ENGL 214: Introduction to Major Literary Genres – LT – MWF 11:15-12:20
Prof. James Albrecht
This course is designed to introduce you to the study of poetry at the college level. Its primary aim is to help you become a more careful, engaged, and knowledgeable reader of poetry. That requires, first of all, a lot of practice: we will read and discuss a lot of poems. The course will also introduce you to the basics of poetic form: the use of figurative language; the way poets use rhythm and meter to enhance the beauty and meaning of their poems; how poets make creative use of traditional poetic forms (poetic lines, stanzas, rhyme, and “genres” or types of poems) — or the types of structures they use in “free verse.” The purpose for studying such formal matters is to increase our understanding of and appreciation for the poems we read. One can listen to a Beethoven sonata and proclaim it to be beautiful, but the more one knows about the sonata form and how Beethoven used it, the more one can appreciate the beauty of the particular piece and Beethoven’s achievement as a composer. It is the same with poetry. Poets use elements of form to create meaning, and so a greater knowledge of poetic form helps us better interpret the ideas and attitudes expressed in a poem. It also helps us better appreciate a particular poem as a work of art that uses, plays off of, and perhaps revises the types of form that other poets have used. The hope is that you will find most of the poems we read to be beautiful and profound and that you will be better able to understand why you find them to be so — how they work on us as readers, and why poetry is, for so many people, one of the most intriguing forms of human expression. The course will also introduce you (though not in any comprehensive fashion) to a variety of poets in the Anglo-American tradition, poets from different historical periods writing in a variety of different genres. In short, we will read many wonderful poems by some of the most famous poets who have written in the English language.
ENGL 227: Introduction to Poetry and Fiction – WR – TR 6-8pm
Prof. Rick Barot
A beginning workshop in writing poetry or short fiction. Includes a study of techniques and forms to develop critical standards and an understanding of the writing process. Prerequisite: WRIT 101 or its equivalent, Advanced Placement, or consent of instructor.
ENGL 233: Post-Colonial Literature – LT – MWF 9:15-10:15
Prof. Liam O’Loughlin
“Writers and politicians are natural rivals,” writes Salman Rushdie, as “both fight for the same territory.” If so, 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. Course readings will draw from India, Pakistan, Ireland, and Nigeria, and will likely include writers such as James Joyce, Mulk Raj Anand, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Teju Cole, and Mohsin Hamid.
ENGL 234: Environmental Literature – LT – TR 3:40-5:25pm
Prof. Adela Ramos
Topic: “Crusoe’s Island”
Three hundred years after its first publication, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) continues to shape how we tell stories of survival and human ingenuity. The novel’s legacy is expressed in the Robinsonade or story about a character marooned in an inhospitable island or planet. Myriad contemporary children’s stories, sci-fi novels, films, and video games recount Crusoe’s story from different perspectives. At times, these texts challenge its ideas about exploitation and exploration, slavery and racism, providence and self-determination. At times, they apply these ideas to contemporary scenarios. How does Defoe’s novel celebrate human ingenuity? How does it depict humankind’s relationship to animals and the environment? How do old and new responses to the novel recount its ideas of ecology, species, race, gender, and nation? How do contemporary responses adapt the novel to address questions of global climate change, technology, and empire? To answer these questions, in this course we will read Robinson Crusoe in relation to eighteenth-century responses, such as Unca Eliza Winkfield’s The Female American (1767), and more recent texts, such as Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods (2007). Students will read and write a lot, watch film adaptations, attend a lecture by an expert on Robinson Crusoe, and develop a final digital project that reimagines Crusoe’s island with a contemporary environmental problem in mind. **Please note that ebooks, tablets, and computers are not allowed as substitutes for print materials in this course unless documentation for accessibility or other needs is provided. If you have questions, please email Prof. Adela Ramos.**
ENGL 300: English Studies Seminar – TR 1:45-3:30pm
Prof. Nathalie op de Beeck
Topic: “Writing the Unresolved”
How do we tell stories when the outcomes are in doubt? How may we think critically about a lack of closure in our narratives? What do writers and readers make of stories that are unresolved, and why do these stories have to do with memory, with haunting, with trauma, and with anxiety? This required seminar for Writing and Literature majors focuses on the imaginative, critical, and social power of reading and writing. Students will read and write in a variety of genres, engage criticism and theory, and reflect on the broad question of why reading and writing matter. Strongly recommended for sophomore year or fall semester of junior year.
ENGL 311 (PPAP 301, COMA 321): The Book in Society – MW 1:45-3:30pm
Prof. Solveig Robinson
A critical study of the history of book culture and the role of books in modern society.
ENGL 320: Intermediate Creative Nonfiction / ENGL 425: Capstone Seminar in Creative
Nonfiction – MW 1:45-3:30pm
Prof. Rona Kaufman
In this course, writers will expand their repertoire of techniques for crafting creative non-fiction, broaden their reading of 20th and 21st century creative non-fiction writers, and use these resources in concert with their own inspiration and the insights of fellow readers to create memorable texts. We will ask how particular non-fiction genres – and the crisscrossing of those genres – open up avenues for exploration. We will practice reading closely as writers read, asking why this image, this dialogue, this explication emerges at this moment in the text – how does each writerly move serve the piece under scrutiny? We will ponder how creative non-fiction shapes, informs, or subverts cultural narratives and why that matters. Throughout the semester, reading and writing creative non-fiction will serve as modes of discovery and as pathways to insights about self and world.
All students in the course will begin by creating a profile of themselves as writers and readers. Students enrolled in English 320 will produce a portfolio with entries in multiple creative non-fiction genres. Students enrolled in English 425 will produce a 25-30 page manuscript in one such genre – or hybrid genre – and present their work to a public audience to fulfill their capstone requirement. (Prereq: ENGL 220)
ENGL 329: Intermediate Fiction Writing – WR – TR 6-8pm
Prof. Jason Skipper
An intermediate-level workshop that focuses on the analysis and writing of fiction. (Prereq: ENGL 227)
ENGL 370B: Studies in American Literature – LT – TR 9:55-11:40am
Prof. James Albrecht
Topic: “American Literature 1820-1860: An Era of Crisis and Reform”
The decades preceding the American Civil War were a time of enormous social ferment and change—and a period that produced some of the most enduring works of American literature. Antebellum America was obsessed with questions of race and national identity, raised by “The Indian Question,” the intensifying fight over slavery, and America’s imperialistic war against Mexico. At the same time, new Romantic philosophies swept America in the 1830’s and 1840’s, inspiring a wave of reform movements and utopian communities with lofty ambitions for transforming almost every aspect of human life: economics, religion, marriage and gender roles, the penal system, and education. And writers from marginalized groups—Native Americans, African-Americans, and women—were finding their way into print as never before. In this course, we’ll explore some of the most influential texts of this turbulent era. We’ll consider how Native author William Apess challenged dominant depictions of Anglo-Indian conflict (as in Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans); we’ll study the electric fusion of literary imagination and social reform in the Transcendentalist works of Emerson, Fuller, Thoreau, and Whitman; and we’ll study major anti-slavery texts—“slave narrative” autobiographies by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s unprecedented political block-buster, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Throughout, we’ll focus on the intersections of the literary and the political: how American writers used the imaginative resources of literature to comment on and intervene in the conflicts of this crucial period in American history.
ENGL 387: Topics in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture – MW 3:40-5:25pm
Prof. Scott Rogers
Topic: “Cultural Rhetorics”
This course will begin with a central question: How do we listen across difference? That is, how can we come to understand unique cultural forms when we may not be privy to the strategies or contexts that shape their creation?
As students of rhetoric, we will be interested first in communication. We want to learn how people make meaning in particular situations. More specifically, as students of cultural rhetoric, we will be interested in understanding how culture informs communication. So, we’ll study the the unique rhetorical strategies that emerge from our own social and historical contexts, the ones we are born into and the ones we choose for ourselves. More importantly, we’ll examine rhetorical situations where we lack the appropriate cultural knowledge to make sense of particular messages or methodologies. To increase our understanding, we’ll seek out guides, those with the insider knowledge we lack. We’ll learn how to ask responsible questions of people and textual materials. We’ll respect the limits of what we can understand and accept that our privilege does not give us the right to know things we are not meant to know.
Because we arrive to this course from different disciplines and departments, our discussion will begin with the foundations of rhetoric as “the art, practice, and study of human communication” (Lunsford). We’ll then work to problematize and decolonize traditional rhetorical models by rethinking how communication works (or has worked) in a wide range of contexts, from 19th century feminist discourse, to 80’s hip-hop, to contemporary Indigenous rhetorics of survivance. We’ll track the full range of human communication from the mainstream to the underground. We’ll think about song and film and dance and food. We’ll learn how to pay attention and to honor practices that have traditionally been ignored, disparaged, or commodified by the dominant culture.
This course satisfies the Line 4: History and Theory requirement for the Writing Major.
ENGL 397: Literatures of Genocide and the Holocaust – LT, A – TR 1:45-3:30pm
Prof. Lisa Marcus
Topic: “The Holocaust in the American Literary Imagination”
A study of representations and narratives that attempt to engage and make sense of the Holocaust and other genocides. Texts may include a variety of literature written in multiple genres (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, life writing) and media (film, television, plays, photography, blogs) from a range of historical periods and national/global contexts.
ENGL 400: Studies in Theory and Criticism – MWF 11:15-12:20
Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger
Topic: “Shakespeare and Sidney”
This seminar will introduce students to major schools of literary theory and criticism, guiding them in the skills of using critical texts to inform their own thinking and writing about literature. We’ll begin with a survey of some influential theoretical approaches, using individual sonnets by William Shakespeare and Sir Philip Sidney as case studies to examine how theory and text can mutually illuminate each other. Next, we’ll explore some of the critical debates that have emerged in response to two of Shakespeare’s plays, considering these debates through the lenses of selected theoretical approaches. The semester will culminate in two projects: annotated bibliographies of critical work, and short individual conference papers, which students will share in a mini symposium at the end of the term. In these presentations, students will use a selected critical or theoretical approach to situate their own reading of Shakespeare or Sidney’s work. In sum, we’ll read a lot of fascinating texts—theory, criticism, and primary works—and we’ll practice skills that will equip students for success in their literature capstones.