English Department Spring 2014 Courses

SPRING ~ 2014 ~ FYEP

FYEP 101: Writing Seminar
Section: 04
Instructor: Dr. Jenny James
Topic: Writing Water
Meets: M W 1:45 – 3:30

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, as well as learn more about the scientific and cultural ideologies that impact our efforts at sustainability. Specific topics of study might include water rights, usage and scarcity, pollution and shipping, water preservation and reclamation, flooding, irrigation and overfishing. Throughout the term we will read fictional, non-fictional, and scholarly sources about water and work to compose critical and reflective essays that respond to these environmental challenges. 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, but is open to all!

FYEP 101: Writing Seminar
Section: 06
Instructor: Dr. Callista Brown
Topic: Rewriting Violence
Meets: T R 09:55 – 11: 40

How do we define “violence”? How can we respond to violence so that individuals and communities are restored? Can we take preventative action to keep violence from recurring? Can we choose non-violence? We will approach these questions by examining four case studies: post-1945 genocide; cancer and ecological destruction; mass incarceration; and the everyday violence that seeps into families, schools, and peer relationships. Students will read and write historical summaries, book reviews, and reflective essays. Scholars presenting at two PLU conferences, on Genocide and on The Holocaust, will inform our studies and engage students in multidisciplinary con-versations. In addition, we will read What the Best College Students Do by Ken Bain and explore how its insights apply to this seminar and to college writing.

FYEP 101: Writing Seminar
Section: 09
Instructor: Dr. Rona Kaufman
Topic: 140 Characters: Reading and Writing in a Digital Age
Meets: T R 09:55 – 11: 40

This course is designed to help prepare you for the reading and writing that you’ll do throughout college and, ideally, show you reasons to write long after you graduate. It understands writing as a process of inquiry that adheres to—or plays with—particular conventions involving genre, form, grammar, and citation. To do this work, we’ll focus on issues of literacy in the twenty-first century. In an age of text messages, Twitter, and Facebook, of high-stakes standardized testing, of widely and wildly popular novel series like Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games, of research showing the neurological and social benefits of sustained reading and second-language acquisition—what does it mean to be not only a reader and writer but also a good reader and writer? That’s the central question that will drive our work this semester. In this writing seminar, we’ll consider the broad range of literacies in the twenty-first century, examining the rhetorical, social, educational, cognitive, and ethical dimensions of digital and print texts.

FYEP 101: Writing Seminar
Section: 10
Instructor: Dr. Sharon Jansen
Topic: Barbies, Bratz, and Bella: The Construction of American Girlhood in the Twen-ty-First Century
Meets: T R 1:45 – 3:30

This seminar explores the contradictions and confusions of today’s girl world. To-gether we will undertake a critical and rigorous examination of the way contemporary American girlhood is constructed, commodified, and exploited—that is, at the ways ad-vertisers, television programmers, toy companies, filmmakers, and clothing manufac-turers, to name only a very few, are selling us contradictory ideas about what it means to be a girl. Pretty princesses in pink? Slutty Bratz in hooker boots? We will explore the effects of this kind of representation on us, first as girls and then as women. We will also move beyond this narrowly focused theme to see the ways it con-nects to larger social, political, and economic issues women face today in the global community.

FYEP 101: Writing Seminar
Section: 11
Instructor: Dr. Adela Ramos
Topic: Girls Gone Wild: Women, Ecology and Social Justice
Meets: M W 3:40 – 5:25

From Mother Earth to Girls Gone Wild, women have historically been associated with nature, wilderness and, as Enlightenment feminist Mary Wollstonecraft argued, with animals. In fact, in her famous treatise, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft called for the reformation of female education declaring that “It is time to effect a revolution in female manners—time to restore [women] their lost dignity—and make them, as a part of the human species, labour by reforming themselves to reform the world.” For most young women in college today, Wollstonecraft’s text might seem a relic from a bygone era—American women can take for granted their right to an education. But hers is also a call to humanize women: before gaining access to education, women had to be granted the status of human beings. Indeed, one of her primary goals was to challenge the deeply held belief that, if left to their own devices, women might “go wild.” Two hundred years later, the eighteenth-century association of women with animals still holds valence. Lingerie catalogues, scenes from “Girls Gone Wild,” and political discourse that flaunts “binders full of women” suggest that Wollstonecraft’s revolution must continue. This course is an invitation to reconsider the relationship between women, nature, and non-human animals. We will explore the historical origins of the binary woman/wilderness, the current association of women and animals in visual culture, and, we will revive Wollstonecraft’s call for women to “[reform] themselves to reform the world” to investigate how our daily practices can make this earth a better place for human and animal beings and for the environment as a whole.

FYEP 190/ENGL 217: Topics in Literature A, LT
Instructor: Dr. Adela Ramos
Topic: Coming of Age on The Border
Meets: T R 3:40 -5:25

Our topic is contentious: immigration and national identity. As you have probably noticed in the course of recent presidential campaigns, immigrants and immigration scapegoats for real economic and social issues in everyday politics. Yet, at the same time, politicians celebrate the American Dream and proclaim that the United States of America is a country of immigrants. Why is their so much tension, contradiction, and emotion around the figure of the immigrant and the idea of immigration? Throughout the semester we will read memoir, poetry, essays, and novels to explore how writers from Egypt to Dominican Republic and Mexico have represented the intersections of national identity, exile, and immigration in their writing. While touching upon different experiences, these writers all explore what it means to come of age while wrestling with complex cultural, economic, and political circumstances. Therefore, we will also be thinking about the relationship between youth and identity. These are some of the questions we will attempt to answer: What is home? What is nation? What is citizenship? Why is coming of age entwined with immigration or exile in these narratives? Do men experience their national identity in the same way as women? Texts include: Out of Egypt: A Memoir by André Aciman, Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, in addition to essays, poems, and films.

SPRING 2014 ~ 200-and-300-Level Courses

ENGL 213: Themes/Authors, LT
Instructor: Dr. Sharon Jansen
Topic: Five Feminist Classics
Meets: T R 3:40 – 5:25

Before The Feminist Mystique, before A Room of One’s Own, and even before the birth of the modern feminist movement in the nineteenth century, women writers were producing an array of texts that explored the condition of womankind and that argued for women’s education, economic independence, improved legal status, and, more daringly, their equality to men.

In reading five feminist classics, we will look at the work of women writers from the turn of the fifteenth century through the end of the eighteenth.

ENGL 214: Intro to Major Lit Genres, LT
Instructor: Dr. Christian Gerzso
Topic: Robots and Dandies: Labor and Leisure in Modern Drama
Meets: M W 3:40 – 5:25

Though we think of robots as mechanical, non-human beings in science fiction, the word originally referred to indentured workers. In fact, it was a Czech science-fiction play – Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (1920) – that coined our modern usage of mass-produced beings by imagining an industrialized world where mechanical laborers performed all our necessary but unpleasant work. Thus, as we shall see, modern drama is a privileged site for exploring an issue that is still vigorously contested during our current economic recovery: who works and who gets to enjoy the rewards. We will ex-amine this topic by looking at various character types in modern drama, each representing a particular relation to the labor process: the dandy, the lady, the scientist, the salesperson, the industrial worker, the service worker, and the vagrant, among others. In particular, we will look at how questions of class, gender, race, and sexuality come into play in these representations of labor and leisure. In this way, this course offers a survey of modern drama in English and in translation, from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion to Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

ENGL 216: Topics in Literature C, LT
Instructor: Dr. Barbara Temple-Thurston
Topic: South African Township Drama 1960 – 1990
Meets: T R 3:40 – 5:25

We explore plays with content highly critical of the notorious Apartheid system of government in South Africa. Lively and outspoken, they prove harsh chronicles of the hardships ordinary Africans suffered under the racist system. We learn about the apartheid period, read the plays, and watch riveting video performances of most of the plays that we read.

ENGL 217: Topics in Literature A, LT
Section: 01
Instructor: Dr. Jenny James
Topic: Re-reading the Sixties in Literature, Television and Film, A, LT
Meets: T R 09:55 – 11:40

By looking at various perspectives on “the long 1960s” in American culture, this course will explore the personal and political struggles that characterize this contested historical moment. In order to better understand how literature represents the Sixties differently from film and television, we’ll study novels, short stories and poetry alongside films and television series. Thematic clusters will offer us a unique opportunity to appreciate the decade’s revolutionary experiments in alternative modes of community and political resistance. We’ll pay special attention to the new ways these cultural forms depict individuals navigating the social hierarchies of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and social class. Authors may include James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Tim O’Brien, Joan Didion, Toni Cade Bambara, Audre Lorde and others.

ENGL 225: Autobiographical Writing WR
Section: 01
Instructor: Dr. Matthew Levy
Topic: Email instructor for information on course topic.
Meets: T R 3:40 – 5:25

Reading autobiography and writing, with an emphasis on how writing style and personal identity complement each other. This section: The notion of autobiography we will pursue in this course is that of “life stories” as described in our textbook by Bill Roorbach. The idea is not to read and write texts that encapsulate the span of one’s life (You aren’t telling your whole life story.), but to examine closely through the study and practice of the craft of writing a few key episodes that have shaped the character of your “I” and your “eye.” Doing remarkable things can certainly give a writer material; however, we will not jump out of any planes during the course of the semester. We will use writing to discover the significance within our experiences, however ordinary they may seem at first, and we will concentrate on developing the craft it takes to convey some of that experience and its significance to others. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to analyze and compose writing with careful consideration of narrative voice, dialogue, setting, description, character, exposition, word choice, arrangement, and how these elements combine to make meaning. Ideally, students will also develop their ability to use writing as a personal resource and a social good.

ENGL 227: Introduction to Poetry and Fiction Writing
Instructor: Dr. Jason Skipper
Topic: Introduction to Poetry and Fiction Writing
Meets: T R 1:45 – 3:30

Introduction to Poetry and Fiction Writing is a foundational-level course that intro-duces 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 peri-ods 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 work will be critiqued in a workshop setting.

ENGL 235: Children’s Literature, LT
Instructor: Dr. Kate Slater
Topic:
Meets: M W F 1:45 – 2:50

This course introduces students to a wide variety of texts written for and read by young people, including fairy tales, picture books, poetry, early readers, middle grade, nonfiction, young adult, and graphic novels. We’ll discuss issues of audience, didacticism, pleasure, agency, race, class, gender, sexuality, and aesthetics in these works, in the process dismantling common conceptions of children’s literature as “simple.” From Grimm’s frightening tales to Ivy and Bean’s mischief to the explicit renderings of first love in Judy Blume’s Forever, children’s literature invites us to reconsider our ideologies of childhood, suggesting that neither children nor the books they read fit easily into presupposed categories.

ENGL 300: English Studies Seminar
Instructor: Dr. Adela Ramos
Topic: Reading and Writing at the Borders of the Human
Meets: M W 6:00 – 8:00

Eighteenth-century writer, William Godwin, once proclaimed that, “Literature, taken in all its bearings, forms the grand line of demarcation between the human and animal kingdoms.” In this section of ENGL 300, we will probe into Godwin’s claim by reading and writing texts that actively attempt to construct such a clear line of demarcation and texts that actively attempt to breakdown the porous border separating our humaneness from our animality. We’ll begin the course by reading Godwin’s essay, “Of an Early Taste for Reading” alongside excerpts of canonical and new arguments, written from both the sciences and the humanities, which affirm and challenge Godwin’s claim. We’ll then read poems about animals, from lap-dogs and hares to primates, alongside Virginia Woolf’s novella, Flush: A Biography. These texts will allow us to examine and practice what it means to read about animals, write on behalf of animals, and write from an animal’s perspective. Our course will peak with Emily Brontë’s awesome novel, Wuthering Heights, and her fascinating hybrid protagonist, Heathcliff, whereby we will investigate how human characters can be depicted as animals, and consider the social and political underpinnings of the act of animalization. Finally, we will read personal essays wherein writers explore the borders of the human as they reflect on environmental and related social justice issues. The culminating project of the semester asks that you then write a personal essay to explore whether or not literacy (reading and writing) can be conceived as the “grand line of demarcation” that Godwin defined in his 1797 essay.

ENGL 312/COMA 322: Publishing Procedures
Instructor: Dr. Solveig Robinson
Topic: Publishing Procedures
Meets: M W 1:45 – 3:40

“Publishing Procedures” is a hands-on seminar introducing the technical and intellectual skills essential to the modern publishing world. Assignments and sessions reflect the pace and variety of professional publishing work, with an emphasis on book and journal publishing. The seminar includes intensive introductions to the art of editing and to the strategies and techniques of digital and online publishing. Most class sessions are devoted to in-class work on exercises, small-group projects, and ongoing assignments, but there will also be lectures, field trips, presentations by guest writers and editors, and lots of discussion.

ENGL 313/ARTD 315: The Art of the Book I
Instructor: Dr. Jessica Spring
Topic: The Art of the Book
Meets: T R 1:45 – 3:30

The Art of the Book I is a studio art course in the historical, aesthetic, and creative dimensions of book design and typography. The class is conducted in PLU’s own Elliott Press. Students gain hands-on experience in the enduring handcrafts of type-setting, letterpress printing, and bookbinding. Advanced students may go on to write or edit, design, illustrate, print, and bind their own limited edition books in an independent study course, Art of the Book II. Advanced students often T.A. for Art of the Book I courses and have the opportunity to assist in the Elliott Press with commissioned projects that are brought to the Press.

ENGL 314/ARTD 314: The Art of the Book II
Instructor: Dr. Jessica Spring
Topic: The Art of the Book
Meets: T R 1:45 – 3:30

The Art of the Book II is a studio art course in the historical, aesthetic, and creative dimensions of book design and typography. The class is conducted in PLU’s own Elliott Press. Students gain hands-on experience in the enduring handcrafts of type-setting, letterpress printing, and bookbinding. Advanced students may go on to write or edit, design, illustrate, print, and bind their own limited edition books in an independent study course, Art of the Book II. Advanced students often T.A. for Art of the Book I courses and have the opportunity to assist in the Elliott Press with commissioned projects that are brought to the Press.

ENGL 323: Writ/Prof & Pub Set WR
Instructor: Dr. Matthew Levy
Topic:
Meets: T R 11:50 – 13:35

From the catalogue: Students working in professional settings analyze the rhetorical demands of their job-related writing. This Section: For this service learning course, students will work without pay as writers for local non profits and use that experience as an occasion to apply rhetorical models and a springboard for reflection, research, and vocational development. Students signing up for this course commit to forty hours of community service (which will be partially offset by fewer class meetings). Furthermore, they declare their understanding that securing and keeping this service learning
placement, as well as transportation to that site, is their own responsibility.

ENGL 325: The Personal Essay
Instructor: Dr. T. Campbell
Topic: The Personal Essay
Meets: M W F 11:15 – 12:20

A semester spent reading and writing the invitingly hybrid form of creative non-fiction called the personal essay. It can accommodate just about any topic and any tonality, and while neither memoir nor autobiography, fiction nor poetry, journalism nor expository argument, it can poach from all of these genres to create a distinct but elastic form of its own.

ENGL 326: Writing for Children WR
Instructor: Dr. Kate Slater
Topic:
Meets: T R 6:00 – 8:00

How is writing for children and adolescents different than writing for adults? What are the current trends in children’s literature today, and what do agents and editors want in a manuscript? What elements make a successful book? How can your writing stand out from the crowd? This course, designed for students interested in creating fiction, nonfiction, or poetry for young readers, will focus on building the practical tools necessary to create persuasive and marketable narratives. Throughout the semester, students will practice writing in a variety of genres and ultimately develop a project of their own: either a complete picture book manuscript, or several chapters and an outline of a middle grade or YA novel.

ENGL 343: Post-Colonial Lit/ Theory C, LT
Instructor: Dr. Barbara Temple-Thurston
Topic:
Meets: T R 09:55 – 11:40

Students read novels by major post-colonial writers such as J.M. Coetzee (South Africa) and Arundhati Roy (India) alongside articles by a various post colonial theorists. Applying the theory to our reading of the novels grants us new ways of understanding the far-reaching effects of colonization.

ENGL 355: Special Topics before 1660 LT
Instructor: Dr. Sharon Jansen
Topic: Chaucer
Meets: M W 3:40 – 5:25

Geoffrey Chaucer is the greatest English storyteller in an age remarkable for its storytellers. He experimented with all the popular literary forms of his day: lyric, romance, fabliau, dream vision, saint’s life, and beast fable, among them, transforming each genre as he played with its elements and style. Unlike many of his contemporaries, whose work has largely been forgotten, Chaucer’s literary contributions remained widely read and available; among the first books printed in England, for example, was an edition of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, while William Shakespeare used Chaucer’s work as the source for two of his plays (Troilus and Cressida, The Two Noble Kinsmen). Chaucer remains as lively and engaging a writer today as he was in his own fourteenth century.

This semester we will read, analyze, discuss, debate and, above all, enjoy Chaucer’s two “master” works—his incomplete, but no less engaging story collection, The Canterbury Tales, and his magnificent addition to the narrative of the Trojan War, Troilus and Criseyde.

ENGL 365: Special Topics after 1800
Instructor: Dr. T. Campbell
Topic: The Romantic Movement
Meets: M W F 9:15 – 10:20

A semester spent reading and discussing works by the principal architects of British Romanticism: poets, novelists, and theorists whose technical innovations and imaginative revisions produced a revolutionary movement in early 19th-century literature and culture.

ENGL 373: American Literature 1914 – 1945
Instructor: Dr. Lisa Marcus
Topic: American Literature 1914 – 1945
Meets: T R 1:45 – 3:30

This course, framed by WWI and WWII, explores the writing of North American writers from T.S. Eliot to Richard Wright, F. Scott Fitzgerald to Zora Neale Hurston. Flanked by war novels, the course begins with Edith Wharton’s powerful (and long out of print) WWI novel, A Son at the Front (1923) and ends with Arthur Miller’s only work of fiction, the prescient Holocaust novel, Focus (1945). In between we investigate Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance by focusing on one spectacularly productive literary year – 1925 (the year of The Great Gatsby and the important literary anthology, The New Negro). We’ll study texts that ask us to think about race, gender and nationhood, sexuality and self-construction, and about religion and modernity. This is an upper level course and will include lots of reading, daily writing assignments, and critical reflection.

ENGL 393: The English Language
Instructor: Dr. Rona Kaufman
Topic: The English Language
Meets: M W 1:44 – 3:30

What is language? Where does it come from? How does it work? What are its structures? In what ways is language political, social, personal, economic? What are the rules of language? Who decides? And what are the consequences for not following the rules? Is language the same thing as grammar? And just what is grammar anyway? Should we approach it descriptively or prescriptively? When? Why? What are teachers’ responsibilities to students when it comes to language? What are teachers’ responsibilities to language? How does our understanding of language affect what is taught and how and why (and likewise, what isn’t taught and why not)? This course is designed to immerse students into the complexities of language. It is divided into two main parts: 1) History, Structures, and the Teaching of Language and 2) Identity, Politics, and Power. Through a variety of in- and out-of-class exercises, students should develop thoughtful and informed answers to the above questions that they can articulate, defend, and put into practice.

ENGL 427: Advanced Poetry Writing, Capstone Seminar
Instructor: Dr. Rick Barot
Topic: Advanced Poetry Writing
Meets: M W 6:00 – 8:00

This is the advanced poetry workshop geared towards the senior capstone in poetry. On the practical side of things, we will analyze a lot of powerful contemporary poetry, and you will write a good number of poems. Your continued growth as a poet will depend on the careful reading you do of the works of others, and the passionate work you put into your own poems. A good part of our time will be spent workshopping student poems: this means a steady amount of feedback meant to foster thoughtful revision of your work. On the more philosophical side of the equation, we will also spend a substantive part of the class mulling over the issues which attend contemporary poetry: clarity versus obscurity, difficulty versus plainness, modes of reader-friendly composition and experimental modes. This class will test your threshold and patience for poetry because we will look at poems which push the limits of sense and of beauty. But it needs to be said that our investigation of difficulty will also engage with the craft elements which make any poem a workable, perfectable, and fallible mechanism. We will have high-minded discussions about the place of poetry in our contemporary world, but these discussions will be grounded in our examinations of how lines, stanzas, rhythm, diction, and syntax play out in the making of a poem. We will be adventurous and intentional at the same time.

ENGL 429: Fiction Writ SR, WR
Instructor: Dr. Jason Skipper
Topic:
Meets: T R 3:40 – 5:25

The Capstone in Fiction Writing is an advanced level workshop that focuses on short story writing. In this course students will explore the ways reading shapes a writer’s critical lens, write a critical paper and give a presentation that examines a short story author and a genre in literary fiction, and produce three new stories. The semester will culminate with a capstone presentation, during which students will discuss the critical lens that shapes their writing, present a story that they produced in this class, and take questions from the audience.

ENGL 451: Theme, Genre, LT SR
Instructor: Dr. Jenny James
Topic: The Hopes and Limits of Narrative
Meets: T R 6:00 – 8:00

This course will tackle the dynamic goal of understanding the way fiction, as Henry James suggests, “[catches] the very note and trick, the strange irregular rhythm of life.” Together we will explore theories of narrative to better understand how narratives are structured, circulated, read and re-visioned. Considering the ways story animates our everyday lives and imagined worlds, we will approach narrative not simply as an aesthetic object, but an artistic force that can inspire, and sometimes foreclose, efforts at political and social change. Focusing on theorists such as Mikhail Bakhtin, Gerard Genette, Roland Barthes, Peter Brooks, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and others, students will experiment with the use of narrative theory as a tool for critically analyzing the formal, thematic and political underpinnings of various narrative genres. While the course will attend to North American texts published during the 20th century and after – by authors such as Henry James, William Faulkner and Toni Morrison – students will have the opportunity to work independently to propose a primary text of their choice for their capstone project.