Spring Course Descriptions

English Courses

Detailed Course Descriptions for Selected Courses

Literature

  Professional Writing  

200 Level Courses

200 Level Courses

300 Level Courses

300 Level Courses

400 Level Courses

400 Level Courses

500/600 Level Courses

  

Literature Courses

ENG 203:  Intro: Poetry                                                                   GE 7

Leffel              TR 10:05-11:20 and TR 11:40-12:55         

The Romantics and Us:  An introduction to poetic form, genre, and analysis focusing on Romantic-era poets including Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, Byron, Barbauld, Robinson, and others.

 

ENG/CIN 208: Introduction to Film Analysis                               GE 7

Bradway        MWF 11:30-12:20 and 12:40-1:30

How do moving images tell a story? Why has Hollywood been so influential in the history of cinema? How have film genres such as horror, comedy, and the Western evolved over time? In this course, you will discover answers to these questions through an introduction to film analysis. You will watch a wide range of films—including silent, foreign, and recent Hollywood releases—and learn to write critically about their formal elements, including narrative, editing, cinematography, and sound design. In addition to writing and reading, you will have the chance to create and screen your own short film for the class. No prior experience required.

ENG 252: American Multicultural Literature                               GE 4 & 11

Stearns           TR 2:50-4:05 and 4:25-5:50

 America’s history is an extended story told by overlapping and sometimes competing voices. Often we have to dig a little deeper to locate multi-ethnic voices in what may first appear to be a single “American” story: white, male and privileged. This course will analyze how diverse writers and historians, from early colonists to contemporary singer-songwriters,  represent America. Heeding a line from 2016 Nobel Prize winner, Bob Dylan, who sang fifty years ago about writers who “prophesize with [their] pens,” we’ll explore changing times in a multicultural, multivocal quest to answer the question, Who is an American?. The answers may surprise us.

 

ENG 355 Major Figures in British Literature to 1780 

Masselink       MW 3-4:15

If you like a challenge and want to be able to say that you have read some of the greatest writers ever to put pen to paper (or in most cases, quill to vellum), then ENG 355 is the course for you.  In ENG 355, you will tackle classics like Beowulf, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Milton’s Paradise Lost. Because many of the works are challenging, students will be provided with study questions to guide their reading, and grades are determined on the basis of efforts put into answering those study questions (and/or responses to the assigned readings), participation in class discussions, and three tests. 

 

ENG 356: Major Figures in British Literature 1780-Present   

Gonzalez         TR 10:05-11:20

This course should really be titled “British and Irish Literary History 1780-Present.”  We will cover most of the important authors during this time period, examining along the way lines of influence in subject matter, technique, and literary forms. Who influenced whom?  What writers do we include in literary history and how do we determine their inclusion?  What principles of selection are involved?  It’s an exciting sprint through the best work of many authors, culminating in a full week dedicated to Ireland’s women poets, whose contemporary work is an internationally acknowledged series of masterpieces.  I consider their beautiful and unabashed poetry to be of extraordinary quality, so much so that they long ago became the center of my intellectual life.  I am enthusiastic about teaching this course and look forward to a very lively semester.

ENG 407: The Study of English (WI)

Harbin            TR 10:05-11:20

Do you understand how English works? How do we, as a society and as individuals, interrelate with our language? In this course we will study language and literacy acquisition and development; diversity in language use, historical and social influences on language, and second language and bilingual learning.  More specifically, we will focus on the social domains that affect and are affected by our language. How does our language use relate to our identity and to our understanding of others?  In making this inquiry, we will explore dialect, gendered language, first and second language acquisition, the history of English, and the differences between written and spoken language.

 

ENG 423: Post-1945 American Literature

Bradway        MW 3:00-4:15

Since 1945, American society and culture has witnessed incredible social transformations and upheavals: nuclear proliferation; the emergence of Civil Rights, gay liberation, and second-wave feminism; the radical expansion of global capitalism; the devastating rise of global warming; and the rise of digital technology and a culture of instantaneity. In this course, you will ask how American literature reflects these social changes, focusing in particular on the narrative styles that authors use to critically respond to the problems of our contemporary world. The course will be structured as an upper-level seminar, emphasizing collaborative participation and group discussion; you will have the opportunity to lead a discussion and craft an original research project around a topic in postwar American literature that captures your imagination.

ENG 429  Special Topics:  Literature and the Environment

Stone              TR 11:40-12:55

The purpose of this course is to explore the roles that literary texts from around the world have played in representing the environment.  We’ll begin with literary efforts to define “nature,” and trace how authors have altered its meaning.  We’ll go on to examine how poems, plays, fictions, and films represent issues of environmental sustainability, and the ways that these concepts are inflected by race, class, gender, and geographical location.  Along the way we’ll identify how literary scholars practice environmental criticism, or “ecocriticism.” Some of the environmental issues we will examine include: colonialism and globalization; corporate culture; wilderness expansion mythologies; resources, agriculture, and eating; the human/nonhuman boundary; and environmental justice.

 

ENG 429: Feminist Rhetoric: History, Theory, and Practice

Rutherford    MW 6:00-7:15

Women’s voices have been largely overlooked in the Western rhetorical tradition, as either practitioners or theorists of rhetoric. However, over the past few decades, an extensive recovery project has been underway – a project that has produced many valuable contributions to the study of rhetorical history. While recovering (and finally hearing) women’s voices is undoubtedly important, expanding on these feminist rhetorics in ways that complement and complicate the rhetorical tradition is much more challenging. This course’s central questions are: what theories drive feminist rhetorics, what are their origins, and how are they practiced (in academic, political, and activist spheres)? As we explore these questions, we’ll consider work from diverse writers such as Sappho, Aspasia, Margaret Fuller, Donna Haraway, Adrienne Rich, Gesa Kirsch, Jacqueline Royster, bell hooks, and many others. 

 

ENG 433: Shakespeare

Harbin            TR 8:30-9:45

Did you know that Shakespeare died 400 years ago? (401 in April 2017)?  Yet, he is still the most performed playwright, has influenced innumerable modern authors, has been translated into at least 80 languages, and has brought us movies such as He’s the Man, West Side Story, and 10 Things I Hate about You.   You probably often quote him without knowing it.  So, many people talk about Shakespeare as universal.  We will not.  In this course, we will be considering Shakespeare as a production of his own time.  To this end, we will examine some of Shakespeare’s plays within their historical context. The plays will include: Much Ado about Nothing, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and The Taming of the Shrew. We will consider questions such as: What were some of the major social concerns of Elizabethan England? And, how do these plays engage with these concerns?  We will be looking at not only the plays themselves, but also other contemporary documents.  Because drama should be seen, we will be reading and watching productions of the plays and will do a bit of performance as well.  Perhaps, just for fun, we’ll consider why we might go to hear Shakespeare today.

 

ENG 438 Sex, Death & Salvation  

Masselink       MW 4:25-5:40

What topics hit closer to home than these three? In this course, students will reflect on their own beliefs about sex, death, and salvation while exploring those expressed by a wide range of seventeenth-century writers writing in a variety of genres.  Our focal point will be the poetry and prose of John Donne, who wrote wittily (and sometimes blasphemously) on all three topics--sometimes in the same work. Consideration will also be given, however, to the writings of Donne's contemporaries (e.g., George Herbert, Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Jeremy Taylor) who seem, at times, to be equally preoccupied with these topics. Students should be aware of the fact that nearly all of the assigned readings are deeply rooted in the Christian worldview, a worldview we will be discussing extensively, particularly as it contrasts with post-modern beliefs and practices concerning sex, death, and salvation as those beliefs are reflected in the contemporary play W;t and in literature of AIDS written at the end of the twentieth century.  This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement.

 

ENG 618: Global Multicultural Literature        

Nelson          M 4:20-6:50

This course serves as an introduction to recent global fiction from various parts of the world, such as the Americas, Africa, and Asia. We will engage these texts in their own historical and cultural contexts and explore their aesthetic, cultural, and political dimensions. Our readings of the texts will be theoretically informed and we will view the texts through a variety of critical lenses but especially postcolonial, feminist, psychoanalytic, and queer theories.

Texts: Achebe’s Things Fall Apart; Ba’s So Long a Letter; Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying; Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room; Adiga’s The White Tiger; Saleh’s Season of Migration to the North; Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Nair’s Monsoon Wedding

ENG 619: Literature for Adolescence        

Bender                        T 4:20-6:50

What makes adolescents want to read?  How are adolescents portrayed in literature that’s geared for them?  How can literary texts best be brought to life for young readers by creative instruction?  What counts as “literature” in the secondary classroom?  This course seeks to answer these and related questions through a critical study, examination, and evaluation of literature written specifically for and about adolescents.  Texts are selected to represent a variety of cultural perspectives and are written by authors who cast the world in diverse ways.  In addition to reading, students will learn a range of methods to teach adolescent readers effectively, will deploy these methods through individually constructed and team-taught lessons, and will, ultimately, design units for middle or high school classrooms that organize teaching ideas into well-orchestrated plans of action.  The class will also consider current scholarly work on young adult fiction and a series of assessment techniques, always with an eye to bringing out the best that kids can do.

ENG 640:  Studies in Eng. Lit 1660-1800              

Leffel              R 4:20-6:50   

 Austen @ 200: 2017 marks the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s passing. In this graduate seminar, will we mark the occasion by exploring Austen’s ever-growing popularity and attempting to theorize why her novels continue to inspire an almost cult-like devotion from specialists and non-specialists alike.  In addition to studying the major novels (including Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion), we will also read Austen’s lesser known and unfinished works, including the Juvenilia, Lady Susan (recently adapted by Whit Stillman for the big-screen as Love & Friendship), and Sanditon

 

ENG 672:  Seminar in Literary Criticism

Stone              Tue-Thu 4:20-6:50

What is it that we do when we interpret literature?  Western scholars have been theorizing literary interpretation since Aristotle wrote Poetics in the 3rd century BCE; however, Aristotle drew on earlier Asian texts to formulate his ideas, texts such as The Panchatantra, attributed to 4th century BCE Sanskrit scholar Vishnu Sharma, and the anti-Confucian tracts of Chinese philosopher Mo Tzu from the 5th century BCE.  Although literary study in America has tended to occlude the non-Western roots of interpretive theories, the purpose of this class is to survey contemporary literary theory from a more global perspective.  In the early twentieth century, literary scholars based their analyses on essentialist beliefs about language and meaning.  In the 1970s, scholars began destabilizing these so-called ‘truths’ through identity politics. In the end of the twentieth century, scholars situated literature as both a participant in and a shaper of history.  Today, scholars are exploring posthumanist methods of literary analysis. We will study an international array of influential thinkers in order to develop our own beliefs and methods of talking, reading, and writing about literature.

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Professional Writing

PWR 295: Introduction to Professional Writing

Rutherford    MW 4:25-5:40

This course examines basic principles of professional writing as both an academic field and daily practice. We’ll discuss varied issues across various media – everything from argumentation and research to page design, genres and conventions, and professional style. Students will develop skills in analyzing rhetorical situations and producing context-appropriate texts for particular audiences and purposes.

 

PWR 315: Creative Nonfiction                                                        GE 8

Franke            TR 10:05 — 11:20

“Creative” and “nonfiction” might seem to be a contradiction in terms, but in this class our subject is “the human experience of the real world” in the form of the essay, which in French (from essai), means “assay,” “evaluate,” “attempt” or “trial run.”  Essays are forms of inquiry, ways of making sense of our world, that make use of the techniques of fiction (voice, plot, imagery, characterization, etc).  They are the outgrowth of curiosity, not expertise.  Examples of the genre include travel writing, the study of a cultural object, a profile of another person (a profile of oneself is memoir).  This class requires a good amount of reading—at least one full-length essay per meeting—and culminates in a 20-page portfolio of nonfiction essays.  Readings often include excerpts from Frazier’s Great Plains, Hickey’s Air Guitar, Didion’s White Noise, Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.

 

PWR 340:  Writing Sports Literature
Emerson           WEB

What makes sports writing more than an account of last night’s game?  Why do so many major writers also write about sports?  What are national sports writers doing to make their work so appealing?  And how can you learn to do what they do?

This course examine the literature of sports and what techniques and approaches make it work so well.  Students learn how to apply the concepts of creative non-fiction to sports writing, to craft and structure multiple storylines, how to shape those stories, how to effectively incorporate character, dialogue, scene, and how to begin to write in a unique and interesting personal voice.

Students also learn the craft of writing, the tools of the trade, from intertwining elements to diction and style, metaphor and symbol, strong paragraphs and powerful sentences, vibrant word choices and emphasis.  The role of research and revision is revealed, along with how doing these well can bring an article to life.  
And of course, students get hands-on guidance in creating their own sports literature articles, from inception to shaping to final copy.   While this course is online, students are welcome, in fact, encouraged, to take advantage of office hours to work together in person on their writing.

 

PWR 409: Evolution of Writing

Franke            TR 11:40 — 12:55

Writing began in Mesopotamia with pictures used to keep records. Here is an early Sumerian pictograph for “head.” From this, writing grew slowly into a way of transcribing the sounds of speech and then, in a single surprising twist, never replicated in history, it became codified as an alphabet that could represent all the sounds of a spoken language.  In its journey, writing enabled enormous economies to develop, allowed a vast literature to emerge, supported data-rich scientific inquiry, the writing of history—even texting—while our individual powers of memory declined.  It mostly displaced oral tradition and changed our relationship to the sacred, to law, knowledge, and to each other.  This semester tracks the changes that writing wrought while arguing that how we communicate affects what we can communicate about.  “What something means” is in part a result of its physical, material existence.  There are short papers, a midterm essay and a final paper.  Some years, we go on a field trip to NYC to see presses and early books F2F (and to have some time to talk).  Readings often include excerpts from Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Kramer’s The Sumerians, Troll’s The Illiterate Scribe, Ong’s Orality and Literacy, and Plato’s Phaedrus.

 

PWR 429: Feminist Rhetoric: History, Theory, and Practice

Rutherford    MW 6:00-7:15

Women’s voices have been largely overlooked in the Western rhetorical tradition, as either practitioners or theorists of rhetoric. However, over the past few decades, an extensive recovery project has been underway – a project that has produced many valuable contributions to the study of rhetorical history. While recovering (and finally hearing) women’s voices is undoubtedly important, expanding on these feminist rhetorics in ways that complement and complicate the rhetorical tradition is much more challenging. This course’s central questions are: what theories drive feminist rhetorics, what are their origins, and how are they practiced (in academic, political, and activist spheres)? As we explore these questions, we’ll consider work from diverse writers such as Sappho, Aspasia, Margaret Fuller, Donna Haraway, Adrienne Rich, Gesa Kirsch, Jacqueline Royster, bell hooks, and many others. 

 

PWR 497: Senior Seminar

Rutherford    MW 3:00-4:15 PM

Over your college career in Professional Writing, you’ve done a lot of writing. This course is where we bring it all together: all of the writing in various genres that you've produced over the last four (or more) years, the theory and history of writing/rhetoric that you've learned, the editing/revising you've performed, the specific topics you've chosen to pursue, and relevant experiences you’ve had outside the classroom. Senior Seminar is your chance to read, reflect, discuss, and write about all of these experiences as you prepare for the transition to post-college life. The class is organized around creating/defining a portfolio composed of major genres you’ve written over your college career, and presenting those in a way that demonstrates your growth to employers/admissions committees/outside audiences. In other words, Senior Seminar is a place is to further develop an understanding of what it means to be a practicing rhetorician (in both academic and workplace contexts).


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