ENGL 300 *01: Critical Conversations in English—Dirty Rotting Scoundrels: Untimely and Timely Villains in Renaissance Drama and Modern Cinema (Pillai)
This course will focus on the contagion and allure of villainy. Specifically, we will map the ways in which villainy invades our imagination, systems, and beings, filling us with the paradoxical experiences and affects of pleasure in pain. We will concentrate on Renaissance, postmodern, and posthuman villains, while keeping in mind the long and dense cultural/literary history of villainy. (After all, the enigmatic appeal of the villain is an old story; in the West alone the villain dates back to Satan and to Cain, and all Western literary and cinematic villains share their ancestry with these two figures.) Renaissance drama offers audiences some of the most alluring antagonists in English literature. Faustus and Mephistopheles (Doctor Faustus), Iago (Othello), Edmund (King Lear), and De Flores (The Changeling) are just some characters in the drama that form the topsoil of Renaissance villainy—they are the visible villains who bear the cross or the skull and crossbones of grim fascination. Beneath the topsoil, however, lurk the subsoil and substratum. Here we find servants, clowns, witches, men of the cloth, widows, and pimps, to name only a few of the semi–visible and invisible components of the complex network that shapes the terrain of Renaissance villainy. Together the villainous figures of the plays both delight our senses and challenge our everyday sensibility and morality. In recent visual narratives, villains continue to vie for the limelight and often steal the show from the heroes who, even as they stand for and do the right thing, remain relatively insular and unexciting: The Joker (Batman/Dark Knight), Loki (Thor; The Avengers), Cruella deVil (One Hundred and One Dalmatians), Darth Vader (Star Wars), Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs), Anton Chigur (No Country for Old Men), Cersei Lannister Baratheon (Game of Thrones), and even the Shark (Jaws) are memorable specifically because they invite us into a world that they share with us. Indeed, it is their ability to share the/their world with us that makes villains contagious forces. In the context of literature and cinema, then, the "banality of evil" is anything but ordinary, and the villain is anything but boring.
We will study five Renaissance plays in conjunction with five films from the recent past. Through close readings of the texts we will anatomize, historicize, criticize, and theorize the functions, logics, ethics, and affects of villainy in literature and popular culture, tracing both the differences and similarities among the dirty rotting scoundrels of the past and present imagination.
If you need further details regarding the course materials, please contact Dr. Pillai or stop by and chat with her in EHFA 207 during her office hours.
ENGL 300 *02: Critical Conversations in English—Dostoevsky (Oldfield)
This class will focus on one author and one book, Feodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. Love, hate, murder, Grand Inquisitors, petty devils, Holy fools, saints that stink, faith, doubt, evil, ridicule, scandal, passion, hope, despair, transcendence—you will find it all in the lives of the Brothers K and their decadent, creepy father whom one of them, it seems, has killed. A mystery novel that wanders far beyond its bounds, The Brothers Karamazov is also a window into 19th century Russia during a time of intense turmoil and change. This book has attracted many human minds since its publication in 1880, and we will enjoy swimming with the thoughts and theories of others while sinking into it ourselves. Reading intensive, writing intensive.
ENGL 301 *01 and 02: Creative Writing Workshop (Adams)
This course introduces the fundamentals of composing poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and other types of creative writing using a combination of example readings and writing workshops. We will focus on developing your creative writing skills, craft vocabulary, and understanding of the writing process. We become better writers by becoming better reader; therefore, for inspiration and advice, we will read and discuss published work about the craft of writing. We will also read and discuss contemporary poems, stories, and essays by some of the best writers working today. Using the techniques we glean, you will write your own creative work—three poems, one story, and one essay—to learn about the writing process and about what these genres share and what makes each unique. Your creative work will be work–shopped by the class, with a focus on discovering and fostering your individual interests, strengths, and talents.
ENGL 304 *01: British Literature II (Oestreich)
This section of ENGL 304 will focus on British literature, primarily novels that explore the relationships amongst British history, politics, money, sexuality, and the home. Using these texts as a focal point, we will address how authors in the late 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries responded to and helped change political and social conditions in Britain, as well as how technology impacted both the form and content of their literature. Other themes we will consider include: the implications of urbanization; the relevance of gender, class, racial, and sexual difference to literary production; the consequences of British imperialism and the dissolution of empire; the effects of the ever–increasing pace of technological development; etc.
ENGL 304 *02: British Literature II (Arnold)
A survey of representative works illustrating the development of British literature from the late eighteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on major literary movements understood in relation to their intellectual, social, and political contexts.
ENGL 306 *01 and *02 American Literature II (Hamelman)
American Literature II picks up where American Literature I ends—circa 1870 with the waning of the “age of Romanticism” (still referred to in some quarters as the American Renaissance). Sticking to the traditional divisions of academic periodization, American Literature II (hereafter AMlit2) focuses on texts from the Ages of Realism, Modernism, and Postmodernism. Rather than a survey, AMlit2 is designed as a process tentatively linked to a historical narrative in which the American republic, ever more “multicultural” and “fragmented,” seeks to sustain myths from a receding past while forging ahead into a world where the idea of myth itself falls to pieces under the pressures caused by loss of faith, the uncertainties of capitalism, unprecedented advances in technology, political upheaval, and deconstructive shifts in sensibility. American writers, like their counterparts in music and the plastic arts, express themselves in a wide range of sub-movements in which theory, genre, and style overlap (e.g., naturalism, imagism, noir, confessionalism, pop art, southern gothic). AMlit2 explores many of these sub-movements, all the while observing how classic American themes such as self-reliance, nature, identity, god, and the American Dream are reconfigured to reflect new realities, from local to global, facing all citizens of a culture whose claims to a providentially ordained exceptionalism become increasingly difficult to support. What the student will find in AMlit2 is that the best literary products of this 150-year period are exceptional in terms of originality, diversity, and the writer’s conviction that great art possesses, as it did in the Romantic Age, the power to liberate readers from the shackles of ignorance, conformity, and materialism.
ENGL 316 *01: The British Novel II (K. Turner)
"I cannot live without brain–work. What else is there to live for?"—Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four (1890)
This Spring's offering of ENGL 316 will investigate selected nineteenth– and twentieth–century British novels, with special attention to overlaps and intersections in form and content between material culture, writing technologies, emergent forms of social media, and more than a hint of mystery. Authors may include, among others, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Galsworthy, Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier and, reaching into the twenty–first century, Neil Gaiman. Alongside these narratives, we will examine recent film and televisual adaptations of course texts and popular period pieces (e.g., Great Expectations, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, The Forsyte Saga)—and put our brains to work on the experiment of updating a vintage text for millennial consumption.
ENGL 350 *01: Language Variation in North America (Hasty)
Why do those people up North (i.e., Yankees) talk the way they do? How can those people in the South sound so nice yet still so dumb? Why don't the people out West have an accent? Do I have an accent?
In this course, we will answer all these questions and more. We will study the differences in the varieties of North American English from a scientific perspective being guided by contemporary sociolinguistic theory. While regional variation is one of the most salient aspects of American English, we will also study social, ethnic, gender, and style–related language variation. Along with understanding how different varieties of English are linguistically different form each other, we will also explore issues related to the social evaluation of individual dialects regarding the perceptions and attitudes of speakers and hearers of these varieties. We will address issues related to the so–called "Standard" English ideology and even seek to uncover linguistic profiling and discrimination. The course will be discussion based and will involve a good deal of classroom participation and presentation. Students will be asked to complete original sociolinguistic research by collecting data on actual real–world language variation and presenting their findings in both oral and written form.
ENGL 351 *01: Language, Gender, and Power (Childs)
The course investigates language structure and usage patterns in the context of gender to achieve a better understanding of the way language reflects the changing roles of women and men. Differences in gender–based language use, language references, and the perceptions, attitudes and behaviors related to these differences are examined in this writing intensive course.
ENGL 365 *01: Reading/Writing Creative Nonfiction (J. Oestreich)
This course is designed to help you learn the elements of form and craft in creative nonfiction and its subgenres. It will operate in four units. In the first, you will learn the building blocks common to all forms of nonfiction—concepts such as writing in scene, narration vs. exposition, the importance of place and characterization, and writing to make meaning. Next we will study the forms of seven nonfiction subgenres: memoir, the personal essay, the lyric essay, the fragmented essay, literary journalism, profile writing, and cultural criticism. In the third unit, we will workshop some of the major works of contemporary nonfiction. This unit will be discussion–based, and these discussions will be led primarily by you, in groups of two. For the final unit, you will write an original creative essay, which will be read and critiqued by the entire class.
ENGL 375 *01: Special Topics: World and Anglophone Literature—Russian Literature and Revolution (Oldfield)
A statue chasing you through the streets of St. Petersburg. A nose that walks by itself. A man in love with mosquitoes. An apartment turned into a cave. And by the way, in this world 2x2=5. Along with diving into the darkest corners of the human soul and soaring to the heights of philosophical enquiry, Russian Literature is filled with absurd, extreme, and exquisitely painful play. And unforgettable characters. And questions that will follow you around for years. In this class we will read literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries not only as masterworks of narrative, but also in context of a tumultuous Russia driving towards Revolution and Civil War. Readings will include Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Zamyatin. Reading intensive, writing intensive.
ENGL 390 *D1: Business and Professional Communication (Winner)
Designed to improve practical communication, both written and oral. Students learn business style and formats (the letter, memo, resume, and report), as well as strategies for presenting neutral, negative, and persuasive messages. Students will speak on business or professional topics in this writing intensive course.
ENGL 409 *01: Theories of Gender and Sexuality (Port)
In this course, we will explore theories that have contributed to current debates about representations of men and women, constructions of femininity and masculinity, and the implications of sexuality and sexual preference. The first half of the course will focus on several key essays in feminist theory. In the second half of the term, we will explore other developments in gender and sexuality studies, including the origins of and recent developments in queer theory and transgender studies. The study of theoretical works will be interspersed with the application of those theories to works of literature. Over the course of the semester we will consider the intersections of gender and sexuality with other categories of identity and difference as we examine the relevance of reading, writing, and other forms of expression to the construction of gender and sexuality.
ENGL 453 *01 Development of the English Language (Moye)
An introduction to the general principles concerning the design and function of human language, and an overview of the history of grammar with emphasis upon modern grammatical theory. Illustrative material is drawn from the English language, modern European languages, and others.
ENGL 457 *01 Form and Style in Writing (Kellogg)
What is a writing style? In my view, style is a choice — or rather, a set of choices. Every time you choose to write a sentence one way rather than another, you have made a stylistic choice. Your writing has attained a style, however, only when the set of the choices you make adds up to something recognizable, consistent, true.
This course is an intensive workshop in improving prose style. We will briefly cover research and citation styles (what many students mean by "style"), but our main focus is on improving your ability to compose sentences and paragraphs with wit, elegance, and power. We will cover issues of clarity, concision, coherence, cohesion, and other elements of practical style; assert control of sentence length, rhythm, and pacing; and learn about a variety of rhetorical figures, including tropes of argument. You will learn dozens of terms for patterns of style and master tricks you didn't know existed. You will both revise previously written pieces and compose new work.
ENGL 459 *01 Advanced Composition and Rhetoric (Smith)
This course will focus on composition and rhetoric as a digital practice. As such, it offers students the opportunity to read and discuss current theories of digital writing as well as explore those theories through new media productions of their own. Using free and open–source software, students will work to compose a variety of inquiry–based media projects—including a podcast and video series—in addition to more conventional modes of academic writing. This multi–genre approach invites students to critically engage what it means to compose and the rhetorical affects of media.
ENGL 459 *02 Advanced Composition and Rhetoric (Howes)
This course provides an introduction to the theories that structure the field of Composition and Rhetoric to advance students' knowledge and build vocabulary to discuss reading, writing, and how texts function in the social world. We will combine this theory with practice by writing using different genres and developing research skills. These methods will allow students to explore questions about ways language connects to how we see others and ourselves, critically interrogating literacy learning, discourse communities, and rhetorical theory. Implementing process–based writing will also encourage students to cultivate content and clarity in their writing by working through multiple drafts and learning about effective revision strategies.
ENGL 462 *01 Writing Workshop—Fiction (Ockert)
This is an advanced course in fiction writing and in it we will analyze the multiple ways a short story can be written. Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to read your peers' writing in a workshop setting. Building on what you've learned in previous creative writing courses, we will study contemporary elements of style and seek to understand particular values inherent in important short story writing. Reading the writings of published and unpublished work will introduce you to diverse ideas and also provide you with practice in responding to ideas by questioning, affirming, refuting, complicating, reflecting, and critiquing. Although it is impossible to teach you to be a great writer, it is possible to teach you the ways in which published writers have organized their thoughts and ideas onto the page. "Greatness," I'm hoping, will rub off on you. Sometimes I will give you in–class writing assignments/exercises which may very well blossom into something beautiful that you would like to include in the portfolio you submit to me at the end of the semester. The exercises are meant to enhance areas of your writing which may still need work—dialogue, character development, setting, motivation, plot—and while I do not believe writing should be taught by compartmentalizing, I expect you to understand elements of style and form. I don't expect you to have your voice
ENGL 468 *01 Writing Workshop—Poetry (Hensel)
A workshop course in the writing of poetry. Students learn the craft of poetry, have their poems discussed in a workshop setting, and are guided in the preparation and submission of manuscripts for publication. Students will write and read examples of poems in free verse and in traditional forms, and a large amount of class time will be devoted to group discussion of student poems.
ENGL 480 *01: Technical Editing: Special Topics in Technical Communication (Reid)
An intensive workshop focusing on the design and construction of professional writing documents related to technical communication including user guides, job aids, grant and proposal writing, and hypermedia authoring. A semester–long scientific study is conducted and is accompanied with a technical report. May be repeated for academic credit.
ENGL 483 *01: Theory of Literary Criticism (Hamelman)
This course introduces, explicates, and elaborates ways to define and interpret literature and culture. Doing so requires us to study signs, codes, grammars, and systems— linguistic, aural, visual, and otherwise—that create what human beings call "reality." We will discover the amazing number of ways to approach an understanding of the most important term of all: representation. What is representation? How have different writers from different historical periods explained it? What is our own relationship to representation? Does a transcendent Truth inform representation, or is it an arbitrary, fluid combination of signs that can't be reduced to one final meaning? Why are some representations considered beautiful and canonical, others trashy and disposable, some superficial, some profound? Questions such as these will accumulate with each assignment, ranging over philosophy, psychology, linguistics, rhetoric, sociology, semiotics, hermeneutics, theology, political economy, media studies, and literary criticism. Despite its reputation for being difficult, theory is a democratic, non–elitist discipline. Studying its key principles and themes improves our daily thinking—that is, it helps us decipher the verbal, visual, and aural language that shapes our lives, and in the process it empowers and liberates the reader.
ENGL 485 *01: Adolescent Literature (Campbell)
An extensive study of works appropriate for the adolescent. Required of all Secondary English Education students.
ENGL 300 *01: Critical Conversations in English: English and the Internet (Childs)
Much recent conversation in the media and in education circles has discussed the role that "the internet", that is electronically mediated communication, has had on the status of present–day English and more importantly the effects that it will have on the future of English. In this course, we will look at the English language and its relationship with "the internet" and consider the effects that e–mail, emoticons, twitter, facebook, and others have had on the status and development of English and more importantly the ways in which English speakers are using these resources. (ENGL 300 emphasizes critical thinking, analytical writing and textual analysis as the foundations of success in the major. Texts—connected by generic, thematic or historical factors—will be the means to introduce English majors to some of the research methodologies, critical "conversations," and professional factors that are central concerns in the discipline.)
ENGL 300 *02: Critical Conversations in English: The Gothic Experience (Bachman)
The fog–enshrouded castle . . . dank dungeons . . . sinister villains . . . supernatural spirits . . . damsels in distress . . . scandalous secrets . . . ghostly apparitions . . . dark doubles . . . terrifying nightmares . . . dreadful curses . . . mysterious strangers . . . violent death . . .
This section of ENGL 300 will examine the origin and forms of Gothic literature in eighteenth–century England and investigate its myriad transformations and returns in both literature and film in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty–first centuries. Following current scholarship, we will pose questions about belief in the supernatural, representations of violence, the significance of fantasy and fear, and the role of gender, race, class, and sexuality. (ENGL 300 emphasizes critical thinking, analytical writing and textual analysis as the foundations of success in the major. Texts—connected by generic, thematic or historical factors—will be the means to introduce English majors to some of the research methodologies, critical "conversations," and professional factors that are central concerns in the discipline.)
ENGL 301 *01: Creative Writing Workshop (Adams)
This course introduces the fundamentals of composing poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and other types of creative writing using a combination of example readings and writing workshops. We will focus on developing your creative writing skills, craft vocabulary, and understanding of the writing process. We become better writers by becoming better reader; therefore, for inspiration and advice, we will read and discuss published work about the craft of writing. We will also read and discuss contemporary poems, stories, and essays by some of the best writers working today. Using the techniques we glean, you will write your own creative work—three poems, one story, and one essay—to learn about the writing process and about what these genres share and what makes each unique. Your creative work will be work–shopped by the class, with a focus on discovering and fostering your individual interests, strengths, and talents.
ENGL 301 *02: Creative Writing Workshop (Ockert)
This course is designed to help you learn the fundamentals of creative non–fiction, poetry, and fiction writing. In addition, through the careful analysis of both published and unpublished work, your critical awareness will be challenged and enhanced. We will dissect the construction of essays, poems, and short stories, gain practice in writing these genres, and participate in peer–centered workshops. The philosophy behind the workshop setting is to broaden a writer's knowledge base and provide him/her with further tools with which to sharpen his/her craft. While not everyone in the class will "get" what you want from your piece, not everyone will "miss" it. The point is that more scrutinizing eyes on your work will help widen your own.
ENGL 303 *01/ENGL 303 *02: British Literature (Moye)
This course is pre–medieval and pre–modern. It is also post–medieval and post–modern. As old yin rolls over into new yang and old yang rolls into new yin, the old does indeed become new again. So that makes Old English also at some point New English. That's what Borges says:
I ask myself from time to time what reasons Move me to study, as my night comes on And with no hope of mastery or precision, The language of the harsh Angles and Saxons. Wasted by the years, my memory Keeps letting fall the word repeated in vain, And in much the same way my life goes on Weaving and unweaving its weary history. Perhaps (I tell myself) it's that the soul Knows in some secret and sufficient way That, destined, as it is, never to die, Its vast grave sphere encompasses the whole. Beyond this arduous task, beyond this verse Waits, inexhaustible, the universe. Jorge Luis Borges (trans. R.G. Barnes in Poetry 162 (1993): 159)
Or as Peter Allen's lyrics warn us, "Don't throw the past away...You might need it some rainy day...Dreams can come true again...When everything old is new again." Peter Allen –MetroLyrics
So, this class is about what you might need on some rainy day, about the secret treasures you can have in your mind and heart: the lessons and beautiful poetry left us by wise ones from the past. In English 303, you get to read King Alfred, who was deservedly called "Alfred the Great." You get to read a master poet who tells us stories dredged up from the deep, deep darkness of the prehistoric past and works to make us realize that these old fears and hopes continue to be expressed in new ideologies and symbolic frameworks that serve to orient us and order chaotic human experience. And then comes Chaucer's Wife of Bath. And then the PTSD knight Malory. And then Shakespeare's King Henry IV. The course ends with the courageous Aphra Behn and with the equally courageous John Milton. These writers are still worth reading. Students will find that they are new in their oldness. The professor will simply try not to kill them off by turning them into marble monuments.
ENGL 305 *02: American Literature I (Hamelman)
A survey of representative works illustrating the development of American literature from its beginnings through the mid–nineteenth century, with an emphasis on major literary movements understood in relation to their intellectual, social, and political contexts. Having some knowledge of the first two hundred years of American literature helps students understand and appreciate the widely known literature of the nineteenth century. Themes that concern colonial and Enlightenment writers c. 1600–1800 are republican politics, the individual vs. the state, nature, the Indian and Other, free market economics, religion and spirituality, dream and vision, and American identity. Authors address these subjects in a wide variety of genres (memoir, sermon, didactic poem, captivity narrative, satire, speech, letter, and diary), laying the groundwork for what follows during the Age of American Romanticism (c. 1800–1865), when literature tends to express two sides, the transcendental and the morbid, of a new sensibility of feeling. But the Romantic Age is also a time when political and social issues absorbed writers. For one thing, the problem of slavery (connected on political and philosophical levels to the theme of the individual vs. the state) came to the forefront of American consciousness. Paralleling this issue was women's rights, which both male and female writers faced with the same fervor they brought to slavery. In English 305 we look at some highlights of the colonial and republican periods and analyze ways that nineteenth–century writers mirrored or diverged from their predecessors. For instance, transcendentalists, though drawing much of their inspiration from Puritan morality and mysticism, did not manifest the dogmatism of their New England forebears. Meanwhile, morbid romantics like Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville reflect a romanticism having little in common with the Enlightenment optimism of Benjamin Franklin. In terms of the countless writers that resist categorization as either transcendental or morbid, we will read a few who tackled the question of freedom for women and slaves. Colonial–to–romantic American literature encompasses political, social, and religious themes embedded in a multitude of genres that provide insights into the paradoxes of American culture.
ENGL 311 *01: Play It (Again), Bill: Adapting and Adopting Shakespeare (Pillai)
We love hearing a good story over and over, now adding to it, now subtracting from it, now turning it over its head to see how the narrative withstands our interventions, how it struggles with our struggles, resists our opposition, adopts our acceptance, and flirts with our critical embraces. Good stories come to be adapted; sometimes they improve as the result of their brushes with other good stories and storytellers. It is no secret that, for the most part, William Shakespeare adapted older stories, retelling them in unforgettable fashion. What's more, while most of the sources of his plays have been forgotten by all save for a few scholars, Shakespeare's own works have spread like rhizomes and prompted other adaptations that suit the meanderings of times, cultures, media, and forms. From contemporary reaction pieces to paintings, sculptures, novels, and, of course, cinematic narratives, Shakespeare's works have managed not merely to escape extinction, they have triumphed over the awe inspiring, if frightening, phenomenon of decay—no small accomplishment for a man who most likely wrote his last play in 1613 and who died soon after in 1616. Indeed, Shakespeare's oeuvre lives on in adaptation: as a persistent ache or lingering giggle at the memory of a cruel joke; as a hydra–headed god or reassuring monster. But it does so not without the creativity of those of us (gods and monsters ourselves) that have followed in the wake of Shakespeare. After all, if adaptations have been at the core of our cultural substance for as long as literature and art have existed, it is because we are creatures of habit. When we find a good story, we do everything in our capacity to make it live with us and even beyond us. How we do this speaks as much of our aesthetics, economics, politics, philosophies, and theologies as it does of the story in whose crevices we discover and invent pleasures.
This course will focus on the hows of adaptation. We shall study five plays by Shakespeare and consider at least the following questions: how does a story come to be picked by a storyteller? How does it change with the change of hands and the change of forms or media? How does the process of adaptation ensure the survival of a story? How does memory complicate the future of the story? How do formal choices made in the present anticipate the future? These and similar questions that inform the praxis and theories of adaptation shall be our focal concerns in the analysis of Shakespeare's drama. We will study the plays in conjunction with diverse adaptations and appropriations of the same: in films by popular directors, in the visual arts, and in other shorter pieces of literature. At this point we do not know much about Shakespeare's life or his process of composition. But of two things we can be certain: he knew how to pick stories; and he knew how to retell them better than most others in the business. That his works continue to be a formidable influence on other wordsmiths and artists makes Shakespeare studies an exciting field that is as much about adaptability as it is about the dynamic interplay of words, ideas, and images.
ENGL 323 *01: Modern British and Irish Literature (Port)
In this course on the works of British and Irish writers from the first half of the twentieth century, we will read groundbreaking literary texts while developing a rich understanding of their historical, social, and aesthetic contexts. This exciting period of cultural innovation saw dramatic social and economic transformations, including the growth of cities, the rise of consumerism, and the expansion of mass culture, along with the accompanying erosion of long–held certainties about religion, empire, identity, gender, and sexuality. These rapid and radical changes led to a widespread sense of alienation and anxiety, as well as an awareness of creative empowerment and artistic possibility. We will study fiction, poetry, and drama from Britain and Ireland that participated in and responded to these transformations, including works by W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, Jean Rhys, and others. We will also discuss the philosophical foundations of modernism as well as parallel developments in visual art, music, dance, and film. Coursework will include quizzes/informal writing, three papers, a presentation, and a final exam.
ENGL 329 *01: Autobiographies, Journals, and Memoirs (K. Turner)
This course will focus on one of the most popular genres of the digital age: the personal essay. We will read literary, historical, and contemporary examples of autobiographical writing—from tweets to canonical diaries––in order to establish basic conventions and then give particular attention to the ways in which we can mine our personal experiences to perform cultural critiques. Students will have the opportunity to produce and publish their own essays on a variety of topics according to their individual interests.
ENGL 333 *01: The American Novel: "Adaptations" (D. Turner)
A study of selected American novels. We will encounter a spectrum of significant novels by major American writers. The novels under scrutiny will reflect something of the sheer variability of the novel form: from "highbrow" to more popular even "pulp" versions (as Mickey Spillane, one of the bestselling detective writers of his era and long–time resident of Murrells Inlet, SC, quipped, "If the public likes you, you're good"), from coming–of–age and marriage plots to hardcore detective noir to experimental modernist forms and mythological magic realism. Through these works, we will explore issues of national and transnational definition, social and economic tensions, aesthetic and intellectual movements, and shifting attitudes about gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. Moreover, our understanding of the novel need not be bound to its print form, but should consider the interplay between various genres and new media. Therefore, matters of adaptation will be crucial to our discussions. We will take into account emerging scholarship in the fields of genre studies and new media development. How do American novels adapt to competing media and genres, and how do other media adapt the American novel into their modes? Texts may include: Ethan Wharton, Ethan Frome; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Mickey Spillane, Kiss Me, Deadly; Natasha Trethewey, Bellocq's Ophelia; Daniel Wallace, Big Fish; and Annie Proulx, Close Range. We will examine cinematic adaptations of these source texts as well as other cross–modal exchanges between fictive and filmic media, such as David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008); Joseph Anthony's Tomorrow (1972); and Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).
ENGL 362 *01: Reading and Writing Fiction (Adams)
This course is a literature and workshop course designed to study published contemporary short stories and create original works of short fiction. Students will read and critique both published and student work. This course offers an opportunity to learn about the craft of fiction, to write and think creatively, to incorporate revision into your writing process, and to develop as an articulate, generous critic of writing. For inspiration, and to gain insights into the craft of fiction, we'll read and discuss published stories and craft essays. Your time will be divided in large part between reading published work, writing your own fiction, and reading and commenting upon the fiction of your fellow student writers, which we will discuss in workshop. Emphasis will be on student participation and the building of a community of literary peers.
ENGL 368 *01: Reading and Writing Poetry (Albergotti)
Saul Bellow defines the writer as "a reader moved to emulation." James Longenbach says that "To write one poem, you have to read a thousand of them." These are just two examples of the many successful writers who have attested to the central role of reading in the development of any writer's growth. But is it enough simply to read as readers do, or do writers read in a different way? This course explores the special way that writers read—not simply to be entertained or to investigate a text's aesthetic, social, or historical value, but to understand the artistry that lies behind the words on the page, to discover strategies and avenues for poem–making, and ultimately to find ways to contribute to an artistic conversation in English that's been going on since Beowulf. The first half of the course focuses on learning to read in this "writer's way." The second half is a poetry workshop. Students write two short papers and four poems, and they collect the poems (in original and revised forms) in a final portfolio.
ENGL 371 *01: Special Topics in World Literature: East/West Intersections - Magical Realisms (Oldfield)
Magical Realisms. A subset of Latin American fiction? A post–colonial literary hybrid? A type of Surrealism or Fantasy? A response to political repression? A genre as old as Gilgamesh? Magical Realism is perhaps not a genre, period or style, but a mode of artistic creation in which multiple worlds intersect and collide with paradoxical, carnivalesque, and sometimes terrifying results. In this class we will consider literature and film as we debate our own definitions of what magical realism might be, explore how it is connected to specific political and historical situations, and respond to the human and metaphysical challenges with which it confronts us. Geographically, we are going to concentrate on Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Readings will include Nikolai Gogol, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Clarice Lispector, Shahrnush Parsipur, Murakami Haruki, and Italo Calvino, as well as critical essays. Films will include Pan's Labyrinth, Time of the Gypsies, and Orpheus.
ENGL 451 *01: Introduction to the Study of Language and Modern Grammar (Hasty)
This course is an introduction to the scientific study of the nature and structure of human Language, what we refer to as linguistics. Yet, we will go beyond a mere overview of the field. Instead, this course seeks to provide you with the tools to do linguistic analysis. Towards the end of the course you should have a solid over view of the linguistic system and how fantastically complicated and interesting it is. The course will be framed in terms of 4 guiding questions: What is the nature of the cognitive system that we identify as Language? How is this system used in the production and comprehension of speech? How is this system represented in the brain? What are the necessary components of Language? To foster and assess these objectives, you will complete a series of problem sets and exams which will ask you to apply linguistic analysis to real world data.
ENGL 480 *01: Technical Editing: Special Topics in Technical Communication (Kellogg)
Technical editing refers to a set of skills and practices much valued in today's workplace. Technical editors improve technical documents: that is, they take existing documents written to accomplish specific, often highly complex purposes and make those documents clearer for their intended audiences. Technical editing includes both copyediting (editing for grammar, style, and other local issues) and comprehensive editing (editing for purpose and usability, including issues such as organization and design). This course seeks to develop your ability to edit complex technical, professional, and scientific documents. After successfully completing this course, you will have a set of skills that you can put to use immediately, adding value to a variety of workplace environments. Through exercises and revision assignments using a range of practices, this class will allow you to gain a technical editing skill set. We will also cover careers available to technical editors and strategies for breaking into the technical editing job market. The class will culminate in a technical editing portfolio you can use in a job search.
ENGL 483 *01: Theory of Literary Criticism (Boyle)
We will begin this course with an exploration of the following terms: Thinking, Acting/Making, Being (in the world) In many senses, these three terms represent the major trajectories of Western critical and theoretical expression. They also give us insight into the principal problems associated with how we revise, represent, and reproduce cultural, linguistic and literary knowledge. Since this course ranges across a vast historical spectrum, serving as both an introduction to and a survey of the principal texts of literary and cultural theory, we will resort to direct engagement with themes, objects, attitudes, and texts that dialogue directly or indirectly with one of the above key terms. The course will be organized around modules that will employ literature, films, advertisements, comics, videogames, poems, found objects, bathroom slogans, YouTube videos, your experience as a server in a local theme restaurant, that recent insult from your mother regarding your attire, essays, your draft poem for your writing workshop, the design on your plastic water bottle, and anything else we can get our hands on, to better understand the challenging but incredibly exciting theory texts we will study. We will do as much because theory is first and foremost an attempt at action in the world and through writing - and we will respect its call to action and eschew the notion that theory is too difficult, too abstract, or too remote. We will also play –– with language, texts, images, and canonical thought. We will play hard. Because, as one important contemporary theorist reminds us, when theory becomes something rigorously "known," locked within some singular claim to expertise and "institutional closure," it simply stops being theory. Classes that are not discussions are boring. So plan for an experience filled with lots of voices, multimedia, some disagreements, and at least one pizza. Online sample collection of materials for an example module ( Plato, The Matrix, and a Claymation short on the Allegory of the Cave)
ENGL 484 *01: Children's Literature (Arnold)
This course introduces students to the study of works appropriate for the elementary and middle school child. In this class, students develop an appreciation for children's literature and an awareness of the wide variety of children's literature available for elementary and middle school readers. Readings range from classic to contemporary and cover a variety of levels, genres, themes, and cultures. Class discussions and assignments focus on critically reading, categorizing, analyzing, and evaluating children's literature and illustration; using children's book awards, booklists, and other tools for selecting children's books; and understanding the importance of including multicultural books in children's literature. Members of the learning community in this class are expected to participate actively in class discussion and group work; contribute to a shared class book list through composing an annotated bibliography; gain practice reading aloud, working with colleagues, and presenting literature to a group; and become familiar with issues and scholarship in the field of children's literature.
ENGL 300 *01-Critical Conversations: Writing the Digital Age (Paster)
This section of ENGL 300 will examine writing practices associated with digital environments, the ways in which e-spaces function, and the possibilities associated with writing for the web. To come to critical understandings of how web writing often works, students will explore their own experiences as digital writers, will investigate one digital site in an in-depth way, and will write for the web. This course pushes students to consider the ways in which they are situated as writers in digital settings and the potentials and limitations of electronic textual practices. Through reflective writing, analyses of digital spaces, and a researched digital text, students will examine how technological writing genres support and inhibit certain kinds of communication as they consider the rhetorical effectiveness and design elements of their own digital writing.
ENGL 300 *02-Critical Conversations: Techno-Romantics: Literature and Media Between the Early Romantic Era and the Present (Boyle)
In two recent works (see HERE and HERE) that consider our private and public desires amid digital 2.0 culture, mediated communication is described as a stream of nostalgia, an unceasing flow of intensities of disconnected feeling, and a realm of existence where we have “become mesmerized by our own looking” (Jodi Dean). Both the Romantic era and our present moment are particularly concerned with what we might call “virtual” experience. The virtual at our moment is often synonymous with being present “online,” or with the effects of “Real Life” that show up in digital or networked environments. In Romantic period literature, the virtual makes an appearance through notions of how one can be moved (literally, and materially, in some cases) from one place or experience to another (transported or conveyed through words, affections, or media). Peter Otto argues that traditional interpretations of Romantic literature distract us from the presence of the virtual through references to the individual imagination. We will look at where a distinction between imagination and virtual experience might lead us.
ENGL 301-Creative Writing Workshop (Adams)
This course is designed to help you learn the fundamentals of creative non-fiction, poetry, and fiction writing. In addition, through the careful analysis of both published and unpublished work, your critical awareness will be challenged and enhanced. We will dissect the construction of essays, poems, and short stories, gain practice in writing these genres, and participate in peer-centered workshops. The philosophy behind the workshop setting is to broaden a writer's knowledge base and provide him/her with further tools with which to sharpen his/her craft. While not everyone in the class will “get” what you want from your piece, not everyone will “miss” it. The point is that more scrutinizing eyes on your work will help widen your own.
ENGL 304 *01-British Literature II (K. Oestreich)
This is a survey of representative works illustrating the development of British literature from the late eighteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on major literary movements understood in relation to their intellectual, social, and political contexts. This section of ENGL 304 will address some of the following questions: How did British literary works respond to-and help create and change-political and social conditions? More specifically, how have works by writers in the late 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries responded to and helped change those conditions in Britain? Other themes we will consider include: The relations among nature, science, and the imagination; the implications of urbanization; the relevance of gender, class, racial, and sexual difference to literary production; the consequences of British imperialism and the dissolution of empire; and the effects of the ever-increasing pace of technological development.
ENGL 306 *01-American Literature II (D. Turner)
This is a survey of texts associated with American literature from the mid-nineteenth century to the present in relation to their intellectual, social, and political contexts. How do these works envision what “America” means, and what perspectives do they offer on the nation's pasts and futures as well as its connections or conflicts with other regions and nations? We examine interrelated artistic achievements, such as music (Dixieland and bebop forms of jazz, Mississippi Delta blues songs, and contemporary rock/pop), photography (Margaret Bourke-White's photojournalism and Ansel Adams's monumental landscapes), painting (cubism, Norman Rockwell's Americana, and Andy Warhol's pop art), and film (The Crowd, Dr. Strangelove, Psycho, and The Royal Tenenbaums).
ENGL 330 *01-Realism and Naturalism: The Human Beast (Bachman)
Greed! . . Lust! . . . Sex! . . . Passion! . . . Betrayal! . . . Adultery! . . . Revenge! . . . Violence! . . . Murder! . . . If you love happy endings, forget it. In this course, we will toss aside our delicate sensibilities and immerse ourselves in narratives that showcase the darker and more depraved side of human nature. More specifically, we will explore the historical phenomenon of literary naturalism-a movement praised for its commitment to truth and objectivity by its practitioners and condemned as sordid and shocking by its critics-as it emerged in nineteenth-century French literature and its subsequent development in and influence on American literature, drama, and film.
ENGL 354 *01-Grammar and Syntax (Hasty)
Although we use it every day, and although we all have strong opinions about its proper form and appropriate use, we rarely stop to think about the wonder of Language. You are reading this and understanding this, but you have no conscious knowledge of how you are doing it. You know that these sentences (*Sally’s brother doesn’t like herself. *It was expected Harry to leave early. *Who do you wonder what bought?) are bad in some way, yet you can't really express why (the “rules” Ms. Crabtree taught you in grade school don't seem to help you with any of these problems). The study of this mystery is the science of Linguistics. This class is about one aspect of how language works: how sentences are structured, what linguists call the study of Syntax. Syntax studies the level of Language that lies between words and the meaning of utterances: sentences. It is this level of Language that mediates between the sounds that someone produces (organized into words) and what they intend to say. One of the most interesting questions in the scientific study of Language is how we subconsciously get from sounds and words to meaning. This is the study of syntax.
ENGL 365 *01-Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction (J. Oestreich)
This course is essential for anyone enjoys, well, reading and writing creative nonfiction. The class operates in four units. In the first, students become familiar with the building blocks common to all forms of literary nonfiction-concepts such as writing in scene, narration vs. exposition, the importance of place and characterization, and writing to make meaning. Next we study the forms of seven nonfiction subgenres: memoir, the personal essay, the lyric essay, the fragmented essay, literary journalism, profile writing, and cultural criticism. In the third unit we dissect and analyze major works of contemporary nonfiction, including essays by David Sedaris, Cheryl Strayed, and David Foster Wallace. This unit is discussion-based, and these discussions are student-led. For the final unit, students write an original creative essay, which is read and critiqued by the entire class.
ENGL 375 *01-Special Topics in World Literature: The Post-Modern Muslim: Literature and Film from the Islamic World (Oldfield)
Do Muslim writers view the world differently? Is the “Islamic world” really a separate “world,” or is it part of “our world”? Have creative movements, such as post-modernism and magic realism, impacted Muslim cultures along with globalization and war? In this course we'll read a selection of outstanding works from countries including Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Turkey, Bosnia, and Uzbekistan. After considering foundational texts such as the Arabian Nights, we'll focus on 20th century masters including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, Egyptian feminist Naawal El Saadawi, and the notorious Salman Rushdie. We'll also watch a series of films and consider other arts, such as music, photography, and architecture. As we explore, we'll have the chance to question the frames through which we view other cultures and consider what we can learn not only about other people, but also about ourselves.
ENGL 390-Business and Prof Communication: Real World Writing (K. Turner)
This section of ENGL 390 is designed to help students-those who enjoy writing and/or those whose future career field will involve writing-to continue to develop practical and marketable writing skills and experience. We will explore a range of nonfiction genres on multiple topics in order to examine how rhetoric impacts real-world economic, environmental, political, and entertainment decisions as well as shapes contemporary culture at large. We will go beyond textbook approaches to communications strategies and take an innovative and creative hands-on approach to the study of professional communication. Students will experiment with proposals and pitches, blogging, and leveraging social media networks throughout the semester, culminating in a student portfolio that reflects their digital literacy experience.
ENGL 401 *01-Chaucer (Moye)
This course is an in-depth study of the language and poetry of The Canterbury Tales and of the late medieval culture that produced them. The fourteenth century was a tough time to be alive, yet people prospered. Especially people like Chaucer's father, who was a wine merchant. The English drank wine, not ale, and they even fought a long war with France to keep possession of the wine producing region of Bordeaux. So a wine merchant was in a position to make an awful lot of money and would regularly have contact with government officials like custom agents. Through his father's connections, Chaucer made his way into the court of the warrior King Edward III and rose to prominence. This course considers the role of this court poet as someone who has a unique, close up perspective on all the multitude of events that led to the decline of chivalry, the decline of the church, and the rise of a merchant economy. He can give us an inside look at the lifestyle of the nobility and at the behavior of ordinary citizens. What Chaucer shows us is the chaotic jumble of a society in transition from a feudal economy to a modern market economy. The course also will offer instruction in Middle English. The assignments will primarily be glosses of passages, and the instructor will bring in manuscripts and other materials for students to study.
ENGL 453 *01-Development of English Language (Moye)
English 453 is a very fun class to teach and to take. The student gets to find out how the English language got so screwed up and to trace how the development of the language is connected to shifts in the economy, culture and political situation. The class starts with instruction in basic phonology and an overview of world languages; then, begins the study of Old English, Middle English and Early Modern English. We go from Beowulf to Shakespeare and Daniel Defoe, from the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest to the so-called Enlightenment or Age of Reason. There are five tests, two in class and three to take home.
ENGL 457 *01-Form and Style in Writing (Kellogg)
What is a writing style? In the view of this teacher, style is a choice - or rather, a set of choices. Every time you choose to write a sentence one way rather than another, you have made a stylistic choice. Your writing has attained a style, however, only when the set of the choices you make adds up to something recognizable, consistent, true. This course is an intensive workshop in improving prose style. We will cover research and citation styles (what many students mean by “style”), but we focus on improving your ability to compose sentences and paragraphs with wit, elegance, and power. We will cover issues of clarity, concision, coherence, cohesion, and other elements of practical style; control of sentence length, rhythm, and pacing; and a variety of rhetorical figures, including tropes of argument. You will both revise previously written pieces and compose new work.
ENGL 462 *E1-Fiction Writing Workshop (Ockert)
This is an advanced course in fiction writing and in it we will analyze the multiple ways a short story can be written. Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to read your peers' writing in a workshop setting. Building on what you've learned in previous creative writing courses, we will study contemporary elements of style and seek to understand particular values inherent in important short story writing. Reading the writings of published and unpublished work will introduce you to diverse ideas and also provide you with practice in responding to ideas by questioning, affirming, refuting, complicating, reflecting, and critiquing. Although it is impossible to teach you to be a great writer, it is possible to teach you the ways in which published writers have organized their thoughts and ideas onto the page. “Greatness,” I'm hoping, will rub off on you. At times, you will be given in-class writing assignments/exercises which may very well blossom into something beautiful that you may like to include in the portfolio you submit to me at the end of the semester. The exercises are meant to enhance areas of your writing which may still need work-dialogue, character development, setting, motivation, plot-and while I do not believe writing should be taught by compartmentalizing, I expect you to understand elements of style and form. I don't expect you to have your voice tuned just yet so I challenge you to take risks in discovering it.
ENGL 468 *01-Poetry (Hensel)
This is a workshop course in the writing of poetry. Students learn the craft of poetry, have their poems discussed in a workshop setting, and are guided in the preparation and submission of manuscripts for publication. Students will write, and read examples of, poems in free verse and in traditional forms, and most of class time will be spent in group discussion of poems.
ENGL 483 *01-Theory of Literary Criticism (Hamelman)
The subject of literary theory and criticism is both vast and abstract, which is why we must concentrate as we confront unfamiliar concepts, conflicting points of view, diverse styles, and scores of technical terms coined by theorists who pioneered new ways to define and interpret literature and culture. We will quickly learn that to study literary theory and criticism means to study signs, codes, grammars, and systems-linguistic, aural, visual, and otherwise-that create what we call “reality.” In this course we will take a daring leap into texts that show us the amazing number of ways we can approach an understanding of the most important term of all: representation. What is representation? How have different writers from different historical periods explained it? Does a transcendent Truth inform representation, or is it an arbitrary, fluid combination of signs that can't be reduced to one final meaning? Questions such as these will proliferate with each assignment on the syllabus, which has been designed so that each author enters a dialogue started or continued by earlier authors.
ENGL 485 *01-Adolescent Literature (Campbell)
We will read a range of “young adult” literature (moving chronologically from Oliver Twist and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Hunger Games, Percy Jackson and City of Bones). We will consider what adolescents read, how they read, and why they read. We will look at theories of adolescent thinking and behavior and see what insights we can gain by applying these theories to the ways young adults are depicted in literary works. We will also study the roles such works play (or should play) in middle school and high school classrooms. This will be a class built around student input, student participation, and student presentations. We will have fun, but we will also work hard to advance our understanding of the history, scope, and importance of a field of literature that is barely studied despite its popularity.
ENGL 300: Standard English: Fact, Fiction, and Reality (Childs)
In this course we will examine the ideological construct of Standard English through a number of lenses (historical, cultural, political, and educational among others). Coming from a standpoint of the history of English, we will come to understand the ways in which a standard English ideology was used to reinforce political, economic, and social positions within society- the Facts. We will then move to a discussion of the methods which institutions and various groups in our society have used tried to promote standard English as a homogenous entity without any variation – the Fiction. Bringing the discussion forward to modern English, we will unpack the differences between written and spoken language and the ways in which the “standard” can and cannot apply to such modes of English use- the Reality. This class will challenge us to think about the role of standard English in our own lives and the limitations and opportunities that standardization imposes on our language use.
ENGL 300: “Here’s Looking at You, Kid”; Or, “For Your Eyes Only”: Shakespeare, Perspective, and Photography (Pillai)
What does it mean for us to see—to look at, look into, look upon—others and the world around us? What about when we are seen by others or the world? How do we appear in the critical lens of the other? These and similar questions often take hold of William Shakespeare’s characters, whose simultaneous gaze upon the world and into themselves is best understood as photographic. Put differently, we might say that characters in Shakespeare’s drama are photographers of sorts: they turn the lens upon themselves at the same time that they capture moments which shed light on the objects, individuals, and the larger world around them. In his comedies the photographic moment becomes that of the spectacle, when characters’ laughter (along with our own) is transfixed to emphasize laughter’s proximity to its opposite—to horror and tragedy. With a photographer’s care, Shakespeare scrutinizes the emotion that is happiness as he probes the nuances of the wisdom and/or silliness of comedy. In his tragedies the duration and moment of death (or dying) is crucial as characters ponder, prepare for, and capture the images of their own and others’ mortality. The readers and audience are also scooped up in the action of the lens; we too ponder the moment of death, the duration of dying—that of the plays’ characters but also of our own. Indeed, in the plays of Shakespeare the critical gaze or the proverbial camera bears a double function, clicking pictures at once of the world around us and of ourselves in the world.
We will study six plays of Shakespeare in the context of visual culture. Our readings of the plays will engage diverse theoretical, philosophical, psychoanalytical, and historical contexts. Specifically, we will consider multiple approaches to understanding the gaze of characters as their actions unfold in the contexts of comedy and tragedy. We will focus on particular moments (scenes) and motifs that emerge in Shakespeare’s plays, which lend themselves to photographic treatment insofar as they explore the ways in which characters capture, interpret, and manipulate their own and others’ gaze—of living and dying; desire and deviance; victory and defeat; horror and pathos; sorrow and loss; love, longing, and envy; and of belonging, alienation, and appropriation. Through our study of the complexities of the act of seeing, we will gain an understanding of the relationship of time (fleeting moments, stasis, movement, duration, eternity) and perspective (point of view, outlook, insight) as it is captured through the Shakespearean lens.
Note: This course may be taken for credit towards the Women’s and Gender Studies Minor. Students taking the course for Women’s and Gender Studies credit will focus on women’s and gender issues by doing special course readings and writing assignments on women’s and gender studies issues. If you are interested in taking this course for credit toward the Women’s and Gender Studies Minor, please contact the course instructor in the first two weeks of class to (a) determine the appropriate readings and assignments to be completed for the course to count toward the WGS Minor and (b) complete the WGS Special Cross-List Course Contract.
ENGL 301: Introduction to Creative Writing (Ockert)
A course that introduces the fundamentals of composing poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and other types of creative writing using a combination of example readings and writing workshops.
The class is set in a studio environment which means that the process for writing will be aided by workshops. Students will have one essay, two poems, and one short story read and critiqued by the entire class. Though creative writing is, well, creative, the writer should acknowledge that his or her writing is being read. The aim, in this class, is to craft original work that attempts to make some meaningful emotional connection with the audience and this course will investigate just how to do that by employing various strategies in all three genres. In addition, students will clarify their own sensibilities as writers by scrutinizing peer work.
ENGL 305: American Literature I (Hamelman)
English 305 starts from the premise that studying the first two hundred years of American literature is excellent preparation for understanding and appreciating the more popular “canonical” literature, falling under the rubric of romanticism, of the nineteenth century. Themes and subjects that mark colonial and Enlightenment texts c. 1600-1800 are republican politics, the individual vs. the state, nature, the Indian and Other, free market economics, religion and spirituality, dream and vision, and American identity. Because these topics are fundamental to early American culture, the authors who treat them in a wide variety of genres—memoir, sermon, didactic poem, captivity narrative, satire, speech, letter, diary, and so on—lay the groundwork for what follows during the Age of American Romanticism (c. 1800-1865), when literature tends to express two sides, the transcendental and the morbid, of a new sensibility of feeling. But it is also a time when hard political and social issues absorbed writers. For one thing, the theme of slavery (connected on political and philosophical levels to the theme of the individual vs. the state) came to the forefront of American literary consciousness. Paralleling this issue was the matter of women’s rights, which male and female writers addressed with the same fervor they gave to the slavery question. In English 305 we take what we learn about colonial and Enlightenment literature and culture and then analyze the ways writers of the romantic age diverged from these two earlier periods. Romantic transcendentalists, though drawing much of their inspiration from Puritan mysticism, inhabited a mindset far removed from the dogma we associate with our witch-hunting, introspective forebears in New England, and transcendentalists also rejected tenets of the Enlightenment. Meanwhile, morbid romantics like Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville reflect a romanticism having little in common with the Enlightenment rationalism of Benjamin Franklin. In terms of the countless writers that resist categorization as either transcendental or morbid, we will look mainly at a few who tackled the question of constitutional freedom for women and slaves. Colonial-to-romantic American literature encompasses theological, political, social, economical, philosophical, and literary themes, all embedded in a multitude of genres. Reflected in the literature of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries is a wide range of material that represents a culture renowned as much for its dialectic diversity as for the comic and tragic paradoxes that underlie its ideology of free expression.
ENGL 308: 17th-Century Literature: “Ghosts and Mediums” (Boyle)
Ghost: a materialized apparition of the dead. An insubstantial image. An undead thought.
Medium: 1. Something, such as an intermediate course of action that occupies a position or represents a condition midway between extremes. 2. An intervening substance through which something else is transmitted or carried on. 3. the intervening substance through which sensory impressions are conveyed or physical forces are transmitted.
In this course we will trace the impressions of ghosts and mediums in 17th-century British literature, media, and thought. We will, of course, tarry with real ghosts: revengeful witches, the floating heads of murdered kings, and the spirits and icons that beckon to those teetering between life and death in plague-bed.
But we will also take liberties with the term and channel hauntings of violent political revolution; the dissolution of kingship into the apparition of a chaotic Commonwealth; and the wild images of a new science that saw ghostly worlds under a microscope.
Mediums will assist us. We will look at the words, objects, and images that serve as intervening substances between the ethereal and the real/Real. We will also look at the material of the go-between: the newspaper and broadside; the stage; the scrawled on, coffee-soaked personal manuscript, circulated again and again through pubs and coffeehouses like a tweeted meme. And we will look at these media/ums using digital tools and archives that give us augmented perspectives (Ex. The English Broadside Ballad Archive; Mapping Early Modern London;Connected Histories; Locating London’s Past; London Lives Google Corpus;ArchBook). In good measure, we will conjure some critical and theoretical work — from Walter Benjamin and Kathleen Biddick on the ghosts and angels of history to Zombie Philosophy.
Literature (possible): Margaret Cavendish; Milton; John Donne, Andrew Marvell; Aphra Behn and Restoration Comedy; Revenge Tragedy; witchcraft literature; one bastardized re-make of Shakespeare for the Big Stage; and some contemporary films.
The final section of this course will allow students to construct their own project, with possibilities for creative/critical making and research, and/or work on a media artifact or model of media archaeology. We will look at how alternative histories impact our investments in how we “do” history.
ENGL 315: The British Novel: Crime and Punishment (Bachman)
Crime and corruption! Murder and mayhem! Secrets and lies! Revenge and Retribution!
Engl 315 will examine the development of the British novel from the eighteenth century through the twenty-first century, focusing particularly on those texts in which crime and criminality play a significant role. From Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1721) to Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2001), we’ll discover a fascinating array of offenses—burglary, theft, murder, rape, kidnapping, fraud, embezzlement, treason etc.—that fuel the plots and entangle the characters in social, psychological, and political mayhem.
Our primary concern will be to read these novels closely and revel (yes, revel!) in them—to understand, analyze, and appreciate their richness and variety of form, language, and content. To this end, we will pay careful attention to narrative structure and textual detail, as well as to larger themes and patterns. In order to situate these works in their social, political, and aesthetic contexts, we will supplement our reading of these novels with a variety of print ephemera (i.e. newspaper accounts, crime logs, legal cases, the Newgate Calendar, etc.) as well as modern critical and theoretical studies. Most important, you will be called upon to express your ideas about and reactions to these works. Class discussion will focus on questions of gender, sexuality, criminality, class, race, and empire.
Defoe Daniel, Moll Flanders (1721)
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (1836-37)
Wilkie Collins, Blind Love (1889)
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None (1939)
Ian McEwan, Atonement (2001)
ENGL 341: African American Literature (Gerald)
This course, ENGL 341-Section 1, offers a survey of select African American literature from 1700 to the present
- To encourage close reading, discussion and critical analyses of select African American writers and their literature
- To examine the themes, subjects views and commentary of select African American writers related to race, class, gender and American society
- To introduce voices in American literature that are not usually present in traditional anthologies/classrooms
- To encourage original thought and critical understanding through strong reliance on primary texts/sources to support, promote and illustrate personal ideas and conclusions
At the end of this course, students should be able:
- To identify and incorporate the works and ideas of select African American writers into their own individual scholarship, writing and discussion
- To understand the impact and influence of African American writers on views related to gender, sex, culture and race
- To value, strengthen, further develop and present their own thoughts and ideas, inspired and informed by primary sources, interaction with others in the classroom, close study and critical analyses of the writers and their literature
- To understand the themes, subjects, needs and concerns that influence(ed) the thoughts and ideas of African American writers
ENGL 362: Reading and Writing Fiction (Ockert)
This is a literature and workshop course designed to study published contemporary short stories and create original works of short fiction. Students will read and critique both published and student work.
Building on narrative techniques that were introduced in ENGL 201 or ENGL 301, this course operates under the assumption that we become better writers when we become better readers. In English 362 we will read examples of accomplished works by successful fiction writers. In addition to studying published work, students will have the opportunity to create and critique original peer short stories. The class is set in a studio environment which means that the process for writing will be aided by peer workshops.
Students will be expected to write one critical analysis essay, several reader responses, peer critiques, and one original short story.
ENGL 368: Reading and Writing Poetry (Albergotti)
Saul Bellow defines the writer as “a reader moved to emulation.” James Longenbach says that “To write one poem, you have to read a thousand of them.” These are just two examples of the many successful writers who have attested to the central role of reading in the development of any writer’s growth. But is it enough simply to read as readers do, or do writers read in a different way? This course explores the special way that writers read—not simply to be entertained or to investigate a text’s aesthetic, social, or historical value, but to understand the artistry that lies behind the words on the page, to discover strategies and avenues for poem-making, and ultimately to find ways to contribute to an artistic conversation in English that’s been going on since Beowulf.
The first half of the course focuses on learning to read in this “writer’s way.” The second half is a poetry workshop. Students write two short papers and four poems, and they collect the poems (in original and revised forms) in a final portfolio.
ENGL 371: Topics in World Literature: East/West Intersections: Magical Realism (Oldfield)
“The visible sun is not the real sun” - The Popol Vuh. Magical Realism: The flower of Latin American fiction? The love child of French Surrealism? A post-colonial literary hybrid? A reaction to political terror? A genre as old as the fairy tale? An invention of the literary critics? Magical Realism is perhaps not a genre, period or style, but a mode of artistic creation in which multiple worlds intersect and collide with paradoxical, carnivalesque, and sometimes terrifying results. Concentrating on the 20th century, this course will explore literature from across the globe to reflect on why so many writers have turned away from “reality” to express the human experience. We will consider the texts in their political-historical contexts, examine related art, architecture and film, and respond to the human and metaphysical challenges with which they confront us. The course will focus on writers from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Readings will include Andre Breton, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ben Okri, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Naguib Mahfouz, Shahrnush Parsipur, Salman Rushdie, Mo Yan, and Haruki Murakami.
This course may be taken for the Asian Studies Minor.
ENGL 427: Studies in Southern Literature: The Cinematic South (D. Turner)
Nowadays when a person lives somewhere, in a neighborhood, the place is not certified for him. More than likely he will live there sadly and the emptiness which is inside him will expand until it evacuates the entire neighborhood. But if he sees a movie which shows his very neighborhood, it becomes possible for him to live, for a time at least, as a person who is Somewhere and not Anywhere.—Walker Percy, The Moviegoer (1961)
The American South has often been construed as a site of cultural backwardness, religious fanaticism, economic destitution, and gender as well as racial intolerance. For this course, we will explore a series of films—many of which are considered iconic—about the South. We will investigate how southern cultures and histories have been represented in films and the ways in which these depictions have altered over the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. We will also examine how the changing nature of the cinematic South speaks to hemispheric and transnational transformations. In the films under scrutiny, we will encounter a spectrum of modes germane to southern cultures, from the pastoral to the gothic and grotesque, and from the primitive to the “postsouthern” as well as the global South. Part of our task will be judging to what degree these modes match up to the shifting histories of the region. In addition to interpreting the South as reflected—or invented—onscreen, we will also read and discuss a number of the literature sources that directly influenced these cinematic representations, so matters of adaptation will also be crucial to our discussions. In addition, each week we will read and discuss scholarly and contextual sources relevant to the particular film under analysis and/or its socio-historical conditions. Moreover, our discussions will consider the interplay between various genres and new media. How do films about the American South adapt to competing media, and how do other media adapt the cinematic South into their modes? Films may include: D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915), Victor Fleming’s Gone with the Wind (1939), Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter (1955), Robert Zemeckis’s Forrest Gump (1994), The Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), Tim Burton’s Big Fish (2003), and Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012).
ENGL 451: Introduction to the Study of Language and Modern Grammar (Hasty)
Language is fantastically complicated and interesting, full of rules and constraints as well as inherent and uncontrollable variation. We learn our first language almost before we can walk, yet most of us are not able to articulate even one clear rule which actually pertains to how these words were put in this specific order to yield a sentence. What “rules” you have been taught in grade school (i.e., lists of dos and don’ts) have little if anything to do with how actually speakers use Language in the real world.
The purpose of this course, then, is to provide you with an introduction to the nature and structure of human Language, as well as to provide you with some basic tools to scientifically study language: what we refer to as Linguistics. Rather than looking at a single language (like English), we will study the uniquely human cognitive faculty of Language.
To do this we will seek answers to the following fundamental questions:
- What is the nature of the cognitive system that we identify as Language?
- How is this system used in the production and comprehension of speech?
- How is this system represented in the brain?
- What are the necessary components of Language?
To begin answering these questions we will look at Language through several levels of abstraction:
- The production and perception of speech sounds
- The formation of sounds into meaningful units
- The arrangement of these meaning units into sentences
- The systematic interpretation and processing of these sentences
In addition to these core areas, we will also study how Language intersects with other human factors like social structures (e.g., class, age, gender, ethnicity, region) and how these contribute to language variation and change.
To foster and assess these goals, we will complete a series of problem sets and exams which will ask you to apply linguistic analysis to real world data from a variety of languages.
ENGL 459: Advanced Composition and Rhetoric (Paster)
ENGL 459, Advanced Composition and Rhetoric, positions writing as both a topic of inquiry and a skill to be developed and honed. It is built around the following assumptions: that writing is an activity and a subject matter; that one learns to write by writing and receiving feedback on that writing; that writers need to be aware of their own writing processes; and that students’ own writing should be the focus of instruction. This class pushes students to improve their writing by tending to their processes as well as to stylistic matters. At the same time, it introduces composition studies as a field and highlights many issues central to composition theory by exploring the ways in which discourse intersects with ideology, culture, and questions of identity. By inviting students to write in a variety of genres (including the literacy collage and the literacy collage analysis), students reflect on academic discourse in critical and productive ways.
ENGL 465: Creative Nonfiction Workshop (J. Oestreich)
Other than being cemented in truth, what ties the CNF subgenres together is that the writing is an act of exploration, born out of curiosity. The impetus for the project is often the desire to answer some question about the world and the writer’s (and by extension the reader’s) place in it. The first unit of this class will focus on the memoir essay—writing wherein the author tells stories to make meaning of the events of his own life. However, we will be careful not to engage in self-important navel gazing. Just because something happened to you does not automatically make it important to anyone else. We will write to discover why the events in our lives matter and how the things that happened, happened. By examining our own lives as honestly as we can, we not only expect to discover more about ourselves, but we also hope to unearth the universal truths that make our stories resonate with those who read them. In the second unit we will expand beyond the memoir to the personal essay (writing more about ideas than events), and we will experiment with forms (the fragmented essay, the hermit crab essay) that challenge the primacy of straight, chronological narration. Please note that although this is a writing class, there will be a heavy reading load. Musicians listen to music, artists look at paintings, and writers read. A lot.
ENGL 480: Writing about Science and Medicine: Special topics in technical communication (Kellogg)
The field of science and medical writing is large and diverse, and it includes everything from popular science writing to writing technical reports with and for scientists. Whatever their specialty, good science and medical writers are highly employable. Science and medical writers work for scientists, hospitals, nonprofits, technology companies, government agencies, and pharmaceutical firms.
Do you need to be a scientist in order to succeed as a scientific writer? No: scientist or non-scientist, you need to be an engaged and critical reader with a passion for good writing. In fact, although science and medicine bristle with complex technical terms and ideas, those who work as scientific and medical writers often must translate those ideas to the point where they can be digested for a broader public.
With that in mind, this course approaches science writing as creative non-fiction. It is a course in scientific writing for the public; while interest in science is needed, a student does not have to be a scientist or a science major to enjoy it. Exploring topics of interest to them, students will write popular magazine articles, profiles, educational documents, “explainer” articles, and exploratory pieces of varying length. Drafts of student writing will be discussed in an open-ended, workshop-style format. What happens to science when it becomes publicized? How do writers treat complex results responsibly while communicating to wide audiences? Is “dumbing-down” inevitable? These are among the questions we will consider.
Please note: the listed prerequisites are inaccurate, and we are in the process of correcting them. If needed, students can get permission from me or the English department chair.
ENGL 483: Literary Theory and Criticism (Boyle)
During the first week, we will construct — through discussion — a description and summary of what we mean by theory, and where it might take us in this class.
We will begin with an exploration of the following terms: “Theorize,” “Criticize,” and “Experiment.”
For a sampling of what’s in store, see the sample readings and videos below:
BOYLE, ENGL 483, list of readings/viewings for course units
course opener short lit:
Ben Lerner, “Three Prose Poems” and “Mad Lib Elegy”
Amy Hempel, “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried”
From Plato, The Republic, book ii (377-383)
Plato supplement: background on the myths referenced in the Republic
From Plato, The Republic, book vii, Allegory of the Cave/ Sappho’s fragments
Plato supplement, The Matrix and The Matrix and Philosophy series
Aristotle supplement, “Notes on Aristotle”
Kant, selections from the Third Critique, on the Beautiful and the Sublime
Kant supplement, “Why Kant Matters (Less) to a Digital Age” (Boyle)
Hegel, selection, Self Consciousness A: Independence and Dependence of Self-Consciousness: Lordship and Bondage”
Marx, “The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof” (1867)
Marx Supplement, “The Communist Manifesto Illustrated Through Cartoons”
Barthes, “Death of the Author”
Barthes Supplement, Chandler’s “Semiotics for Beginners”
Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
Benjamin Supplement, Eric Faden (digital/media essay) “Tracking Theory”
Derrida, “”Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”
Derrida supplement, “Post-structuralism and Deconstruction,” from Beginning Theory
Derrida Supplement, Derrida
and Chaplin’s City Lights
Freud, “The Uncanny”
Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution”
Butler supplement, Paris is Burning (1990)
Judith Butler& Sunaura Taylor segment, The Examined Life
hooks, “Is Gender Burning?”
Lacan, “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience”
Lacan supplement, Zizek!
Foucault “The Unities of Discourse”
Hayles, “Print Is Flat, Code Is Deep:
The Importance of Media-Specific Analysis”
ENGL 484: Children’s Literature (Arnold)
This course is designed to introduce students to the scholarly appreciation of works appropriate for the elementary and middle school child.
In this class, students develop an appreciation for children’s literature and an awareness of the wide variety of children’s literature available for elementary and middle school readers. Readings range from classic to contemporary and cover a variety of levels, genres, themes, and cultures. Class discussions and assignments focus on understanding, categorizing, analyzing, and evaluating children’s literature and illustration; using children’s book awards, booklists, and other tools for selecting children’s books; and understanding the importance of including multicultural books in children’s literature.
Members of the learning community in ENGL 484 participate actively in class discussion and group work; contribute to a shared class book list through composing an annotated bibliography; gain practice reading aloud, working with colleagues, and presenting literature to a group; and become familiar with issues and scholarship in the field of children's literature.
ENGL 489: Gender and Sexuality in Literature (K. Oestreich)
This section of ENGL 489 explores the ways novels and their remediated iterations have interpreted and represented men’s and women’s relationships with themselves, their bodies, and their romantic relationships through social constructions of gender and power. To this end, we will investigate and interrogate the origins and transformations feminine and masculine ideals by analyzing a selection of novels—which will include but may not be limited to The Picture of Dorian Gray, Orlando, and Written on the Body—through contemporary feminist and queer theories. We will use also critical theory to help us understand how the construction of and our reactions to gendered sexuality in novels are historically, epistemologically, and ontologically significant.
ENGL 603: Special Topics in Forms of Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction (J. Oestreich)
English 603 is a course in the forms of creative writing. In this section of the class, students will examine the history, movements, and technical forms of the essay and the memoir in an effort to better understand influences that may affect the nonfiction writer today.
This is a course in the forms (and by “forms” I largely mean “subgenres”) of creative nonfiction. We will touch upon the history and movements in literary nonfiction writing, but because creative nonfiction is a relatively new field (by that name, anyway) we will focus our concentration on essays written in the last forty years. We will analyze these works carefully, with an eye toward theory and technique, in order to discover how they operate, what makes them successful, and why they may have captured the imaginations of editors and audiences. You will also engage with critical essays written by creative writers, lead a discussion on how theory meets practice in a selected creative nonfiction essay, give a group presentation on a memoir or essay collection, and write and revise a research-based paper that investigates form and craft. Finally—because the primary goal of this class is to broaden your understanding of literary nonfiction in order to improve your own creative work—you will write, workshop, and revise an original piece.
ENGL 653: Graduate Fiction Writing Workshop (Ockert)
A course in fiction writing to show students how to analyze the multiple ways a short story can be written and the ways in which published writers organize their thoughts and ideas on the page.
Students will have the opportunity to read each other’s writing in a workshop setting and have three stories critiqued by the class. We will also study contemporary elements of style and seek to understand particular values inherent in important short story writing.
ENGL 690: Digital Literacies, Pedagogies, and Politics (Paster)
In this class, students will investigate the political and cultural nature of the web as they question how emerging technologies intersect with the teaching of composition. While the web is a shifting space, continually being built and rebuilt, constructed and reconstructed, students will study the social, historical, and economic factors that situate digital sites. Though this course does not approach the web as a static landscape, it does invite students to explore the ways in which digital spaces function in light of issues of representation, textual economies, and political potential. As they come to understand emerging technologies and the digital practices associated with them in rich ways, students will question the potentialities of digital approaches to the writing classroom.
ENGL 691: Seminar in World Literature Murder, Madness, and Mayhem: Seminar in Russian Literature (Oldfield)
19th century Russian authors are famous for exploring the philosophical and moral dilemmas of the individual. In their own context, however, these authors were part of an intense social polemic on the future of Russia, the role of the educated class, and the status of colonized minorities – a polemic that would culminate in revolution and civil war. While exploring these topical issues, these writers also engaged in an ever deepening intertextual discussion on the question of personal identity, exploring issues of the fragmenting self in an increasingly unstable society. In this course we will read representative works of 19th and 20th century Russian literature while exploring the evolution of the “superfluous man” and the “strong woman” who loves him. How does the alienated intellectual evolve from nihilist to murderer to revolutionary? How do issues of class, gender, and ethnicity shape these writings? How were Russian authors both reacting to and shaping the social and political changes in their country? Were the same intellectuals betrayed by the revolution they helped bring about?
This seminar will seek to engage these questions and others through a combination of primary readings and discussions, directed research, writing, and presentation. You will be encouraged to develop your own interests and directions and to make strong connections between this body of literature and your own goals in research and writing.
English 300: Shakespeare in the 21st Century (Prof. Tripthi Pillai)
The following questions could be asked of anyone and anything. But this is a course on Shakespeare, so the questions are Shakespearean in their context. If Shakespeare were our neighbor, would we be best friends who have much in common? Or would we loathe him for being different from us? Perhaps we’d report him to the authorities for being too into us, because he speaks in tongues, and because every little thing is made such a big deal by him. Or maybe we would simply think him weird for no real reason (or for too many reasons) and so keep our distance—say hello but move on, mind our business and hope that he would do the same.
But this is mere conjecture, for Shakespeare isn’t really our neighbor. A more specific question, then: if Shakespeare were of our time, as opposed to being of and “for all time”, how, if at all, would we identify with him? More importantly, how would we identify with his work, his imagination, his characters, and with their emotions? What exactly would it take for and from us to identify with him/it/them?
These last questions are significant, for they lead us into the complex network of emotional identification. Indeed, emotional identification is fraught with tricky and even dangerous questions about selfhood that, when probed, force us to consider the processes and subtexts of our connections with individuals, objects, ideas, communities, cultures, and institutions. Especially in an age when freedom is part-toted, part-flaunted as the mantra for a variety of human actions—waging wars on nations and peoples who we feel aren’t as free as us but should be; creating open access global sites for Shakespeare’s plays so undergraduates in Myanmar and Canada might enjoy the same text of Macbeth as us; purchasing vintage boots from an EBay seller half way across the world who somehow has the same aesthetics in footwear as us—we find ourselves forging (making but also faking) connections in almost seamless fashion. At the same time, we overlook the complexities that inform our desire for and practices of identification. Perhaps more disturbingly, we suppress the politics and emotions that underpin our failure or refusal to identify with something or someone.
In this course we will unearth some of these complex processes. Our litmus test this semester shall be the works of Shakespeare, whose drama repeatedly has been used (appropriated, abused, and also celebrated) in at least one of two ways: 1) as a viable medium through which diverse peoples from around the world have come together or been brought together, united emotionally by means of what we call identification; or 2) as a grotesque marker of our inability to connect and identify with a world and a time that we imagine as being fundamentally different from our own. Our purpose in the course is not so much to conclude that we do or do not, or can or cannot, identify with Shakespeare’s literature. Rather, our aim this semester will be to dissect—through close reading, theoretical, historical, and cultural analyses—the methods and intricacies of identification and alienation that we put to work when we interpret the bard’s drama. These methods, we might find, are similar to the ones we employ effectively, if unconsciously, in our everyday maneuverings through life and in our engagements with others.
English 300: Ethnolects & American English (Prof. Becky Childs)
This course will examine the role that ethnolects (ethnic varieties) have in American English. Coming from historical, social, and political perspectives we will uncover the place and contributions of ethnic English varieties to the larger public and academic understanding of American English.
English 301: Creative Writing Workshop (Prof. Joe Oestreich)
In this class we will read and write works in three different genres: poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. But we will focus on elements common to all quality writing, regardless of genre: clarity of thought, specificity in detail and description, precision with regard to diction, and the development of a strong and unique voice. We will discuss these issues in detail, and we will read a slew of great poetry and prose in order to see how well respected, contemporary writers put these craft elements to use. Then you will practice writing your own pieces.
These poems, stories, and essays will be workshopped by your classmates and me, with an eye toward revision and hopefully (someday, fingers crossed) publication. Although science fiction writing, romance writing, horror writing, journal entries, blogs, song lyrics, limericks, poems about cats, etc. can be worthwhile, I expect the pieces you write in this class to have literary aspirations, which brings me to perhaps the most important commonality of good poetry, fiction, and nonfiction: Whether “true” or “made up,” literature is an art form, and like all art, it should work to teach us something about the world and our place in it.
English 304: British Literature II (Prof. Cynthia Port)
This course offers a survey of representative works illustrating the development of British literature from the late eighteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on major literary movements understood in relation to their intellectual, social, and political contexts. This version of the course will focus primarily, though not exclusively, on works set in and around London, a cosmopolitan center of culture, finance, and empire. As we trace the evolution of British literary history, we will reflect on some of the following questions: What are the intersections among place, politics, culture, and the arts? How do literary works participate in, as well as respond to, evolving political and social conditions? We’ll explore the implications of urbanization and industrialization, the legacy of empire and immigration, the transformations of British literary style, and various articulations of London’s vibrant, crowded, rich, and sordid history.
English 306: American Literature II (Prof. Daniel Turner)
AMERICAN LITERATURE II is a survey of representative works illustrating the development of American literature from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on major literary movements understood in relation to their intellectual, social, and political contexts. Throughout the term, students will gain an overall understanding of some of the currents and countercurrents of American literature over the past century and a half, engaging with a range of texts and genres germane to American literary history. Moreover, we will also critically assess the relation between these aesthetic forms and contemporaneous historical pressures, including hotly contested issues such as nationhood, globalization, socioeconomics, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and the emergence of competing media. To expand our understanding of U.S. literature within its broader contexts, we will analyze it in connection with theoretical and historical arguments as well as with other cultural forms and artifacts, such as painting, photography, architecture, popular music (e.g., jazz, blues, alternative rock), and cinema.
English 312: Editing and Publishing in the Digital Age (Prof. Jen Boyle)
What turns me on about the digital age, what excited me personally, is that you have closed the gap between dreaming and doing. You see, it used to be that if you wanted to make a record of a song, you needed a studio and a producer. Now, you need a laptop. – Bono
Today, writers don’t just inscribe words on paper.
Want to learn more about editing and publishing for digital and new media environments?
Want to think more about and explore blogging, online journalism, and publishing your creative/critical writing/art on the web? Get some hands on experience working with the latest text editing and publishing software and shareware? Do something on the web other than watch cat videos (though we should never give that up entirely)?
This course will serve as an introduction to editing and publishing in the age of digital media.
Students in this course will compose written, visual, and/or auditory texts, using a variety of technologies, all in the context of multi-modal composition (That is, working across print, digital, and other forms of media and mediation). Students will be expected to work with texts (1) for the page (2) the screen, and (3) the network. Each text will also be edited in accord with its medium.
Along with some very hands on practical experience directing a text through the phases of digital/online editing and publishing, we will also take up some fascinating critical questions about how media affects what we read, compose, feel, and think.
Excerpted texts and/or notions we will tarry with may include:
- Ulmer, Internet Invention: from literacy to electracy
- Hayles, Electronic Literature: what is it?
- McGann, Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web
- Plant, Zeroes and Ones: Digital Women and the New Technoculture
- Walter Benjamin’s, “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
- Debord, “Theory of the Dérive”
- Bolter and Grusin’s, Remediation: understanding new media
- Lupton, D.I.Y: design it yourself
- Wysocki and Lynch, Compose, Design, Advocate: a rhetoric for integrating written, visual, and oral communication
- Some books that will help us as we transform texts, books, and images:
- Sterling, Shaping Things
- Palmquist’s Designing Writing: a practical guide
English 317: The Romantic Age (Prof. Kate Oestreich)
The “Romantic Age” in British literature has been variously defined as beginning in 1798, 1789, 1770, or 1750, and ending in 1830, 1832, or 1837. While critics disagree about the exact historical boundaries of British Romanticism, most agree that political, social, philosophical and cultural changes at the end of the eighteenth century coincided with and/or brought about changes in literary forms and values. We will read works from authors who have played dominant roles in shaping the English literary tradition; these authors include Dorothy and William Wordsworth, William Blake, and Mary Wollstonecraft, amongst others. In lecture, we will learn how the works we read reflect the larger movements in British literature and how those works and movements relate to England’s dramatic social and political transformations during the Romantic Period. Students will discuss the reading in detail and will have a chance to explore their own ideas about it.
Students will learn to
- Understand the major developments and major figures in British literary history from the last few decades of the eighteenth century through the 1830s;
- Understand the mutual relationship between historical and cultural context and literary form and production, specifically the effect of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and debates human and women’s rights;
- Engage in critical discussions of language and literature
English 350: Language Variation in North America (Prof. Daniel Hasty)
Why do those people up North (i.e., Yankees) talk they way they do? How can those people in the South sound so nice yet still so dumb? Why don’t the people out West have an accent? Do I have an accent?
In this course, we will answer all these questions and more. We will study the differences in the varieties of North American English from a scientific perspective being guided by contemporary sociolinguistic theory.
While regional variation is one of the most salient aspects of American English, we will also study social, ethnic, gender, and style-related language variation. Along with understanding how different varieties of English are linguistically different from each other, we will also explore issues related to the evaluation of individual dialects regarding the perceptions and attitudes of speakers and hearers of these varieties. We will address issues related to the so-called “Standard” English ideology and even seek to uncover linguistic profiling and discrimination.
The course will be discussion based and will involve a good deal of classroom participation and presentation. Students will be asked to complete original sociolinguistic research by collecting data on actual real-world language variation and presenting their findings in both oral and written form.
English 365; Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction (Prof. Joe Oestreich)
This is a literature and workshop course in which students will study contemporary creative nonfiction and create original nonfiction pieces. Students will read and critique both published and student work.
This course is designed to help you learn the elements of craft in creative nonfiction and its subgenres. It will operate in four units. In the first, you will learn the building blocks common to all forms of nonfiction—concepts such as writing in scene, narration vs. exposition, the importance of place and characterization, and writing to make meaning. Next we will study the forms of five nonfiction subgenres: memoir, personal essay, the braided/fragmented essay, literary journalism, and cultural criticism. In the third unit we will workshop some of the major works of contemporary nonfiction. This unit will be discussion-based, and these discussions will be led primarily by you. For the final unit, you will write an original creative essay, which will be read and critiqued by the entire class.
English 375: Special Topics in World and Anglophone Literature (Prof. Anna Oldfield)
This course extends students’ understanding of and experiences in different cultures of the world by examining issues of cross-cultural interaction and transfer of ideas between and within world cultures, historical periods, and/or literary movements. The course will also introduce students to some strategies of literary criticism and research on world authors through examination of critical texts appropriate to the topic.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary gives the following definition of “rebellion”:
- opposition to one in authority or dominance
- open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government
The world offers many opportunities for rebellion – against tyranny, genocide, cultural oppression, inequality, and social injustice to name a few. Some rebellions are more subtle; one can rebel against logic, against language, even against oneself. Rebellion can also be negative, violent and cruel, betraying the very ideals that inspired it. Focusing on the 20th century, this course will confront rebellious texts from across cultures as we explore the unstable spaces between ideas, ideals, words and actions.
We’ll begin with the Russian Revolution, where Boris Savinkov sits, gun in hand, asking whether rebellion can justify murder. We’ll join Anna Akhmatova (Russia), Czeslaw Milos (Poland), and Danilo Kis (Yugoslavia) as they confront dictatorship and battle the erasure of memory. We’ll celebrate the Prague Spring with the plays of Vaclav Havel, the films of Vera Chytalova and the music of The Plastic People, asking if their doomed rebellion was truly “unsuccessful.” Franz Fanon (Martinique), Albert Camus (France), Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), and Salman Rushdie (India/UK) will confront us with colonialism and the complex rebellions it can inspire, while Yukio Mishima (Japan) and Lu Xun (China) will pull us to the edge of life and death. Intersections of gender, culture, and conflict will absorb us with Leila Abouzeid (Morocco), Goli Taraqi (Iran), and Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt). We’ll end up by looking at Che Gueverra, James Dean, and possible futures of rebellion in our own 21st century.
English 390: Business and Professional Communication (Prof. Winner and Prof. Hollandsworth)
Designed to improve practical communication, both written and oral. Students learn business style and formats (the letter, memo, resume, and report), as well as strategies for presenting neutral, negative, and persuasive messages. Students will speak on business or professional topics.
English 411: Capstone Seminar (Prof. Maria Bachman)
This class provides a forum for both reflection upon and assessment of the student's experience in the major. Readings and writing assignments will focus on the dicipline of English in a postgraduate context, the professional potential of the English degree, portfolio construction, and revision of exisiting writings for publications. The course will also include activities designed to help the department assess its program as well as the opportunity for an exit interview.
English 424: London’s Underbelly: Sex, Lies, and the Secret Renaissance (Prof. Tripthi Pillai)
The quintessential Renaissance man, Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86) was well loved and admired by his contemporaries as “the flower of chivalry,” as the exemplary courtier. Indeed he seems to have done everything heroically and well—from governing Flushing to writing sonnets and treatises on poetry. And before things could go downhill for him, Sidney died heroically, wounded fatally while defending the English and English causes. In his brief lifetime, Sidney came to define the spirit of the Renaissance, a spirit that has endured in the popular imagination.
But there was more to Renaissance men and women besides the heroism, the dignity, and beauty awarded them by the likes of Sidney. Early modern England had its fair share of ugliness, of rogues and vagabonds, swindlers and gold-diggers, rapists and murderers. These and various other groups of Renaissance “opportunists” struggled to survive and thrive in a period that was marked by cultural, economic, political, and religious fluctuation. While most of the works of the period only hint obliquely at the murky English underworld that lurks beneath the noble and heroic world, several plays of the time vibrantly bring to light the energy of “ugliness” and of “ugly” subjects. In this course we will focus on these best kept secrets of early modern drama: the outlandish and nonconformist subculture of London’s beggars and bastards, bored but prosperous housewives, resentful but ambitious servants, upwardly mobile workingwomen, title-craving merchants, and money-hungry noblemen, among others. Our study of the underbelly will bring us to a closer understanding of the social history of early modern England, especially its urban culture, and will develop in us—through various theoretical methodologies—a critical consciousness about the relevance of the subaltern voices within the Renaissance framework. This combination of literary and theoretical approaches will not only enable us to appreciate the complex culture specific to Renaissance England, but will also engage us in the cultural dynamics of excluded communities that even today comprise a significant chunk of society.
English 453: Development of the English Language (Prof. Ray Moye)
A study of the origins and development of languages in general, and of English and related languages in particular. No previous knowledge of Old and Middle English necessary
Enlgish 457: Form and Style in Wriitng (Prof. David Kellogg)
What is a writing style? In the view of this teacher, style is a choice — or rather, a set of choices. Every time you choose to write a sentence one way rather than another, you have made a stylistic choice. Your writing has attained a style, however, only when the set of the choices you make adds up to something recognizable, consistent, true.
This course is an intensive workshop in improving prose style. We will cover research and citation styles (what many students mean by “style”), but we focus on improving your ability to compose sentences and paragraphs with wit, elegance, and power. We will cover issues of clarity, concision, coherence, cohesion, and other elements of practical style; control of sentence length, rhythm, and pacing; and a variety of rhetorical figures, including tropes of argument. You will both revise previously written pieces and compose new work.
English 459: Advanced Composition and Rhetoric (Prof. Shannon Stewart)
Writing that involves different aims, types, and audiences. Students learn theory about composition, rhetoric and reading. Students also read examples, do library research, and review grammar, punctuation, and editing.
English 462: Writing workshop: Fiction (Prof. Jason Ockert)
This is an advanced course in fiction writing and in it we will analyze the multiple ways a short story can be written. Although it is impossible to teach you to be a great writer, it is possible to teach you the ways in which published writers have organized their thoughts and ideas onto the page. “Greatness,” I’m hoping, will rub off on you. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to read your peers’ writing in a workshop setting. Building on what you’ve learned in previous creative writing courses, we will study contemporary elements of style and seek to understand particular values inherent in important short story writing.
English 468: Writing Workshop: Poetry (Prof. Dan Albergotti)
This is an advanced workshop in poetry writing. We will study the craft of poetry and write poems in both traditional form and free verse. The vast majority of class time will be spent in group discussion of poems produced by members of the class. Our primary goal is essentially this: to become better readers and writers of poems. Since methods of accomplishing that are difficult to quantify, I will simply say that we will use whatever method presents itself at any given time to aid the artistic growth of every student in the class. And since I cannot force artistic growth upon you, you must be committed to work very hard toward the achievement of our class goal.
English 483: Theory of Literary Criticism (Prof. Steve Hamelman)
This course introduces, explicates, and elaborates ways to define and interpret literature and culture. Doing so requires us to study signs, codes, grammars, and systems—linguistic, aural, visual, and otherwise—that create what human beings call “reality.” We will discover the amazing number of ways to approach an understanding of the most important term of all: representation. What is representation? How have different writers from different historical periods explained it? What is our own relationship to representation? Does a transcendent Truth inform representation, or is it an arbitrary, fluid combination of signs that can’t be reduced to one final meaning? Why are some representations considered beautiful and canonical, others trashy and disposable, some superficial, some profound? Questions such as these will proliferate with each assignment. Theory isn’t contained within any one department or field of study. Our texts range over philosophy, psychology, linguistics, rhetoric, sociology, semiotics, hermeneutics, theology, political economy, media studies, and literary criticism. Despite its reputation for being difficult, theory is a democratic, non-elitist discipline. Everyone can use it, and no single academic department owns it. Its varied strands permeate all aspects of intellectual life. Studying its key principles and themes improves our daily thinking—that is, it helps us decipher the verbal, visual, and aural language that shapes our lives, and in the process it empowers and liberates the reader.
English 485.01: Adolescent Literature (Prof. Michael Campbell and Professor Neljean Rice)
An extensive study of works appropriate for the adolescent. Required of all Secondary English Education students.
English 495: Internship for English Majors (Prof. Maria Bachman)
Students will receive instruction and gain professional experience in an internship while working at least 10 hours per week with a local business or organization. Course contract must be approved prior to registration.
English 603: Special Topics in the Forms of Creative Writing (Prof. Jason Ockert)
A course in the forms of creative writing, students will examine the history, movements and technical forms of literary genres in an effort to better understand influences that may affect the writer today.
English 635: Topics in American Literature (Prof. Daniel Turner)
An exploration of texts from a variety of eras, movements, regions and/or sub-cultures within American Literature. Students will read literary texts, focusing on the social, cultural, historical, and political contexts in which these texts were produced and analyzing the content for cultural-specific themes.
English 653: Topics in Linguistics (Prof. Becky Childs)
Admission to MA pogram or permissison of instructor) A course in the study of language from various sources, time periods, and social groups. Students will examine written and spoken language in a number of genres, focusing on the ways in which language functions as a communicative tool and social phenomena.
English 658: Graduate Writing Workshop in Poetry (Prof. Dan Albergotti)
A workshop to study the craft of poetry and write poems in both traditional forms and free verse. The majority of class time will be spent in group discussions of poems produced by members of the class with the goal of becoming better readers and writers of poems.
English 682: Workshop in Composition and Rhetoric (Prof. Denise Paster)
ENGL 682 introduces and explores advanced concepts of grammar, rhetoric, the composition process and editing that affect both professional writers and teachers of writing at the high school and college level.
This course provides an introduction to scholarship on the research of writing. While issues such as the composition process, grammar, and social constructivist approaches to language will be explored, the main focus of this graduate seminar will be on the research methods and methodologies central to the field of composition and rhetoric. By exploring the practical methods and theoretical methodologies available to researchers, students will come to richer understandings of how knowledge about and theories of writing are constructed in this field.