Fall Course Descriptions

English Department Courses

Detailed Course Descriptions for Selected Courses

Literature Professional Writing AEN
200 Level Courses 200 Level Courses Undergraduate
300 Level Courses 300 Level Courses Graduate
400 Level Courses 400 Level Courses

Literature Courses

ENG 208/CIN208: Introduction to Film Analysis  

Colella, G. - MWF - 3:00pm-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 208: Introduction to Film Analysis 

Leffel, Section 001: TR 11:40-12:55 

Students will learn the basics of film analysis by viewing, discussing, and writing critically about a diverse range of films (and film clips). Required readings will cover a range of topics, including cinematography, mise-en-scene, editing, acting, and so on.  Directors to be considered will likely include: Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Jordan Peele, Steven Spielberg, Wes Anderson, and others.  

ENG 208: Introduction to Film Analysis 

Leffel, Section 002: TR 10:05-11:20  

Students will learn the basics of film analysis by viewing, discussing, and writing critically about a diverse range of films (and film clips). Required readings will cover a range of topics, including cinematography, mise-en-scene, editing, acting, and so on.  Directors to be considered will likely include: Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Jordan Peele, Steven Spielberg, Wes Anderson, and others. 

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 several informal writing assignments, a brief presentation, and a short paper. 

Eng 260: The Literature of Sports 

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 is 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 appealing and significant art.  For athletes, they insist, sports are the “expressive outlets for people who did not compose symphonies, publish treatises, or design buildings.”  In this course we will experience the stories, novels, poems, memoirs, and creative non-fiction that explore the joys and sorrows of the best sports literature—how it involves each of us in the ethical, moral, emotional, and even social and political realities that define our contemporary, apparently dominant, sports culture.   

ENG 269: LGBTQ Literature 

Bradway, T/TH 1:15-2:30PM  

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. This course will survey key works of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature, and it will introduce you to key debates in queer literary studies, particularly as they pertain the problem of reading, writing, and representing LGBTQ+ lives and cultures in the present. We will touch on major historical moments such as Stonewall, the AIDS crisis, and gay marriage, as well as problems such as homo/bi/trans phobias, the closet, generationality, coming out, and the politics of intersectionality. 

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 374: Literature for Adolescence 

Bender, TR 2:50-4:05 

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 and will design unit materials for middle and high school classrooms that organize teaching ideas into well-orchestrated plans of action that include written, oral, a performance-based responses to texts.  The class will also evaluate a range of approaches to assessing student achievement in order to bring out the best that students can do. 

ENG 380: Literary and Cultural Theory 

Bradway, T/TH 11:40-12:55  

What does it mean to “queer” a novel? Do poems have an “unconscious”? What role should emotion play in the interpretation of art? How do white supremacy, colonialism, and other systems of power shape the writing and reading of literature? These kinds of problems lie at the heart of literary and cultural theory. Theory asks big questions and refuses to settle for easy answers. This course will introduce you to the history and foundational texts of literary and cultural theory, and it will give you the chance to connect theory to a vast array of texts, from poems and novels to comics and TikTok. The goal of the course is to teach you how to think with theory in your other courses and in your everyday life.   

ENG 408: Advanced Studies in Film Analysis  

Leffel, T/TH 2:50-4:05 

Special Topic: Stanley Kubrick  

English 430: Reading the Industrial Revolution

Droge, MWF 10:20-11:10

What is the role of literature in an industrial society? How do authors represent, respond to, and shape industrialization? And how might an understanding of historical literary approaches to industry inform our own outlook in the twenty-first century? To frame these questions, this course will focus on British literature produced during the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century. The Victorians witnessed a time of intense and fast-paced transformations: the rise of the railroad; the establishment of new printing technologies that made reading material cheaper and easier to distribute; the widespread pollution, urban poverty, and dangerous working conditions that accompanied a shift to a factory labor system; a global economic network built on the foundation of imperial expansion and exploitation; and many others. Literature played a crucial role in documenting these shifts, bringing awareness to social conditions, and offering insights and interventions. Engaging with nineteenth-century British literature across a range of genres – from novels and poems to essays and political treatises – can help us both to understand the lasting impacts of the Industrial Revolution and to conceptualize the possible relationships between literature and industry today.

ENG 510: Critical Methods in English 

Bradway, Tues 4:20-6:50PM 

What does it mean to be a graduate student in English now? This course will approach this question in two ways. First, it will trace critical debates about the methods and values of literary and cultural studies in the contemporary moment; and second, it will give students opportunities to develop, practice, and refine the skills necessary to producing new research in the field. Designed for students in the 4+1 and MA in English programs, the course will explore the professional, disciplinary, political, and personal stakes of criticism and theory in the humanities.

ENG 529:001: Authors and Authorship in Nineteenth-Century American Literatures 

Radus, M 4:20-6:50

English 529:002:  Literature and Science

Droge, W 4:20-6:50

What is the relationship between literature and science? We often tend to think of these disciplines in opposition to one another today, or, at the very least, as having little in common. Yet previous generations saw this relationship quite differently. Taking nineteenth-century Britain as our focus, we will investigate the interconnected histories of literature and science, exploring topics that range from the development of evolutionary theory to the invention of new technologies. How did scientific writing unfold through narrative and storytelling? How did literature incorporate and influence scientific thought? What values and practices did each field share? And how did newly institutionalized forms of education shape the relationships between these disciplines? The class will include readings from both literary and scientific authors and will also introduce students to the robust scholarship of literature and science studies. By tracing how these two fields have converged and diverged historically, this course will prompt students to re-evaluate and reimagine interdisciplinary relationships in the twenty-first century, as well.

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Professional Writing Courses

PWR 295: Introduction to Professional Writing 

Raw, TTh 2:50-4:05 

PWR 295 introduces students to key concepts in rhetoric such as genre, audience, and rhetorical situation as principles 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. You will explore and range of genres and practice writing for different multimodal venues. In this course, we will explore how to learn to write and communicate in a specific career/field 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: Writing Young Adult Fiction 

Raw, TTh 11:40-12:55 

Young adult (YA) fiction is one of the most popular genres of novel, home to internationally known series like The Hunger Games and Twilight. In this course, you will learn to write YA fiction by exploring plot, character, and theme, along with the techniques of writing from dialogue to POV. You will write your own YA fiction (all genres and topics welcome, from romance to contemporary to sci-fi/fantasy to horror) and learn to critique the work of fellow writers. Along the way, we will discuss the writing process from inspiration to publication as well as contemporary conversations in YA writing such as book banning and representation/diversity among authors and characters. Suitable for experienced and beginner writers. 

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 375: Digital Storytelling 

Ahern, MWF 3:00-3:50 

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 395: Revising and Editing 

Raw, TTh 10:05-11:20 

"Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what it is one is saying." —John Updike. In this class, we will examine theories and practices of revision and editing by taking a single piece of writing through a substantial revision. Acting as both author and editor, 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. 

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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 learn 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 668: Language Development in Adolescence  

Bender, W 4:20-6:50  

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 learn and to teach.  Our study will include an exploration of the syntax of mainstream American English to develop rhetorical power; an analysis of African American English as it’s deployed in August Wilson’s play, Fences; and a consideration of the grammars of poetry.  Special attention will be given to how grammar lessons can be meaningfully incorporated into writing instruction. The course will culminate in the construction of original lesson sequences that center issues of social justice in their design.    

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