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 fall 2022 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 fall 2022.
Taught by Dr. Jason Crider
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
- Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation
- Claire Vaye Watkins, Gold Fame Citrus
- Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang
- Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
Taught by Dr. Amy Earhart
Introduction to the writings of African Americans from the 18th century to the present, emphasizing the major themes and traditions. The class uses a contract grading system and provides an Open Access (free) textbook.
Section 200 taught by Dr. Matt McKinney
Specialized section of English 210 that focuses on the Texas power grid failure in February 2021 as a case study. Beginning with a focus on analyzing rhetorical situations and ERCOT correspondence, students will develop an understanding of the problem and the stakeholders involved in both its cause and offering potential solutions.
As the semester progresses, students will form project teams and apply what they know about the case by choosing a particular stakeholder--e.g. an alternative energy company or policymaking entity--and conduct a research project on their behalf. The semester will then conclude with project teams presenting their reports in the form of a conference or professional presentation, as well as a cover letter assignment where students use their project experiences to sell their credentials as entry-level professionals.
- Howdy Or Hello
- ERCOT correspondence and documents supplied by the instructor.
Taught by Dr. Matt McKinney
Focuses on writing for professional settings; correspondence and researched reports fundamental to the technical and business workplace—memoranda, business letters, research proposals and presentations, use of graphical and document design; emphasis on audience awareness, clarity of communication and collaborative teamwork.
- Howdy or Hello
Sections 200 & 500 taught by Dr. Donald Dickson
This course will explore selected works of a recognized master of English literature whose plays are still brought to life in many places in the world today. Students will be introduced to a selection of the major plays—including his sonnets, comedies, history plays, and tragedies. In addition to improving your critical reading skills, you will also have the opportunity to improve your writing skills through weekly discussion assignments and essays on exams.
- The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays, ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 3rd edition New York: W. W. Norton, 2016. ISBN 9780393938630.
Taught by Dr. Matt McKinney
This course will explore the origin and evolutions of the graphic novel. In addition to conducting a rhetorical analysis of the print aspects of the text, we will focus on aspects of visual rhetoric in the medium such as paneling and terministic screens. The readings will encompass a diverse array of genres, voices, and experiences both within and outside the cultures of the United States.
- others, tbd
Section 200 taught by Dr. Larry Reynolds
This course will examine select texts, issues, and critical approaches to the stirring literature of this period. Our goal will be to learn about the backgrounds, key features, and significance of the authors and texts of the course. We’ll focus on their craft and artistry, their shared historical, social, and political contexts, and their relevance to our own times. The class will be largely discussion, while Dr. Reynolds will provide introductory background material.
- Norton Anthology of Literature, Volumes A & B
Taught by Jungah Kim
This course is a survey of British writings ranging from poetry to novels to non-fiction prose from the late eighteenth century to the present. Whilst becoming familiar with major works of British authors, this course serves to enhance our understanding of the “self,” and how it transformed over centuries. Looking at works of Mary Shelley to the Pre-Raphaelites to Virginia Woolf and to contemporary authors, we will explore historical and literary texts that influenced how the “self” was shaped.
Section 501 taught by Dr. Nandini Bhattacharya
Elements of Creative Writing. Initiation into the craft of creative writing in prose and poetry; extensive reading in the genres; peer workshops.
- How Fiction Works
- The Art of Subtext
- Reading lIke a Writer
- among others
Taught by Dr. Juan Alonzo
This course provides students a foundational base for the study of Latinx literature. Students will gain knowledge of the breadth of Latinx literature (genres, themes, historical contexts) and the numerous ways in which scholars in the field have approached literary expression by diverse Latinx cultures. For fall of 2022, the course will introduce students to the literatures of four traditions: Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban American, and Dominican American. The class will analyze the common and parallel histories and cultural traits of these Latina/o/x communities and the key terms of Latina/o/x studies.
The first part of the class focuses on Borderlands studies and approaches to Latinx literature through the study of Mexican American authors such as Américo Paredes, Sandra Cisneros and Gloria Anzaldúa. The second part of the course is devoted to Caribbean cultural expression through poetry, short stories and the novel during the 20th- and 21st centuries. Issues of coloniality, citizenship and nationalism will be explored through the works of such authors as Jesús Colón, Abraham Rodriguez, Jr., Achy Obejas, and Junot Díaz.
Proposed Readings TBA
Section 901 taught by Dr. Dorothy Todd
This section of ENGL 303 focuses on the plays of William Shakespeare and interrogates the ways in which poets, novelists, directors, game designers, and even users of social media draw from and build upon the works of Shakespeare. We will consider both how Shakespeare’s works continue to speak to the most urgent issues of our day—national identity, sexual violence, systemic racism, climate change and the relationship between humans and nature—and how Shakespeare’s texts function as fertile ground for “play” in the form of computer games, memes, and fanfiction. In addition to practicing sustained close reading, students will be introduced to a wide variety of methodologies and critical approaches to literary studies that will prepare them for continued study in the English major. Since this is a writing intensive course, writing and research skills will also be a key focus of the course.
- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
- William Shakespeare, Othello
- William Shakespeare, King Lear
- Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres
- Keith Hamilton Cobb, American Moor
- Other materials will be made available via Canvas
Section 902 taught by Dr. Shawna Ross
This class will use Sherlock Holmes to help students learn one new method in the humanities: comparative textual media (CTM). Theorized by N. Katherine Hayles and Jessica Pressman in Comparative Textual Media: Transforming the Humanities in the Postprint Era (2013), CTM provides a materialist methodology for studying literature as a media ecology. Hayles and Pressman define literature as malleable cultural form that manifests in a variety of physical and digital formats, from scrolls, manuscripts, and codices to hypertexts, digital games, and XML-encoded editions. By paying careful attention to the material and technical properties of each textual object, then relating these details to the cultural contexts relevant to each text, CTM scholars are able both to create novel readings of texts and to shed light on the history of literature as a technological form.
In this class, our CTM-based approach situates Doyle’s consulting detective as a transmedia phenomenon by studying a wide range of textual objects and reflecting on the history of literature as a dynamic media form. To encourage students to compare the media formats through which Doyle’s texts are embodied over time, students will view and handle different editions of canonical texts, including bound copies of The Strand, rare books held in our library’s special collections, a wide variety of mass-print paperbacks and scholarly editions (including Leslie S. Klinger’s New Annotated Sherlock Holmes), and digital “editions” of varying quality. Students fill out worksheets with technical details and reflect on how the format of the text impacts their interpretation of it. Comparing and contrasting examples from different media formats stimulates critical thinking about literature’s textual forms.
The class’s assignment design enacts CTM by requiring students themselves to become transmedia writers: each student constructs a pastiche, a digital map, a juridical ruling, a film review, a scholarly introduction, and some kind of online fan art (such as a piece of fan fiction, a Pinterest board, a soundscape, or an entry on the Baker Street wiki). As the students participate in the rich tradition of Sherlock Holmes adaptations, they become more confident with multimedia authorship, meditate on the symbiotic relationship between form and content, and recognize literature as a complex, material cultural form.
- Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories
- Laurie R. King, The Beekeeper's Apprentice
- Lyndsay Faye, Dust and Shadow
- Selected poems, playscripts and non-Holmes short stories by Doyle (free online)
- Short story pastiches by J. M. Barrie, P. G. Wodehouse, and John Bangs (free online)
- Fan poems by Vincent Starrett, William Shweickhert, and Alan Olding (free online)
- Film/TV adaptations (1939 Hound of the Baskervilles, BBC Sherlock, Jeremy Brett's Sign of the Four, Wishbone, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, etc)
Section 903 taught by Dr. Mary Ann O'Farrell
This class is an introduction to English studies organized around a topic (school fiction), a process (thinking self-consciously about what we do when we read, discuss, and write about literature and other kinds of texts), and a set of practicalities (issues involved in being an informed English major at Texas A&M).
The hothouse, small world nature of school has made it an appealing setting for fiction interested in exploring issues related to learning and to coming into identity: vulnerability and exposure, exclusion and belonging, the thrill of knowing and the painful surprise of not knowing, and the discovery that one has a relation to personal and to institutional forms of power. This proposed section of 303 will explore the riches of literary and visual works focused on the experience of school.
- Texts we will read and watch include such novels (the first of the Harry Potter books, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise, Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys), and such films as (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Clueless).
Section 904 taught by Dr. James Francis
The science fiction-horror text is no stranger to literary criticism; in its written and visual forms, scholars have unpacked the ways in which the hybrid genre often tackles and represents shared sociocultural—including religious and economic—terrors and apprehensions through thematic, symbolic, and metaphorical story elements. When we examine a specific time period and the sci-fi horror narratives produced during that era, we discover that the texts serve as historical time markers, responding to global concerns that link our transnational humanity and perspectives in remarkable ways. From early written works to the 1950s-1970s heyday period of sci-fi horror film texts (mostly adaptations), examining narratives from this time span will allow us to consider how past anxieties transition into fears of the early 21st Century zeitgeist.
As an introduction to the English major, we will engage with various types of narratives (short story, novel, fiction film, television) that confront science and horror as natural aspects of everyday living and genres (separate and combined) that fascinate us and develop strategies for reading, interpreting, researching, and writing about the narratives to gain a communal understanding of representative concepts in literature, rhetoric, and creative writing.
- “The Empire of the Ants” (Wells 1905)
- Empire of the Ants (Gordon 1977)
- “The Birds” (Du Maurier 1952)
- The Birds (Hitchcock 1963)
- I Am Legend (Matheson 1954)
- The Last Man on Earth (Ragona & Salkow 1964)
- The Omega Man (Segal 1971)
- The Midwich Cuckoos (Wyndham 1957)
- Village of the Damned (Rilla 1960)
- Selected Episodes of The Twilight Zone (Serling 1959-1964)
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson 1886)
- Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (Baker 1971)
- Demon Seed (Koontz 1973)
- Demon Seed (Cammell 1977)
- “Children of the Corn” (King 1977)
- Children of the Corn (Kiersch 1984)
Section 905 taught by Dr. Marian Eide
How does writing contribute to our ability to make meaning in the world? Is there something specific about the way that writing practices guide our thinking, and form mental and intellectual habits? Does a specific medium (poem, essay, novel, drama) adjust our way of knowing? This course focuses on writing across genres to hone skills that empower individuals in their communities and careers and are highly valued in the workplace. We will consider a wide variety of genres to enhance our own writing practices: these include fiction and poetry, but also essays and emerging forms in new media. Students will practice intellectual and speculative investigation in two major essay projects.
Paolo Friere, James Joyce, William Faulkner, Louise Erdrich, Sandra Cisneros, Octavio Solis, Margaret Atwood, Wesley Morris, Octavia Butler, Reni Eddo-Lodge, James Baldwin, Susan Glaspell, Evie Shockley, Toni Morrison, and others
Taught by Dr. Joshua DiCaglio
This course introduces the English major by talking about science. The premise is that one of the best ways to understand the powers of rhetoric, literature, and the humanities more broadly is to examine the rhetorical forms arising from science itself--the literary productions that play with its mode of discourse and discoveries, the popular communications that treat science as something to change our perspectives and values, the many forms of writing by which it explains itself, and the political, cultural, and personal disorientations it can induce. Here students will use texts, discourses, and ideas that are supposed to be straightforward and regulated to focus in on the essential role interpretation, communication, and narrative plays in all human activity. We will focus on some of the most significant but also confusing, ambiguous, tantalizing, and impactful threads of scientific discourse: astronomy, ecology, and nanotechnology. Reading a bit of science itself alongside literature, popular science, films, digital productions, and so on will help us see and work with the many ways that rhetorical productions are always before us, in need of careful study.
- Neil Stephenson, Diamond Age
- Octavia Butler, Dawn
- Stapledon, The Star Maker
- Margulis and Sagan, Microcosmos
Taught by Dr. Jason Crider
With nearly two-thirds of internet traffic occuring via mobile devices today, digital media is increasingly being consumed and created away from the stationary desktop and out “on the move.” Rapid advancements in smartphone, GPS, and augmented reality technologies means that digital information now interacts more and more with non-digital, analog spaces. This course takes digital media’s mobile turn as both its topic of study and its genre of writing.
So what does that mean? In this course, students will research the histories and theories behind this digital shift and create multimedia writing projects designed to change the way their audiences engage with space. Readings will range from science fiction to critical theory to contemporary critique. Projects will center around free, open-source digital software as students learn to write for emerging digital platforms. No prior technological experience required.
- Jason Farman (ed.), The Mobile Story
- Jessie Auchter and John Craig Freeman, “Border Memorial: Frontera de los Muertos”
- Nicole Starosielski, Media Hot and Cold
- Melanie Jue, Wild Blue Media
- Chen Quifan, Waste Tide
- Vernor Vinge, Rainbow’s End
- Feed, M. T. Anderson John Tinnell, Actionable Media
- Gregory L. Ulmer, Electronic Monuments
Taught by Dr. Amy Earhart
Examination of Texas literature, culture and multi-media; exploration of the development of Texas identities and responses to the rich cultural diversity within the state. Focus includes literature, foodways, music and more.
Section 500 taught by Dr. Margaret Ezell
This class looks at the literary history of the period after the death of Queen Elizabeth I (1603) through the death of the Puritan dictator, Oliver Cromwell (1658). Divided into five historical sections, the course will explore multiple genres, such as what plays were popular on stage, new forms of fiction taking advantage of inexpensive print, the lively world of social manuscript culture, and the literary responses to the English Civil War (1642-1650).
Some of the writers and works we might be reading may include Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the context of contemporary witch trials; elite court entertainments such as masques and public pageants, including the young John Milton’s masque Comus; authors who found fame in the “social media” of manuscript networks such as the poet John Donne and those who earned their livings through exploiting print such as the poets Aemelia Lanyer and Ben Jonson. We will read parts of Lady Mary Wroth’s scandalous romance Urania, Dorothy Leigh’s best-selling advice book to her children The Mother’s Blessing, the poems of Anne Bradstreet who emigrated to New England, the diaries and autobiographical writings of the formidable Anne Clifford and the religious meditations of the mystic poet Thomas Traherne. The last portion of the course will look at the coming of the English Civil War and both sides’ responses to it, the rise of newsbooks and political publications, and the attempt to shape a new godly nation. In terms of written work, students can expect to write short response essays leading up to a final research paper on a topic of your choice.
Taught by Dr. Susan Egenolf
This course will examine works written by British and Irish subjects during the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century. The course will treat poetry, short drama, political treatises and novels written during the time period. The emphasis of the course will be on how these texts relate to each other and to their sociohistorical contexts. We will examine key political developments during the period, especially the French Revolution, the controversy over the slave trade, the Irish Rebellion, the movement for women’s rights and the rise of Britain as a colonial power. We will also study developments in the sciences (often called “natural history” at the time) and industry and how they changed the way people thought about the world. In addition to edited primary texts, students will also read and respond to contemporary works from the Eighteenth Century Collections Online and the Early American Imprints database, exploring important contextual issues such as slavery, marriage, travel and war. We'll also be attending to visual and material culture (painting, prints, cartoons, sculpture, pottery) representing the period.
- Poetry by William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Charlotte Smith, William Blake, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Robert Burns and John Keats.
- Possible Novels: _The Woman of Color_ (Anonymous); Austen's _Pride and Prejudice_; Mary Shelley's _Frankenstein_
- Possible Drama: Percy Shelley's _The Cenci_; Joanna Baillie's _The Family Legend_; Lord Byron's _Cain_; Hannah Cowley's _A Day in Turkey_; George Colman's _Inkle and Yarico_
- Writings on Slavery: Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, Hannah More, Ann Yearsley
- Children's Literature: Maria Edgeworth and Charlotte Smith
- Writings on the French Revolution: Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Paine, Helen Maria Williams, Hannah More
- Writings on Women's Rights: Mary Wollstonecraft, Anna Laetitia Barbauld
Taught by Mary Evans
This course will focus on portrayals of work in Victorian poetry and prose. The types of work discussed in literature and in other prose works from the period changes in the nearly 70 years containing the Victorian era, which begins with a focus on workers rights and texts that examine factory work and its problematic elements, particularly the exploitation of workers and the use of debt to manipulate workers and poor working conditions, common themes found in the works of Charles Dickens or Elizabeth Gaskell. The end of the period centralizes its approaches to work on white collar work and a growing middle class, along with the inclusion of women in the workplace, themes more common in the works of Bram Stoker.
Taught by Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
This course will explore fairy tales, largely from Europe and the United States, from their oral (traditional) roots to modern re-tellings of traditional tales. Our study will include significant European publications of traditional tales such as those by Straparola & Basile (Italy), Perrault and d’Aulnoy (France), the Brothers Grimm (Germany), Andrew Lang and Joseph Jacob (England). We will also read selected tales from other countries and cultures.
We will explore the way that these tales have been told in various cultures, how they are shaped by their cultures, and how they shape their cultures. We will also discuss the history of their reception through the centuries. We will explore significant historical events surrounding fairy tales, such as the “Frauds on Fairies” argument between Charles Dickens and George Cruikshank.
We will read re-tellings of traditional fairy tales through the past 200 years by authors such as Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Angela Carter, Tanith Lee, Roald Dahl, James Thurber, Anne Sexton, Sarah Henderson Hay, and others. We will also read a novel adaptation of a fairy tale (TBD). We will explore how fairy tales have been used in film by film makers such as Disney and Pixar, and in musicals by composers such as Stephen Sondheim (Into the Woods), and how the tales appear in pop culture (music, advertising, etc.). In our exploration of re-tellings and adaptations, we will be especially interested in how they often appropriate fairy tales for specific purposes.
- Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, Folk and Fairy Tales, 5th edition
- Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, Fairy Tales in Popular Culture
- Novel, TBD
Taught by Dr. Michael Collins
This course aims to encourage and clarify the practice of poetry writing by giving beginning writers the opportunity to critique and try out various forms, styles and conventions of poetry writing. Each week we will analyze a poem or group of poems that exemplifies a certain technique or strategy, or a certain philosophical approach to writing poetry. A part or all of some classes will be devoted to workshop discussions of poems class members write. In this way we will seek to deepen our understanding of key elements of poetry such as voice, form, image, and persona. In addition, we will tackle an always difficult subject: what is the difference between a good poem and a not so good or bad poem?
Class members will be required to a) keep a journal of reactions to poems and/or interesting sights, sounds and experiences; b) submit, during the course of the term, seven poems that apply some of the lessons learned by studying the forms, styles and individual poets and approaches to poetry writing that we analyze in the class; c) write an approximately 3 page critique of a poem, poet, or approach to poetry [specific details about writing this critique will be provided in due course]; d) participate in class discussions.
- Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux: The Poet's Companion
- Rita Dove: The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry
[Note: Either these or similar books will be assigned]
Sections 201 and 501 taught by Dr. Marian Eide
How do events of the past shape the present and form communities based on shared memories? Does literature both cement communal assumptions formed by these memories and also unsettle those ideals to give readers new ideas about our heritage? This course focuses on contemporary literature that reflects on the past to define group identity in the present. Students will produce several creative responses to these questions in oral, written, and visual forms, as well as developing research and information literacy skills.
- Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad
- Pat Barker: Toby’s Room
- TaraShea Nesbit: The Wives of Los Alamos
- Mohsin Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
- Natasha Trethewey: Beyond Katrina
Taught by Dr. Joshua DiCaglio
One of the early Greek teachers of argumentation once gave a speech positing language as a kind of intoxication, which permitted people to have a mysterious influence on each other. Out of this observation the history of rhetoric emerges as the attempt to control the flow and form of this powerful influence of language. This course will follow out this theorizing of the influence of language through a comparative reading of Greek and Indian texts that reflect on how language makes people do things. Along the way we will try to recover the essential nature of this rhetorical way of thinking and begin to observe how this influence of language has never diminished but is rather as important as ever. We will thus make this history relevant as the long history of attempting to grapple with the ever proliferating technologies called language, writing, and rhetoric. Reading through this history will give students a foundation for understanding how persuasion works, the complexities, promises, and dangers of communications, and techniques for observing and working with these modes of influence.
Taught by Dr. Matt McKinney
Everything you read, every show you watch, every conversation you have has a feeling, a tone, a shape about it that influences how you respond, how you feel about it, and what you do afterwards. This elusive character is what we’re trying to get at by bringing together these two words “Rhetoric” and “Style.” Can we systematically and rigorously examine this underlying sense of language, this shaping of responses, this variety of rhetorical power underlying our communication?
Both Rhetoric (as the study of persuasion) and Style (as the study of the shape of communication) do not deal with any one topic. To help focus our examination of style, we will use a common theme: American culture and American identity.
- Performing Prose, by Holcomb and Killingsworth
- Message to the Grassroots, Malcolm X
- US and Haitian Declarations of Independence
- Empire of the Summer Moon, SC Gwynne
- Borderlands, Gloria Anzaldua
Sections 200 & 500 taught by Dr. James Francis
Class content is thematic: examining a brief history of the horror narrative (written and visual). We seek to answer questions concerning what and/or how the evolution and development of the horror narrative teaches us about society, narrative construction, genre, popular culture, and more. Course material subject to focus on a single subgenre - psychological horror, the slasher, supernatural horror, found footage, body horror, folk horror - or movement (e.g. New French Extremism). Film and literary theory will aid discussions and further knowledge of analysis and critique toward strengthening visual and written reading comprehension, writing skills, and the practice of scholarly research.
- John Polidori's The Vampyre (1819)
- Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla (1872)
- William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973)
- David Cronenberg's The Brood (1979)
- Julia Ducournau's Raw (2016)
- Jordan Peele's US (2019)
Section 500 taught by Dr. Jason Harris
This course will focus on the basic elements of writing a screenplay. We will look at examples of screenwriting for film and TV via screenplay textbooks, publications, and films. The primary project will be writing a completed screenplay of at least TV pilot length by the end of the semester. Class discussions will include writing workshops to make helpful critiques of progress.
- David Trottier's The Screenwriting Bible
- Blake Snyder's Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need
- Michael Hauge's Writing Screenplays That Sell.
Section 500 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. What happened to your reading tastes as you grew older? Did you read what we now call “young adult literature” as a young adult? What exactly is a young adult? Does the term refer to an age category or a reading level, a personality type or a genre? What differentiates adult from young adult from teenager? What about young adult or teenager from child? How do we understand the genre of literature for and about this blurry, shifting group?
In this course, we will explore a range of young adult or YA literature in English, including poetry, contemporary fiction, graphic memoirs, and fantasy. Our task is to think critically about what these books can tell us about how we (and others) understand adolescence, how those definitions have changed over time, and how these books participate in larger movements of history, culture, and literature.
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 English Bible (1611), available online. For more information, please contact the instructor by email: email@example.com.
Taught by Dr. Sally Robinson:
In this course, we will explore the complex symbolic relationship between women and consumerism. Within patriarchal cultures, women’s hunger for food, for men, for material goods is very often considered problematic; we hear about women who love too much, who shop too much, who eat too much. Even as women are often represented as out of control consumers, they also find themselves represented as the objects of consumption; women and the female body are used to sell products, women’s individual identities are often consumed by others’ needs and desires, women are frequently represented as objects to be owned, purchased, used. How have women writers approached these issues? Do novels by women critically revise, or uncritically accept, what we might call a male-oriented or masculinist take on questions of female appetite and desire? How do race and class impact how women relate to consumer culture, and how consumer culture positions women?
- Jane Austen, Emma 1815
- M.E. Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret 1862
- Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1925
- Nella Larsen, Passing 1929
- Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye 1970
- Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman 1969
- Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate 1992
- Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic 2009
Sections 200 & 500 taught by Dr. Mary Ann O'Farrell
This course will focus on the history and development of the British novel and on the many pleasures to be taken in reading it. We will also consider some preoccupations of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as these are developed in the novels we read. Some of our interests in class discussion and as readers will include: money and marriage, manners and style, publishing and reading practices, bodies and things, majority and minority of character, business and politics, spinsters and bachelors, ways of knowing, work and words, laughter and blushes and tears.
- Readings will likely include works by such authors as Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Wilkie Collins, Daniel Defoe, Charles Dickens, and the anonymous author of The Woman of Colour: A Tale.
Taught by Dr. Jennifer Wollock
Folklore is a primary building block of all literatures and all cultures around the world, something that all families and countries share. This new course gives students a chance to explore a variety of folk arts, carried by the oral tradition across national boundaries, that bind communities together to shape human identity. We will look at folktales, folk song, sayings, customs, folk drama (with human and puppet actors) and dance, arts, crafts and celebrations. We will also delve into the history of the field, which connects literature, anthropology, and philosophy, from the time of Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) down to the present. For more information, please contact the instructor by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Taught by Dr. Maura Ives
“Bah humbug!” -- Ebenezer Scrooge
“Maybe Christmas ... means a little bit more.” --The Grinch
“I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR.” – Buddy the Elf
The Christmas holiday has inspired hundreds of literary works and films, not to mention an annual deluge of things to do and see and purchase during the holiday season. The celebration of Christmas has become embedded in cultural narratives about (among other things) identity, inclusion, tradition, and redemption; it has been redefined as a domestic holiday as well as a public festival; and it has been both celebrated and disparaged as a liminal experience – one that disrupts the patterns and hierarchies of normal life to allow for chaos, transcendence, and the comfort of nostalgia.
How did these things happen, and what do they mean? To answer that question, we will explore the history and literary representation of Christmas from its origins in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke through its designation as a federal holiday in the late 19th century and beyond. Our syllabus will include the two most influential literary treatments of Christmas in the English language -- Clement Clarke Moore’s “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” and Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol – as well as lesser-known literary works by women and African-American writers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Christmas-themed advertising, propaganda, and material culture from the 19th century to the present, and the continuing reinvention of the holiday in 20th and 21st century film and television.
Section 500 taught by Dr. Donald Dickson
In this senior-level literature course, we will trace Milton’s development as a poet and historicize his life within the context of Puritan utopianism and the English Civil War.
- Milton, Paradise Lost
- Selected early poems and selected prose
Taught by Dr. Apostolos Vasilakis
This course will focus on the work of the speculative fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin. During the course we will follow Le Guin’s progression and evolution as a writer, examine some of her most important novels, short stories, and essays and see how her narratives constantly address questions of time, change, identity, and technology. Students will be exposed to Le Guin’s work and her engagement with utopian thinking, and gain some understanding of the author’s narrative strategies and techniques.
- The Left Hand of Darkness
- The Dispossessed
- The Lathe of Heaven
- Dancing at the Edge of the World
Taught by Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
Speaking of The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, J. R. R. Tolkien writes: "[A] basic passion of mine . . . was for myth and for fairy-story, and above all for heroic legend on the brink of fairy-tale and history, of which there is far too little in the world . . . I am not ‘learned’ in the matters of myth and fairy-story, however, for in such things . . . I have always been seeking material, things of a certain tone and air, and not simple knowledge. Also . . . I was from early days grieved by the poverty of my own beloved country: it had no stories of its own (bound up with its tongue and soil), not of the quality that I sought . . . nothing English, save impoverished chap-book stuff. Of course there was and is all the Arthurian world, but powerful as it is, it is imperfectly naturalized, associated with the soil of Britain but not with English; and does not replace what I felt to be missing" (Letters 144).
Thus, Tolkien goes on to explain, he began to create “a body of more or less connected legend” (The Silmarillion) which tells the tales of the First, Second, and Third Ages of Middle-earth. The Hobbit (written for children) follows, and is important to the sequel, The Lord of the Rings, as it brings the “One Ring” out of the darkness of Gollum’s cave, of time, and of history. The Lord of the Rings concludes the cycle and recounts the end of the Third Age and ushers in the Fourth Age, the age of Men, which is where Tolkien ends his mythic cycle about Middle-earth.
While Tolkien creates his great mythic cycle partly to create an English mythos, it is also “fundamentally a religious and Catholic work” in which “the religious element is absorbed into the story and symbolism” (Letters 172). The centrality of the Christian myth to Tolkien’s work is made abundantly clear in his seminal essay “On Fairy-Stories” in which he sets out the concepts of Recovery, Escape, Consolation, and Eucatastrophe, “the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous ‘turn’ (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale)” to define what we today consider genre fantasy (On Fairy-Stories 153). Creating such fantasy, Tolkien argues “remains a human right: we make . . . because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker (“On Fairy-Stories” 145).
This course analyzes the seminal tales of Tolkien’s Middle-earth, his “English” myth. It explores topics including the nature of heroes/heroism, good and evil, the created races (Elves, Dwarves, Men etc.), the supernatural and the ways in which the Christian myth “is absorbed” in the larger myth, significant themes, and the roles of women. The course draws upon relevant scholarship, and is informed by consistent reference to Tolkien’s letters, his essay, “On Fairy-Stories,” and his poem, “Mythopoeia.”
- The Silmarillion (ISBN: 9780544338012)
- The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Box Set (ISBN: 9780547928180)
Section 901 taught by Dr. Nandini Bhattacharya
Capstone seminar on significant movements or issues with special attention to methods and materials of scholarship. Pandemic will cover readings from twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature regarding the phenomenon of global pandemics and the human, cultural and literary responses to it from within the humanities. Texts studied might include Jose Saramago's Blindness, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and others. The focus of the course will be to encourage humanities students to engage with pressing and timely civilizational topics in their own time and experience as it relates to literature. Model 3. Two 2000 word writing assignments will be two research papers focused on at least two different major texts or writers studies in the course.
- Camus, Albert. The Plague.
- Four Quartets: Poetry of the Pandemic.
- Mann, Thomas. Death in Venice.
- Saramago, Jose. Blindness
- Visconti, Lucciano. Death in Venice.
- Woolf, Virginia Woolf. Mrs. Dalloway.
- Woolf, Virginia. “On Being Ill.”
- Viral Modernism.
Selected additional texts:
- Boccaccio, Giovanni. Decameron.
- Ma, Ling. Severance. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2018.
- Pasolini, Paolo. Decameron.
- Train to Busan.
Section 904 taught by Dr. Andrew Pilsch
In 1984, William Gibson's novel *Neuromancer* changed the nature of the future. While science fiction had grappled with a future in outer space, Gibson turned inward, to cyberspace, the computer, and life online. In 1984, Apple Computer launched the first Macintosh computers with a slick, Orwell-referencing ad which implied personal computers were a tool for the liberation of the mind. This course looks at these and other, similar events as a related cultural moment in which the personal computer first emerged on the pages of science fiction and in homes across the world. We will examine this turn under the banner of "cyberpunk," the term applied to Gibson and his companions who first wrote science fiction about computers, and will explore the idea of the personal computer in science fiction, memoir, electronic dance music, and film.
- William Gibson, Neuromancer
- Kodwo Eshun, More Brilliant than the Sun
- Ridley Scott, Bladerunner
- Lana and Lilly Wachowski, The Matrix
- Ellen Ullman, Close to the Machine
- Timothy Leary, "Cyberpunk: The Individual as Reality Pilot"
Section 903 taught by Dr. Sally Robinson
From at least the middle of the 19th century, American culture has been attempting to come to terms with the ever increasing dominance of consumerism in all aspects of life. Literature, film, and a wide range of nonfiction writing has represented, criticized, made fun of, and celebrated the forms and practices of consumer culture. Whether the topic is profligate shopping, reality television, advertising, food trends, commercialized religion, or the “Disneyfication” of literature and history, representations of consumerism always raise questions about cultural value. In this class, we will read fiction and nonfiction and view films that actively engage in questions about the meanings of consumerism. Some attack consumerism as “fake;” some celebrate it as empowering; some rely on gender and class stereotypes to categorize “high” versus “low” culture; some imagine consumer culture as a vast conspiracy aiming to control individuals; and some worry about what kind of people consumer culture makes us. Throughout the course, we will challenge commonsense ideas about the meanings of consumerism, with the goal of arriving at a more complex picture of how culture and commerce, art and commodities, interact with and influence each other; and how writers and filmmakers have created narratives to respond to the threats and promises of consumer culture.
- Ira Levin, The Stepford Wives (1972)
- Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985)
- Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats (1999)
- Sophie Kinsella, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (2002)
- William Gibson, Pattern Recognition (2003)
- Judith Levine, Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping (2006)
- Colson Whitehead, Apex Hides the Hurt (2006)
- Films, available to stream on Canvas: David Fincher, director, Fight Club (1999)
- Rob VanAlkemade, director, What Would Jesus Buy (2007)
- Derrick Borte, director, The Joneses (2009)
- A range of articles and book chapters (all available on Canvas) to contextualize our primary reading
Section 902 Taught by Dr. Michael Collins
Crime, detection, trial, punishment, rehabilitation, freedom: This is the familiar cycle of justice in the United States and many other nations. The whole of this cycle, as well as the legal and theoretical framework in which the cycle unfolds, is the subject matter of the interdisciplinary subfield of literary criticism and legal studies that is known as “Law and Literature.” As a way of introducing “Law and Literature,” and its subfield, “Law as Literature,” this class will explore works that represent, theorize, or condemn all of part of this cycle as the authors explore the intricacies of injustice and its opposite.
The following list, drawn from a previous offering of the course, is certain to change. But books similar to the following will be among the readings:
- Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men
- Attica Locke's Bluebird, Bluebird
- Laura Bates' Shakespeare Saved My Life
- Sarah Weddington's A Question of Choice
- Jonathan Simon's Mass Incarceration on Trial
- Yuri Herrera's The Transmigration of Bodies.