English Department Summer and Fall 2015 Courses

                                                      Summer 2015

ENGL 216: African and Caribbean Short Stories, C, LT

Prof. Barbara Temple-Thurston

M T W R 8:30 – 11:20

ENG 217: Race and Reparation in Contemporary Multiethnic American Literature

Prof. Jenny James

M T W R 11:30 – 14:20

How does literature reconstruct and re-member American histories of violence and discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities?  How do shifting conceptions of race, gender, sexuality and nation impact our understanding and political response to these past injustices?  Who are the inheritors of this history of discrimination and what is the responsibility we all bear to the ghosts and remnants of our nation’s fragmented past?  What is the role of literature in struggles of collective reparation for historical events such as slavery, segregation, or internment?  In this course we’ll read contemporary fiction, drama and poetry within the Multiethnic American literary canon in order to explore the roles that history and memory have played in imagining racial identity, collectivity and interracial solidarity in America.  In particular, we will explore the work of such authors as Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Anna Deveare Smith, Susan Choi, Karen Tei Yamashita and Ruth Ozeki.

Over the course of the term, we will explore how Multiethnic American literature sets out difficult questions about racial identity, personal and collective memory, and how one bears witness to this complex and often traumatic history in the service of social justice in the present.  You will be asked to enter into an earnest, open, and sometimes difficult, set of conversations about race and reparations within and outside the classroom with faculty and peers – using assigned authors and texts as guides.  Perhaps the most important task before us this term is to cultivate an engaged dialogue about “the hard work that remains to be done,” as James Baldwin might describe it, and how literature and culture can serve us as fruitful guides.


                                                       Fall 2015 

FYEP 101-05 and 18: Creativity, Constraint and the Culture of Everyday Life

 Prof. Scott Rogers

101-05: T/R 1:45-3:30PM

101-18: T/R 3:40-5:25PM

This section of Writing 101 will focus on the theme of “creativity.” While we often champion “the creative arts” in American culture, we typically have in mind a very traditional and unassailable notion of what “art” or “creativity” can mean (and for whom). Art—like so many things—is difficult to define, but “we know it when we see it.” But how have the terms for this idea become fixed? Who decides what counts and what does not?

In this class, we will attempt to undermine common assumptions about art as something reserved for the artistic and creativity as a characteristic of the creative by looking at how both art and creativity are felt and experienced in everyday life. We will be particularly focused on how individuals and groups use creativity and the arts to respond to a variety of social, political, and economic circumstances in global and local contexts. Our readings will help us develop strategies for critically understanding artistic expression (in textual, visual, embodied, and spatial forms) and for seeking out the artfulness in everyday expression. Course assignments will include critical and rhetorical analysis, creative journaling, digital storytelling, and community engagement. There will be a required Parkland-focused community engagement assignment in this course.

This is a writing intensive course meant to provide students with skills necessary for effective communication in the university and in social and professional contexts outside of the academy. As such, students enrolled in the course should expect to do a great deal of writing and revision. Additionally, the course will emphasize PLU Integrated Learning Outcomes (ILOs) related to critical reflection, expression and communication, and the valuing of other cultures and perspectives.

FYEP101-07: Perspectives on Violence and Peace

Prof. Callista Brown

TR: 9:55-11:40AM

How do we define “violence? ” How does violence relate to injustice? After a violent event, how can we restore peace? Can we take preventative action to keep violence from recurring? Can we choose non-violence? Is peace just the absence of violence or something beyond both violence and non-violence?

Using writing as a form of inquiry and reading as an opportunity to enter a conversation, we will examine 1) high-risk mountaineering, the theme of this year’s Common Reading text; 2) cancer and environmental carcinogens; 3) mass incarceration; 4) the everyday violence that seeps into families, schools, and peer relationships; and 5) what it means to be a peace-keeper. We will discuss hidden forms of violence such as structural violence and micro-aggressions, and we will reflect on peace as a goal and as a practice. Readings will include personal memoir, historical and scientific accounts, scholarly articles, and literary journalism. Students will write position papers, book reviews, and reflective essays. Throughout the semester we will study the craft of writing as we address genre, structure, reader expectations, and citation conventions for college-level prose.

FYEP101-08: Water, Culture, Justice.

Prof. Jenny James

TR: 1:45-3:30PM

This course explores how we experience, understand and speak about water and the importance of place in our everyday life. Today, water is a central concern in our current environmental crisis; people across the globe are working to address the increasingly fragile state of our earth’s fresh water resources. In this course we’ll work together to better understand the political and ethical dimensions of this ecological crisis, considering the ways power, privilege and belief shape humans’ relationships to water and equitable management of our water resources. Using an environmental justice lens in our reading and writing, we will explore how race, gender, class, sexuality and religion impact environmental preservation. In turn, we’ll analyze water not simply as a resource for human use, but as a complex ecosystem necessary for the survival of all beings.

As this course is charged with preparing students to learn the generic conventions and argumentative skills necessary for successful undergraduate writing, throughout the term we will read scholarly sources about water and work to compose critical and reflective essays that respond to these intellectual conversations and debates. Our interdisciplinary work will also include an off-campus field component in an effort to actively engage with our local Puget Sound waterways. This course would be a great choice for any student interested in majoring in Environmental Studies or Women’s and Gender Studies, but is open to all!

FYEP 101-09: Wonder, Curiosity, Praxis

Prof. Nathalie op de Beeck

Meeting time: MWF 11:15-12:20

Admin 211B

Environmental activist and marine biologist Rachel Carson, author of Under the Sea-Wind and Silent Spring, wrote that a deep and abiding sense of wonder informed her scholarly and conservationist pursuits. By attending to the places, the things, and the ideas that sparked her vivid sense of wonder, Carson launched her marine research and put her findings and theories into active practice. She most famously combated the use of pesticides that poisoned birds, insects, and fish, and her efforts led to the restoration of damaged ecosystems. Carson combined rigorous academic study with an ability to communicate her passions to a public audience, and—more that sixty years ago—she alerted us to the lasting need for environmental care. Today, we must heed and maintain Carson’s urgent message, as individuals and as collective groups, and we can develop strategies by thinking about Carson’s wonder, curiosity, and praxis. In this FYE writing course, we will:

  • read work by and about Carson, as well as essays, prose, and poetry concerning meaningful environmental action;
  • investigate how people, among them philosophers and scientists and artists, define and benefit from wonder, curiosity, and praxis;
  • learn how researchers are studying the experience of “awe” or wonder as a sensation that motivates action and care;
  • talk with PLU students, faculty, and staff engaged with diversity, justice, and sustainability concerns;
  • identify our personal sources of wonder;
  • cultivate our academic and critical curiosity;
  • practice asking rigorous questions as foundations for research;
  • learn database skills, information-gathering methods, and writing approaches that will benefit us in our disciplines;
  • and develop our future plans for praxis as politically and socially engaged scholars.


FYEP 101-10: The US-Mexico Borderlands

Prof. Wendy Call

TR 15:40-17:25

Admin 211A

The US-Mexico border is the longest frontier between a wealthy and poor nation. It’s crossings (both formal and informal) are the world’s busiest. Communities north and south of the border are united by language, culture, music, and literature, yet divided by nationality, economy, policy, and police force. Millions of people cross the border each year and hundreds die trying. What is to be done about this state of affairs? How does border policy affect our lives? We will immerse ourselves in the literature (journalism, essays, short stories, poetry, and song) of the US-Mexico borderlands, explore the borders that surround each of us, and – most of all – write: journal entries, analysis, personal essay, and a research paper.

FYEP 101: Banned Books

Prof. Lisa Marcus

TR: 1:45-3:30pm

“[I]t’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” ― Judy Blume

What do Captain Underpants, Fifty Shades of Grey, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian have in common?  These books are united in the top of the 2013 list of frequently banned books.  Whether they are perceived as too racy or too raced, too exciting or too inciting, these books provoke some communities to outrage and censorship.  This seminar will explore the ethical/moral/religious/ ideological motivations that lead communities to suppress books.  You’ll write about your own reading transgressions and research the controversies surrounding several book bannings.  And, of course, we’ll read together a selection of banned books – from children’s picture books to literary classics that excited the censors’ wrath.  One anti-censorship website proclaims, “Rise to the challenge.  Read censored books!”  We’ll do just that this term.

FYEP 101-12: A Woman’s Place

Prof. Adela Ramos

TR: 9:55-11:40AM

Room: ADMN 202

Writing A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft faced a difficult challenge when trying to define woman’s relationship to the home. On the one hand, her call for “a revolution in female manners” argued that women have reason and, therefore, should not be confined solely to the home; instead, they should be given access to an education and opportunities to work and develop beyond the domestic realm. On the other, Wollstonecraft fervently believed that a woman’s ability to be a good mother and wife had a tangible impact on social and national prosperity. Indeed, she warned that women should not neglect domestic duties in their rightful attempt to transcend domestic boundaries. Wollstonecraft was wrestling with one of modern feminism’s most enduring dilemmas.

Wollstonecraft’s dilemma continues to haunt contemporary discussions about the social role of women. It is telegraphed in the common articulation of the question: “Can women have it all?” In this course we will write our way to some answers and to new questions by reading and writing about the places and spaces that women inhabit. We will consider how women occupy these places, ask whether or not they are at home in these places, inquire how society perceives their role in these places, and hopefully, claim new and diverse places where women—of all races, ethnicities, and classes—should take up residence. Some of the places we will explore include: college, the kitchen, the workplace, the professions (i.e., sciences, humanities, arts). And we will also travel around the globe to enquire how women elsewhere address this longstanding dilemma.

FYEP 101-14: Experience Captured: Writing about Visual Culture

Prof. Christian Gerzso

MW: 3:40-5:25PM

Room: ADMIN 211B

How does the proliferation of images in our predominantly visual culture – on billboards, movie theaters, TV sets, smartphones, and the Internet – affect the way we relate to the world? How do we read these images in social media, news outlets, and artistic artifacts? What perceptive and critical tools do we employ in order to decode their meanings, aesthetic effects, and ideological motivations? How do we, in turn, become agents in the production of these images, by taking, posting, and exchanging “selfies,” as well as pictures of our family, friends, fellow students, and coworkers? In this course we will explore how photography and film affect the way we perceive, experience, and remember our world. In order to do so, we will get acquainted with some of the tools we need to analyze these media (e.g. composition, color, camera angles, editing, narrative structure, character development, and genre), as well as read essays that reflect on the cultural, political, and aesthetic implications of these images.

FYEP 101: Literature and Medicine

Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger

FYEP 101: Literature and Medicine

How do we know what’s healthy—and when is it okay to judge someone else’s health? Going a step further: how can reading and writing lead us to deeper insights about the nature of health itself, including the health of an individual, a group, or even a society? As we read and reflect on a range of material, from journalism (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) and short stories (“The Use of Force,” for example) to a documentary (The Genius of Marian) and a play (Wit), we’ll ask how literature and medicine can interact to teach us about observing details, setting priorities, listening to rarely-heard voices, and (even) writing a strong essay in college. A shorter portfolio and a longer portfolio will allow you to draft, revise, and hone your work as you think in complex ways about questions of health and wellness.

ENGL 214:Dandies and Top Girls: Class, Gender, and Performance in British Drama and Popular Culture

Prof. Christian Gerzso

TR: 6:00-8:00PM

Room: Admin 214

In this course we will look at how drama and popular culture – film, music videos, and performance – portray changing class and gender relations in Britain after World War II. John Osborne’s 1956 play, Look Back in Anger, the founding text of the so-called “angry young men,” marks a sense of crisis of British masculinity that coincides with the expansion of the middle class, feminism, the decline of the British Empire, and immigration from the former colonies. We will explore how playwrights, filmmakers, and popular musicians – mods, punks, and glams – depict and perform these multiple masculinities (always determined by class) by rejecting or re-appropriating the figure of “the dandy,” as well as how female playwrights and performance artists challenge these visions of class and gender. We will use Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) as our starting point and then survey post-WWII drama and popular culture, including Look Back in Anger, Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey, Arnold Wesker’s Roots, Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, and The Who’s 1979 film Quadrophenia. This course serves as an introduction to drama and fulfills the English requirement.


English 225: Autobiographical Writing, WR

Prof. Wendy Call

TR: 6:00-8:00PM

  What is “autobiographical writing”? Simply put, it is literature in which the subject of the work is the writer, or experiences taken from the writer’s life. While autobiographical writing can be either fiction or nonfiction, in this course we will write nonfiction. We will read and discuss a wide range of autobiographical writing, including some fiction. In the United States, we have a rich and varied tradition of autobiographical nonfiction – a.k.a. memoir. This is a distinctly North American tradition; when writers in many other parts of the world sit down to write about their lives, they often choose fiction. We will read both short and book-length works of coming-of-age literature from around the world and we will write our own coming-of-age stories.

English 227: Introduction to Poetry and Fiction Writing

Prof. Jason Skipper

T/R 1:45-3:30pm

English 227: Introduction to Poetry and Fiction Writing is a foundational-level course that introduces students to the history, theories, and practice of poetry and fiction writing. In this class students will consider the work of many authors from different time periods and backgrounds in order to consider the ways creative writing is used to follow a line of inquiry and deepen the reader’s understanding of the human condition.  Students in this course will produce both poetry and short stories, and this material will be critiqued in a workshop setting.

ENGL 235: Children’s Literature, LT

Prof. Nathalie op de Beeck

TR: 1:45-3:40pm

Admin 210

When we bring children’s literature into a university classroom, we read it in ways that children do not and cannot. We begin to observe the ways this literature both reflects and reinforces ideologies, and we see the potential of this literature to convey much more than the basic ABCs. Our course in Children’s Literature invites participants to engage in a critical and historical consideration of texts for young readers, including picture books, novels, nonfiction, poetry, and comics. We will learn about children’s literature as a scholarly discipline, and we will examine how the history of children’s publishing and trends in book awards imply particular understandings of childhood. Our readings and assignments will enable us to explore the literary and historical contexts, social and economic concerns, and political and cultural issues that inform children’s literature and media. Participants will investigate classic/canonical titles, rethink children’s poetry and experimental literatures, and study contemporary efforts to diversify mainstream children’s publishing, including the We Need Diverse Books campaign and explorations of gender identity in books for young readers.


ENG 241: Exiles, Outsiders, Friends: Struggles for Belonging in American Literature

Prof. Jenny James

TR: 9:55-11:40PM

In this course we will survey American literature to better understand how poetry, drama and fiction give us new perspectives on American citizenship and belonging.  Throughout the term we’ll explore stories of exile, exclusion and belonging, thinking about how race, class, gender, sexual and indigenous identities shape the individual quest to become an “American.”  Born from an idealistic pledge of freedom and equality for all who enter, the United States has struggled throughout its history to uphold this promise.  From Nathaniel Hawthorne’s scorned heroine Hester Prynne to Walt Whitman’s transcendent American brotherhood, from Toni Morrison’s complex portrayal of colonial America to contemporary novelist John Okada’s depiction of Japanese Internment during WWII, this course explores literary representations of those exiles, outsiders and friends that make up the American nation.

ENGL 300: English Studies Seminar

Professor Rona Kaufman

TR 9:55 to 11:40

Admin 211A

This course is designed for students who have declared their English major, whether it be the writing emphasis or the literature emphasis. We will come together in a seminar-format to reflect on and practice the pleasures, demands, and rewards of the inter-connected processes of reading and writing. We will focus on the imaginative, critical, and social power of reading and writing as acts of creating meaning and beauty, as acts of self-expression, as acts of social analysis and critique, and as vehicles of change and memorializing. We will read and write texts from a range of genres, engage criticism and theory, and reflect on the broad question of why reading and writing matter. Our goal is to help you sharpen your sense of focus as an English major—to refine your own purposes and passions in pursuing your course of study within the major—and to help you become a more confident, flexible, and sophisticated reader, writer, and thinker.

This particular section of English 300 will focus on issues of witnessing, testimony, and trauma. Trauma comes from the ancient Greek word for wound, and while the concept of trauma was born in the physical dangers of nineteenth-century industrial innovation, it has, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, come to include, perhaps even emphasize, woundings of the mind and spirit. Although some critics have suggested that we live in an age of complaint, more believe that we now live in an age of trauma. A need to testify to trauma, as well as need to understand others’ experiences of trauma, is one of the reasons that many of us read and write. Through our readings, writings, and discussions, we’ll work to answer a range of questions about the relationships among witnessing, testimony, and trauma. What counts as trauma? What must witnessing encompass? What forms can testimony take? How does genre shape testimony? Who can tell which stories? What do we do with manipulated witnesses? unreliable witnesses? And what are our responsibilities to the testimonies we hear and read?

ENGL 301: Shakespeare Studies Seminar

Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger

MWF: 12:30-1:35

Ben Jonson once wrote that Shakespeare “was not for an age, but for all time.” Is this true? To what extent does Shakespeare’s work help us wrestle with timeless problems, and to what extent is it rooted inextricably in the playwright’s own historical, social, and cultural circumstances? As we delve into these questions, we will explore what it meant to be human in the sixteenth century, and what it means to be human now. Specifically, we’ll ask difficult questions about hierarchies, families, governments, gender, genre, acting and disguise, deciding what’s right, dealing with history, and processing ideas through language. Since this is an upper-level course, we’ll also read and respond to critics who address these questions, asking how their work can shed light on perceptions of humanness in early modern literary culture. By the end of this course, you should be able to read Shakespeare with confidence, engaging actively with his ideas, and asking big questions about them in a way that shows a robust critical awareness of both history and text.

ENGL 311: The Book in Society

Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger

MW: 1:45-3:30pm

How do books influence society, and how does society influence books? As we start to explore these interlocking questions, we’ll encounter materials from scrolls to iPads, using them to interrogate the relationships between ideas, physical objects, and cultural contexts. These materials will also help us study culturally-rooted networks of textual transmission, including manuscript circulation, print culture, and online fora. (Along the way, you’ll learn to read handwriting from the 16th century, and you’ll contribute to an online repository of recipe transcriptions. This project will allow us to ask how digital culture is reinflecting older practices of manuscript circulation, and how present modes of understanding text are reshaping our knowledge of previous networks.) At the end of the semester, a self-designed final project will allow you to explore an area of interest in even greater detail–whether that’s zine culture, or scribal practices, or fan fic, or Dickensian advertising, or anything else in the realm of circulating text.

ENGL 313/14-Art of the Book I and II

Prof. Mare Blocker

TR: 11:50-3:30pm


ENGL 324: Free-lance Writing

Prof. Wendy Call

TR: 9:55-11:40AM

In this course we will delve into the world of freelance writing – and more specifically, the genre of literary journalism. We will read the work of master freelance writers in this genre, which goes by many names: literary journalism, immersion journalism, documentary nonfiction, the journalism of everyday life. We will write a lot of literary journalism, too. We will – this is no exaggeration – live our stories. This course requires, even more than excellence in writing, excellence in reporting. Each of you will go out into the world and experience new things. Then you will render true stories from that world on the page. We will come together and review your writing in workshop sessions. Then you will go back out into the world, and back to your notebook, and make those stories better. Again and again.

ENGL 327: Intermediate Poetry Writing

Prof. Rick Barot

MW: 3:40-5:25PM

Building on the foundational skills you developed in Engl 227, this intermediate class will have two aims: to examine the works of some distinct modern poets; and to further develop your own skills as a poet.  In our analysis of poems we will be governed by the idea that writing poems has as much to do with craft as it does with expression.  Part of our time will be spent reading and discussing poems by established poets to see how their poems succeed—to see how craft and expression came into perfect play.  For the most part, however, we will workshop poems generated by members of the class, with an eye towards helping these poems achieve depth and beauty.


English 329: Intermediate Fiction Writing

Prof. Jason Skipper

T/R: 3:40-5:25PM

English 329: Intermediate Fiction Writing is an intermediate-level course designed for students interested in producing literary short fiction. Over the term, students will consider the history and myriad approaches to writing fiction by examining stories by a wide range of authors from different backgrounds who have made a significant impact on literature. Students will write about these stories in order to build their critical perspective, their “writer’s vocabulary,” and their internal editor. The course will also entail a great deal of writing, including two short stories, both of which will be critiqued by the class. Students will then use these critiques to revise their stories, in order to create work that follows a line of inquiry and leads readers toward a deeper understanding of the human condition.
Prerequisite: English 227: Introduction to Poetry and Fiction Writing


CHLC 336: Childhood and Culture – The Rights of the Child

Prof. Nathalie op de Beeck

Meeting time: TR 9:55

Admin 217

This core course in the Children’s Literature and Culture Program concerns the human rights of the child, especially as related to our university’s missions of social justice, diversity, and environmental sustainability. We will read essays and look at fiction and nonfiction texts (stories, films, etc.) having to do with human rights issues, citizenship debates, and the interdisciplinary field known as Childhood Studies. We will examine the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and related international and U.S. documents; we will learn about academic, legal, and other definition(s) of terms like child, youth,and childhood; and we will think about how children’s own voices and archives of childhood are compiled, studied, and interpreted. Students in this course will read, write, discuss, and present materials designed to develop shared understandings of Childhood and Culture.


ENGL 341: Feminist Approaches to Literature, A, LT

Prof. Lisa Marcus

MW: 1:45-3:30pm
“Feminist criticism is a political act whose aim is not simply to interpret the world but to change it by changing the consciousness of those who read and their relation to what they read.”  Judith Fetterly

Beginning with Virginia Woolf’s classic manifesto, A Room of One’s Own, we’ll explore feminist perspectives and pronouncements about the literary canon. We’ll spend some time thinking about (and arguing with) Woolf’s thesis, and then move through an examination of ways in which women have been cast in literary fictions.  How do women writers recast their own fictive and poetic possibilities? To answer that last question we’ll read a variety of diverse texts by mostly twentieth century women writers, including Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. We’ll also explore the construction of gender through a couple of compelling transgender texts like Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Woolf’s Orlando. We’ll end the class with more contemporary feminist manifestos like Carol Anne Duffy’s The World’s Wife, and I’ll ask you to write your own manifesto in response to the course readings.


ENGL 361: The Green Enlightenment

Prof. Adela Ramos

MW – 3:40-5:25PM

Room: Admin 214

“Green,” a word we find tagged on to almost everything we may want or need: from household cleaners to coffee, from writing journals to energy. For better or worse, we have come to associate this qualifier with environmentally friendly products and practices, even when their friendliness might be suspect. In this course, we will approach the period most famously known as the Enlightenment—the age of reason, of the encyclopedia, and modern science—from an environmentalist perspective to investigate the relationship between knowledge and destruction, literature and the emergence of environmental awareness. Reading texts from Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Man, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels to poetry devoted to pets, hunting, and the landscape, all the way to Mary Shelley’s apocalyptic novel, The Last Man, we will ask questions relevant to our age, now ominously and rightly dubbed, “The Anthropocene.” Through reading, class discussion, and writing we will consider how the writers of the eighteenth century contributed to the development of human exceptionality while also producing the literary works that would give birth to the modern environmentalist movement. This course is designed with English majors in mind.

ENGL 425: Seminar: Nonfiction Writing

Professor Rona Kaufman

MW 1:45 to 3:30

Admin 211B

 This year’s nonfiction writing capstone will focus on creative nonfiction. Sometimes called the fourth genre, creative nonfiction makes a dual commitment to the truth of an event and to the art of its telling. While working across a wide range of forms, writers of creative nonfiction share some understandings about language, stories, and writing—namely, that truth is instable, that all stories are partial, that writing is a made thing and has a maker, that language is flexible, that form is an essential part of meaning. We will organize our readings around the theme of family stories. Reading and writing personal essays, memoir, lyric essays, autobiography, and literary journalism, we will explore who are families are, how we tell their stories, how we tell our stories within theirs, and which larger, less personal stories need to be told in order for individual ones to resonate.


ENGL 451: Major Authors, LT SR — Unlocking Jane Austen

MW 1:35-3:30PM

Room: ADMIN 212

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Readers of Jane Austen will recognize the first line of Pride and Prejudice (1813). But what allows Austen to be more than an author, a phenomenon, is that even those who have not read her works are bound to have heard the line. And remember it. What makes this line so memorable? What makes her plots, characters, and dialogues endure and remain relevant, even though, to all appearances, our daily lives share little to nothing with those of Lizze Bennet, Emma Woodhouse, and Fanny Price? In this Capstone seminar, we will attempt to unlock the secret to Austen’s narrative mastery. The seminar members will read and discuss Pride and Prejudice together and then each member will choose one of Austen’s novel for their Capstone project. Throughout the semester, we will acquaint ourselves with narrative theory, which you will apply to the novel of your choice. Prof. Ramos will be in touch before the end of the semester with some initial guidelines for the course.



Courses Taught by English Department Faculty in Other Programs


EDUC 497: Writing Center Theory and Practice

Prof. Scott Rogers

Day/Time TBD

This course will introduce students to a range of theories and strategies related to effective work in a university writing center. We will examine major trends and tensions in writing center scholarship, explore course syllabi and assignment prompts, identify best practices for writing center consultations, and reflect on our ongoing work in the PLU Writing Center. A particular focus will be placed on working with ELL and non-traditional students. The course will run in tandem with regular employment in the PLU Writing Center. Course readings and assignments will have direct application to the daily work of one-to-one writing consultation (some of this work may be done online).

This course is required of and restricted to students employed in the PLU Writing Center. Students may elect to take the course for 1 or 0 credit depending on their credit hour totals for the semester. Required Textbook: The Oxford Guide for Writing Tutors: Practice and Research by Fitzgerald and Ianetta.


HGST 200:  Introduction to Holocaust and Genocide Studies

This multidisciplinary class examines the Holocaust and selected examples of genocide and systematic mass violence to probe the intersections of dehumanization, violent oppression, cultural destruction, and war in the last two centuries. Voices of resisters and case studies from the U.S. are included.

IHON 257 – The Human Experience: What is Work? Labor in Culture and Society

Prof. Christian Gerzso

TR: 1:45-3:30

Room: Lib 332

What counts as “work” in our society? What is its purpose? What are the ideas, emotions, and experiences we associate with the different kinds of human activity we call “work”? Why are these questions relevant today during our economic recovery? As we will explore in this course, the notion of work is constantly changing: it not only depends on the economy, but also on notions of social justice and cultural values. In particular, we will examine how work has been theorized since the Industrial Revolution: by Karl Marx, Max Weber, Bertrand Russell, and Hannah Arendt, among other philosophers and sociologists. In addition, we will explore how ethnographers have documented working conditions, as well as how art has responded to these conditions and imagined more just alternatives. We will look at a variety of literary and ethnographic texts, painting, photography, and film mainly from Britain, the US, and Mexico, from the early 20th century until today: these include Elmer Rice’s 1920s expressionist play The Adding Machine, George Orwell’s literary ethnography of service workers during the Great Depression, Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals from the same period, and Barbara Ehrenreich’s ethnography of service work in the 21st century.




WMGS 301

Prof. Jenny James

This seminar traces the development of feminist, gender and queer theory in academic and activist spheres. Throughout the term, we’ll cover such topics as gender identity and performance, social movements, intersectionality,  post-structuralism, global feminism and post-colonialism, and the emergence of queer theory and transgender studies. Over the course of the term, our conversations will foreground the ways gender is shaped by intersecting identities such as race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and nationality, framing the history of  feminism and sexual liberation around key conflicts and focusing on women’s struggles to build bonds of solidarity across differences. We will in turn examine the interdisciplinary applications of gender theory and its relevance to social justice movements and activist work, both locally and globally. Our intellectual endeavor will be guided by the feminist values of collaboration, critical engagement, humility and an openness to surprise.  Students will be evaluated based on oral presentations and facilitation, critical essays on theory and film, and the organization of a collaborative “teach-in” for the larger campus community.