Undergraduate Courses Spring 2013

ENG 202: INTRODUCTION TO POETRY - DR. JONATHAN BARRON

In this section of English 202 we will learn how to appreciate and even fall in love with poetry. We will learn all about the art from The Norton Introduction to Poetry and we will finish the semester by reading The Best American Poetry of 2012, an anthology edited by the poet, Mark Doty.

ENG 319: LITERARY STUDY OF THE BIBLE - DR. JAMEELA LARES

A scholarly examination of the literary structure and style of the English Bible, with particular focus on examining genres and performing close readings of texts.  Required texts: Leland Ryken’s very readable Words of Delight: Literary Introduction to the Bible (2nd edition), plus the new Norton critical editions of the King James Version (2 vols.), which include scholarly notes  and ancillary materials. Course requirements: regular reading and class participation, three longer written assignments, weekly reading quizzes, two unit exams and a final exam.  

ENG 332: ADVANCED COMPOSITION - DR. RACHEL SPEAR

Advanced Composition focuses on enhancing students’ writing, research, and documentation skills within academic conversations while strengthening rhetorical awareness.  This course is themed around “Stories of Trauma,” an interdisciplinary emphasis that enables class participants to explore links among writing, trauma, language, and identity.  Ranging from connections to education to connections between personal and communal experiences, course readings invite students to consider trauma stories as something other than disaster.  By reading, analyzing, and writing in various genres, students will examine rhetorical situations while fostering their writing and critical thinking skills.  Students will be expected to write both informal and formal assignments, to engage in sustained writing acts, and to streamline individual interests into a larger research project.

ENG 371: AMERICAN LIT II - DR. JONATHAN BARRON

English 371 will read novels, stories, and poems from the great writers who followed after the Civil War. The class will take a close look at how writers made sense of a new industrial republic of immigrants by reading the novels from William Dean Howells, Abraham Cahan, Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, F.Scott Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, stories by Sherwood Anderson and Jean Toomer, and poetry from Robert Frost among others.

ENG 400: SENIOR SEMINAR - DR. LINDA ALLEN

Critical RaceThe specific history of race relations in the United States has created a contemporary American culture that is marked by racial anxiety and misunderstanding.  While some argue that “the race problem” ended with the Civil Rights victories of the 1960s, scholars such as Patricia Hill Collins suggest that “the new rhetoric of race” has simply found new means by which to cloak existing racism.

This seminar will examine the legal, socio-political, and literary history of race in the United States, providing an introduction to the foundational concepts in Critical Race Theory.  Although race, racism, and racial constructions affect each one of us in different and particular ways every day, many Americans do not feel comfortable engaging in open discussions about race. In this course we will engage with these feelings of discomfort and disease head-on.  We will develop the tools necessary for us to dialogue about race, from informed, well-researched positions.  We will explore questions of identity and subjectivity, examining ourselves in relation to others in the larger context of critical race discourses.  We will put theory into practice with projects designed to enhance student learning. Most importantly, we will begin to build a community of students and scholars able to communicate with one another about pertinent, but often very uncomfortable issues. 

The first part of the semester will focus on developing a foundational understanding of Critical Race Theory, and the remainder of the semester will be spent applying these theories to various literary texts.

ENG 400: SENIOR SEMINAR - DR. MAUREEN RYAN (H002)

“In Vietnam, we were searching in a dark room for a black hat that wasn't there.”

—Ward Just, A Dangerous Friend

The Things They CarriedIn the late 1960's and early 1970's, deeply-felt and conflicting attitudes about the United States’ engagement in Vietnam—inextricably bound up with domestic upheaval caused by the Civil Rights and Women's Movements—led to fundamental and lasting changes in American society.  The years immediately after the fall of Saigon were characterized by a national amnesia about our involvement in Vietnam, but throughout the 1980's and '90's, as America's obsession with Vietnam sounded a new tune of reclamation and rehabilitation, literary treatments of the war experience became numerous and popular.  Now, as the U.S. engages vexing contemporary wars, Vietnam remains the touchstone for the country’s military involvements.  As metaphor, as and cultural influence, the Vietnam War remains—35 years after its ignominious end—a vital factor in our society. 

Using literary as well as historical documents and cultural criticism, this writing-intensive course will examine combat, home front, and aftermath narratives of the Vietnam era and of the years since the war.  Students will explore relevant topics in writing and speaking assignments of various kinds and lengths.

Primary texts might include such narratives as Philip Roth’s American Pastoral; Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and In the Lake of the Woods; Sigrid Nunez’s The Last of Her Kind; Michael Herr’s Dispatches, and Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge.

ENG 400 H003: SENIOR SEMINAR - Dr. JAMEELA LARES (H003) 

"Milton and—"

John Milton (1608-1674) was an astonishingly good poet who could be said to summarize everything that came before him and to influence everything that came after, thereby offering a nearly endless supply of topics for critical exploration. I will be demonstrating how to appreciate Milton’s texts, his culture, and his world as we look at his shorter poems, his prose, and his major poems, especially Paradise Lost, but I will also be challenging you to find legitimate connections between Milton and other inquiries of interest to you, which may well result in a “Milton and—“ research paper, e.g., Milton and postmodernism, Milton and film studies, Milton and children’s literature, and so on. Required texts: Milton's Selected Poetry and Prose, ed. Jason Rosenblatt (Norton Critical Editions, 2010); Paradise Lost, ed. Barbara Lewalski (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007). Course requirements: regular reading, attendance, and participation in seminar discussions (20%), weekly written responses to reading (20%), two oral presentations (20%), and a researched seminar paper (40%).  

ENG 400: SENIOR SEMINAR - DR. DAMON FRANKE (Please note that this section meets on the Gulf Coast Campus.)

"The Memoir: Nine Lives"

What do Malcolm X, Lee Iacocca, Woody Guthrie, and Gertrude Stein have in common?  They are all major figures in the disparate 20th century American experience, and in this course you will read their lives as told by themselves.  In addition to these four people and their memoirs, students will also read the compelling story of Che Guevara’s transformative pilgrimage in 1950s South America, and the story of Cheryl Strayed finding herself in the California Sierra Nevada in the 1990s.  To round out the course the class will also discuss the works of two of the most influential writers in contemporary America.  Frank Conroy directed the famous Iowa Writer’s Workshop for 30 years after publishing his autobiography, and Annie Dillard reshaped the nature of nature writing with her influential 1970s account of a year in the Appalachia.  To accentuate the literary in this course, we will conclude with Geoff Dyer’s literary memoir documenting his struggle to understand D.H. Lawrence.

The Nine Lives:

  • Frank Conroy, Stop-Time
  • Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
  • Geoff Dyer, Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence
  • Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries
  • Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory
  • Lee Iacocca, Iacocca
  • Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
  • Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

ENG 403: LANGUAGE STUDY FOR TEACHERS - DR. KATHERINE COCHRAN

This course examines various methods of teaching grammar, vocabulary, and mechanics, with a focus on pedagogy in secondary schools. Readings include selections from Clark's The Structure of English for Readers, Writers, and Teachers and Weaver's Teaching Grammar in Context; students will also be required to obtain a Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (3rd edition). Students will craft lesson plans, create and complete exams, and participate in a group technology project.  Admission is restricted to declared licensure majors: no exceptions.   

ENG 418: ADOLESCENT LITERATURE - DR. KATHERINE COCHRAN

Adolescent, or "YA," literature is an umbrella term referring to any fiction written for a readership ranging between 10 and 22 years of age. This course will examine YA lit generically, working from the "golden age" of adolescent literature in the mid-20th century to the present, including realistic fiction, the graphic novel, fantasy/sci-fi, biography, and so forth, to appreciate the wide spectrum of texts considered to be adolescent literature. We will supplement our primary texts with readings from Nilsen and Donelson's Literature for Today's Young Adults_(9th ed.); while we will note certain pedagogical implications, our focus will be on regarding YA fiction as literature worthy of analysis and serious study. Students will be required to present a brief book review, craft a longer researched essay, and complete midterm and final exams.

ENG 450: SURVEY OF MEDIEVAL LITERATURE - DR. ELIZABETH KAY HARRIS

This class will examine features of several medieval literary genres, giving particular attention to Middle English romances and dream visions and the ways in which they incorporate Greek mythology.   Course requirements will include quizzes over reading, one presentation,  two short papers, and a final paper that develops one of the short papers into a researched literary analysis.  

ENG 468: WOMEN IN THE COUNTRY AND CITY - DR. NICOLLE JORDAN  

How does female identity vary depending on whether it is depicted in a rural or urban setting? Is one setting more congenial to the heroine—or the woman writer—than another? How does a woman’s experience of the country and/or the city vary depending upon her social status? In this course we will read British poetry, novels, and plays that imagine female characters in an array of settings, from the bucolic English countryside to the bustling social season of London and the bewildering harems of 18th-century Constantinople. We will explore whether a woman’s value, and her values, change depending on the familiarity or strangeness of her surroundings. Authors include Aphra Behn, Jane Barker, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Sarah Scott, Jane Austen, and George Eliot. 

ENG 473: STUDIES IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE - DR. SHERITA JOHNSON

“Working Black Women, Writers and Domestics”

 “In these days of universal scribbling, when almost every one writes for fame or money, many people who are not reaping large pecuniary profits from their work do not feel justified in making any outlay to gratify the necessities of their labors in literature.” Gertrude E.H. Bustill Mossell’s words, in The Work of the Afro-American Woman (1894), describe the economic conditions under which many of her subjects produced literature. Inspired by Mossell’s treatise, we will consider the economies of manual labor and writing, and the terms of production—writing to survive, writing stories of survival—as necessary to establish a tradition. How does creative writing offer greater compensation for personal autonomy if not celebrity for black women? When is a writer’s earning power weighted against the demands of publishing? Central to our study is the figure of the black domestic, her role supporting black families and communities. While discussions about the recent popularity of a certain novel/film featuring stereotypical black mammies may prove fruitful, we will use oral histories and cultural studies to explore the critical discourse about black domestics. Course requirements may include weekly journal assignments, an oral presentation, exams, and/or a research paper. Graduate students must write a seminar paper in addition.

Primary Texts:

  • Harriet E. Wilson, Our Nig; Or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (1859)
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)
  • Alice Childress, Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic's Life (1956)
  • Ann Petry, The Street (1946)
  • Natasha Tretheway, Domestic Work (2000)
  • A course packet of literary criticism, historical and cultural material
 

ENG 469: BRITISH FEMALE MODERNISTS - DR. CHARLES SUMNER

The goal of this course is clearly to define the notion of masculine heroism which has been so central to narratives about literary modernism, and then to understand how the experiences of women in early century Britain led to a different but equally rich, valuable, and perhaps even heroic experimental legacy in works by Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, Katherine Mansfield, Jean Rhys, and Dorothy Richardson.