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Fall Course Descriptions

English Department Courses

Detailed Course Descriptions for Selected Courses

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

Literature Courses

ENG 202:002:  Introduction to Fiction (Stories from Around the Globe) 

Emerson, Tim.  T/Th 4:25-5:40 

Award-winning fiction from Canada, Japan, Mexico, Jordan, the US, China, Zimbabwe, the UK, India, Turkey, the Ukraine, tBlackfoot, Israel.  Learn to delve into the short story, novella, and the modern novel, all while learning more about the world and yourself. 


ENG 202: 003 Introduction to Fiction (short story) 

Rogers, T/TH 2:50-4:05 

We all love a great story. Why? Stories are a reflection of particular people, places, cultures, and moments in history. Students will understand the ways various writers have used plot, character, setting, and narrative point of view to examine the nature of people, places and times, issues and ideas.  The class will explore the art of the short story through reading, small group discussion, analysis, and brief writing assignments. 


ENG208/CIN208: Introduction to Film Analysis 

Colella, G. - M,W,F - 3:50pm-3:50pm 

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 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, (WI) 


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 10:05-11:20 

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 290: Introduction to Literary Studies 

Radus, MWF 9:10-10:00 and 10:20-11:10 

What is literature? How do we study it? How do we write about texts we read? Though these questions seem simple, in fact they've been debated for centuries. In this course, we'll address these questions and others. Our objective will be to create a solid foundation for further study in English. Short readings and active in-class discussions will inform a series of informal writing assignments, three quizzes, and one formal paper, to be completed in stages and revised extensively in consultation with the instructor and classmates. 


ENG 302: Writing about Literature 

Bradway, T/TH, 11:40-12:55 and 2:40-4:05 

How can you psychoanalyze a work of literature? Why would teachers want to “queer” a text? Where did these methods of reading come from, and what relevance do they have today? This course will introduce you to the history and foundational methods of literary and cultural theory, and it will give you opportunities to connect theory to narrative, poetry, popular culture, and the contemporary social world.  

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 active in-class discussions will be supplemented by short response papers and two exams. 


ENG 356: Major Figures in British Literature: 1780-Present 

Bender, TTh 2:50-4:05  

This course focuses on representative works of British literature from Romanticism to the present day.  A wide range of texts—including poetry, fiction, political treatises, and journals—are explored for what they can tell us about the predilections, anxieties, and obsessions of the period they emerged from, in conjunction with our own present-day reading concerns.  Complementary to this exploration, attention is given to the visual culture of the period in question, especially to portraiture, which can arguably show us things words may not, or not yet, be able to say.  Women’s writing, from the feminism of Mary Wollstonecraft to the experimental writing of Zadie Smith, receives particular emphasis. 


ENG 374 

McKenzie MWF 3:00-3:50 

Can books make the world a better place? Many who write, publish, teach, and review, contemporary YA novels certainly have faith that they do. Whether these texts point out injustices or represent the experiences of teens who rarely see themselves in literature, many contemporary YA novels seek to disrupt the status quo and bring about better, more equitable futures. In this class, we’ll explore YA literature by analyzing and critiquing the way contemporary texts attempt to disrupt inequalities. Students in the course can expect to read contemporary YA novels like Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After, and Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves. Students are responsible for leading class discussion one time over the course of the semester and producing three writing projects.  


ENG 407: The Study of English 

Harbin, T/TH 11:40-12:55 

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 481: AIDS Literature 

Bradway, T/TH 1:15-2:30 

The HIV/AIDS crisis had a profound impact on literature and literary studies. As thousands of LGBTQ Americans suffered and died, literature become a powerful site for political activism. Similarly, literary studies became an important space to think about sexuality, religion, grief, and politics. This course will approach AIDS literature as a “genre,” exploring how its conventions developed and evolved from the start of the crisis to its contemporary aftermath. We will examine queer drama, poetry, narrative, and theory that challenges the social silence about HIV/AIDS, and we will reflect on the legacies of AIDS literature in the present, particularly how it shapes our cultural understanding of subsequent pandemics.  


ENG 530: Chaucer 

Harbin, M 4:20-6:50 

 In The Canterbury Tales, twenty-nine pilgrims, accompanied by an innkeeper, travel from London to Canterbury Cathedral at least ostensibly to worship at the shrine of Saint Thomas A’Becket who had been brutally murdered before the altar in 1170.  Along the way, each of these pilgrims tells a tale to entertain the others.  The tales themselves represent a wide variety of medieval genres and styles.  The pilgrims tell tales of love, revenge, religion, science, and the arithmetic of fart division. Some tales are elevating and serious, some funny – even dirty.  Good Times. 

The course is open to graduate students and advanced Juniors and Seniors 

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Professional Writing Courses

PWR 212: Writing Fiction (601/701) 

Mackenzie MWF 9:10-10:00

Our class will run as a workshop. We will understand ourselves as group of writers, nurturing and inspiring each other to move forward. The writer who presents will direct the comment period after the reading, just as writers do out in the world. You will learn that, although there is no magic formula for putting together a good story, and writing is often a slog in the mud, and isolated work, we in this course are your people. We are to hold you up, give you an audience, and provide respectful, and hopefully useful, feedback on your writing. At the end of the course, you’ll have written at least fifteen pages of workshopped and revised fiction.  


PWR 212 (602/702)

Bartlett TR 10:05-11:20am 

“Being a writer is ultimately about asking yourself, how alive am I willing to be?” -Anne Lamott 

Fiction Writing will prepare you for writing stories, and life, as Anne Lamott would point out, by introducing you to writing as a craft. You will spend most of your time writing your own short stories and reading stories by contemporary writers. Throughout this course, there will be a real emphasis on exploring and discovering personal voice and style. This is a workshop, which is dependent upon a community of conscious and willing writers. A workshop is much more than a simple discussion of your work; it requires a commitment from every writer in the class to give close attention to new and developing work. In fact, a major text for the course is the raw efforts of its writers. By the end of the course, you will generate and revise multiple short stories and a reflection on your own craft. 


PWR 295: Intro to Professional Writing 

Raw, TR 1:15-2:30 

PWR 295 introduces students to techniques for learning professional genres in a variety of work and career contexts. “Professional writing” can be found in any kind of career in which writing or documentation is one of the central tasks. Therefore, professional writing might be found in video game design, comics, law, public policy, and business, as well as creative writing, publishing, and technical writing. In this course, we will explore how to learn to write and communicate in a specific career/field based on your interests through projects including analyzing job ads, interviewing experts in a field, analyzing genres of writing (including public and digital genres), and researching ethical and professional issues. This work will culminate in the creation of a “field guide” in which you will compile your learning to teach your peers about writing in a career/field. 


PWR 329: Digital Storytelling 

Ahern, MWF 10:20-11:10 

In this course students will merge principles of storytelling with writing about data, research, and creative, digital, and workplace narratives. Throughout the course we will explore composing in a variety of genres including nonfiction, personal, and/or researched stories in digital, interactive formats such as video, audio, and webtext.  


PWR 330: Rhetoric in the Public Sphere 

Raw, TR 2:50-4:05 

We are in a time of increasing social justice awareness and engagement, and social media has enabled this work to reach everyone across the country and around the world. In this class, we will consider rhetoric in the public sphere through the lens of activism and civic engagement online. We will discuss how we define and understand the concept of “activism” as a rhetorical action embedded in personal experience, how our identities shape our perceptions of and participation in activism, why and how we choose to participate in activism, and, focally, what activism looks like when it leverages online rhetorics and intersects with digital culture(s). We will consider activism in its many scopes and focuses, driven by your interests and contemporary events. 


PWR 393: Technical Writing 

Ahern, MWF 11:30-12:20 

The term technical writing means writing that is ready-to-use in applied contexts. In other words, there is a specific reader who needs to use the document, text, or piece of writing to do something. This could take the form of a set of instructions, handbooks for a job, an accessible transcript, and so forth. Sometimes technical writing is additionally considered within a business setting, where there is not only a reader needing the piece of writing to accomplish something further, but there are also pressures of client/customer relations, productivity, profit, and ethics. For this class we will focus on writing that is accurate, content-rich, concise, and context-aware (fitting the needs of experts, technical communicators, and/or public audiences.) In so doing, we will explore a variety of values for technical writing including equity, accessibility, and inclusivity. 


PWR 395: Revising and Editing 

Raw, TR 11:40-12:55 

In this class, we will examine theories and practices of revision and editing by taking writing through several substantial revisions, including revisions of scope, purpose, audience, genre, and form. You will learn how to critically revise and edit your own work, as well as to provide developmental, structural, and sentence-level feedback to other writers. 


PWR 425: Literary Magazine Publishing: Hoxie Gorge Review 

Bartlett T 4:20-6:50pm 

There is no better way to immerse ourselves into the intensive study and practice of publishing than to actually work as publishers. This class will be structured around the publication of an issue of the Hoxie Gorge Review, a national online literary journal committed to publishing innovative poetry and prose by established and emerging writers. This means that this is much more than just a class; this is a publication team. Students in this class will serve as Assistant Editors for the journal, reviewing submissions of poetry and prose, corresponding with authors and agents, copyediting, designing, and ultimately publishing a new issue of Hoxie Gorge Review. 

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AEN Courses

AED 308: Grammar and the Writing Process 

Bender, TTh 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 Vernacular 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. 


AED 341 : Intro to English Language Arts

McKenzie MWF 12:40-1:30 

You’ve decided to become a teacher. Perhaps you’re awed by a well-wrought sentence and pumped about poetry and eager to share your passion with students. Perhaps you have taken a look at the injustice of our world and considered teaching your way of fighting back. Whatever your reason, you’re excited about getting into an English Language Arts classroom. But while you’ve got the passion, you’re not sure how exactly the magic of teaching happens. You’ve seen plenty of people teach and you might even have some experience yourself, but you don’t know exactly what happens behind the curtain. In AED 341, we’ll pull back the curtain on the teaching of secondary English Language Arts. We’ll learn how to make excellent lessons and units that will make administrators smile while reflecting your values as a teacher. We’ll identify activities that help students make meaning out of the texts they read while also helping them make sense of their identities, communities, and worlds. We’ll grapple with the role English class might play in dismantling the oppressive structures that uphold racism and white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, and cis-heteronormativity, misogyny, ableism, and xenophobia. We’ll consider what it means to help children and adolescents grow through their engagement in English class, and how teachers themselves can continue to grow professionally and personally in their chosen career. By the end of the course, you will be able to design excellent lesson and unit plans and you will also be able to articulate your vision for your future ELA classroom.  


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. 


AED 378/AED 578: Student Teaching Colloquium


The student teaching semester can be challenging. It is a time when everything about your life is different: suddenly, you are in charge and responsible for making lessons, assigning homework, and grading papers. You’re also responsible for making sure you’re fostering a positive classroom community and making sure students are respected and safe. And on top of all of it, you’re responsible for completing the edTPA, a portfolio examination required as part of the New York State teacher certification process. This course—a joint resource course for both undergraduate and graduate students—is designed to support student teachers during the student teaching semester. During class, we will support each other as we discuss the challenges we face in the classroom. We will share our learning and the pedagogical resources helpful to us. And we will support each other through the process of deciphering and completing the edTPA. By the end of the course, students will have produced a collection of teaching documents to use during job interviews as well as the materials needed for their edTPA submission.   


AED 663: Critical Issues in the Teaching of English

McKenzie W 4:20-6:50 

On the one hand, the English Language Arts (ELA) classroom can be conceived as a kind of escape, a place outside of or adjacent to something called the “real world,” a place where students might lose themselves in a book or a poem. But it is always simultaneously firmly rooted in that real world and indelibly shaped by world events and systems of power. This means that the English class is inherently political, inherently connected to the oppressive structures that uphold racism and white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, and cis-heteronormativity, misogyny, ableism, and xenophobia. Many scholars who study students and teachers in ELA classrooms are interested in the political nature of English. They are curious about how some classrooms reproduce oppressive social structures and how others challenge these oppressive structures. For the first half of AED 663, we will explore this scholarship on the political nature of the ELA classroom. We will consider what researchers have noticed about the way ELA classrooms reproduce inequality and grapple with the socio-political issues English teachers need to consider if they wish to challenge injustice. Then, in the second half of the semester, each student will design a research question related to the topic of the course and pursue that question through an examination of scholarly literature. At the end of the semester, students will translate their research into lesson plans and present these plans in a conference-style presentation open to the campus community.   

AED 665: Participant/Observer Experience


AED 665 provides students with the opportunity to learn from teachers and reflect upon this learning. This course requires students to complete 40 hours of observation in a secondary English Language Arts classroom and to reflect upon these observations through a variety of course activities and short written assignments. All written work in AED 665 will be completed virtually and asynchronously. 

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