BA SEMINARS ACAD. YEAR 2020/2021
LITERATURE & CULTURE:

1. Dr Justyna Fruzińska, America in the 19th Century

The seminar will be devoted to discussing different aspects of American culture in the 19th century: literature, painting, religion, philosophy, history, popular culture. It will combine discussion of literary and critical sources with watching and analyzing documentary films on various issues connected to 19th-century America.

  • We will read works by Romantic as well as realist writers (e.g. Emerson, Hawthorne, Brockden Brown, Beecher Stowe, Twain, Henry James);
  • we will see paintings by artists from Thomas Cole to John Singer Sargent;
  • we will have a look at the pragmatism of William James;
  • we will try to understand new religious movements such as Mormons or Christian Science;
  • we will discuss major historical events of the 19th century: the war of 1812, slavery and abolitionism, the war with Mexico, the gold rush, the industrial revolution, Civil War and reconstruction of the South;
  • we will learn about American folk heroes such as Buffalo Bill, dime novels and minstrel shows

Even though the seminar will focus on the 19th century, I invite all students interested in American literature and culture; the range of possible BA topics accepted is far wider than the scope of the seminar, and theses dealing with 20th and 21st-century America are welcome as well.

 

2. Dr Magdalena Szuster,  Performing America

In this seminar, we will explore the (complicated and intricate) history of American theater in various social, political and economic contexts, focusing on the many forms and manifestations of theater in the USA and its relationship with culture, both high and low. Through such exploration of its development, we will look at theater as a by-product and a representation of American culture, a respondent to counter- and pop culture, a vessel of social change, as well as a for-profit industry.

The discussions will be based primarily on dramatic texts and movie adaptations of selected plays (e.g. William Dunlop, Royall Tyler, David Belasco, Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee), but also on reviews and historical/critical essays. Other indigenously American theatrical forms, such as stand-up comedy, improvisational theater, happenings and performances, will also be debated.

 

3.  Dr Marta Goszczyńska,  Secrecy and Silence in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction and Film

Secrets feature prominently in numerous cinematic and literary narratives. Most obviously, they do so in detective or gothic texts where dark mysteries lie at the core of the story and the unearthing of what is concealed propels the plot forward. Secrets and silences, however, are also thematised in other types of narratives. Think, for example, about representations of totalitarian states in dystopian novels—Gilead in Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and its recent sequel, The Testaments (2019), or Nea So Copros in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004)—where mechanisms of power and social control are almost invariably premised on concealment and withdrawal of information. Or consider “ordinary,” realistic stories about individuals struggling under the burden of past secrets.

The more you think, the more you realise that secrecy—understood both as a thematic leitmotif and as a formal textual strategy—is all-pervasive in film and fiction. It can be argued, in fact, that the reader’s epistemological progress through any narrative is all about gradual revelations: we begin in an unfamiliar setting, with no knowledge of the characters and events, and then move on towards an increasingly fuller understanding of the fictional world. This process is usually fairly straightforward in realistic texts; it becomes more complicated in modernist and postmodernist texts where the reading experience can be impeded by all sorts of narrative gaps and silences.

The course looks at a selection of contemporary novels, short stories and films, which deal with these different facets of secrecy. Among the novels and films to be discussed, you will find:

  • Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1989)
  • Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith (2002)
  • Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003)
  • David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004; excerpts)
  • Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments (2019)
  • Secrets and Lies (1996; dir. Mike Leigh)
  • Memento (2000; dir. Christopher Nolan)
  • “Shut Up and Dance” (2016; dir. James Watkins) and “Crocodile” (2017; dir. John Hillcoat); episodes from Black Mirror (TV series)
  • “Offred” (2017; dir. Reed Morano); the opening episode of The Handmaid’s Tale (TV series)

 

4.  Dr Joanna Dyła-Urbańska, Theory and Practice of Literary Translation

The seminar is addressed to all students interested in the art of translation, particularly – but not only – literary translation. We will analyse and discuss possible practical problems encountered by translators in their work and read and talk about texts by translation theorists. Apart from working on strictly literary texts (such as excerpts from novels or short stories), we will also concentrate on song lyrics, film dialogues, advertisements, various articles and essays. We will talk about reception and criticism of different texts translated into Polish, read (and hopefully argue over) translation reviews and carry out comparative analyses of various translations of texts of literature. The seminar is therefore relevant for all students interested in the fascinating world of translation, a truly interdisciplinary field incorporating broad cultural, social and political contexts of contemporary humanist thought.

 

5, Dr Joanna Matyjaszczyk, Literary Encyclopedia: Popular and Literary Ballads

This project-seminar will guide students through the process of creating a BA project in the form of a short Wikipedia-type encyclopedic entry for a poem of their choice. The seminar will be devoted to popular English and Scottish ballads as well as the Romantic, literary variety of the genre. The students will be encouraged to prepare their entries on either one of Wordsworth’s lyrical ballads or a traditional narrative song from F. J. Child’s collection, but any poem from before 1900 that has no article on Wikipedia will be acceptable as a topic. The seminar and the accompanying classes will focus on three key areas that are to support students in completing their project: 1. discussion of the ballad in its popular as well as literary variant and an overview of some representatives of the genre, which will provide the students with background knowledge and help them choose the topic of their article; 2. research skills, the practice of which will facilitate finding, analyzing and effectively using secondary sources needed to write an encyclopedic entry; 3. the discussion of the nature of encyclopedic language, the mistakes to be avoided in the process of creating an encyclopedia article and the mechanics of editing Wikipedia, which will guide the students in their work on the entry and on a short analytic commentary on their project, and make it possible for them (should they wish to do so) to publish their article on Wikipedia.

 

LINGUISTICS:

6. Dr Łukasz Salski, Foreign Language Education and Written Communication

This class is intended for anyone interested in language teaching and learning. While most of the input will revolve around theoretical and practical aspects of teaching writing in English as a foreign language, students will be encouraged to pursue their specific interests in the broad field of teaching and learning foreign/second language. Ultimately, the BA diploma project topics may vary from teaching different language skills or subsystems to individual language learner differences or assessment, and from analysis of language teaching techniques or materials to investigation of learning strategies or bilingualism.

 

7.  Dr Paulina Pietrzak, Issues in Translation & Interpreting

This BA seminar addresses the latest theories, methodologies, and trends in non-literary translation and interpreting. Students will have the chance to investigate various concepts and typologies of translation theory and practice as they will spend the year developing their topics, researching and discussing them. The seminar offers a thorough grounding in research methods and provides an overview of basic and advanced concepts in methodological aspects of linguistic analysis.

The seminar is aimed at those who wish to write their dissertations on the topics involving:

  • Audiovisual Translation
  • Interpreting
  • Strategies, methods and procedures in translation
  • Specialised translation/LSP translation
  • Translation Quality Assesment
  • Teaching translation and interpreting
  • CAT Tools

 

8.  Dr hab. prof. UŁ, Przemysław Krakowian, dr Anna Jarosz, Modern orientations and trends in the field of EFL/ESL

This BA seminar is built around selected issues in the field of EFL/ESL and will provide a comprehensive range of issues in the area of learning and teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language. Those will range from the role of technology in language learning/teaching, to learning pedagogies.

Tentative topics will include:

  • distance and e-learning, new technologies and the Internet in teaching,
  • mobile learning,
  • online learning platforms and authoring tools,
  • online assessment and computerised/adaptive testing, alternatives in language assessment -portfolio and electronic portfolio in skill development and language assessment
  • modern orientations in language pedagogy
  • and the pedagogy and didactics of phonetics

9.  Prof. dr hab. Piotr Cap, Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis

This BA-level course will describe the current state of research in the field of linguistic pragmatics seen in the broad sense of a functional (i.e. cognitive, social and cultural) perspective on language and communication. A wide variety of topics will be discussed and students will acquire both theoretical and practical expertise within the following areas:

  • application of linguistic pragmatics in the analysis of real-life discourse (language of politics and the media; advertising; social communication; misunderstandings; humor, etc.);
  • pragmatic explorations of urgent social issues: health (including discourse of COVID-19 pandemic), climate change, ecology;
  • status of pragmatics in relation to such disciplines as sociolinguistics, political science anthropology, social psychology, experimental psychology, neurolinguistics, cognitivism and culture studies;
  • methodology of pragmatic investigation and tools of analysis (deixis, presupposition, implicature, speech acts, politeness, relevance).

 

10.  Dr Aleksandra Majdzińska, Issues in Linguistic Analysis

In this seminar students will have the opportunity to investigate the language of newspapers, advertising, and politics in order to be able to specify their area of linguistic interest. It aims at offering an insight into various concepts concerning written discourse, such as distribution of information, ‘figuarative language’ (metaphor, metonymy, personification, etc.), framing, distribution of attention (e.g. figure and ground distinction). A focus will also be placed on persuasive language, including presenting arguments, techniques of manipulation/propaganda, personalising strategies, etc.

 

11. Dr hab. prof. UŁ, Iwona Witczak-Plisiecka, dr Anna Gralińska-Brawata, Analysing variability in English

The aim of the seminar is to acquaint students with a variety of factors influencing  the use of English and ways of investigating variability in speech from the sociolinguistic point of view. It also aims at inspiring and preparing students for conducting a research project as part of their B.A. thesis.

The course will focus on the most important issues concerning various sources of variability in language use including a range of sociolinguistic variables (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, social status, identity, speaking styles) and language / phonetic features (dialect and accent differences). These will be based on close analyses of selected audio-visual materials or texts.