Spring 2021 Guide and COVID-19 information

Fall Course Descriptions

English Department Courses

Detailed Course Descriptions for Selected Courses

LiteratureProfessional WritingAEN
200 Level Courses 200 Level Courses Undergraduate
300 Level Courses 400 Level Courses Graduate
400 Level Courses 400 Level Courses

Composition Courses

CPN 102 Writing Studies in the Community I

Dunbar              MWF 1240-1330 

 The only 4-credit designated first-semester service-learning composition course in which students will strengthen their analysis and writing skills while participating in community-based organizations. While it meets all of the requirements of CPN 101, CPN 102 connects students with diverse community partners, thereby offering first-hand opportunities for extra-academic engagement in a supportive, dynamic environment. A good fit for activity-oriented students who wish to develop future internship portfolios. 

Literature Courses

ENG 202: Introduction to Literature 

Jackson                T/TH 2:50-4:05 

This course explores how video games are more than online entertainment that have been popularized by such titles as Fortnite, 2K, and Minecraft. We will examine gaming as a storytelling medium in order to investigate and create language that helps us understand how games are also fiction on par with other entertainment media such as television and film. Through reading, writing, class discussions, and group projects, we will investigate storytelling in games presented through scripted narrative, emergent game play, and lore.  


ENG208/CIN208: Introduction to Film Analysis 

Colella, G.             MWF  1:50pm-2:40pm 

This course goes beyond the entertainment value of movies and film, by examining the formal elements and taking it thorough various critical lenses to arrive at a deeper understanding of one’s viewing experience through analysis and academic discourse.  We engage with a multitude of genres, time periods and artistic perspectives that help us explore implied cultural and sociological commentaries and viewpoints.  We get to talk about your favorite movies, with an academic twist.  By using analysis to extract the true richness, depth, and meaning within the various elements of the films, we also walk away with the knowledge of how to have a much more fulfilling experience as an active viewer, rather than a passive audience member. 


ENG/CIN 208: Horror Film 

Bradway                 W 4:20-6:50 

Wes Craven once said, “Horror films don’t create fear. They release it.” What existential and social fears does horror release? How do these fears speak to different historical and cultural tensions? What stylistic tools does horror use to think about the nature of fear? In this course, we will explore these questions through a range of horror films, from classic to contemporary and from the US and beyond. At the end of the course, you will create and screen your own original horror film.  

ENG 252: Modern American Multicultural Literature 

Savonick              MWF 10:20-11:10, 11:30-12:20  

What is literature and why does it matter? How can works of literature help us think differently about the world? In this course, we will explore these and other questions through works of modern and contemporary U.S. literature. In particular, we will consider how language, literature, and culture shape our ideas about race, class, gender, and sexuality. Students will learn to closely read literary texts in relation to different genres, historical moments, and literary and social movements, and as tools for making sense of the world. We will experiment with the artistic strategies we encounter by producing our own critical and creative texts and attend to each other’s work with the same care and scrutiny given to assigned readings. Thinking alongside Audre Lorde, we will work together to “envision what has not been and…make the reality and pursuit of that vision irresistible.” Note: this course emphasizes experimentation, creativity, collaboration, and student-centered learning. 


ENG 256: Introduction to American Indian Literature 

Radus             MWF 11:30–12:20 

In this course, we will read fiction, poetry, and drama written by the Indigenous peoples of North America. We’ll situate our readings in their cultural, political, and historical contexts so that we may better consider how this literature has, from its origin to the present, reflected and responded to the realities of Indigenous experience. Our active in-class discussions will be supplemented by short papers and informal presentations.   


ENG 257: Introduction to Irish Literature 

Stearns              T/TH 2:50-4:05 

What does it mean to be one of a fifth of the population living in the northeast who claim to be of Irish descent? In this course we’ll attempt to define that “Irishness” by reading some of the literature of a country that has been called a land of saints and sages, bards and braggarts and has produced 4 Nobel Literature Prize winners. We’ll read a selection of poetry, fiction (including the best of Irish murder mysteries), memoir and drama. We’ll also view some classic and contemporary Irish films.   Fulfills: GE 7; LASR 


English 260: The Literature of Sports 

Dr. A.R. Anderson           MWF 1:50-2:40 

In their A Brief History of American Sports, Gorn and Goldstein tell us that sports have “always been Janus-faced.”  That in sports literature, while we witness the “beauty, grace, and passion” of human achievement, we also experience the “strange mixture of sordidness and transcendence, crudity and refinement, venality and selflessness” that make this literature an appealing and significant art.  For athletes, they insist, sports can be seen as the “expressive outlets for people who did not compose symphonies, publish treatises, or design buildings.”   

In this course we will read and share the essays, stories, novels, and poems that explore the joys and sorrows of the best sports literature; how it so completely involves each of us in the ethical, emotional, social, and even political realities that define our apparently dominant sports culture 


ENG 261: Women in Literature 

Knight                   T/Th 11:40-12:55 

This GE-7 writing-intensive course will examine the literary depiction of women by female and male authors representing different periods and nationalities. We will examine how gender roles develop and how gendered identities are reflected in the writings. Various types of literature (short fiction, novels, a play, and poetry) from the nineteenth century through today will be covered.  Specific topics to be addressed include the literary depiction of women and self-image; women’s health and well-being; maternity; issues of race, class and gender; sexuality (straight, lesbian, and transgender); and patriarchal and cultural assumptions about femaleness and feminism. Among the authors we will be reading are Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Doris Lessing, Larry Brown, Hisaye Yamamoto, Ntozake Shange, and Travis Mulhauser. Three short (4-5-page) papers, in-class writing exercises, and regular quizzes will be required. 


ENG/WGS 269: LGBTQ Literature 

Bradway                 T/Th 2:50-4:05 

From Gertrude Stein to RuPaul, LGBTQ+ people have innovated literary and cultural forms to reflect the vitality and complexity of queer life. Yet these contributions have often been ignored, stigmatized, and marginalized. In this course, you will discover the exciting diversity of styles and themes in LGBTQ literature and culture. We will touch on major historical moments such as Stonewall, the AIDS crisis, and gay marriage and engage key topics such as homo/bi/trans-phobia, the closet, and coming out. 

ENG 290: Introduction to Literary Study                                                  

Lessig                    TR 11:40 & TR 2:50  

English 290 introduces students to methods of close reading and literary analysis essential to the study of literature.  Students will become familiar with the critical terms and analytical strategies used for discussing and writing about literary texts while reading poetry and fiction in English from a wide range of literary periods and cultural traditions. 


ENG 325: American Literature Before 1900 

Radus                   MWF 12:40–1:30  

In this course, we will read literature produced in the United States and its colonial precursors prior to 1900. We’ll devote particular attention to how writers from various ethnic, racial, and gendered backgrounds addressed issues that influenced the development of the United States. Our readings may include Rowlandson’s Narrative (1682), Franklin’s Autobiography (1793), Foster’s The Coquette (1797), Douglass’s Narrative (1845), Melville’s Benito Cereno (1855), the poetry of Whitman and Dickinson, and Crane’s Maggie (1893), in addition to short works. Our active in-class discussions will be supplemented by short response papers and two exams. 

ENG 326: American Literature Since 1900                                                 

Lessig                    TR 10:05 

This course aims to deepen your interpretative and critical skills, and to show some of the range and diversity of twentieth- and twenty-first century American literature.  The United States has had a rich and varied literary history, and any introduction to American literature must make some difficult choices as to what to include in the syllabus and what to leave out.  We will sample a variety of cultural movements and moments, such as modernism, the New Negro Renaissance, proletarian literature, postmodernism, Black Arts, and more.  We will not only read closely, but we will also examine texts within their historical, political, and literary contexts in order to explore how American literature has engaged with some of the important issues of our nation's history.  Assigned texts likely to include the Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vol D & E; Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Kingston, The Woman Warrior. 

ENG 431: Arthurian Literature 

Harbin                  T/Th 8:30-9:45  

Stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table have been popular for about 900 years. This class will explore how this legend developed over time from early Welsh tales, through French Romance, Middle English Romance, and even into the modern era. Texts include: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Le Morte D’Arthur, Shrek, and, of course, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 

ENG 433: Shakespeare 

Leffel                   TR 11:40-12:55 pm in Old Main G-24 

This class is a critical survey of William Shakespeare’s poetic and dramatic art.  In addition to a selection of Shakespeare’s sonnets, plays to be studied include: Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and The Tempest.  Besides reading aloud and performing select scenes, we will also watch film and stage versions to enliven discussion and emphasize issues of performance and adaptation.  Students will also analyze the plays in relation to literary, cultural, and historical texts and contexts. 


ENG 477: Kinship Narratives 

Bradway               T/TH 1:15-2:30 

In The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson writes, “one of the gifts of genderqueer family making… is the revelation of caretaking as detachable from--and attachable to--any gender, any sentient being.” This course explores Nelson’s claim through contemporary kinship narratives, which critique, rewrite, and reimagine the normative conception of “family.” 

ENG 529: Reading for Race, Gender, and Sexuality  

Savonick             M 4:20-6:50  

This course will introduce students to paradigms for analyzing literary and cultural texts in relation to race, gender, and sexuality. We will ask: How do literary and cultural texts shape our ideas about difference? How are material resources – opportunities, wealth, food, healthcare, housing, etc. – unevenly distributed along embodied axes of difference? What roles do language, literature, education, and culture play in reproducing and challenging these conditions? Rather than performing a deep dive into one tradition of cultural critique, this course will introduce students to a range of intellectual traditions and methodological approaches such as Black feminism, women of color feminism, critical race studies, intersectionality, and queer of color critique. Likely authors will include Alice Walker, Gloria Anzaldúa, Frantz Fanon, Chinua Achebe, Edward Said, Audre Lorde, Barbara Christian, Toni Morrison, Barbara Smith, Adrienne Rich, Eve Sedgwick, Jose Muñoz, and Sara Ahmed. Note: this course emphasizes creativity, experimentation, and student-centered learning; students are expected to help shape the content, methods, and means by which their learning will be assessed. Together we will work, in Audre Lorde’s words, “to envision what has not been and… make the reality and pursuit of that vision irresistible.” 

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Professional Writing Courses

PWR 212: Writing Fiction 

Ahern, M/W/F 10:20am-11:10am 

In Writing Fiction we will push at the boundaries of what makes a story. Through focusing on character-driven narratives we will investigate what is sparse, complicated, chilling, and compelling in the human condition. Along the way we will read authors representing a range of traditional and experimental approaches to storytelling and engage with some of those approaches in our own writing. Our explorations in writing fiction will culminate in thoughtful and focused workshops of each other's short stories. 


PWR 393: Technical Writing 

Ahern, M/W/F 11:30am-12:20pm 

Technical writing often involves negotiating multiple levels of complexity within a writing situation. For instance, technical writing may involve communicating technical information to a non-expert audience, translating technical information and making it “ready-to-use” in another context, and/or navigating client/customer relationships and requirements for productivity, profit, and ethics. In this class we will practice technical writing genres such as tutorials, reports, memos, and usability reports. Our key concepts will involve understanding audience, context-awareness, and accessible and inclusive document design. 


PWR 398, “Business Writing” 

Dunbar / M W F /  

Professional writing course emphasizing rhetorical knowledge- and skill-building with common workplace genres. As part of their coursework, students produce a job applications package, newsletter, and a variety of weekly responses to imaginative scenarios built around workplace relations; students are also encouraged to propose personalized learning plans which they develop in lieu of other assignments. A variety of guest-speakers share their professional experiences and help students recognize and develop network opportunities. 

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AEN Courses

AED 308: Grammar and the Writing Process 

Bender                   T/Th 1:15-2:30 

Understanding the grammar of a language is essential to understanding that language.  Yet those who have studied another language in school are often more conversant in that language’s grammar than in the grammar of the language they were raised speaking, likely because the native grammar wasn’t made explicit until long after fluency was achieved.  Grammar then seemed to matter less.  Perhaps this is one reason the study of grammar is frequently considered boring or redundant.  The purpose of this course is to help students see not just why the study of grammar is vital but also how it can be made exciting—both to study and to teach.  Our study will include an exploration of mainstream American English, African American English, and versions of English from earlier times and other places.  We will also consider how and why grammar rules change with the changing contexts of spoken and written language.  Special attention will be given to the grammar of poetry. 

AED 541: Teaching Literature and Critical Literacy 

Bender                      Th 4:20-6:50 

This course will explore a series of approaches to unit design—and the theoretical perspectives that drive those approaches—in order build comprehensive instructional units.  Design questions will include, but are not limited to, the following: How can fiction be used as a basis for nonfiction research?  How can popular culture become an avenue to the deeper apprehension of canonical literature?  How can students develop a greater sense of ownership over the assessment process?  What are the pros and cons of backward planning?  How can visual material complement, rather than just supplement, meaningful engagement with texts?  What are the best instructional uses of film?  In a workshop setting, the class will develop instructional modules that address kids’ greatest interests and needs while stimulating the teacher’s own intrinsic interests in a particular field of knowledge or a set of essential questions. 

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