" Cthulhu: Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Political Aspects of Convergence Culture

The goal of this course is to consider how cultural concepts may change over time, especially when exposed to the unpredictable influences of contemporary convergence culture, that is, the environment which brings together various media, texts, and audiences that actively transform the contents they interact with.

The case study that will give us an insight into such processes is the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, commonly perceived as a controversial, yet highly relevant author of modern horror. We will start from getting acquainted with his two most characteristic creations: Cthulhu (the famous monster appearing in many of his short stories), and "cosmic horror" - a theoretical concept driving his literary pursuits. In the first part of the course we will get familiar with their original versions and circumstances they were shaped by. The middle part of the course follows Cthulhu as he gets adapted by various media (music, role-playing games, film) that change the monster's functions and interactions with the audience. The final part of the course focuses on various situations in which Cthulhu becomes more or less detached from its original narrative context and functions as a free, often metaconscious sign. Thus, Lovecraft's monster evolves from a source of horror to a huggable icon of cuteness.

Apart from gaining an insight into the mechanisms of the convergent cultural environment, students will get acquainted with several theoretical approaches to the cultural artifact, practice academic discussion, and hone their research skills by carrying out an individual project.


Year 2 M.A. ELECTIVE COURSES (5 ECTS)

1. dr hab. Anna Mystkowska-Wiertelak - Issues in Classroom Pedagogy and Second Language Research
The course will address various ways in which foreign language pedagogy can benefit from recent developments in second language acquisition research. The main emphasis will be put on the presentation and discussion of recent research findings in such areas as learner autonomy and engagement, form-focused instruction (e.g., focus-on-form or input processing), motivation (including the concept of international posture, ideal L2 self, willingness to communicate, flow and directed motivational currents).

2. dr hab. Dominika Ferens, prof. UWr - Between Literature and Ethnography
This course will first take us back to the early 20th century, when ethnography became an academic discipline and cut itself off from amateur descriptions of foreign cultures written by travelers and missionaries. We shall then move forward to the second half of the 20th century, when the decolonization of the “Third World” upset the traditional relations between the subjects and objects of ethnography, leading to a crisis of conscience in Western cultural anthropology. Some researchers dealt with this crisis by reaching for fictional and autobiographical modes of writing.
We shall look for the characteristic features of ethnography in fiction, and for elements of novelistic narration in ethnography. The reading list includes several classic ethnographies by such authors as Bronisław Malinowski and Margaret Mead, as well as more hybrid and experimental types of cultural description, including autoethnography, the ethnographic novel, and anti-ethnography. Traditional and experimental ethnographic footage, as well as documentaries about ethnographer’s lives, will provide additional illustrations.

3. dr Laura Suchostawska - Ecolinguistics and Conceptual Metaphor
We will explore relationships between language and ecology, between the way people speak and write texts and their attitudes to nature, animals, and various environmental issues, such as climate change, and how this, in turn, influences people's choices and actions. We will discuss the theoretical background, so the course can be attended by students who have not studied ecolinguistics yet, including Erasmus students. We will also analyze a wide range of different texts. At the end of the course, each student will write his or her own final research paper - an analysis of a text (or texts) of their own choice, connected with the environment, nature, animals, etc. The analyzed text and the final paper itself can be written in English, Polish or Spanish.

4. dr Katarzyna Sówka-Pietraszewska - Language Variation and Change
This course introduces students to the study of language change. The aim is to raise students’ awareness of the nature of language change. Accordingly, we will discuss changes at various linguistic levels: sound change, lexical change, syntactic change, and changes in word meaning over time. This is a practical course. Most of the class, time will be spent doing historical linguistics. We will be looking at data sets from many different languages. During the observation, we will try to describe the mechanism of change. Finally, we will attempt to answer the perennial question of why we change the language we speak.

5. dr Agata Zarzycka - Childhood and Participatory Culture
By considering parallels between the ways the Western culture has been conceptualizing children and media audiences, this course aims to analyze the relevance of childhood as a construct in not always obvious contexts of popular culture. It also aims to reflect on the potential consequences of that relevance for the actual children audiences and cultural consumers. We will look at the incorporation and reframings of the maturity-childishness axis in the realm of media fandom and geek culture; analyze moral and political expectations projected on children (as both characters and audiences); track down grown ups' perception of texts for children and children's inclusion in grown ups' cultural practices; and reflect on the significance of child-insipred aesthetics in various textual contexts.

Apart from analyzing constructs such as innocent passivity, youthful rebelliousness, responsibility for the future, nostalgia, or intentional immaturity, students will have an opportunity to get acquainted with several theoretical approaches to childhood and participatory culture, as well as hone their research skills by carrying out an individual project, and practice academic discussion.


Year 2 M.A. TOPICAL LECTURES (4 ECTS)

1. prof. Leszek Berezowski - English grammar for translators 1
The course offers a practical survey of English grammatical problems that are relevant to translators as the quality of their output to a large extent depends on how well they understand the grammar of the sentences they work with. The course kicks off with considering English causative verbs, focusing on GET, MAKE and HAVE, and then goes on to discuss eventive HAVE (e.g. Bond had his passport stolen), unusual uses of English tenses and modal verbs, e.g. WILL that refers to the past and present continuous uses with stative verbs, e.g. I’m lovin’ it, the middle voice that is neither active nor passive and the subjunctive mood. A sequel is planned for the second semester.