Spring Course Descriptions

English Courses

Detailed Course Descriptions for Selected Courses

LiteratureProfessional Writing
200 Level Courses 200 Level Courses
300 Level Courses 400 Level Courses
400 Level Courses
500/600 Level Courses

Literature Courses

ENG 203: Introduction to Poetry 

Stone TR 11:40 – 12:55 and 1:15 – 2:30 

What makes language “poetic”? How does a metaphor work differently from a simile in a poem? How does history make its way into poetry? These are some of the questions we will address in ENG 203. Ezra Pound, an early 20th century American poet, described poetry as “language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.”  The purpose of this course is to examine and evaluate the various techniques poetic writers have employed to create such powerful language.  

ENG 208: Intro to Film Analysis 

Leffel Section 003: TR 11:40-12:55 pm in TBD 

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: Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Jordan Peele, Alfred Hitchcock, and Steven Spielberg. 


ENG 251 Introduction to African American Literature 

Savonick MWF 9:10-10:00 / 10:20-11:10 

What does it mean to read literature in the age of Black Lives Matter? How have African American writers critiqued the status quo and imagined more just, equitable, and pleasurable worlds? What is the relationship between literature and social change? In this course, we will explore these and other questions through works of African American literature. In particular, we will consider the ways resources are unevenly distributed along embodied axes of race, class, gender, and sexuality and the roles that language, literature, and culture play in producing and altering these conditions. Students will learn to closely read literary texts in relation to different genres, historical contexts (slavery, Reconstruction, the Great Migration, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements), and literary movements such as the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement. Note: This course emphasizes experimentation, creativity, collaboration, and student-centered learning. Thinking alongside poet and activist Audre Lorde, we will work together to “envision what has not been and…make the reality and pursuit of that vision irresistible.” 


English 256: Introduction to American Indian Literature 

Radus MWF 12:40PM-1:30PM 

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, informal presentations, and creative exercises. 


ENG 258: Irish Women Writers  

Stearns TR 2:50-4:05            Fulfills:  GE 7; LASR. (3cr. Hr.) 

Irish women writers have historically been marginalized and excluded from the literary canon. This class seeks to historicize and respond to these concerns by foregrounding Irish women writers and arguing for a “tradition” of women’s writing. Focusing primarily on work from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, we will read novels, drama, poetry, memoir and short stories including Irish women’s fiction for young adults, and ask questions about aesthetics, historical context, gender, sexuality, race, class, and religion.  


English 260: The Literature of Sports 

Dr. A.R. Anderson M-W-F 3:00-3:50 


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 290: Introduction to Literary Study  

Lessig TR 2:50-4:05 

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 302: Writing about Literature 

Bradway TR 1:15-2:30pm, 2:50-4:05pm 

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 theory, and it will give you opportunities to connect theory to literature, popular culture, and the contemporary social world, particularly education and politics. 


English 325: American Literature Before 1900 

Radus MWF 10:20AM-11:10AM 

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

ENG 326: American Literature Since 1900  

Lessig TR 10:05-11:20 

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 355: Survey of British Lit. to 1780  

Leffel Section 001: TR 1:15-2:20 in Old Main G-24 

A critical survey of early British Literature, focusing on major genres, authors, literary periods /movements, and critical/theoretical approaches.  Authors to be studied include John Milton, Edmund Spenser, Ben Jonson, Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, Rochester, Aphra Behn, Jonathan Swift, Eliza Haywood, Maria Edgeworth and Jane Austen.  

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 419: Literature of the Great Depression  

Lessig TR 11:40-12:55 

The economic and social calamity brought about,by the Great Depression challenged dominant American ideas of historical progress, individual agency, liberal democracy, and free market capitalism. This course will look at how American literature registered and responded to these historical crises in a variety of prose genres including photo documentary, hard-boiled crime stories, modernist novels, and proletarian fiction. 


ENG 430 Audre Lorde 

Savonick MWF 12:40-1:30 

This course explores the art and activism of Audre Lorde, a self-proclaimed “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” Throughout the late twentieth century, Lorde was a prominent cultural critic who analyzed the intersections of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. Her work emerged from and inspired the Women’s Movement, the Black Power Movements, and the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Famously, she insisted that art (and poetry in particular) is not a “luxury” but a means of survival for women, people of color, people who are gay, lesbian, and queer, and people from other marginalized groups. In this course, we will analyze Lorde’s poems, essays in Sister Outsider, hybrid “biomythology Zami, reflections on illness in The Cancer Journals, and teaching materials, as well as her impact on contemporary writers and activists. Students will lead class discussions and develop their own critical and creative research projects either about or inspired by Lorde’s work. Together we will work, in Lorde’s words, to “envision what has not been and…make the reality and pursuit of that vision irresistible.” 


ENG 433: Shakespeare 

Leffel TR 2:50-4:05 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, Hamlet, 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.  


English 481: Genre Studies: Genres of American Indian Literature 

Radus MWF 9:10AM-10:00AM 

Though the traditional genres of literature—prose, poetry, drama—may seem somewhat natural to us as readers, in fact there’s nothing inevitable or universal about them. The expectations that we hold about literature—how long a novel should be, how a poem should look, how a play is performed—are contingent on a complex set of cultural and historical factors. In this course, we will explore how Indigenous authors disrupt our genre expectations—how, for instance, a novel written by an Indigenous author might not look, sound, or act quite like the novel that we expect. We will place particular emphasis on how these generic disruptions align Indigenous literatures with aspects of Indigenous cultures—and thus serve as trenchant critiques of historical injustices and the existing social order. Our seminar-style classes will be supplemented by short papers, creative exercises, and opportunities for students to lead in-class discussions. 

ENG 619: Literature for Adolescence 

Bender Th 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. 

Back to Top

Professional Writing Courses

PWR 210: Writing in the Digital Age                                         

Ahern MWF 11:30-12:20 & lab W 12:40-1:30 


What is “writing in the digital age?” In this course we will confront the large questions of what it means to read, write, and research with/among/against many possible digital environments. Some of our exploration will focus on the “new” kinds of research and writing made possible through digital tools and platforms, and some of our exploration will involve planning, design, evaluating data, and the creation of research-based webtexts. Throughout we will question our position in a so-called “digital age” as researchers, scholars, and citizens of our various worlds.  


PWR 212: Writing Fiction    

Bartlett   TR 11:40am-12:55pm 

What’s in a story? This writing workshop is an introduction to the craft writing short fiction. You will spend most of your time writing your own short stories and reading stories and craft essays 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 stories and a reflection on your own craft. 


PWR 295: Intro to Professional Writing 

Ahern MWF 3:00-3:50pm 

"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 a number of professional genres such as project narratives, field guides, and presentations. We will also interrogate the concept of "genre" itself, information architecture, and writing for an immediate (and sometimes public) audience.  


PWR 340: Writing Sports Literature (Hybrid:  in-class and online delivery) 
Emerson T/Th  10:05-11:20 

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 examines 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.  


PWR 399: Rhetoric 

Franke T/Th 10:05-11:20 

“Rhetoric” studies the deliberate and ethical use of language that allows you to engage with others, making connections and creating change — in a discussion, a democracy, a trial, or even a career.  It’s never just an accident.  You can use it to earn people’s trust, or wreck the trust they put in you; you can use it to clarify, or to confuse everyone; to make friends, and to destroy that friendship; to be generous, and to be selfish.  But because every situation is different, how can you know what to say (or write)?  But how do we tell if someone’s using good rhetoric or bad? Do you know how to use rhetoric to figure out (and even change) the direction of an argument or discussion? Rhetoric is skill with a long history that will help you get traction within a specific community of discourse (as in a class, business, family or office).  We will read articles about rhetoric and its history as well as use rhetorical analysis in all the papers.  We’ll look at rhetoric in Monty Python, The Office, ads, magazines, and professional discourse.  Three major papers, several shorter ones, co-leading certain lessons.  The final paper lays out the difference between good rhetoric and bad as it is used by a community.  

PWR 398:  Business Writing 

Dunbar MWF 10:20-11:10 

Dear Whom I might be OR should be writing to: 

I want to inform you herewith henceforth and for real that your missive dated of the week prior to the day before of the one in which I was writing this is no longer applicable. Which means no.  

In short, yours truly is not able forthwith to effect with reasonable time frame efficiency your request dated to the matter in that manner. So, maybe. 

We feel that in order to remain within and beyond our robust mission-drive statement of rigor,  you must communicate with us in negotiable terms about the pre- and post-minutiae of the  concluding remarks of the last organizational meeting, attached herein and bcc’d to everyone too.  


Yours truly,  

Cheers etc. 


PWR 409: The Evolution of Writing 

Franke T/Th 11:40 

We think of technologies as modern, but cave paintings used them in the form of pigment and stone tools. Those technologies enabled public displays of now-lost knowledge and stories. What sort of knowledge and stories, connections and power relations would an alphabet create, where one can see spoken language?  Or a printing press — or iPhone?  In this historical course we study the challenges emerging writing technologies pose as they “rewire” cultures, rapidly creating new forms of knowledge, communities and identities.  Midterm, short papers, co-leading certain lessons, final paper.  The final paper explores and evaluates the way a new technology is “rewiring” a community and the ways it makes knowledge. 


PWR 412: Advanced Creative Writing  

Bartlett TR 10:05-11:20am 

PWR 412 is an advanced course in creative writing, designed to help students become better acquainted to craft, technique, and process. This is not an introductory course or survey of creative writing. You should come into this class already familiar with basic elements of craft and process as well as the standards of a writing workshop. We will dive into our exploration by reading single author collections of poetry and prose, and you will, over the course of the semester, write and compile your own small collections – chapbooks – of your own work. A collection is not a random compilation of works; a collection is purposely tied together. Throughout this course, we will consider such ties, and how and why they exist within, between, and beyond our poetry and prose collections. While we will read and discuss both fiction and poetry, you will choose a genre as your main writing focus. 


Back to Top