Fall 2021 Guidance/COVID-19 Information

Spring Course Descriptions

English Courses

Detailed Course Descriptions for Selected Courses

Adolescence EducationLiteratureProfessional 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


AED 668: Language Development in Adolescence (Web) 

Bender,     T 4:20-6:50 

Understanding the grammar of a language is crucial to a full 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 how grammar instruction can be meaningfully incorporated into the writing process. 

Literature Courses

ENG208/CIN208: Introduction to Film Analysis  (Web)

Colella,   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 252: Introduction to Multicultural Literature (Web) 

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

What does it mean to read literature in the age of Black Lives Matter? What is the relationship between literature and social change? In this course, we will explore these questions through works of literature written by contemporary authors of color. In particular, we will consider how 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 moments, and literary and social movements, and as tools for making sense of the world. In addition, we will experiment with the artistic strategies we encounter by producing our own critical and creative texts. 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. [Introduction to prose, poetry and drama that reflects the diverse ethnic, cultural and social worlds of North America and the Caribbean today. Fulfills: GE 4, GE 11; LASR; PRES.] 


ENG 254: Intro to American Working-Class Literature             ( WEB )

Lessig             TR 10:05-11:20                                             [fulfills GE 11] 

Writing in 1929, novelist and editor Mike Gold observed that “The America of the Working class is practically undiscovered. It is like a lost continent.” In this course students will explore the “lost continent” of the American working class. This course will cover a broad historical sample of American literature and attend to issues of work, class, class conflict, and literary representation.  Students will reflect on how class informs their own social experience and reading practices while examining how historical formations of class—especially as inflected by race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality—have found expression in various works of American literature and other forms of expressive culture. 

English 260: The Literature of Sports 

Dr. A.R. Anderson M-W-F 3:00-3:50  (in-person)

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 257: Introduction to Irish Literature   (Web) 

T/Th 1:15-2:30 

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 fact, our new president elect is Irish-American. 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. However, you certainly don’t have to be Irish to join the course and we will be looking into our family histories no matter our origins. We’ll read fiction and non-fiction, poetry and true crime and explore the world of myth and magic. We’ll also view some contemporary Irish films and recent Irish television productions. 

ENG 290: Introduction to Literary Study (in-person class)

Radus, MWF 9:10–10:00, 221 Brockway Hall 

What is literature? How do we study it? How do we write about books 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 and one formal paper, to be completed in stages and revised extensively in consultation with the instructor and classmates. 

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ENG 325: American Literature Before 1900   (in-person class)

Radus, MWF 10:20–11:10, 221 Brockway Hall 

In this course, we’ll 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 326: American Literature Since 1900                      ( WEB )

Lessig             TR 11:40-12:55 

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. 

ENG 355: Major Figures in British Literature to 1780 (Web)

Harbin,   T/R 10:05-11:20 

From medieval tales of chivalry and the Knights of the Round Table to the impertinent comedies of Restoration drama in the eighteenth century, British literature was not just shaped by its culture but shaped it as well.  In this course, we will focus on developing an understanding of British literature in its social and historical context.  In this study, we will examine issues of gender, identity, politics, and religion and how these issues are woven into British literature before the 19th century. 

ENG 356: Major Figures in British Literature: 1780-Present (Web)

Bender,     T/R 1:15-2:30  

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 experimentation of Zadie Smith, receives particular emphasis. 

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ENG 407: The Study of English (WI) (Web)

Davies, T/TH 1:15-2:30  

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 430: Reading Race in Faulkner and Wright                 WEB 

Lessig              TR 2:50-4:05  

This course will examine a central episode in the history of American racecraft through reading the fictions of William Faulkner and Richard Wright. Generally considered two of the United States’ greatest novelists of the first half of the twentieth century, both writers were born in Jim Crow Mississippi and both published their finest work during the Great Depression, a period that witnessed a “prerevolution” in American racial relations fueled by the Great Migration and the collapse of the Southern plantation social order. We will study their engagements with America’s long history of racialization and racial exploitation, and trace their attempts to imagine some way out of America’s racial dilemma. Assigned readings will likely include Light in August, Uncle Tom’s Children, Native Son, Go Down, Moses, and 12 Million Black Voices. 

ENG 433: Shakespeare (Web)

Harbin,      T/11:40-12:55 

Shakespeare died more than 400 years ago, yet he is still the most performed playwright, has influenced innumerable modern authors, has been translated into at least 80 languages, and has brought us movies such as He’s the ManWest Side Story, and 10 Things I Hate about You.   You probably often quote him without knowing it.   In this course, we will be considering Shakespeare as a production of his own time and how his work has been reproduced in ours.  To this end, we will examine some of Shakespeare’s plays within their historical context. The plays will include: Much Ado about Nothing, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and The Taming of the Shrew.  We will consider questions such as: What were some of the major social concerns of Elizabethan England? How do these plays engage with these concerns?  We will be looking at not only the plays themselves, but also other contemporary documents.  Because drama should be seen, we will be reading and watching productions of the plays and will do a bit of performance as well.  Perhaps, just for fun, we’ll consider why we might go to hear Shakespeare today. 

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ENG 529: Digital Divides: Race, Class, and Gender in the Age of the Internet (Web)

Savonick, M 4:20-6:50 

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, privacy, education technologies, algorithms, and other topics selected by students. Rather than traditional papers, assignments will likely include blogging, an analysis of digital tools and projects, a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, and a creative final project. Note: this course emphasizes collaboration, experimentation, and student-centered learning; students are expected to help shape the content, methods, and means by which their learning will be assessed. It is also perfect for beginners; no advanced knowledge of digital technologies is necessary. 


ENG 619: Literature for Adolescence (Web)

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. 

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Professional Writing 

PWR 210: Digital Writing with Data     (Web)                          

Ahern, MW 3:00-4:15 & lab M 1:50-2:40 

In this course we will confront 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 on topics in science and technology. Throughout we will question our position in a so-called “digital age” as researchers, scholars, and citizens communicating to various publics. 


PWR 212: Writing Fiction (Web)

Ahern, MWF 10:20-11:10am  

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 213: Writing Poetry   (Web)

Bartlett   TR 10:05-11:20am and 11:40am-12:55pm 

“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” -Rita Dove 

This writing workshop is an introduction to the craft of writing poetry. You will spend most of your time writing your own poems and reading poems and craft essays by contemporary writers. Throughout this course, we will be concerned with exploring and discovering personal voice and style, not with traditional form and meter. 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 poems and a reflection on your own craft. 

PWR 213: Writing Poetry     (WEB) 

Hernandez, TR 2:50-4:05 pm 

The poems we write together in this course are an exploration of human consciousness, a core sample drawn from an otherwise incomprehensible life. In this course we will share our fears with each other, step off the side of the familiar world, and bear witness to the void. We will write 40 poems together, waiting with each one for the moment when the surface breaks and we collapse into the sanctum of ourselves. There is a cathedral buried in every heart, traversing eons in its exile from the light—but where there is no light, flesh and fluid, like flints in a tinder box, conjure it, without disturbing the darkness. Although we begin the course reading recently published poetry, after a few weeks, everything we read will be our own writing, and our writing will chronicle our lives. May your pen be the hammer that breaks the pate of the sky, releasing the rain from its Edenic cask. 

PWR 295: Intro to Professional Writing  (Web)

Raw, MWF: 12:40-1:30 

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. Since professional writing spans creative writing, technical writing, business writing, publishing, and writing in various professions, students may explore a range of genres. Additionally, students will practice writing for different venues, such as workshops, publication, or online environments that increase the visibility and readership of their work. “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 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. 

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PWR 315:  Writing Creative Non-Fiction (Web)

Neville, TR: 11:40-12:55 

Writing creative non-fiction means dedicating oneself to the truth of one’s experience.  Writers employ literary devices in order to relate true stories.  Sub-genres include the personal essay, memoir, experimental autobiography, cultural critique and lyric essay. Creative non-fiction is a hybrid form that can include poetry and prose, visual and digital texts. In this class we will use writing as a tool to both discover and express what is most urgent and real to each of us. Because creative non-fiction reflects upon a shared reality, we will spend a lot of time in workshop, relating to and learning from each other.  We will also utilize writing sparks on a regular basis and introduce new writing forms and techniques.  The emphasis will be on individual creativity and discovery.  Students will work through the semester to compile a portfolio of polished writing projects that reflect their personal journeys. 

PWR 324: Grantwriting  (In-person class)

Dunbar, MWF, 3:00-3:50 

 PWR 324 introduces students to a growing, dynamic, and interesting field with myriad applications in the real world. 

Study and practice topics for PWR 324 writers include 

  •      Surveying and reporting on different fields that value grantwriting 
  •     Researching and trying-on different grantwriting hats 
  •      Talking with experts in the field about relationship building and practicing the experts’ tips 
  •       Increasing our personal ‘coachability’ as writers 
  •      Becoming more proficient ‘line tamers’: noticing and correcting errors in our own grammar and syntax 
  •      Increasing to significant degree our sensitivity to tone and reception in professional emails, with emphasis on email 
  •      Transforming ourselves into more alert, forward-thinking, agile writers  

Interested writers please take note: this course uses a co-constructed syllabus. A co-constructed syllabus is a ‘live’--real-time, changeable, fluid--learning plan that evolves according to student input at pre-set critical learning junctures. 

Why a co-constructed syllabus? 

In a Forbes Non-Profit Council post of May 29, 2018, [1]  Dr. Gloria Horsley, president of the widely acclaimed not-for-profit group Open to Hope, emphasizes one trait she looks for in grantwriters: 

  1. Initiative-Driven

I look for the initiative they take because I want to be able to work with a grant writer who speaks up and provides specific recommendations that I may not have realized would help us. I like when they make suggestions or are not afraid to say there should be a different approach. - Gloria HorsleyOpen to Hope  

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesnonprofitcouncil/2018/05/29/nine-traits-of-effective-grant-writers-who-write-great-proposals/#2ad498f25d8b 

PWR 330: Rhetoric in the Public Sphere (Web)

Raw, MWF 3:00-3:50 

We are in a time of increasing social justice awareness and engagement, and social media has enabled this activism 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 online. We will consider the intersections between rhetorical theory, activism, online platforms, and digital culture. 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, from local to national engagements and spanning social justice to fan campaigns. You will be asked to engage with historical and contemporary examples of activism, and our course will be guided both by your own interests and by political, social, and cultural events occurring as the class progresses. 


PWR 340:  Writing Sports Literature (Web)
Emerson:  T/TH 10:05 - 11:20 A.M. 

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.    
And of course, students get hands-on guidance in creating their own sports literature articles, from inception to shaping to final copy.   While this course is online, students are welcome, in fact, encouraged, to take advantage of office hours to work together in person on their writing.   
3 credits, Writing Intensive 

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PWR 429: Rhetoric of Video Games (Web)

Raw, MWF 11:30-12:20

Video games are a unique form of storytelling that combines the audio-visual capacities of movies and TV with interactivity that turns audiences into co-producers of the texts. In this class, we will consider the rhetorics of video games as both storytelling genres and platforms for cultural commentary. We will examine how video games construct narratives, how the players’ interactions form part of the game’s rhetorical foundation, how platform and genre impact game design, how perceptions (and critiques) of video games have evolved through their history, how video games are critiqued, and how video games can serve as social commentary. This class will include both critical and creative work, and will be guided by your interests and experience. Experience with video games is not required, and you do not need to own gaming consoles to complete course work. 


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