We offer approximately 150 to 200 sections of English courses each long semester and a handful of courses over the summer. All of our courses emphasize analytical reading, critical thinking, effective communication, and the development of various writing styles and skills. Our writing-oriented courses cover a variety of skills and degree requirements for students across the university including Core Curriculum courses, Writing Intensive courses, creative writing, and technical business writing. Our literature courses span across genres, time periods, and areas of study including such topics as: health humanities, digital humanities, linguistics, cultural studies, LGBTQ+ literatures, Latinx literatures, rhetoric, literature and film, African-American literatures, surveys of literary periods, and young adult/children's literature.
For a full listing of English courses and brief descriptions, visit the university’s undergraduate catalog.
Below you will find detailed course descriptions for some of our classes being offered during the Spring 2024 semester. While this list is not exhaustive, it is meant to aid students in selecting courses that meet their interests, particularly for our special topics courses which change from semester to semester. Please use the Class Search function in Howdy to see a full list of English and Linguistics classes being offered in Spring 2024.
ENGL 202: Environmental Literature
Taught by: Jason Crider
Description: Throughout this course we will explore the role the environment plays within literature and vice versa. This course is by no means an extensive overview of all things environmental in literature, but rather an exploration into some of the ways writers have written within, for, and against their physical, “natural” environments. In doing so, this course will introduce students to the theory and practice of environmental writing through an approach generally referred to as ecocriticism. Spanning from early Native American oratories, to transcendental literature, to twenty-first-century climate fiction, with some pit stops in poetry, film, video games, and beat lit, this course asks what might be gained from a sustained look at the strange relationship writers have with their ecological surroundings. Throughout the semester, students will examine a wide range of environmental ideologies as we read, discuss, and respond to works that are playful, tragic, radical, hopeful, evil, and strange.
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
Philippe Squarzoni, Climate Changed
Andrea Wulf, The Invention of Nature
Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation
Claire Vaye Watkins, Gold Fame Citrus
Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
ENGL 203: Writing about Literature
Taught by: Melissa McCoul
Description: Have you ever watched Bridget Jones’ Diary? Or one of the many Pride and Prejudice film adaptations? Ever worn a Frankenstein Halloween costume? In this class, we’ll explore these and many other historical and contemporary responses to four of the most popular and oft-adapted 19th century tales: Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, Jane Eyre and Little Women. In addition to reading these four works, we will read a series of textual and graphic adaptations aimed at a range of audiences. This course serves as an introduction to the modes of reading and writing common to the discipline of English, and as such we will practice analyzing literary elements, enhancing communication and persuasive skills, and interrogating the stories’ thematic issues to understand their continuing hold on our collective imagination.
ENGL 210: Technical and Professional Writing
Taught by: Jason Crider
Description: Technical and Professional Writing is a course designed to introduce students to the formal discipline of using writing to solve problems and communicate complex situations. In this class, students will familiarize themselves with writing and research methods across a wide range of genres, learn the conventions of usability and accessibility, and practice written communication within and among professional organizations and discourse communities.
ENGL 220: Graphic Novels
Taught by: Matt McKinney
Description: This course will focus on graphic novels and manga as a medium, and its literary and historical evolution across the 20th and 21st century. During the semester we will examine the history of this increasingly influential form of storytelling in the literary tradition, its various transformations, the relationship between its visual and written elements, and the material culture that has contributed to its formation. We will analyze a number of graphic narratives (primarily from the United States and Japan) in terms of their structure, and their focus on themes of alienation, heroism, violence, race and sexuality.
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
Paru Itagaki, Beastars (first arc)
Brian Vaughn & Fiona Staples, Saga (part TBD)
Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons, Watchmen
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis
Takehiko Inoue, Vagabond (Vol 1, Vizbig edition)
ENGL222/MODL 222: World Literature
Taught by: Katayoun Torabi
Description: What does it mean to be human in the digital age—in an age of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, social media, smart phones, smart weapons, medical advancements in genetic engineering, and the question of simulation theory? We will explore, through a series of stories from across the globe, what it means to live in a world in which we feel both a sense of connectedness and isolation. We will think about what is gained and lost in the human experience as we find ourselves inundated with new technologies and how the use of technology has both enhanced and undermined our humanity. ENGL/MODL 222 introduces students to works of contemporary world literatures that are either written in English or translated from other languages into English, focusing on the question of the effects of technology on the modern world. The comparative literary framework of this class will help expand the students’ literary landscape and enhance their capacity for critical thinking about themes and concerns related to contemporary global culture. English 222 is cross listed with Modern Languages 222 and will take place in the Spring 2024 semester on MWF 9:10 am to 10 am. No prior knowledge of the subject necessary. Class activities will include lecture, discussion, and group work.
Proposed Readings: Klara and the Sun (Kazuo Ishiguro), Om on Ra (Victor Pelevin), Zendegi (Greg Egan), Persepolis (Marjan Satrapi), Little Eyes (Samanta Schweblin), Movies and TV: Black Mirror, District 9, Frankenstein, and Princess Mononoke.
ENGL 303: Approaches to English Studies: Ecology and Empire
Taught by: Susan Egenolf
Description: This course foregrounds 18th- and 19th-century writings and modern scholarship that focus on the relationship of human beings to the rest of the natural world. We will study a range of genres—the novel, drama, essay, travel writing, memoir, a video game and poetry—that examine the ecological attitudes that influenced global networks and helped to shape our sense of the “natural world.” We will examine the relationship between representations of the environment and representations of empire as they map the complex interactions and dependencies between people and places in the expanding British Empire. When we read and analyze texts from the 18th and 19th centuries, we will make connections with environmental issues in our own time. The course will also attend to visual representations of the natural world (such as painting) and material culture (particularly collecting). The course will introduce Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) as an alternative to European systems for knowing the world. Students will study natural history writings and early collections that became the bases for modern museums and then create their own collections from flora and fauna of our world.
Proposed Readings: Here are some possible texts to give you an idea of what we will read (for many of the works below, we will read selected chapters):
Aphra Behn. Oroonoko (1688)
Captain James Cook. The Journals of Captain Cook (1768-1779), ed. Philip Edwards.
Charles Darwin. The Voyage of the Beagle (1839)
Maria Callcott Graham. Journal of a Residence in Chile (1824)
Alexander von Humboldt. Views of the Cordilleras and Monuments of the Indigenous Peoples of America (1810 and 1814).
Mary Prince. The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave (1831)
Charlotte Smith. Conversations Introducing Poetry to Young Persons (1804)
Jonathan Swift. “A Modest Proposal” (1729) and Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
Unca Eliza Winkfield. The Female American (1767)
Dorothy Wordsworth. Grasmere Journals.
William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Lyrical Ballads (1798 and 1800)
Writings on Slavery and Abolition: Thomas Clarkson, Olaudah Equiano, Anne Yearsley, Hannah More, Eaglesfield Smith, Robert Southey, Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, David George.
Readings from contemporary texts:
Robin Wall Kimmerer. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (2014)
Max Liboiron. Pollution is Colonialism (2021)
Meillas K. Nelson and Dan Shilling, eds. Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Practices for Environmental Sustainability (2018)
Suzanne Simard. Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest (2021)
Video Game text:
Never Alone (2014; new edition 2016—Upper One Games and E-Line Media; neveralonegame.com/)
ENGL 303: Approaches to English Studies: Art or Trash
Taught by: Sally Robinson
Description: In this section of ENGL 303, we will consider: who gets to decide on questions of literary value; relationships between mass culture and literary culture; the centrality of social class to cultural hierarchy; and the gendering of elite culture as “masculine” and popular culture as “feminine.” The course will be divided into two sections: 1) Modernism, Middlebrow, and Mass Culture; and 2) Literary Fiction and Genre Fiction. We will also read widely in literary theory and criticism, and students will be introduced to key texts in cultural studies, debates the purposes and social functions of reading, and new ways of thinking about the vastly expanding literary and cultural landscape in the early 21st century.
Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust
Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (available as a free ebook from the Gutenberg Project: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/66829)
Olive Higgins Prouty, Stella Dallas (accessible as a free ebook from the University Libraries: https://muse-jhu-edu.srv-proxy1.library.tamu.edu/book/41033)
Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, The Dirty Girls Social Club
Stephen King, Misery
ENGL 331: Fantasy Literature
Taught by: Elizabeth Robinson
Description: Beginning with a brief look back at early texts that influenced the development of the fantasy novel (fairy tales,epic, Medieval romance, German Romanticism), this course primarily explores modern fantasy, a genre which begins to come into its own in the 19th century. We will explore the work George MacDonald one of the major early fantasy writers, the work of the three giants of modern fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Ursula LeGuin, and the satiric/humorous fantasy of Terry Pratchett. Finally, we will read a YA novel by Garth Nix and Susanna Clarke's most recent novel. We will explore fantasy novels written for adults, for young adults, and for children
The following texts are required for the course:
• George MacDonald, Phantastes, Annotated Edition, Winged Lion Press (9781935688150)
• J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Houghton Mifflin (9780618260300)
• C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Harper Publishing (9780064409421)
• Ursula LeGuin, Wizard of Earthsea, Houghton Mifflin (9780547773742)
• Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!, Harper Publishing (9780062225757)
• Garth Nix, Sabriel, Harper Publishing (9780062315557)
Susanna Clarke, Piranesi, Bloomsbury (9781635577808)
ENGL 331-500: Fantasy Literature
Taught by: Jason Harris
Description: This course will explore motifs and strategies of the genre of fantasy literature. We will be tracking theories of fantasy and the fantastic, the narrative role of folklore, systems of magic, patterns of heroism and villainy, metaphysics, and the evolution of fantasy literature while also analyzing ambiguous elements of representation and multiple functions of fantasy. Part of our quest will be to pursue what defines the genre and subgenres. Some of these texts will be on the borders of the fantasy continuum, and the fantasy elements may be more subtle, while others will be brandishing swords and casting spells. Some may strike you as cryptically ambiguous, and the magic may be partly within the psyche of the readers’ perspectives.
Our journey into worlds that aim to interrogate, distort, transcend, and transform realism includes novels, short stories, articles, and films. We will look at work from the 19th Century to the present—with a close look at short stories as well as novels, so we will be spending quite a bit of time with the Vandemeer anthology of Modern Fantasy.
Required textbooks (*currently checking if Alan Moore remains available):
Beagle, Peter. The Last Unicorn. Penguin. 1968: 1991 ed. Paperback ISBN: 9780451450524
Clarke, Susanna. Piranesi. Bloomsbury. Paperback. 2021. ISBN: 9781526622433
Heathcock, Alan. 40. MCD. 2022. Paperback. ISBN: 9781250872142
MacDonald, George. Phantastes: Annotated Edition. Eds. John Pennington and Roderick
McGillis. 1858. Winged Lion, 2017. Paperback. ISBN: 9781935688150
*Moore, Alan. Providence Compendium. Graphic novel. Paperback. ISBN: 9781592913398
VanderMeer, Jeff and Ann. Big Book of Modern Fantasy. Penguin—Vintage. Paperback. 2020.
ENGL 333/WGST 333: LGBTQ Literatures
Taught by: Vanita Reddy
Description: This class introduces students to some examples of “LGBTQ Literature” by questioning the adequacy of the moniker “gay and lesbian literature.” To observe the historical and cultural specificity of such concepts as “gay and lesbian,” “LGBT [etc.],” “straight,” and “heterosexual” we will start by looking at texts produced in times and places that differ, sometimes radically, from what we claim as our own culture(s). Examining texts from primarily the mid-twentieth century to the present, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which histories of race, migration, and globalization are being negotiated.
We will familiarize ourselves with the texts’ social, geographical, and historical contexts; and also consider how the literary texts are responses to—inventive ways of negotiating—particular historical problems and issues. Material from this course will include written texts and visual culture, such as feature films, documentaries, and online visual media.
Required Texts to be Purchased:
James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (1956)
Other Required Texts, available via CANVAS:
Cherrie Moraga, Giving up the Ghost (1986) (CANVAS)
The Salt Mines (1990), Dirs. Carlos Aparicio and Susana Aikin (available through CANVAS by clicking on link to film, or through TAMU Library’s streaming service, Kanopy)
Pariah (2011), Dir. Dee Rees (available through CANVAS; click on “Mediasite Videos”)
Fashion blogs by Alok Menon (links provided on CANVAS)
ENGL 338: American Ethnic Literature
Taught by: Grace Heneks
Description: Books are under attack in the US. They are being removed from library shelves; challenged in school districts in a myriad of states including Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Utah; and denounced as inappropriate by school boards, legislators, and individual parents. Books by multiethnic authors and authors of color are at particular risk, books that already fought long and hard to be included in school curricula and on library shelves. This course will focus on recently banned literature by multiethnic US writers. Engaging with this literature will allow students to understand the complexities of race and ethnicity and how they intersect with gender, citizenship, and LGBTQ+ identities, thereby fostering the freedom to read, learn, and think critically about American literature and history.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Maus by Art Spiegleman
Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi
The Absolutely True Dairy of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
ENGL 342: Rhetoric of Gender and Health
Taught by: Sara DiCaglio
Description: How do rhetoric, health, and gender intersect? This course looks at the intersection of gender and health as a rhetorical object—something that is crafted and shaped through specific choices in language, writing, and other modes of communication. These rhetorics have specific and real effects. We will attend to a variety of texts and moments in cultural discourse, focusing on how literacy, expertise, and knowledge work in relation to one another in the creation of ideas about health and gender and other intersectional identities. Readings will include health books written for and by women, rhetorical analyses of public documents about health and gender, and foundational texts in the field of the rhetoric of health and medicine.
ENGL 345: Writers' Studies: Prose or Poetry: Uncanny, Disquieting, Weird, and Dreadful Tales
Taught by: Jason Harris
Description: The short prose works we will read and write in this course will be characterized by their ability to disturb expectations of normalcy via offering startling visions that challenge the complacent status quo of consensus reality. Some writers in our class may choose to focus on the fantastic story of supernatural horrors while others may prefer to dwell in realism but defamiliarize mundanity through carefully rendered prose that captures the chaotic spaces between rational perceptions. And yet other writers may wish to inhabit an interstitial creative space—defying rigid categorization and conjuring a spell of irreducible disconcertion. Our readings will include stories of the weird, horror, magical realism, uncanny folklore, and the literary fantastic. Your work will culminate in a portfolio of three revised new short stories.
Jackson, Shirley. Dark Tales. ISBN: 9780143132004
Joshi, S. T. Ed. American Supernatural Tales. Anthology 2007. ISBN 9780143105046
Millman, Lawrence, Ed. A Kayak Full of Ghosts: Eskimo Tales. Anthology. ISBN: 9781566565257
Murakami, Haruki. The Strange Library. 9780385354301
Vandermeer Jeff and Ann, The Weird. TOR, 2011. ISBN: 9780765333629
ENGL 347: Writers Workshop: Prose
Taught by: Nandini Bhattacharya
Description: Our fiction workshop will cover some of the essential techniques of fiction (prose). It will be a combination of writing, reading, and analysis, and it will be conducted in a seminar style with discussion as its primary component. Together, we’ll examine ways to handle dialogue, information, tension, and details.
Hernan Diaz's In the Distance
Jennifer Egan, Alice Munro, Leo Tolstoy short stories
Emily Henry's Happy Place
Danya Kukafka's Girl in Snow
some High Concept fiction
ENGL 348: Writer's Workshop: Poetry
Taught by: Christopher Manes
Description: ENGL 348's poetry workshop serves two purposes: one, provide students reading opportunities to explore and examine past and contemporary poets, and two, provide them practice with different writing exercises that build toward a working portfolio of revised poems, which reflect the student's emerging knowledge, individual style, and poetic focus. Poetry guides we will examine as a class include poets writing on social justice, gender, LGBTQ+ rights, and historically marginalized populations. As an introduction to their own creative writings generated in the class, students will place their work in context to writers they have studied and produce a poetry manifesto. Assessment methods include a written analysis of a poet's craft and subject, regular creative writing exercises, peer reviewed workshops, and a polished draft of their completed poetry portfolio and manifesto. This class will use an OER textbook (free to students) and holdings from the TAMU libraries; therefore, no purchase of texts is required. Prerequisite: ENGL 235; junior or senior classification or approval of instructor.
ENGL 350: Twentieth-Century Literature to WWII
Taught by: Shawna Ross
Description: We will explore Anglophone literature of the twentieth century before World War II: that is, transatlantic modernism. The term modernism refers not only to a time period, but also to a literary style that both responded to and played an active part in the historical process of modernization. Under modernization, a variety of historical shifts—including improvements in communications and transportation technologies, demographic upheavals, political challenges like suffragism and the labor movement, the rise of mass consumer culture, the intensification of industrial capitalism, concepts developed by Darwin, Marx, and Freud, and the development of world war—resulted in profound changes in the texture of everyday life, in social standards governing morality and sociability, in the function of art within society, and in beliefs about what it means to be human. We will follow a rigorous and ambitious reading list, which includes experimental novels, a handful of exciting short stories, and a few unforgettable poems.
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Jean Toomer, Cane
Agatha Christie, Death on the Nile
poems by W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Marianne Moore
short stories by Katherine Mansfield
ENGL 351/FILM 351: Advanced Film: Latinx Film
Taught by: Juan Alonzo
Description: This course examines Latinx representation in U.S. film during the 20th and 21st centuries. We will focus on recent Latinx cinema production (broadly defined to include film, video, television and streaming), but we will necessarily start with the longer history of Latinx representation, including the creation of derogatory stereotypes about Latinx peoples in early films. Once we establish a historical and theoretical basis for understanding Latinx representation, we will concentrate on the ways Latinx peoples, particularly members of Chicanx communities, have narrativized their histories and experiences in the United States. Beginning in the late 1960s, Chicanx/Latinx cinema became an extension of social movements for liberation and was expressive of a desire for self-representation. We will explore themes and concerns that animate the Latinx experience in the U.S., including the critique of stereotypes, the experience of immigration, the presence of the border, notions of identity, the importance of education, and discussions about gender roles and sexuality. These themes carry over to the 1980s feature films and into the present. We will also be attentive to: demands for the greater accessibility and increased representation of Latinx peoples in the film industry; the need for the inclusion of Latinx characters in television streaming and superhero movies; the growing impact of established stars as activists within film, television and other areas of cultural expression. The course will incorporate analysis of the elements and methods of narrative film, including narrative structure, film genres, character types and stereotypes, editing techniques, framing and composition, and camera movement. We will examine how film technique is used in the representation of race and ethnicity, and we will use our understanding of technique and racial representation in the analysis of film.
PRELIMINARY LIST OF FILMS: I am Joaquin (1969)
La Bamba (1987)
Stand and Deliver (1988)
Selena (1997) Frida (2002)
Sleep Dealer (2008)
Real Women Have Curves (2002)
Mosquita y Mari (2012)
Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse (2018)
Jane the Virgin (2014-2019)
The Devil Never Sleeps (1996)
The Infiltrators (2019)
ENGL 352: Twentieth Century Literature Post-World War II
Taught by: Michael Collins
Description: The end of World War II was also the beginning of the end of the British Empire. By the end of the 1960s most of Britain’s colonies—and indeed colonies belonging to other European powers—had gained independence. One of the interesting results of this was the rise to prominence of writers from former colonies and the rise, within the United States, of writers whose ancestors came from formerly colonized or even formerly-enslaved peoples. We will read primarily English-language writers from former British and other European colonies, as well as from former colonizing powers, in an effort to lean what the works of these writers tell us about the past or present or even the future of the places they write about. Authors we may read include Bernardine Evaristo, Isabel Allende, Cixin Liu, Samuel Beckett, Graham Greene, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Proposed Readings: Possible readings include Cixin Liu's The Three Body Problem, Samuel Beckett's Molloy, Bernardine Evaristo's Mr. Loverman, Graham Greene's The Quiet American and Chimamanda Ngozi's Adichie's Americanah.
ENGL 355: The Rhetoric of Style
Taught by: C. Scott Wyatt
Description: Responses to technology range from anticipation to trepidation. This section of The Rhetoric of Style examines the rhetorical strategies and stylistic choices of authors as they embrace, reject, or ambivalently ponder technology. As Michel Meyer explains, “Rhetoric is the negotiation of distance between individuals, the speaker (ethos) and the audience (pathos), on a given question” (2017). Technology raises countless questions for authors and readers to explore. We will use concepts from rhetoric and theories of style as we discuss works from pre-industrial eras through our Information Age. Authors critique technology in poetry, essays, short stories, novels, and scripts. We will read from a selection of forms and genres. Our discussions will analyze appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos. Readings also reflect exigence and kairos, as authors feel compelled to offer arguments at specific historical moments. Works often respond to the perceived dangers of an emerging technology. Authors adopt a style, diction, tone, and voice that align with audience expectations. Are there shared stylistic choices when authors critique technology? We conclude with a reflective look at writing and technology. Authors depend on technology: writing requires devices to record symbols representing ideas. The tools we use to write shape our thoughts, and publishing technologies alter the reading experience. “Technology” offers a rich thematic framework for discussing The Rhetoric of Style.
Proposed Readings: Readings for this section will be available within Canvas or via links to public domain and Creative Commons sources.
ENGL 356/FILM 356: Literature and Film: The Dark Side of Childhood
Taught by: James Francis
Description: Childhood, as a period in one’s early years, can be a misleading label. We imagine playgrounds, laughter, and carefree living, but Maurice Sendak tells us, “In plain terms, a child is a complicated creature who can drive you crazy. There’s a cruelty to childhood; there’s an anger.” From our own experiences, we can attest that being a kid is not all fun and games: emotions run rampant, fear is heightened by all things big and small, and instability is a constant challenge as the body and mind remain in a constant flux of development from day to day. This precious—think fragile—time of life fascinates storytellers and they take it upon themselves to document and pass on their observances through various literatures (short story, novel, film, etc.) for our entertainment. From stories of little girls encountering wolves in the forest to young boys never wanting to grow up, children’s literature provides narratives that go far beyond our perceptions of idyllic childhood; it reveals a dark side of mature situations and decision-making that can alter one’s life forever. In this course, we will explore a range of children’s tales (written and visual) to consider how the texts attempt to entertain and educate their audiences and what we might learn from examining them within the space of their historical productions. Through reading, analysis, research, and writing about the stories, we will also challenge the children’s literature designation as genre and/or intended audience. Once registration has concluded for eligible enrollees, all students registered for the course will have the opportunity—via class poll/survey—to assist in selecting texts to build the course’s reading list and structuring assignments and activities for assessment.
Proposed Readings: Proposed Readings (subject to change): Where the Wild Things Are, Coraline, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Neverending Story, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Peter and Wendy Proposed Films (subject to change): Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Bad Seed, A Monster Calls, Return to Oz, The Outsiders, The Lost Boys, Little Women, Beautiful Thing
ENGL 360: Literature for Children
Taught by: Melissa McCoul
Description: Maybe you grew up reading Harry Potter or Holes, Nancy Drew or the Narnia stories. Maybe you were a comic-book kid. Whatever your personal predilections, you probably already have a pretty good sense of what children's literature is. But as soon as you try to define it, you'll find that safe-seeming category becomes slippery. In this course, we will begin to tease out the boundaries of this capacious category called “children's literature.” What counts? Who decides? What differentiates writing for children from writing for adults? Why should we, as adults, read children’s literature? In this course, we will explore a range of children’s literature in English, including picture books, poetry, contemporary novels, historical fiction, and fantasy. Our task is to think critically about what these books can tell us about how we (and others) understand childhood, how those definitions have changed over time, and how these books participate in larger movements of history, culture, and literature.
ENGL 361: Young Adult Literature
Taught by: Kalani Pattison
Description: In this course, we will survey adolescent and young adult literature (YA lit) from the twenty-first and latter half of the twentieth century, though we will briefly discuss well-known older works for context. We will explore: -A variety of forms (novels, short stories, and poems) in the various genres of historical fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy, and science-fiction. -Works by authors from a variety of cultures and ethnicities. -How these works both express notions of the nature of adolescence and shape those notions within a culture, paying particular attention to characters’ growth into virtuous, compassionate, wise(r) adults -Conceptions of justice, power, gender, language, and communication. In our explorations, we will apply principles of literary analysis to the texts that we read, and discuss how these texts might appeal to or be read by younger readers, but we will not discuss teaching practices (this is not a course focused on pedagogy). Students will read assigned texts, write brief daily responses and longer arguments, complete a creative argument project, and have chances to lead discussion and make presentations.
ENGL 365/RELS 360: The Bible as Literature
Taught by: Curry Kennedy
Description: In this course we will read the most controversial text in the world with an eye toward something that most readers, religious and non-religious, tend to overlook: the Bible's strange beauty, its verbal artistry, its poetic craftiness, its unsettling imaginative power. We will have deep, open discussions of the Bible as literature. No previous experience with the Bible or religion is necessary--in fact, fresh eyes and fresh opinions will be essential to our success. We'll read the King James Version, because that translation has woven itself into English-speaking cultures around the world. We'll also see how the Bible has been received, adapted, reimagined, and repurposed in later works of art--from Handel's "Messiah" to Kendrick Lamar's "DAMN." Words from the Bible have become the names of countless places and people. Phrases from the Bible--"turn the other cheek," "go the extra mile," and others--have become fixtures in our discourse. Stories from the Bible have become the basic blueprint for novels, movies, plays, and even memoirs. For the student of culture, understanding the Bible is a key to understanding everything else.
Portions of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, in the King James Version
Portions of the New Testament, in the King James Version
Various Bible-Influenced Artifacts
ENGL 366/FILM 366: Horror Studies
Taught by: James Francis
Description: Horror seems a particularly easy genre to identify; it’s the thing that gives us the creeps, makes our hairs stand up on the backs of our necks, increases our heart rates, forces us to close our eyes (sometimes cover our ears), and definitely sends us running when choosing between fight or flight. These visceral, physical reactions clue us in that horror is not something we actively desire to experience. But why and how does it simultaneously entice and excite? Horror is often labeled the rollercoaster of genre, as it has the power to terrify us before it even gets started, and once it’s all over, many of us want to experience it again. In reality, most people never want to face harrowing, life-and-death situations beyond the perception of such on a rollercoaster; however, in horror literatures we are afforded safe spaces to read and watch horror fiction without concern for any physical and mental harm, mostly. The full exploration of horror studies involves investigating the development of the genre—from Gothic literary tradition to modern film—and gaining comprehension of notable writers and directors, scholars in the field, theoretical perspectives, and intertextuality with other genre texts. Outside of the texts, we must also consider historical events, social movements, and cultural practices to locate how shared constructions of fear, anxiety, and dread inform and inspire the creation of horror narratives. Our course represents an investigation into narratives we deem horror—classic and contemporary, written and filmic—to attempt to form intellectual arguments within the field of horror studies, hear from the authors/directors, and further contemplate the positioning of literature within genre. Once registration has concluded for eligible enrollees, all students registered for the course will have the opportunity—via class poll/survey—to assist in selecting texts to build the course’s reading list and structuring assignments and activities for assessment.
Proposed Readings: Proposed Readings (subject to change): The Vampyre (Polidori), “The Mask of the Red Death” (Poe), Carmilla (Le Fanu), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson), The Island of Dr. Moreau (Wells), “The Dunwich Horror” (Lovecraft), “Who Goes There?” (Campbell) Proposed Films (subject to change): Peeping Tom (Powell), Night of the Living Dead (Romero), Rosemary’s Baby (Polanski), The Exorcist (Friedkin), Suspiria (Argento), The Brood (Cronenberg), The Evil Dead (Raimi), Friday the 13th (Cunningham), Poltergeist (Hooper), The Blair Witch Project (Sánchez and Myrick), 28 Days Later (Boyle), Haute Tension (Aja), [REC] (Plaza, and Balagueró), The Strangers (Bertino), Host (Savage), It Follows (Mitchell), Unfriended (Gabriadze), Talk to Me (Philippou Brothers)
ENGL 376: The American Novel Since 1900
Taught by: Juan Alonzo
Description: Through varied styles of representation, the American novel since 1900 narrates dizzying social transformations in American life, and these social changes are necessarily and inextricably tied with world historical, political, and economic events, in addition to innovations in technology and evolving social mores. The American novel during the past one hundred twenty years catalogues the changing roles of women at the beginning of the 20th century, struggles for racial equality, post-war (WWI and WWII) economic recovery and social malaise, and the changes wrought by a post-industrial, postmodern condition. In the late 20th- and early 21st centuries, the American novel is inflected by the flows of globalized culture. At the same time that we pay close attention to social and historical contexts, we will also look at thematic and formal innovations in the American novel.
POSSIBLE TEXTS -- PRINT EDITIONS ONLY!
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (1930)
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood (1952)
Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (1977)
Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (1980)
Tommy Orange, There There (1918)
Oscar Cásares, Where We Come From (2019)
ENGL 378: British Novel, 1870-present
Taught by: Nandini Bhattacharya
Description: Representative works illustrating development of the novel by writers resident in Great Britain and its colonies from the late nineteenth century forward.
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Fitzgerald, Penelope, The Blue Flower
Trollope, Anthony, Eustace Diamonds
McEwan, Ian. Amsterdam
ENGL 390: Studies in Genre: Victorian Fantasy
Taught by: Elizabeth Robinson
Description: During the nineteenth century, and especially during the latter half of the century, fantasy became, in Stephen Prickett’s words, “respectable—for antiquarians, for poets, even for children” (Victorian Fantasy 5), and a genre was born. Many of the classic works of modern fantasy were written during this time, and many of them have become part of our mythology. This course will explore fantasy created during the Victorian period. We will examine fantasy in the form of fairy tales, ghost stories (probably), novels, and poetry. In addition, we will learn about the Victorian period in general. We will consider such things as the historical context, cultural and social values, gender issues, religious issues, etc. Finally, we will consider Victorian theoretical concepts of fantasy.
Proposed Readings: Note: These lists are subject to change.
George MacDonald. The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes
Lewis Carroll. Alice in Wonderland
Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol
William Morris. The Wood Beyond the World
Oscar Wilde. The Picture of Dorian Gray
Bram Stoker. Dracula
Other texts by Christina Rossetti, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold, Mary de Morgan, Dina Mulock Craik, Jean Ingelow, Edith Nesbit, Juliana Horatia Ewing, and others will be available online.
ENGL 393/AFST 393: Studies in Africana Literature and Culture
Taught by: Ira Dworkin
Description: While it is impossible to cover the literature of an entire continent in one semester, this course introduces students to some major African literary figures since 1958—the year when Kwame Nkrumah hosted the first All-African People’s Conference in Accra and Chinua Achebe published Things Fall Apart. Using these events as touchstones, the course will consider the diverse narrative traditions produced by writers from the African continent in order to understand their role in the development of a range of local, national, and transnational cultural identities during the postcolonial era. This course will consider topics that are central to the field of literature studies: religion, education, colonialism, postcolonialism, anticolonialism, globalization, language, migration, memory, gender, childhood, and diaspora.
Proposed Readings: Readings may include works by Achebe, Armah, Ashour, Bazawule, Dangarembga, Ngugi, Tansi, Wainaina, and others.
ENGL 394: Studies in Genre: The American Detective Novel
Taught by: Apostolos Vasilakis
Description: This course will focus on a selection of detective and crime novels written by American writers. Starting with Edgar Allan Poe we will trace the evolution of the genre (and its sub-categories) as a literary model from the 19th to the 21st century. Through our reading of specific stories written by Dashiell Hammett, Kenneth Fearing, and Walter Mosley (among others), we will examine the representation of the detective as an iconic figure within a specific political and social context, and our attraction for individuals who function outside the parameters of the law. We will look at the genre's stylistic pre-occupation with urban topography (what Chesterton calls the "chaos of unconscious forces"), how it re-defines itself through the representation of an often dark and crude modern life, and its reflection on social justice and truth. Further we will consider the detective novel not only as a popular cultural form, but also a social novel with a detective plot. At the end of the semester the students will be able to think about these stories not just as stories of pure entertainment and pleasure but also as stories that reflect on the social conditions that have produced them.
Poe: The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon
Raymond Chandler: Farewell My Lovely
Kenneth Fearing: The Big Clock
Sara Paretsky: Indemnity Only
Walter Mosley: Devil in a Blue Dress
Chester Himes: Cotton Comes to Harlem
Tony Hillerman, The Dark Wind
ENGL 415: Studies in a Major Author - Edmund Spenser
Taught by: Kevin O'Sullivan
Description: This course will provide an expansive survey of work by Edmund Spenser, renowned in his day as the “Prince of Poets.” Our study will explore the lasting influence of Spenser's work on the world of English letters by examining his contributions to the burgeoning English Renaissance, his participation in the religious and political struggles of the period, and his influence on the rise of the professional author. In addition to reading the entirety of his virtuosic epic The Faerie Queene (1590, 1596), we will also read select minor works, including The Shepheardes Calender (1579), Complaints (1591), and Colin Clouts Come Home Againe (1595). Throughout, students will be asked to think critically about the relevance of Spenser’s poetry to our present day. To that end, we will also survey the vibrant and ongoing critical response to his work. Together, we will seek to reconcile Spenser’s writings on beauty and virtue with his often difficult views on matters relating to gender, race, justice, and violence.
ENGL 435: Advanced Studies in Creative Writing: "Writing Long-Form Fiction"
Taught by: Jason Harris
This particular course this semester will focus on strategies for composing and revising long form fiction: novels and novellas. You may choose either form. The primary focus of class time will be participating in craft workshops designed for sharing progress on several chapters and receiving/giving feedback to other students. A revised draft of a significant portion (including revising the chapters specifically covered during workshops) of a novel or novella will be required at the end of the semester. In addition, a reflection revision statement will accompany the revisions in the portfolio.
*Students will also read and discuss several novels and novellas (required reading listed below).
Ferrante, Elena. Story of a Name: A Novel. Neapolitan Novels Book Two. Paperback. ISBN: 9781609451349
Kasulke, Calvin. Several People are Typing. Paperback. ISBN: 9780593313534
LaValle, Victor. Changeling: A Novel. ISBN: 9780812985870
Whitehead, Colson . Nickel Boys. Paperback. ISBN: 9780345804341
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Paperback. ISBN: 9781982102609
Herrera, Yuri. Signs Preceding the End of the World. ISBN: 9781908276421
Jackson, Shirley. We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Paperback. ISBN: 9780143129547
Bell, Matt. Refuse to Be Done. Soho Press, 2022. 9781641293419
Warner, Sharon. Writing the Novella. University of New Mexico Press, 2021. 9780826362551
ENGL 460: Digital Authoring Practices
Taught by: Sarah Potvin
Description: How has the shift from print to electronic publication changed our understanding of authorship and our experience as readers? How do emerging AI technologies further challenge our assumptions about the practices that produce texts? This course approaches digital authoring practices through historically and theoretically informed reflection, experimentation, and building. We will explore the work of textual production through creative engagement with digital publication and critical inquiry into the tools and platforms that shape our experiences as authors, editors, and readers. The course aims to increase digital literacy and does not require or anticipate advanced knowledge of digital technologies; beginners are welcome.
ENGL 474/WGST 474: Studies in Women Writers
Taught by: Marian Eide
Description: Subtitled "Moral Questions" this course focuses on the ethical dilemmas raised in literature written by contemporary women. Literature may not have the power to make readers better people, but as Mary Gorden observes, "the moral good of fiction stems mainly from a habit of mind it inculcates in the reader." Some of the books we love the most are those that are morally complicated, those that displace certainty with discomfort. This course will consider how literary texts engage with and transform moral assumptions. The class draws on feminist theory and the methods of literary analysis to address the thornier contexts in which we discern right from wrong. We will consider how story telling might expand both our intellectual flexibility and moral reasoning. In social contexts in which differences harden into conflict, literature challenges readers to consider expansive possibilities and to comprehend the reasoning that develops personal values.
Proposed Readings: Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton; How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz; Citizen by Claudia Rankin; Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan; Fun Home by Alison Bechdel; Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe; Kindred by Octavia Butler; Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver; We Are What We Say by Anna Deavere Smith; Mophead by Selina Tusitala Marsh; Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong; The Vegetarian by Han Kang; An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo; Savage Conversations by LeAnne Howe
ENGL 481: Senior Seminar: Epidemic Literature
Taught by: Sara DiCaglio
Description: This course examines the literary and rhetorical construction of pandemics, epidemics, and other outbreaks, focusing largely on American constructions of these contagious moments. It centers around three major sites—the height of the HIV/AIDS outbreak in the United States in the 80s/90s, the Ebola outbreak of 2014-16, and the ongoing global COVID-19 outbreak. Situating these three points in relation to one another as well as in relation to other narratives of pandemics and contagion—including, but not limited to, those related to the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918/19, the United States typhoid outbreaks of the early 1900s, and miasma and other theories of contagion—this course asks students to consider how epidemics have been constructed as rhetorical and literary events. How have narratives about patient zeroes, asymptomatic carriers, illness as invasion, racialized constructions of illness, and other cultural discourse about epidemics had effects on how we think and talk about actual pandemics (and about the actual human beings affected by these illnesses)? By connecting narratives written from and about these actual events to fictionalized narratives, including science fiction films and texts, zombie outbreak narratives, and even epidemic-themed board games, we will consider how epidemics connect with broader cultural themes and understandings, as well as what approaching epidemics through a cultural perspective can help us to understand in our current moment.
ENGL 481-904: Senior Seminar-The Cultural Jane Austen
Taught by: Mary Ann O'Farrell
Description: This course is designed to offer the manifest pleasures of reading Jane Austen and to help develop the critical skills with which to examine these pleasures. Our readings will include Austen’s completed novels, as well as critical and biographical readings that raise recurrent issues in thinking about Austen (manners, marriage, families, knowledge, style, the largeness and smallness of worlds). We will also spend some time investigating the formation of Austen as a cultural icon (the kind of writer you find on websites, on tote bags, in video games, and in movie theaters with zombies, as well as in the library). Because this a senior seminar, a part of our work will involve preparing for your final paper, which will combine research with critical thinking and argumentation.
Proposed Readings: Austen's novels, selections from her letters, critical and biographical readings, a little playing in Austen's afterlife online