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 2023 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 2023.
Taught by Dr. Melissa McCoul
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.
Taught by Dr. Grace Heneks
This course is an introduction to the writings of African Americans from the 18th century to the present day, emphasizing major themes and traditions. Students will be exposed to a diverse range of work from the African American literary canon. We will begin with slavery and the struggle for freedom and end with a sampling of contemporary African American texts, with a focus on the examination of racial trauma and white supremacy, and the ways Blackness has come to be defined in the US. Particular attention will be given to the historical context of the works and how the writers used literature to explore the nuances of Black life and to challenge the status quo.
- Norton Anthology of African American Literature
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Sections 200 & 500 taught by Dr. Emily Johansen
Between claims that "no one wants to work anymore" and rising inflation, meaning that pay checks go less and less far, discussions of work and precarity are currently inescapable. While these are conversations that have long histories, what do we mean when we talk about contemporary (post-2000) work? How do authors engage with and represent work, a place where we spend roughly a third of our lives? How are these representations shaped by the experience of pandemics and other intersecting and compounding forms of precarity? How do authors make use of literary genre conventions in their discussions of work? Are older cultural forms up to the task of representing contemporary forms of gig and temporary work? These are some of the questions we consider in this class through an examination of a variety of different contemporary novels, films, and short stories.
- Burton, Tara Isabella: Social Creature
- Granados, Marlowe: Happy Hour
- Kasulke, Calvin: Several People are Typing
- Kunzru, Hari: Transmission
- Whitehead, Colson: Zone One
Taught by Dr. Laura Mandell
This course is motivated by the desire to prepare students for their lives in digital culture, allowing them to transform the data deluge and all the technologies surrounding it into wisdom and creativity. University professors in the set of disciplines called “the Humanities” study the best that has been thought in the world throughout history, and, based on the work of great thinkers in the past, they have developed methods for thinking. Students will learn some of those methods from Philosophy, Literature, and History as they encounter examples, creators in the present and the past, who display those thinking methods at their best. We will examine how thinking methods -- kinds of thinking -- depend upon their form and material, their technologies. While avoiding the pitfall of technological determinism, we will look at the kinds of thinking "afforded" by various media -- the stories; essays; philosophy; drama; poetry; ethnography; movies; digital games; selfies; and google search. Are there thinking methods new to digital culture? Clayton D'Arnaut defines that key term: "Digital culture is a blanket concept that describes the idea that technology and the Internet significantly shape the way we interact, behave, think, and communicate as human beings in a societal setting" (Digital Culturist 2015). This course attempts to examine our entanglements in digital culture in order to increase any human being's agency, that is, the power to act personally or socially based upon a solid understanding of information.
All readings are available online, open access, including the novel Frankenstein.
Section 200 taught by Dr. Jason Crider
This course serves as an introduction to the field and practice of technical and professional writing. Students will practice communicating clearly and effectively about technical and/or specialized subjects. Writing assignments will give students experience writing white papers, technical instructions, and support documentation, as well as the fundamentals of workplace writing genres, such as memoranda, business letters, email correspondence, presentations, and project proposals.
- Howdy or Hello?: Technical and Professional Communication
- Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace
- Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing
Taught by Dr. Donald Dickson
The aim of this course is to introduce you to some masterworks of world literature and the civilizations that produced them; to understand and appreciate their artistic quality and individual styles; to compare other cultures and historical periods; and to appreciate how ideas, events, and literatures have influenced one another. Of necessity, we will focus on historical contexts and the cultural values of these societies as an essential part of the background to the works. In addition to improving your critical reading skills, you will also have the opportunity to improve your writing skills through essay exams.
- Homer, Odyssey
- Virgil, Aeneid
- Augustine, Confessions
- Attar, Conference of the Birds
- Dante, Inferno
- Petrarch, Sonnets
Taught by Dr. Apostolos Vasilakis
This course will examine some of the major texts of world literature from the 17th through the 21st centuries. We will direct our attention around a core group of central ideas as they are developed in the texts, and we will investigate the evolution and transitions in the literary tradition. Some of the issues and questions we will examine in particular detail include: the relationship between reality and fiction; the question of the human condition and its relationship to history or a catastrophic event; the question of good and evil; and what constitutes human experience. Furthermore, we will take up these topics and themes in their own right, and as a basis for living in the contemporary world.
- Voltaire: Candide
- Shelley: Frankenstein
- Tolstoy: The Death of Ivan Ylyich
- Camus: The Plague
- Ondaatje: Coming Through Slaughter
- Achebe: Things Fall Apart
- Okorafor: Binti
Section 902 taught by Dr. Sally Robinson
In this section of ENGL 303, we will focus on cultural hierarchy in American culture and explore how aesthetic judgments about the relative value of different forms of cultural production always carry with them social judgments. From the cultural gatekeepers who review books and movies in publications like The New Yorker, to participants in internet chat rooms, we all tend to perpetuate the idea that there are qualitative differences between “good” books or movies and bestsellers or Hollywood blockbusters. But these apparently simple distinctions have a history, a history of struggle over who gets to define the terms of American cultural value. In this class, we will look at moments of this history, and investigate the assumptions behind, and ideological investments in, conceptualizations of the high/low culture divide. Distinctions between high and low have unmistakable class and gender meanings; over the course of American history, complaints about American cultural decline have often been articulated as worries over commercialization, “dumbing down,” and “feminization.” “Mass culture” often means “low class,” and America’s book and movie critics—and its professors and students—have participated in the creation of class and gender hierarchies as they have determined what counts as “good” and what should be rejected as “bad.” We’ll address these questions by reading novels and viewing films that take the high/low culture divide as their explicit subject—to greater or lesser degrees, from widely varying angles. We will also research the cultural and economic contexts in which these texts are produced and read, in order to get a broader sense of what is at stake in the ongoing debate over cultural hierarchy.
• Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (Norton Critical Edition ONLY)
• Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
• Olive Higgins Prouty, Stella Dallas
• Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters
• Stephen King, Misery
Films, streamed on Mediasite and available on Canvas
• King Vidor, dir. Stella Dallas
• Howard Hawkes, dir. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Section 903 taught by Dr. Sara DiCaglio
What is the purpose of literature in society? Does literature mirror (or reproduce) our world, or is its function something different entirely? This course introduces students to the English major through a focused examination of the topic of reproduction across scales (from human to world, cells to technologies, printing presses to the cloud). We will look at a variety of genres (contemporary fiction and science fiction, poetry, rhetoric, and film) in order to understand the reproductive function of literature itself, asking questions about biological, material, and historical reproductions. Because this is an introductory course, students will be introduced to a wide view of the major through an examination of literature, rhetoric, and creative writing, helping students to find their interests within the major itself.
Readings may include works such as Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguoro), Revising the Storm (Geffrey Davis), Beloved (Toni Morrison), Severance (Ling Ma), Dawn (Octavia Butler), and Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
Taught by Dr. Michael Hessel-Mial
Since people first began crafting literary works, people have gathered to interpret what they mean, how they work, how they should be made, and what their role is in society. As English major, literary criticism isn’t just essential for your own reading; the practice has made significant contributions to world culture. In this class, we will read from critical traditions from around the world, enduring works from the English tradition, and critical discourses on the nature of texts through the lenses of capitalism, gender/sexuality, race/colonialism, and more. In the process, you’ll read about debates between oral storytellers, what makes Arabic literature ‘eloquent,’ why people write poetry, what makes archives violent, and why we’re currently obsessed with ‘cuteness.’ Some of these critical works will be beautiful and interesting enough to be considered literature in their own right.
Texts may be drawn from al-Baqillani, Audre Lorde, Alexander Pope, Walter Benjamin, Edmund Burke, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Horace, Lu Chi, Roland Barthes, Saidiya Hartman, Sianne Ngai, Toni Morrison, Wang Bi, and William Wordsworth, among others
Taught by Dr. Dorothy Todd
From the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603 to the regicide of King Charles I in 1649, the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the seventeenth century in England was a period of profound political upheaval. Expanded trade networks and colonial ventures, a newfound emphasis on scientific inquiry, and the rise of Puritanism also shaped England in the seventeenth century. Literature from the period, unsurprisingly, reflects these upheavals and changes; new genres emerge, popular literature finds an increased readership, religious literature takes a turn to the personal, and women writers’ works circulate more widely. In this course, we will examine a variety of texts such as metaphysical poetry, pamphlets and ballets, travel writing, political and religious treatises, city comedy, and estate poetry to consider how England shaped, and was shaped by, the changing world of the seventeenth century.
- Aemilia Layner
- George Herbert
- John Donne
- Ben Jonson
- King James VI / I
- Hester Pulter
- Andrew Marvell
- Margaret Cavendish
- John Milton
- Francis Bacon
Taught by Dr. Margaret Ezell
This course will over a wide survey of eighteenth-century English literature in its historical and cultural context. We’ll learn about the “long 18th Century,” which scholars define as lasting from 1660-1790s (and why it seems to last so long), organized into three sections. This is an exciting time in English history and literature, with innovations in the theater (real women playing women’s parts on stage that are written by real women!), the creation of viable commercial authorship practices thanks to the creation of copyright, colonial expansion and encountering new cultures, questions about the status and roles of women in the family and in society as a whole, and new literary forms including newspapers and magazine, novels, and new types of poetry. Some of the authors we will read include Margaret Cavendish, John Bunyan, John Dryden, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, and Mary Wollstonecraft.
The assignments in the class will be focused on improving students’ critical reading, writing, and research skills and may include multiple shorter response essays, group editing and annotation projects, and a longer final paper.
Some of the authors we will read include Margaret Cavendish, John Bunyan, John Dryden, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, and Mary Wollstonecraft.
Sections 200 & 500 taught by Dr. Noah Peterson
This course will explore the history and development of drama in English from the medieval period through the early seventeenth-century. The majority of the course will be dedicated to drama in Middle English, which once was studied as crude precursors of Shakespeare’s triumph, but now is recognized for its own qualities. We will also read and discuss examples of Tudor and Early Modern drama. Topics will include: staging, audience reception, audience participation, drama as social critique, vernacular plays and their engagement with the sacred, religious and civic institutions, and theological concerns as they appear within drama.
- John Lydgate's Disguisings and Mummings
- Excerpts from the York, Chester, Towneley, and N-Town Cycle Plays
- the Digby Mary Magdalene
- The Castle of Perseverance
- Henry Medwall's Fulgens and Lucres
- Francis Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle
Taught by Dr. Donald Dickson
This class will study works describing an ideal commonwealth or “utopia” in the pre-industrial world of early modern Europe (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) and the post-industrial world (nineteenth and twentieth centuries). We will also examine the intellectual frameworks provided by Plato and Marx of these works and their historical contexts: some of these ideal worlds are feminist; some are based on religious models; some are totalitarian. In addition, we will look at several “dystopias.” One of the overarching issues we will address is the tension between the individual and the community in each world—that is, how much must the individual surrender for the “good” of the community.
- Plato, The Republic [pdf].
- More, Utopia (Yale) ISBN: 9780300002386.
- Bacon, New Atlantis [pdf].
- Cavendish, The Blazing World and Other Writings (Penguin) ISBN: 9780140433722.
- Bellamy, Looking Backward (Dover).
- Gilman, Herland (Random House)
- Zamiatin, We [pdf]
- Rand, Anthem [pdf].
- Huxley, Brave New World [pdf].
- Burdekin, Swastika Night (Feminist Press) [pdf].
- Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (Penguin). ISBN: 9780451514745.
Taught by Dr. Michael Collins
The killing of George Floyd in 2020 brought to the surface of American life a network of injustices against African Americans that protestors tried to make the nation aware of. This class traces those injustices to their root in American slavery as that institution is depicted in autobiographies written by former slaves. The period of history covered by these autobiographies brings us into the early 20th century. Thereafter the class enters the world of the novels, poems, manifestoes, and hybrid works written before and during the Harlem Renaissance era. These novels offer perspectives on African American life that remain relevant in 2022.
Possible readings include DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk, Frederick Douglass' The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, Zora Neale Huston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Jean Toomer's Cane, and Phillis Wheatley's Complete Writings.
Taught by Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
Please note that this is a preliminary description and that some of the texts identified here may change:
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 two novels by Cassandra Clare and Garth Nix that exemplify a major trend in YA fiction, the powerful female hero. We will explore fantasy novels written for adults, for young adults, and for children.
As part of our exploration of the literature, we will also focus on specific areas of writing instruction:
• evaluating the suitability of academic books, articles, and websites for research;
• interpreting and analyzing literary and other cultural texts;
• developing an effective thesis, and
• integrating quotations, paraphrased material, and other evidence from sources into an argument.
This is a preliminary reading list and it may change:
• George MacDonald, Phantastes
• J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
• C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
• Ursula LeGuin, Wizard of Earthsea
• Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!,
• Garth Nix, Sabriel
• Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
Taught by Dr. James Francis
The inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters in written literature and cinema represent an extended period of narratives; however, before representation was overt in content, queer-coding was present to depict related characterizations and themes. We anachronistically look back on texts such as Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to confront how otherness complemented queerness in literature. And one genre that has had a highly visible conflict with LGBTQ+ representation is Gothic and horror literatures. Our course will examine the representation LGBTQ+ characters, concepts, and themes throughout time within the Gothic and horror genre landscape, ranging from classic Gothic works like Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu to modern horror films like They/Them by John Logan. The course will be guided by a singular question: How have Gothic and horror literatures' representations of LGBTQ+ narratives changed over time? This thematic approach will allow us to break down the examination as related to social movements, legal systems, regional and cultural practices, religious beliefs, and more.
Our goals include: weekly discussions of LGBTQ+ narratives in the genre space of Gothic and horror literatures; individual close-reading brief essays on selected texts for the class; a group discussion and analysis of a selected text outside of class; and individual research into one text for a semester-project comprised of a research proposal, annotated bibliography, video-essay, and research-and-writing reflection.
- WRITTEN WORKS:
- Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu
- The Hunger by Whitley Strieber
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- What Keeps You Alive
- The Perfection
- The Retreat
- Closet Monster
- The Wild Boys
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
- The Hunger (adaptation)
- The Vampire Lovers (adaptations)
*** Students will be involved in the selection of readings (written and film) pre-semester by way of class poll and feedback.
Taught by Dr. Vanita Reddy
This course understands “Literature by Women of Color” as a central to the discipline of Ethnic American Literature. Women of color writers are more than merely supplemental to a more recognizable “canon” of ethnic American literature, authored primarily by men. To that end, the chosen texts for this course are not necessarily “about women” or “women’s experiences.” Rather, they are narratives about multiple forms of social difference that should be recognized as central to—rather than peripheral to— our conceptions of “American” identity.
In this class, we will explore the narrative practices of Latina, African American, Native American, and Asian American women. We will pay special attention to the ways in which their writing has given voice to their differential locations within the discourses of national identity and the ways they carve out racialized identities beyond US borders. We will explore the cultural, linguistic, and familial traditions that have informed their respective approaches to gender, race, nationhood, and oppositional politics.
- Sui Sin Far, Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1912) (selections)
- Zitkala Sa, American Indian Stories (1921) (selections)
- Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (1970)
- Cherrie Moraga, Giving up the Ghost (1986)
- Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera (1987) (selections)
- Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies (2000) (selections)
- Mira Nair, Mississippi Masala (1991) (film)
- Chitra Ganesh and Mariam Ghani, A Warm Database (2004) (online media project)
Taught by Dr. Portia Owusu
This course offers an introduction to twentieth- (post-Harlem Renaissance) and twenty- first-century African American literature and culture, in their transnational, historical and cultural contexts.
Taught by Dr. James Francis
Course objectives will focus on reading poetry from a diverse array of writers and creating original works regarding love, grief, and two other student-decided themes (selected before the semester starts via class poll with possible topics including: nature & the environment, identity & heritage, technology, society, popular culture). The course will feature regular poetry workshops for the development of original work and peer critiques. We will also seek out avenues for publishing original work.
Our goals include the production of individual poetry collections (required 5 original works) with critical introductions that explore the writer's style, inspiration, and writing process. We will conduct weekly workshops to obtain knowledge about various writers, poetry types, and poetic conventions; furthermore, we will use the workshops to put the knowledge we acquire into action through creative writing exercises that develop our own writing. Each unit, students will conduct a poetry explication on a selected work. Digital journals will also serve to track progress on original works, ideas and brainstorming, and creative writing exercises outside of the classroom.
- The Poet's Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux.
- Selected poems for study TBD per thematic units.
Sections 900 & 901 taught by Dr. Sara DiCaglio
How do we persuade, inform, move one another with language? This course takes as its subject the slippery and complex topic of style—sentence structure, tropes, rhythm, metaphor, and other techniques and tools that writers use to create effects with words. In order to look closely at style as an object of study, this course will take as its focus a range of readings about health and embodiment, asking how language reflects and—perhaps—creates our own understandings of our physical selves. Our fundamental concern will be rhetorical, focusing on style as a part of language’s larger force; however, we will also approach language as writers, readers, and fellow occupants of bodies. We will grow to understand style in the writing of others and in our own writing by learning to identify, analyze, and imitate a wide variety of stylistic choices and effects. Our readings will come from a range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and medical writing, and represent both more experimental and more traditional approaches to writing. A portion of this semester’s readings will be dedicated to thinking about the relationship between style and COVID-19.
Sections 200 & 500 taught by Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
In this course, we will survey children’s literature from early fairy tale texts through very recently published texts. In our reading of these texts, we will explore
• a variety of genres: picture books, novels, poetry, and fairy tales;
• the nature, characteristics, and purposes of children’s literature, and
• how the works we read are connected to the cultures and time periods in which they were produced and consider how these works both express notions of the nature of child and childhood and how they shape those notions within a culture.
In our explorations, we will apply principles of literary analysis to the texts that we read, but we will not discuss teaching practices or criteria for book selection.
This is a preliminary list; it will change some.
•Hallett and Karasek, Folk and Fairy Tales, Concise Edition
• George MacDonald. The Princess and the Goblin
• Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit
• Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat
• Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck
• Pam Muñoz Ryan, Mananaland
• Kathi Appelt. The Underneath
• Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, The War That Saved My Life
• Mildred Taylor, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Section 501 taught by Dr. Melissa McCoul
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.
Sections 200 & 500 taught by Dr. Kalani Patterson
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, but we will not often discuss teaching practices (this is not a course focused on pedagogy). Students will read assigned texts, write brief weekly assignments and a longer argument, complete a creative argument project, and have chances to lead discussion and make presentations.
- Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Purple Hibiscus.
- Anderson, M.T. Feed.
- Cashore, Kristin. Jane, Unlimited.
- Davis, Tanita S. Mare’s War.
- Latham, Jean Lee. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.
- McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. Under the Mesquite.
- Stevenson, Noelle. Nimona.
- Turner, Megan Whalen. Instead of Three Wishes: Magical Short Stories.
Taught by Dr. Jennifer Wollock
This course gives students the chance to read the Bible as a work of literature in English, using the King James Version, the seventeenth-century translation that has influenced English and American literature and language ever since it was published in 1611. English 365’s primary goal is to build biblical literacy by showing how the original languages of the Bible and the literary forms (poetry and prose) in which the Bible was composed, as well as its eloquent English text, help us to understand it. We will also discuss the history of biblical translation and the challenges inherent in translating this work. No previous background in reading the Bible or any foreign language is expected.
The King James Version of the Bible
Taught by Dr. Michael Collins
This course will trace the development of American poetry as that development is reflected in the works of major figures and movements of the 19th and 20th century. Authors and movements the course is likely to cover include Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, the Modernists, the Beats, the Black Arts Movement, The New York School, as well as great poets who belong to no particular school.
Any anthology that includes the movements and figures mentioned above, together with an individual volume by a 20th or 21st century poet.
Taught by Dr. Portia Owusu
A literary examination of Women writers of African descent from the 20th / 21st Centuries. We will examine literary representations of topics such as travel and immigration, motherhood, ideas of beauty, and race.
Taught by Dr. Jennifer Wollock
Intensive analysis of Geoffrey Chaucer's major works, emphasizing language, criticism and scholarship.This course will take account of the latest developments in Chaucer scholarship, while also providing an introduction to one of the greatest and most influential English writers, and to his life and times (the later fourteenth century.)
(No previous Chaucer or knowledge of Middle English is expected.)
Selections from Geoffrey Chaucer, The Riverside Chaucer (ed. Larry D. Benson)
Taught by Dr. Katayoun Torabi
Are you interested in how computers affect our understanding and study of cultural heritage: literature, history, art, religion, philosophy, etc.? Do you want to learn how to use open-source software to analyze source material, make arguments, and present your ideas to the public? If so, this cross-listed course is for you. Whether you want to make more engaging class presentations, pursue a career that engages the public online, or develop technical skills that will set you apart, this course will help you do that. You will learn about how computers are used to conduct humanities research and the impact of technology on different fields of study. You will also use digital tools to visualize literary analysis, create digital maps, and analyze social networks. There is no disciplinary prerequisite, no extensive technical skills are required for the course, and no one disciplinary approach will be favored. DHUM/ENGL/HIST 433 are stacked with DHUM 601.
Taught by Dr. Jason Harris
This course will focus on strategies for composing and revising long form fiction: novels and novellas.
Students will read several novels and novellas in addition to participating in workshops where they share and give feedback on sections from their own long-form fiction.
A revised draft of a significant portion of a novel or novella will be required at the end of the semester.
- Brautigan, Richard. Troutfishing in America. 0547255276
- Ferrante, Elena. My Brilliant Friend: a Novel. 9781609450786
- Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. 9781400032716
- Ishiguro, Kazuo. Klara and the Sun. 9780593311295
- Jackson, Shirley. We Have Always Lived in the Castle. 9780143039976
- McElroy, Alex. The Atmospherians. 9781982158323
- Murakami, Haruki. The Strange Library. 9780385354301
- Craft Texts:
- Bell, Matt. Refuse to Be Done. Soho Press, 2022. 9781641293419
- Warner, Sharon. Writing the Novella. University of New Mexico Press, 2021. 9780826362551
Taught by Dr. Matthew McKinney
Interested in discussions of hegemony and class in House of the Dragon or Rings of Power? Applying psychoanalysis to Elden Ring, Chainsaw Man, or the newest Pixar movie? Analyzing the subversion of gender and racial tropes in Megan Thee Stallion’s latest single? If so, this course might be for you!
Instead of focusing on more traditional, literary, or “high-brow” texts, this course uses popular culture as an access point for better understanding rhetorical frameworks and concepts. Movies, fashion, television shows, video games, podcasts, comics, musical genres, and even memes often serve as ideological and cultural mirrors for our society. By analyzing these mirrors, we can not only learn more about ourselves and the values instilled in us, but actively work to change those values for the better.
The assigned textbook and readings provide critical frameworks for you to apply rhetorical theory and analysis in a pop culture context. While we will also examine some preselected pop culture artifacts as a class (such as Cowboy Bebop), you will have plenty of opportunities to apply course concepts to texts of your choice. This is partially to account for the minute-to-minute changes in the landscape of pop culture, and also to ensure that we focus on texts that are of interest to you specifically.
- Barry Brummet's the Rhetoric of Popular Culture
Section 901 taught by Dr. Vanita Reddy
This undergraduate senior seminar explores cultures of beauty and fashion as everyday practices, commodities, industries, sites of political activism, and regimes of governmentality. Feminist scholarship on beauty and fashion has recently re-emerged onto the academic scene after a brief hiatus following western feminist critiques of beauty in the 1990s, which castigated it as morally and ethically suspect, and/or as evidence of an oppressive patriarchal culture industry. More recently, feminist scholarship has begun to re-think its own historically punitive stance toward beauty by recasting beauty as a site of feminist agency.
This course begins with a question that arises from this brief genealogy: Is there a way to examine beauty/fashion that complicates the casting of beauty as either punitive (beauty as undemocratic and elitist) or recuperative (beauty as salutary and democratizing)? What might new feminist scholarship in the emerging field of critical fashion and beauty studies have to say about the way that fashion and beauty express and address concerns around race, citizenship, and globalization?
We will consider how beauty and fashion constitute everyday practices of the self, and what such practices have to say about modern subject formation in colonial, postcolonial, queer, and neoliberal contexts. The course concludes with a consideration of beauty and fashion as sties of material and affective labor as a way of complicating both punitive and recuperative treatments of beauty.
- Naomi Woolf, The Beauty Myth (1991) (selections)
- Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (1970)
- Tanisha Ford, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (2015) (selections)
- Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia (2019) (selections)
- Meera Sethi, “Upping the Aunty” https://meerasethi.com/upping-the-aunty;
- Vanita Reddy, Fashioning Diaspora: Beauty, Femininity, and South Asian American Culture (2016) (selections)
- The Beauty Academy of Kabul, Dir. Liz Mermin, (2006) (Film)
- Roland Barthes, The Fashion System (1990) (selections)
- Ashley Mears, Pricing Beauty (2011) (selections)
- Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu, The Beautiful Generation: Asian Americans and the Fashion Industry (2010) (selections)
- Fashion blogs by Alok (Ecampus): Alok, “Degendering Fashion as an Anti-Violence Imperative”: https://www.alokvmenon.com/blog/2019/11/25/degendering-fashion-is-an-anti-violence-imperative; video (“Degendering Violence”: https://www.alokvmenon.com/gallery (Ecampus
- “There are no Clothes for Binary Femmes Like Me, so I made my own”: https://www.them.us/story/alok-vaid-menon-new-fashion-collection; Interview with Dapper Q: https://www.dapperq.com/2019/11/interview-artist-and-designer-alok-vaid-menon/
Section 902 taught by Dr. Mary Ann O'Farrell
Blindness has long been a preoccupation of literature, film, art, and philosophy. Blind prophets and beggars, blind sensualists and blind virgins, blind musicians and teachers, and even blind photographers and martial arts experts have been featured in both imaginative and theoretical texts. Thinking about blindness has permitted writers, artists, and film-makers to think at the same time about knowledge and ignorance, about sexuality, about the perceived experience of the sensual body, about vulnerability and its defenses, about language, and about race and class. Scholars and activists at work on disability have found blindness interesting because it has been both exemplary (it is thought the most frequently imagined form of disability) and exceptional (as the disability that, it might be argued, has been most frequently made into a metaphor).
In this class, we will read, think, and write about blindness as it has been represented across genres and disciplines during the period from the Enlightenment to the present. Together, we will consider such topics as blindness in relation to gender and sexuality, blindness and race, blindness among the other senses, blindness and genre, blindness as a way of confronting questions about how we know things, blindness and the body, blindness as metaphor, and the “cool blindness” of recent work in disability studies.
The texts we work with will involve fiction, short stories, autobiography, art, and film chosen from the nineteenth century to the contemporary period. We will also read some classic essays in disability studies to help us think about the work we are doing.
Feel free to email me with any questions at email@example.com.
Section 904 taught by Dr. Katayoun Torabi
Capstone seminar that explores Shakespeare’s works and their cultural afterlives from a digital humanities perspective. Students will learn how to work with a range of digital tools and apply digital methodologies to Shakespeare’s corpus by completing a series of exercises and writing assignments. Students will not only gain new insights into Shakespearean authorship, genre, and language through the use of computational tools, but will see how digitizing Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets for online access or presenting his works on different platforms--such as Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Youtube--has created diverse functionalities for the text that allow readers to approach his work in new and interesting ways.
Section 905 taught by Dr. Joshua DiCaglio
In the last three centuries, our sense of our planet has radically transformed. The Earth was given depth, as geologists studied the strata of the earth and learned to read these layers as layers in time. In doing so, the time scale of the planet began to be understood in the not-quite-infinite but massive span of millions and even billions of years. At this scale, the movements of whole continents becomes relevant and the details of life (both our every day lives and biological life more generally) are rewritten in this grander, yet traceable planetary scale. Not only did this alter our conception of ourselves and the planet, but it also made possible the many geological ideas and technological practices that occupy us today. Geology made possible widespread mining for fossil fuels and other resources, introduced new questions about man's effect on the planet (including climate change), and gave us a new sense of our past and potential future. What is this way of thinking, reading, and speaking that comes with geology? How does it find its way into our narratives and arguments, whether in novels, poetry, film, or public discourse?
This course will provide a case study in the rhetoric of science by examining the role of geology in literature and culture, the rhetorical practices of geologists, and the relationship between the two. Students will be introduced to the basic methods for studying science within the humanities and practice applying what they have learned throughout the English major to the particular, wide-ranging effects of geological rhetoric. Students will conduct a major research project engaging more substantially with questions, texts, and manifestations of the questions of the course.
This course is being coordinated in part with a course in Geology, giving students the opportunity to speak with a professor and advanced students in geology to consider in more detail the rhetorical formations of geology. As part of this collaboration, students will be able to participate in an OPTIONAL field trip accompanying geology students on a standard geological tour of west Texas and New Mexico during Spring Break 2023. Expenses for this trip will be fully covered through funds provided by the new College of Arts and Sciences as part of an effort to increase collaboration within the new college. Student who opt not to attend will be given an alternative assignment and opportunities to interact with students in geology.
• Selections from early Geological texts dealing with deep time, the strata of rocks, and the scale of the planet, including James Hutton, Charles Lyell, and Alexander von Humboldt
• Simon Winchester's The Map that Changes the World
• Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth
• Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
• Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red
• Tree of Life
• Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars
Taught by Dr. Marian Eide
Feminism in the early twenty-first century engages with an activist foundation while at the same time investigating the construction of identities as performance and the experience of gender at its intersection with other identity forms and power structures. Feminist theory, then, presents a complex integration of activism, intellectual exploration, aesthetic expression, and academic methodology. This course presents a theoretical and methodological study of women’s lives, work, language, and ethics from a non-essentialist perspective. Designed to engage students in the intricacies of contemporary feminist theory the course allows students to construct their own theoretical framework and methods through which each participant will pursue research and writing from within feminist discourses and practices.
Readings include articles by Butler, Chávez, Fausto Sterling, Chaudhry, Crenshaw, Anzaldua, Collins, Bordo, Rich, Rubin, Mohanty, Ahmed, Harding and Smith. There are no assigned books. All readings will be available via Canvas.