ENGL 575 Sex and Sensibility: The Rise of Chick Lit from Jane Austen to Bridget Jones

Instructor: Stephanie Harzewski

This course focuses on the novel of manners, a lStephanie Harzewskiiterary tradition that began in the nineteenth century, but enjoys widespread popularity in the contemporary phenomenon dubbed as "chick lit." We will survey how this qualitative sociology negotiates the interplay between romantic and economic concerns. Texts may include works by major writers of this subgenre, e.g. Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, and Evelyn Waugh, as well as new incarnations such as "Bridget Jones Diary" and "Sex and the City."

Learn more about Stephanie Harzewski's book "Chick Lit and Postfeminism."

Comments from students:

  • Sex and Sensibility represents a triumph for the UNH English Department… All content and structure was conducive to learning and relevant to students of every major and department.
  • A great first online course for an English course! I hope it is the first of many.
  • This course taught me more than a regular course because you can go to discussions and other resources whenever you want… Much more rewarding then a regular English course because you get to do things on your own.
  • Did not miss anything not being in a structured classroom.
  • Prof. H. definitely did the English Department a service by instructing its first online course efficiently and enthusiastically. The course was engaging from title to text and beyond. Prof. H. clearly provided her students with every resource (including herself) that could both aid in both coursework and overall approach to literary analysis. She posted as many course announcements and sent as many e-mails as is necessary for proper pacing and participation in an online course. At no point were her proactive methods in communicating with students excessive or uninformative. Professor Harzewski's Sex and Sensibility course should be considered a staple of UNH's online offerings. I would recommend it to any student.

Stephanie Harzewski speaks about her online class.

Teaching Sex and Sensibility as an online course enabled me to edit previous course content to present the most important information in a more efficient and multimedia form. Students learn more in less time as the variety of formats—recorded video lectures, a course blog, conference call-type group chats—animate the learning experience and help keep momentum in the accelerated time frame. Teaching the course changed my view on blogging, which I previously, somewhat naively, regarded as typically low-level writing. Thinking more about delivery format exposed me to user-friendly communication tools such as GoToMeeting.com that instructors can employ not only to mimic the setting of office hours, but also incorporate in more traditional courses to supplement in-person discussion.

Students are expected to learn new material when they sign on board for a course, should not instructors learn how to use, or at least seriously consider the use of, new pedagogical tools? Learning and experimenting with the new technology in the classroom lowers a seasoned instructor's risk of autopilot teaching.  Being put in a position of a student having to learn a new skill may help keep dynamic teachers dynamic!