Fall color on the campus at PLU on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011.

Fall 2016 Courses

FYEP 101- 04: Literature and Medicine

Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger


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 two longer portfolios will allow you to draft, revise, and hone your work as you think in complex ways about questions of health and wellness.

FYEP 101-06: A Woman's Place

Prof. Adela Ramos
T/R 1:45 – 3:30
Admin 211B

*Residential Linked Course*

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 inquire how women elsewhere address this longstanding dilemma.

FYEP 101-08: The US-Mexico Borderlands

The US-Mexico Borderlands
Wendy Call
Admin 212
T-R 1:45 to 3:30 pm

*This course is linked to Spring 2017 FYEP 190: Coming of Age on the Border. Students who take this course will be required to take FYEP 190.*

The US-Mexico border is the world’s longest frontier between a very wealthy nation and a poor one. Its 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, consider Mexican influence in the Pacific Northwest, explore the borders that surround each of us, and – most of all – write: journal entries, personal essay, analytical essay, critical essay, and a literature review. This section of Writing / FYEP 101 is linked to a Spring 2017 ENGL 190 course in border literature, taught by Prof. Adela Ramos. All students who enroll in this course must complete Prof. Ramos’ ENGL 190, as well.

FYEP 101 - 10

FYEP Writing 101 “Creativity, Constraint and the Design of Everyday Life”

Prof. Scott Rogers
Admin 211A
MW 3:40-5:25

*Residential Linked Course*

This section of Writing 101 will focus on the theme of “creativity” as it applies to 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 re-shape 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 - 16: Experience Captured: Writing about Film and Photography

Experience Captured: Writing about Film and Photography
Prof. Christian Gerzso
T/R 9:55 am

*Residential Linked Course*

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.

ENGL 217 Topics in Literature A, LT: Indigenous Literature of North America

“Indigenous Literature of North America”
Prof. Scott Rogers
Admin 214
MWF 11:15-12:20

In a 2016 article for Waxwing Literary Journal, poet Erika T. Wurth (Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee) outlines four “waves” of Native American writing. Explained in terms of their historical chronology and their thematic connectivity, these “waves” stretch from the earliest days of European settlement to the present day, and capture the full range of Indigenous experience on the North American continent. This course–an introduction to Native American and First Nations writing–will use Wurth’s framework as a starting point as we consider how Indigenous authors tell stories about their experience in prose, poetry, and drama. We will pay particular attention to questions of power, authority and identity as they change over time and across diverse geographic and social contexts in urban, rural, and reservation communities. Our investigations will include readings and discussion on Indigenous writing from the Pacific Northwest.

Importantly, our course will approach Indigenous writing using Indigenous critical tools and reading strategies. That is, we will commit to reading this work through the traditions, values, and histories that shape it, rather than simply relying on popular assumption or stereotype.

Required readings will include work by Charles Alexander Eastman, Zitkala-Ša, Mourning Dove, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Duane Niatum, Joy Harjo, Simon Ortiz, Joseph Boyden, Leanne Simpson, and others. Students should expect to read novels, short fiction, memoir, and poetry. The course will be assessed based on short papers, participation and citizenship, as well as two exams.

ENGL 251 - British Traditions in Literature: Tying the Knot or Not from Burney to Woolf

Marriage Plots: Tying the Knot or Not from Burney to Woolf
Prof. Adela Ramos
M/W 3:40 – 5:25PM

This course can count toward a Women and Gender Studies major or minor

The romantic comedy or “romcom,” so frequently gendered as a female genre (i.e., the chick flick), owes its unceasing popularity to, among other things, marriage’s status as one of the most powerful institutions in contemporary Anglo-American societies. In the USA, senators and representatives in Congress, as well as members of religious institutions and civilians all over the country, debate whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalized. For some, changing the legal understanding of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman threatens to upturn society as a whole. For others, the legalization of same-sex marriage is a crucial step in securing equal rights for all human beings. The idea that marriage can define an entire nation and its culture has been shaped not only by law and politics, but also, and quite powerfully, by literature. In particular, the marriage plot has played a key role in asserting longstanding traditions of marriage as well as in contesting established marital ideals, in representing ideals of family and subverting those ideals, in constructing ideas of femininity and masculinity or representing alternative ideas of gender, in inquiring whether or not love and passion are integral for a successful marriage. In this course, we will explore British literary traditions, from tragedy and comedy to amatory poetry and the marriage plot, to examine how writers have either celebrated or contested ideals of marriage, love, and family, gender, nation, and class. We begin the semester with amatory poetry, move on to Frances Burney’s hugely influential Evelina, then Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Oscar Wilde’s play, The Ideal Husband, and, crossing the Atlantic, we will conclude with Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Your final presentations will focus on how contemporary comic and tragic marriage plots are structured to either celebrate or contest social, cultural, and political ideals, stereotypes, conventions, and prejudices.

ENGL 235: Children's Literature

Children’s Literature
Prof. Nathalie op de Beeck
TR, 9:55-11:40 p.m.
Admin 214

In this blended course, students will work on site and online to maximize learning and research in our topic of Children’s Literature. This course invites participants to engage in a critical and historical consideration of texts for young readers (e.g., picture books, novels, nonfiction, poetry, comics) and share informed research on those texts through their own writing and multimedia presentations.

We will study children’s literature as a scholarly discipline, and we will examine how the histories of children’s publishing and book awards imply particular understandings of an ideal 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 influence 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 #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and explorations of gender identity in books for young readers. Throughout our course, we will consider how we—in the university classroom—read fiction and other genres in ways that young children do not and cannot. We will begin to observe the ways this literature both reflects and reinforces common belief systems, and we will see the potential of Children’s Literature to convey much more than the basic ABCs.

ENGL 289: Special Topics: Introduction to Creative NonFiction

Introduction to Creative Nonfiction
Wendy Call
Ramstad 203
T-R 9:55 to 11:40 am

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 many other 300-level nonfiction writing courses and for the Nonfiction Capstone (ENGL 425) beginning in Fall 2017.

ENGL 300 - English Studies Seminar: Metamorphoses

Dr. Solveig Robinson
MW 3:40-5:25
Admin 219

Metamorphosis is defined as a “change of physical form, structure, or substance” or “a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances.” This section of the English Studies Seminar will look at literary metamorphoses, exploring how both themes and genres change and develop in response to cultural and social forces. The course texts will be linked by three themes—madness/criminality, self-knowledge/self-development, and physical conflict—but drawn from different genres (poetry, fiction, drama, film), eras, and cultures. Through close readings, discussion, and writing, we will examine how writers and readers adapt their modes of expression, interpretation, and evaluation. Along the way, we will come to a richer appreciation of how literature works to deepen our understanding of ourselves and our world. Texts will include works by Ovid, Shakespeare, Austen, the Brownings, Shaw, Paton, Walker, and Atwood.

ENGL 301: Shakespeare

Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger
MWF 9:15-10:20.
ADMN 214

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, 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.

PPAP 301: The Book in Society (formerly ENGL 311/COMA 321)*

The Book in Society
Dr. Solveig Robinson
MW 1:45-3:30
Admin 212

What exactly is a “book”? Who produces it, who reads it, and why? In this course we will examine the many ways in which books have been central to modern society: how they have informed, entertained, inspired, irritated, liberated, and challenged readers. We will also look at the processes by which books are produced and distributed to readers, and how those processes shape both the ideas that are contained in books and the ways in which readers respond to them.

*(This is one of the required core courses for the PPA Minor. It can also be taken for English or Communication elective credit or to fulfill the “History and Theory” line in the English/Writing Major.)

ENGL 361 - Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature 1660 - 1800: The Green Enlightenment

The Green Enlightenment
Prof. Adela Ramos
M/W 1:45 – 3:30PM

“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, of satire, of the novel, of modern science—from an ecocritical lens to investigate the relationship between knowledge and destruction, beauty and ugliness, improvement and progress, literature and the emergence of environmental awareness, among other important topics. Reading Joseph Addison’s “The Pleasures of the Imagination,” Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, topographical poetry, and aesthetic and landscaping treatises, we will ask questions relevant to our age, now ominously and rightly dubbed, “The Anthropocene.” We will end the course with Mary Shelley’s dystopic novel, The Last Man. Through reading, class discussion, and writing we will consider how the writers of the eighteenth century defined human exceptionality while also writing many of the literary works that would shape the modern environmentalist movement. This course is designed with English majors in mind.

ENG 374: American Literature from 1945 to the Present Towards a Transnational American Literature

“American Literature from 1945 to the Present towards a Transnational American Literature”
Prof. Jenny James
T/R 1540-1725
ADMN 214

In this seminar on contemporary American literature, we will explore how U.S. literature becomes an increasingly transnational and hemispheric literary canon in the wake of World War II. Illuminating the impact of immigration, exile and revolutionary movements on Americans at home and abroad, authors of the period sought to capture the changing landscape of identity in this complex post-war world. Rather than simply look back to the “usable past” of our nation’s Puritan origins, these authors invoke a wide and diverse set of cultural backgrounds and identities in their portrayal of collective experience in contemporary America. Building on Frederic Jameson’s claim that the post-45 era witnessed a heightened emphasis on place as an organizing structure for lived experience, we will read novels, short stories and poems that account for the way literature reflects not just the citizen, but the wanderer, the outcast and the nomad that defy geographic and cultural boundaries. Authors may include Junot Diaz, James Baldwin, Jack Kerouac, Toni Morrison, Ruth Ozeki, Karen Tei Yamashita, Elizabeth Bishop and Tim O’Brien.

ENGL 451: Senior Seminar - Shakespearean Identities

Shakespearean Identities.
Prof. Nancy Simpson-Younger
MWF 11:15-12:20.
Room TBA

What does it mean to have an identity in the early modern period–and how do Shakespeare’s plays participate in the era’s anxieties about defining the self? By delving deeply into Hamlet and The Tempest, our class will explore a range of answers to these questions, which informed both early modern literature and early modern perceptions of personhood. We’ll hone our findings by reading selections from literary critics in a variety of sub-fields, including queer theory, postcolonialism, posthumanism, feminism, disability studies, and historical formalism. Then, each student will develop a capstone presentation and project that hosts a conversation between selected critics of a third Shakespearean work–illuminating an aspect of early modern identity by making an incisive, critically-attuned argument.

ENGL 425: Nonfiction Capstone Seminar:

Citizenship: Our World in Words / Our Words in the WorldNonfiction Capstone 425
Wendy Call
Admin 211B
T-R 6:00 to 8:00 pm

What does it mean to be a writer in the world? What does the world mean to the writer? In this Capstone course, we will focus on the literary genre of creative nonfiction as we explore answers to these questions. We will read political, personal, and lyric essays, as well as memoir, by authors including James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Deborah Miranda, and Claudia Rankine. We will explore questions of citizenship, belonging, and representation, as we observe (and participate in) the strangest and most important presidential election in recent history. This course focuses on drafting, workshopping, revising, and presenting aloud creative nonfiction, as students develop and refine their Capstone projects. Prerequisites: ENGL 300 and one upper-division course from lines 1, 3 or 4 of writing emphasis, or instructor permission.

EDUC 497: Writing Center Theory and Practice

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. 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).

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.–