SPRING2017 Banner

SPRING 2017 COURSES

FYEP 101: The Great War

Prof. Solveig Robinson
MW 3:40-5:25
Admin 211B

A century ago, the June 1914 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, heirs to the Austro-Hungarian throne, set off a chain of events that eventually pulled all the major powers into a global conflict. World War I—known at the time as the “Great War,” or “The War to End All Wars”—fundamentally changed previous arrangements in politics, social developments, science, and the arts. This course will incorporate fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and film to examine the events and some of the effects of the Great War. We will analyze the causes of the war, experience the horrors of trench warfare through the eyes of British and German poets and novelists, and nurse casualties with memoirist Vera Brittain. Along the way we will consider what qualities—physical, emotional, intellectual—enable people to endure, and even surmount, the hardships of war. The course will concentrate on expository writing (writing that explains).

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

Prof. Scott Rogers
MWF 12:20-1:35
Admin 211B

This section of Writing 101 focuses on the theme of creativity in everyday life, at home, in school, in public spaces, and in the workplace. More specifically, we will attempt to undermine common assumptions about creativity and artfulness as values reserved only for the creative or the artistic. We will do this by looking at how individuals and groups live creatively in a variety of social, political, and economic circumstances in local and global contexts. We will be particularly interested in how individuals talk or write about the experience of space and setting, and how the design of space has the potential to creatively shape and reshape our public identities. Our readings—including academic, popular, and student writing—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 experience.

Importantly, 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 class 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.

FYEP 101: Detective Fiction

Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger
9:15-10:20, MWF
Admin TBA

What can detective novels tell us about big social topics like gender, immigration, race, incarceration, and privilege? As we read a series of classic and recent detective works, from early short stories by Poe (“Murders in the Rue Morgue”) and Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) to later works by Dashiell Hammett, Agatha Christie, John Ball and Matt Pelfrey, and Henning Mankell, we’ll explore the conversations about these topics as they develop from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Along the way, three portfolios of writing will help us ask how detective fiction methodologies can teach us new things about both essay composition and social justice.

FYEP 101: The Function of University Education

Prof. Liam O’Loughlin
3:40—5:25pm TR
Admin 211A

What is the purpose of university education in the 21st century? What do students expect from the university? How does it—or should it—engage students in learning, prepare them for careers, or involve them in politics? Did students sitting in your seats 50 years ago think about their educations the same way you do? With these questions in mind, how is the university not simply a preparation for, but very much part of, the so-called “real world”? In this course we will reflect upon the university as an institution—considering its history, narratives constructed about it, and our places within it. Course texts include fiction, scholarly essays, films, and testimonials. Students will hone their writing by working in multiple forms, including personal narrative, argument analysis, reportage, and a historically-informed essay.

FYEP 101: Asian American Studies: Identity, Resistance, and Community Through Art

Prof. Jane Wong
TR
9:55am-11:40am

The term “Asian American” is often discussed as if it were both self-evident and immutably fixed. The question of authenticity or belonging is often raised: who counts? Who doesn’t? This seminar asks you to reconsider such static boundaries! We will engage the shifting place and status of Asians in America and their struggles for identity, representation, and civil rights. Where did the concept of “model minority” come from? How do Asian American artists address lineage and ideas of “homeland”? We will explore such questions through literature, art, history, and media. From the TV show Master of None to Marilyn Chin’s “How I Got That Name,” we will close read texts and weave in historical contexts, building an intimate yet contextualized understanding of a work. As writers, readers, and artists, we will add our own unique stories and reflect on our process of responding to a text – honoring both self-awareness and engaged conversation in our communities! Writing assignments include response papers, blog posts, research projects, and personal narratives.

English 214: Topics in Literature: Themes and Authors - LT

“Breaking Form”
Prof. Jason Skipper
TR 1:45-3:40

Fiction is often divided between what is considered “literary” and “formulaic” work. “Formulaic” (sometimes called “generic” or “genre”) fiction, including those labeled romance, westerns, horror, science fiction, etc., often purposely employ predictable story lines, stereotypical characters, clichéd language and little in terms of theme or symbolism that might lead the reader to deeper insight into the human condition. On the other hand, “literary” texts typically feature the lives of everyday characters, realistic plot lines, innovative use of language, and a heavy reliance on subtext in order to provoke the reader to reflect critically and deeply on the world.

So what happens when a “literary” author takes on and breaks a “formulaic” mold? Why and how might a literary text use features of genre writing to pursue complex, unnerving questions about the human condition and address pressing social issues? This class will ask these and other questions of a variety of genre-bending texts by writers like Colson Whitehead, Angela Carter, and Jeanette Winterson to consider the complexity and political nature of “literary” texts employing features of “formulaic” work.

ENGL 217/FYEP 190, A, LT

“Coming of Age on the Border”
Prof. Adela Ramos

M/W 3:40 – 5:25
Room: TBD

Please note: this course is open to students in Prof. Wendy Call’s Fall 2016 FYEP 101 US/Mexico Borderlands only.

In this course we will continue the journey you began last semester through your exploration of the US/Mexico borderlands by branching out to read and write about the stories of immigrants from Central and South America and the Caribbean. We will do so by turning out attention to the experiences of young adults coming of age in the USofA. In the summer of 2014, the US government faltered in the face of a supposedly new population of immigrants arriving in mass numbers: child migrants traveling alone from Central America and Mexico. While child migrants have been arriving in the US since the days of Ellis Island, the children and teenagers now risking their lives to arrive at the US-Mexico border are doing so alone, running away from new forms of violence emerging in their native countries. However, this “humanitarian crisis,” the crisis of child migrants is far from new. It is, rather, a reminder that while we usually think of immigrants as grownups, oftentimes children and teenagers are the central protagonists of the most harrowing or hopeful experiences. In this course, we will read memoir, poetry, essays, and novels to explore how writers from diverse backgrounds have represented the intersections of language, national and personal identity, exile, gender, race and ethnicity 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 texts? Texts include: Sandra Cisneros, Caramelo,  Daisy Hernández, A Cup of Water under My Bed, poems by several Latinx authors, and films representing current migration stories from the perspective of children and teenagers.

ENGL 220: Introduction to Creative Nonfiction

Prof. Wendy Call
TR 1:45 to 3:30 pm
Admin 221

This creative writing course will introduce you to the history, contemporary practice, and craft elements of creative nonfiction. We will focus on how the “fourth genre” of creative nonfiction adopts elements of fiction (e.g. character, story structure, set scenes, and narration) and as well as elements of poetry (precision of language, compression, the lyric). We will read, study, and write a wide range of literary nonfiction, including personal essay, place-based writing, short memoir, reportage, and lyric essay. This course will be a prerequisite for the new English 320: Intermediate Creative Nonfiction, beginning in Spring 2018 and for the Nonfiction Capstone (ENGL 425) beginning in Fall 2017.

ENGL 227 Introduction to Poetry and Fiction Writing:

Prof. Jane Wong
TR
8:00-9:45am

“‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice…” – Lewis Carroll

Language is curious. Language is an archeological dig, a translucent fish. In this class, we will turn over the rock and see what’s underneath. We’ll discover that language is malleable, evocative, elusive, and ferocious. In addition to language, we will test our curiosity with genre, form, and content. We will read and write poetry and fiction. And then we will question these genres. Be prepared to challenge yourself aesthetically, thematically, and formally. We will read and write a lot. Throughout the semester, we will return to certain questions: How can we use language to convey the unconveyable? How can words on a page move us? How can we play with language and form in an innovative, challenging, and productive way? English 227 is a foundational-level course that introduces students to the history, theories, and practice of poetry and fiction writing. To help us explore the above questions, we will read the work of diverse writers, including the work of your peers. By interrogating and exploring these texts, we will get a better sense of how language and structure work (or don’t work) and how we can begin to cultivate our own styles and literary voices. You will be expected to hand in creative pieces for workshop, feedback letters, and a final portfolio of revised, polished work.

ENGL 233-01: Post-Colonial Literature – C, LT

Prof. Liam O’Loughlin
1:45—3:30pm MW
Admin 214

What is art’s relationship to politics? What burdens, responsibilities, or choices does a writer have in the face of the British Empire’s brutality, the victories and disappointments of independence, and the hierarchies of neoliberal globalization? And how is the English language—the language of colonization and global capitalism—used to navigate these concerns? We will contemplate these questions as we trace postcolonial English literatures across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The course will consider matters of literary form (fiction, poetry, drama, and reportage) and style (modernism, social realism, magical realism) and their relation to the historical contexts of anticolonialism, post-independence, and contemporary neoliberal globalization. Special attention will be paid to the contexts of India and Ireland, including writers such as James Joyce, Mulk Raj Anand, Eavan Boland, Salman Rushdie, and Arundhati Roy.

ENGL 233-02: Post-Colonial Literature – C, LT

Prof. Liam O’Loughlin
3:40—5:25pm MW
Admin 214

What is art’s relationship to politics? What burdens, responsibilities, or choices does a writer have in the face of the British Empire’s brutality, the victories and disappointments of independence, and the hierarchies of neoliberal globalization? And how is the English language—the language of colonization and global capitalism—used to navigate these concerns? We will contemplate these questions as we trace postcolonial English literatures across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The course will consider matters of literary form (fiction, poetry, drama, and reportage) and style (modernism, social realism, magical realism) and their relation to the historical contexts of anticolonialism, post-independence, and contemporary neoliberal globalization. Special attention will be paid to the contexts of India and Ireland, including writers such as James Joyce, Mulk Raj Anand, Eavan Boland, Salman Rushdie, and Arundhati Roy.

ENG 300, English Studies Seminar:

“Letter by Letter: Epistolary Encounters in English Studies”
Prof. Jenny James
TR 9:55-11:40AM
Admin 204A

This seminar is for English majors and prospective English majors. It is not a General Education course.

This section of ENGL 300 will introduce you to English studies by delving into a foundational literary form: the letter. For many of us, the letter is one of the first forms of writing that we learn to compose, whether it is a thank you note to our grandmother or a letter to Santa. Yet letters serve as the dynamic inspiration for a variety of literary genres, including political manifestos, lyric poetry, novels, short stories and memoirs; collections of written correspondence are also subjects of critical study in their own right.  In this class we will read artistic and literary correspondence, epistolary novels and short stories and critical essays on epistolary practices in order to reflect on the historical, aesthetic, psychological, emotional and political qualities of this enduring form of writing.  Together we will encounter a wide range of authors such as Ovid, St. Augustine, Walt Whitman, James Baldwin, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath and Ruth Ozeki.

In turn, we will reflect on the unique way that reading letters invites the reader into a mutual practice of written dialogue. In this collaborative seminar, students will thus enter into literal and metaphoric correspondence with others, will compose essays and poetry in epistolary form, and will reflect on modern digital modes of correspondence, tracing the emergence of the letter from wax-coated tablet to text message.  By the end of the term, students will have cultivated a keen sense of their own scholarly identities and creative and critical passions as they embark on their own paths in the English major.

PPAP 302 Publishing Procedures:

Formerly ENGL 312/COMA 322; can be taken for English or Comm credit

Prof. Solveig Robinson
Spring 2017
MW 1:45-3:30, Admin 221

“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 324: Freelance Writing

Prof. Wendy Call
TR 3:40  – 5:25 pm
Admin 221

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. By the end of the semester, each student will have completed two publication-worthy pieces of writing.

ENGL 328: Theories of Reading and Writing

Prof. Scott Rogers
MW 3:40-5:25p
Room TBD

Literacy typically goes unseen or unnoticed in American culture. In public and private discussions about schooling, the workplace, the web, we generally take for granted that most people have some form of literacy and that, should one’s literate skills improve, the likelihood for a “success life” will also improve. Of course, we know this isn’t always true. In reality, literacy—essentially, the ability to read, write, or otherwise communicate in sanctioned forms using the appropriate tools—is always tied up with questions of power, access, social class, and geography. It is this sense of context (or situatedness) that we will pursue in this course. In recent years, scholars have begun exploring the social and cultural frames that shape how literacy is learned and valued in the US. In particular, we have begun looking outside the classroom as a way to understand, expand, and/or challenge what goes on inside the classroom. In our course reading and discussion, we will consider the community-based or “public” turn in literacy studies by evaluating home, workplace, and other forms of under-recognized (and often undervalued) communication. Our investigation will begin with questions: What is literacy and does it mean the same for everybody? How do people use literacy? How is literacy acquired? Who “sponsors” it? And is it sponsored the same way for everybody? If not, what circumstances govern this difference? How does literacy define or shape social relationships? How does technology complicate our understanding of literacy?

Students will learn some of the history and theory behind literacy study, but, more importantly, they will work as literacy researchers by observing literate practices in action. More specifically, we will learn how to do ethical research with human subjects using methods like ethnography, interview, and observation. Ultimately, our goal in the class is to develop–via evidence and analysis–a carefully considered understanding of how social and cultural context shape what we understand literacy to be and how it mediates our access to discourses of power via a struggle over what “counts” as meaningful communication.

ENGL 334 Topics in Children’s Literature:

“Childhood and Gender”
Prof. Nathalie op de Beeck
TR, 9:55-11:40 a.m.
Admin 214

According to a popular nursery rhyme, shared with children more than two centuries ago and still well-known today, little boys are “made of . . . snips and snails and puppy dogs’ tails,” while little girls are “made of . . . sugar and spice and all things nice.” In the days when this rhyme was first published in print, children typically wore white and long hair regardless of sex and gender, and grew up to occupy particular roles as “little women” and “little men.” In America today, parents-to-be host “gender reveal” parties and young children are encouraged to prefer pink or blue, based on their assigned sex and gender identity. In our course, we investigate how children’s and youth literature from the nineteenth century to present:

~ reinforces or challenges notions of gender identity and sexuality;
~ constructs or destabilizes binary feminine and masculine identities;
~ defines terms including girlhood, boyhood, childhood, queer, and family;
~ represents gendered behavior patterns, whether instructing readers in norms or valuing alternatives;
~ acknowledges or disavows intersectionality in representations of gender, class, ~race/ethnicity, age, and other fluid categories; and
~ depicts queer and heteronormative perspectives and experiences, among people of all ages, including children who resist or refuse gender categorization.

Our texts include multimedia sources—picture books, chapter books, novels, memoirs, nonfiction, television, film/video—as well as critical resources from the disciplines of children’s literature, childhood and youth studies, women’s and gender studies, education, and the social sciences. Throughout the semester, students consider the implications and high stakes of representing gender norms and/or gender diversity among young people, historically and globally. Through individual and group research, writing, discussion, and projects, students gain awareness of how young people are socialized and identified through popular texts, and how childhood and adolescence are politicized around complex understandings of gender and sexuality.

ENGL 345 Special Topics in Literature and Difference A, LT:

“Women Writing Strange Things 1770-1820”
Prof. Adela Ramos
MW 1:45 – 3:30
Admin 214

In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1790), Mary Wollstonecraft compared how “[a] man, when he undertakes a journey, has, in general the end in view” while a woman “thinks more of the incidental occurrences, the strange things that may possibly occur on the road.” The “strange things” that would worry a woman on the road at the end of the eighteenth century could be as trifling as petty theft or as severe as rape. In addition to commenting on women’s perceived and real vulnerability, Wollstonecraft’s metaphor indirectly comments on women’s own status as “strange things”: revered as angels (virtuous, chaste, and innocent), treated as property, denied a soul and rendered animals—women were strange. How did women attempt to render themselves familiar, normal, human? How did women writers, from their own position as strange creatures, write about other kinds of strangers: foreigners, slaves, exotic animals, monsters? And how, in doing so, did they participate in the construction of ideas of normalcy, the marginalization of racial others, or the radical integration of those who are deemed different, into society? We will read Frances Burney’s Evelina (1778), Clara Reeve The Old English Baron (1778), Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1798/1817), Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda (1801), and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), in light of important contextual philosophical debates from Jean Jacques Rousseau to Mary Wollstonecraft, slave narratives, sentimental poetry, and travel narratives.

ENGL 355 Special Topics before 1660:

“The Queer Renaissance”
Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger
11:15am-12:20pm
Admin 214

How did early modern texts approach questions of sexuality–and how did these approaches engage with perspectives on human identity? In this course, we will investigate this question by reading dramatic texts from Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Using drama will allow us to ask how stage conventions (like using an all-male cast) could affect portrayals of desire, and how performances could both reflect and forge cultural responses to queer encounters. We will also be reading and reflecting on the work of queer theorists from Judith Butler and Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick to Valerie Traub and others. By the end of the course, students should be able to articulate a range of early modern perspectives on sexuality and identity, equipping themselves to see the vibrant diversity of premodern literature.

ENGL 363 – British Literature 1914 – 1945, LT:

“Producers and Consumers in British and Irish Modernism”
Prof. Christian Gerzso
MW, 6:00-8:00pm

Admin 214

How does modernist literature depict the modes of production and consumption that emerged and consolidated one century ago: industrial factories, new transport and communication technologies, department stores, cinema, sport, and leisure-class parties? In turn, how do the innovative artworks of modernism respond to these mass entertainments by providing a different kind of aesthetic “product”? What do modernist writers “produce”? We will explore these topics, as well as the class and gender tensions that arise in these contexts of mass consumers, exploited industrial workers, the privileged leisure classes, and bohemian artists, by reading works by E.M. Forster, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Henry Green, and Rebecca West, among others.

English 385 Special Topics in Nonfiction Writing:

“Writing Tacoma”
Prof. Jason Skipper
MW 6:00-8:00
Downtown Tacoma

In this creative nonfiction writing course, students will write about Tacoma and the places in the region that make this area distinct, taking into account its rich history, diverse culture, and eclectic communities. Over the term, we will study various approaches to writing nonfiction, and then students will use these skills to immerse themselves in specific places and produce writing that provides readers with a unique perspective on Tacoma. Please note that this course is affiliated with the Tacoma Immersion Experience Semester (TIES) and will take place off-campus in downtown Tacoma.

Engl 427 Poetry Writing Capstone:

Prof. Rick Barot
MW 6-8PM
Admin TKTK

This is the advanced poetry workshop geared towards the senior capstone in poetry, though it can also be taken without culminating in the capstone presentation. 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.

English 429 Capstone Seminar in Fiction Writing:

Prof. Jason Skipper
TR 3:40-5:25     

The Capstone Senior Seminar 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, give a presentation that examines a short story author and a genre in literary fiction, and produce new stories. The semester will culminate with a capstone presentation, during which students will contextualize their writing in terms of literary history, theory, and technique, present a story that they produced in this class, and take questions from the audience.

ENG 451 Capstone Seminar in Literature:

“Gesturing Towards a “Living Language:” The Works of Toni Morrison”
Prof. Jenny James
TR 1:45-3:30PM
Admin 204A 

In this senior capstone course in American literature, students will explore the gifts of language, artistic form and history alive in the work of author Toni Morrison. Focusing in particular on the ways Morrison’s literature bears witness to African American history, collectivity, and artistic collaboration, students will read two of her most important novels that animate the history of slavery and African American struggles of survival since the Middle Passage: Song of Solomon and A Mercy.  In this small seminar, we will engage with Morrison’s literary oeuvre within various socio-historical and biographical contexts, while also studying a collection of literary and critical theories to help us grapple with the complex questions that her work invokes.  In close collaboration with fellow students and faculty mentors, students will creatively embark on their own independent research projects that will reflect on the dynamic legacy of Morrison’s works, choosing their own novel and theme to focus on in their final capstone essays.

EDUC 497 Writing Center Theory and Practice:

Prof. Scott Rogers
Day/Time TBD

EDUC 497 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.

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. 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 our assignments will be completed online).