Spring Course Descriptions

English Courses

Detailed Course Descriptions for Selected Courses

Adolescence Education Literature Professional Writing
200 Level Courses 200 Level Courses 200 Level Courses
300 Level Courses 300 Level Courses 300 Level Courses
400 Level Courses 400 Level Courses 400 Level Courses
500/600 Level Courses 500/600 Level Courses


ENG 619: Literature for Adolescence 

Bender, Thursday 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. 

Literature Courses


ENG 202: Introduction to Fiction (Detective Fiction), Section 002

Droge, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:40 pm – 1:30 pm


Do you like to get lost in a mystery plot? Will a good whodunit keep you on the edge of your seat? Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew? Then grab your magnifying glass, because this is the class for you! Through the theme of detective stories, this general education course will provide an introduction to reading and analyzing fiction, including narrative forms such as the short story, the novella, and the novel. The course will be discussion-based, prioritizing students’ own ideas and responses. Together, we will follow clues and crime from early instances of the detective genre in nineteenth-century Britain to current-day renditions. Along the way, we will pay close attention to how these stories relate to their historical contexts. What might fictional narratives help us to understand about the real societies that write and read them?


ENG 203: Poetry of Diverse Relationships

Lindor Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:10-10:00AM


Love is messy. In fact, relationships of any kind (i.e. familial, social, spiritual etc.) get messy because conflicts arise, miscommunications occur, confusion and doubts surface that need to be addressed. In early modernity, poets have extensively written about the various types of connections humans make. This course will explore the intricacies of human relationships through the work of poets such as Sir Philip Sidney, Shakespeare and John Donne. Regardless of your relationship to poetry––either as an enthusiastic fanatic or a weary novice––this course will empower you to do two things: 1) engage in the practice of rhetorical analysis 2) help you revisit and improve your writing 3) critically engage with the range of themes and questions raised by these poets 4) enrich your future encounters with poetry by giving you critical tools you can use to understand form, meter, sound and poetic movements. Students can anticipate a rich discussion-based course.


ENG 208: Horror Film (Honors)

Bradway, Tuesday, Thursday 1:15-2:30


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 U.S. and beyond. At the end of the course, you will create and screen your own original horror film

ENG/CIN 208: Introduction to Film Analysis (philosophies of comedy)

Neville; Tuesday, Thursday 10:05 – 11:20


ENG 208 will focus on careful analysis of the formal and social contexts of film. Students will learn the vocabulary of film studies in order to articulate aesthetic and critical responses, and make interpretive claims. This session, we will explore a range of films within the broad genre of comedy. We will investigate theories of comedy; in essence why do we laugh? Who laughs? At what or whom? And, regarding film comedy as a cultural product, we will also investigate the way comedies perform a range of social roles; from providing escapes from boredom or anxiety, to establishing or reinforcing social norms to provoking revolt. In other words, comedy is serious business!


ENG/AAS 251 Introduction to African American Literature

Savonick, Tuesday, Thursday, 11:40-12:55


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.


English 260: The Literature of Sports

Anderson, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 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 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 our writing intensive course, we will experience the fiction, poetry, memoirs, and creative non-fiction that explore the joy and sorrow of great sports literature.  How it gives us the ethical, emotional, social, and political realities that define our apparently dominant sports culture.  

ENG 290: Introduction to Literary Study

Radus, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 3:00-3:50


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 two papers. (Introduction to the fundamentals of literary study with emphasis on techniques for reading closely and contextually and for constructing persuasive interpretive arguments. Fulfills: GE 7, LASR, WRIT.)

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ENG 325: American Literature Before 1900

Radus, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:20-11:10


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. Readings may include Rowlandson's Narrative (1682), Franklin's Autobiography (1793), Foster's The Coquette (1797), Apess's A Son of the Forest (1829), Douglass's Narrative (1845), Hawthorne’s short fiction, 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. [Representative works of major writers of the Puritan Age, the Age of Reason, the Romantic Age, and the Age of Realism and Regionalism. Fulfills: LASR.]


ENG 326: American Lit from 1900 - present

Bradway, Tuesday, Thursday 11:40-12:55


This course will take you on a journey through American literature from the early twentieth century right up to the contemporary moment. We'll move from modernism to postmodernism and touch on a wide range of genres, including novels, poetry, essays, and comics. In the process, we'll ask how American literature represents and responds to key social and political moments in the history of the nation, such as the World War's, the depression, the nuclear age, civil rights, 9/11, and the digital revolution. This is a reading-intensive class, and it's ideal for students that are eager to encounter new, unique, and even strange kinds of writing every week.


ENG 355: Imagined Conversations

Lindor Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30AM-12:20PM


“Communication is key” is the contemporary aphorism we use to describe the importance of verbal engagement between individuals. Effective communication ensures that individual expectations are met, fears are adequately addressed, and sentiments are properly processed to sustain the longevity of a variety of human relationships. What happens when writers decide to communicate to imagined characters, inanimate objects, or a common concept such as death? In this course, we will examine how writers from the medieval through the 18th century engaged in imagined conversations to communicate the complexities of the human experience. Students can anticipate a rich discussion-based course with interactive collaborative activities.


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

Droge, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:10-10:00 am


This survey course introduces students to major movements in British literature and culture from 1780 to the present, including the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods. We will pay close attention to the historical contexts of the literary works and authors that we study, exploring such themes as the representation of the natural world, the social position of women, the development of industrial technologies, and the impacts of British imperialism. We will also consider a wide variety of genres, ranging across poems, essays, fiction, and even works of art. The course will be discussion-based, prioritizing students’ own ideas and responses. In addition to learning about the history of British literature, we will also ask how and why this history matters to us now.


ENG 380 Literary and Cultural Theory

Savonick, Tuesday, Thursday, 10:05-11:20


How do literary and cultural texts shape our understanding of the world? What are the different ways we can read and interpret them? This course introduces students to different theoretical and interpretive paradigms such as New Criticism, deconstruction, Marxism, feminist criticism, postcolonial studies, queer theory, disability studies, and ecocriticism. We will bring these insights to bear on our readings of a wide range of texts: from the poems, plays, and novels that constitute what we typically call literature to the song lyrics, television shows, memes, movies, and advertisements that fill our everyday lives. Throughout, we will explore foundational questions related to language, power, and representation. Note: this course emphasizes experimentation, creativity, collaboration, and student-centered learning.

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ENG 417: American Literature, 1820–1865

Radus, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30-12:20


This course is an intensive seminar on the literature of the United States from 1820 to 1865. We will read widely across the period, with particular but not exclusive attention to representative work from “major” figures like Davis, Dickinson, Emerson, Hawthorne, Jacobs, Lincoln, Melville, Poe, Thoreau, and Whitman. Our discussion-based seminar will be supplemented by two papers, two exams, and other opportunities for informal engagement with assigned texts. [Studies in American literature and culture of the Romantic age. Fulfills: LASR.]


ENG 429 Digital Divides: Race, Class, and Gender in the Age of the Internet

Savonick, Tuesday, Thursday, 2:50-4:05


Is Google racist? Is Wikipedia sexist? In this course, we will critically reflect on the digital tools and platforms that mediate so much of our daily lives. More specifically, we will explore how digital technologies can reproduce and challenge conditions of racial, class, and gender inequality. Together, we will consider the ethics and politics of topics such as digital redlining, surveillance, artificial intelligence, privacy, education technologies, algorithms, and other topics selected by students. Students will also be introduced to the growing field known as digital humanities. Note: this course emphasizes collaborative, project-based, and student-centered learning: students are expected to help shape the content, methods, and means by which their learning is assessed. Assignments will include blogging and a group project, in which students will collaborate to make a public contribution to knowledge. This course is perfect for beginners; no advanced knowledge of digital technologies is necessary.


ENG 433: Incarnate Difference

Lindor Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:40-1:30PM


The term we use to describe a fixed, oversimplified representation of a particular social group is a “stereotype.” These misrepresentations regularly evacuate persons of their humanity. In this course, we will examine Shakespeare’s representation of characters from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and gendered identities to imagine England’s resistance, mediation, and collusion with persons from minoritized groups. In this course, students can anticipate engaging in lively class discussions and expand their ideas on the topic of difference in Shakespearean works via writing assignments.  

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ENG 510: Critical Methods in English

Droge, Wednesday 4:20-6:50 pm


In this course, students will be introduced to the skills and methods needed to succeed in graduate-level study in English. Students will identify and participate in critical conversations in the field of English Studies. They will also practice a range of research methods and explore their intellectual and professional goals.



ENG 529: Queer Kinship

Bradway, Tuesday 4:20-6:50


This course will examine the representation of kinship—family, reproduction, ancestry, lineage, and descent—in contemporary queer and trans literature and culture. It will also introduce students to queer and trans theory through their complex critiques of heteronormative, nuclear, and Oedipal familial structures. Our goal will be to reflect on the ways that kinship operates as a horizon of violence and creativity for gender and sexual dissidents. Students will encounter a wide range of texts in search of queerer plots of intimate and social belonging.

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Professional Writing 

PWR 210: Digital Writing with Data 

Ahern, Monday, Wednesday 3:00-4:15pm with M lab 1:50-2:40pm 


In this course we will create digital texts that involve data and communicate research findings from science, technology, and healthcare contexts to the general public. 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. Always we will seek to understand how our work with data and digital environments reshapes our notions of accessibility, inclusion, and justice. 


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PWR 393: Technical Writing

Davies, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30-12:20


Technical writers solve problems. Their job is to make complex, important, and sometimes life-saving information accessible to a diverse range of audiences. You’ll see their work across all kinds of industries, including health care, finance, engineering, education, and public policy. Instructions for using an AED? A technical writer wrote that. A description of how to apply for Social Security Disability benefits? Yep, that was composed by a technical writer.


In this class, students will work individually and in teams on a variety of common technical writing genres, including instructions, definitions, descriptions, and reports. Students in this class will also collaborate closely with students in ECO 365 (Community Innovation Lab) to design projects that meet the needs of local Cortland non-profits, businesses, and community members. Take PWR 393! Be a problem solver!

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