Humanities 220-02: Values and Culture


Tuesday 2-3.15

Sean Connelly


Office location/ hours: in HUM 439 on T 5-6 and Th 2.30-3.30

Course Blog:

The Project:

HUM220 examines the relationships between expressive forms and social values. Studying works of fiction set in various locales such as mecolonial Congo, and contemporary Japan. Using the supernatural as a lens, students will explore specific texts from a range of genres such as the novel, the short story, film, visual culture, and popular music. By focusing specifically on the category of the gothic—a concept that denotes “barbarian” European tribes, a style of architecture, and a system of fictive conventions—we will consider the ways that tropes and themes of haunting, confinement, delusion, and terror (among others) are used to support and trouble dominant social values. What are the ideological functions of the gothic? How do different cultures, at different moments in history, use gothic materials?

Basic Expectations:

Arrive on time, work completed, with the assigned text.

With the exception of in-class work, all assignments should be typed.

Every assignment should include name/date/course.


Students who text, sleep, or surf in class will be told to leave.

Trust and Development:

Cheating destroys trust between teacher and student, actively undermines their relationship, and indicates that the cheater is more interested in pocketing a couple of credits than developing as an intellectual and ethical being.

Anyone caught plagiarizing will receive a zero on the assignment and be reported to the dean in charge of student affairs. Chronic cheating will result in an F for the semester and possibly expulsion from SFSU.

Note that plagiarism includes taking someone else’s ideas without attribution and re-phrasing them. It also includes contract cheating and using an electronic device to cheat on in-class assignments. Because ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES ARE TO BE TURNED OFF AND PUT AWAY, however, the latter will be impossible.



If you have particular needs or challenges that you think I should know about, please discuss them with me at the beginning of the semester and I’ll do my best to accommodate you. See also: Disability Program and Resource Center (338-2472 or

Title IX:

Teachers are required by law to contact the Dean of Students should a student inform them of an instance of sexual violence or gender discrimination. Students wishing to discuss such experiences confidentially may contact The SAFE Place – (415) 338-2208;  Counseling and Psychological Services Center – (415) 338-2208; For more information see

Work and Grading Rubric:

Effort and Engagement 30% 

Image 20%

Film Analysis 20%

Essay 30%

Notes on Reading:

Reading is an activity. MRI scans of students fully immersed in reading show a remarkable degree of brain activity. Reading repays the effort, imagination, attention, and discipline that it requires. The more we read the better readers (and writers) we become. See

Buy hard copies of the proper editions of the books.

Complete the readings as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

Look up unfamiliar words and take notes. Taking notes in longhand increases memory and comprehension. In fact, participants in a recent study “who [took] notes with laptops performed worse on tests of both factual content and conceptual understanding, relative to participants who had taken notes longhand.” See

Write in the margins of your book.

Mark significant passages.

Read carefully and think about what you read.

Required Texts:

Purchase the correct editions of the assigned texts at the SFSU “bookstore” or order them online. If you are interested in supporting local independent bookstores consult Green Apple Books or Dog-Eared Books or Booksmith.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Poland/UK 1899) 9780141441672

Jeremias Gotthelf, The Black Spider (Switzerland 1842 ) 978-1590176689

Thierry Jonquet, Mygale (France 1995) 9780872864092

Yale University’s Film Analysis Guide:

A hardcopy Reader for sale at Dragon Printing ( )


The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920); Nosferatu (1922); The Golem (1920); The Haunting (1963); The Innocents (1961); Dark City (1998); Double Take (2010); Gothic (1987); The Seventh Victim (1943); A Tale of Two Sisters (2003); Ugetsu (1953); Kwaidan (1964)



Week Two: 2/2

In Class: Course Introduction; GW1: “Before the Law”

Clips/Tracks: Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” ( ); Vincent ( ); An Introduction to the Gothic (

Assignment for next week, 2/9: Eagleton, “What is a Novel?”; Bennett, “Culture”; Armstrong, “Gothic Novel”; OED, “Atmosphere”; Carter, “In the Bloody Chamber”

Week Three: 2/9


In class: Lecture/Discussion of assignments.

Clips/Tracks: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992); The Hunger; BFI Gothic ( );

Assignment for next week, 2/16: Aikin, “Sir Bertrand: A Fragment”; Hawthorn, “Preface”; Hogle, “‘Gothic’ Romance”; Mikaberidze, “Enlightenment”

Week Four: 2/16

In Class: Lecture/Discussion of assignments.

Clips/Tracks: Xmal Deutschland, “Mondlicht”; The Monk

Assignment: Nealon & Giroux, “Subject” and “History”; Gotthelf, The Black Spider

Week Five: 2/23

In Class: The Birthday Party, “She’s Hit”; ICW; discuss The Black Spider

Clips/Tracks: None

Assignment: Groom, The Gothic (through Ch. 10); Thomas, “Introduction,” Glossary; Gotthelf, The Black Spider

Week Six: 3/1

In Class: Crimson Peak (full length); Discussion MEET IN HUM 133. DON’T BE LATE.

Assignment: Yale Film Analysis Guide

Week Seven: 3/8

In Class: Prep Midterm; MIDTERM

Assignment: Pu, “Painted Skin” and “Fox Enchantment”; Ancuta, “Asian Gothic”; Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of the Sublime and the Beautiful (excerpts)

Week Eight: 3/15

In Class: Painted Skin films

Assignment for 3/29: Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; “Negro”; Leslie Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel (excerpts)

Week Nine: 3/22

Spring Break

Week Ten: 3/29

In Class:  Skip James, “Devil Got My Woman” ( )

Assignment: Hoffmann, “The Sandman”

CR/NC Option Deadline on 3/30

Week Eleven: 4/5

In Class:

Clips/Tracks: Ex Machina; Alien; The Sandman

Assignment: Freud, “The Uncanny”

Week Twelve: 4/12

In Class:

Clips/Tracks: The Sandman

Assignment: Conrad, The Heart of Darkness

Week Thirteen: 4/19

In Class: Final GTA presentation.

Clips/Tracks: Bookmark: Heart of Darkness

Assignment: Bronfen, “GothicCinema“; Kromm, “Inventing the Mise-en-scene”

Week Fourteen: 4/26

In Class:

Clips: German Expressionist Cinema

Assignment: Jonquel, Mygale

Week Fifteen: 5/3

In Class:

Screening: Dark City (Proyas 1999)

Assignment: Jonquel, Mygale

Week Sixteen: 5/10

In Class:

Film Analysis Project Presentations

Week Seventeen: 5/17

Last Day of Class: Review