English Undergraduate Course Descriptions
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Intro to Poetry
Multiple sections available
Games and Fiction
Dr. Craig Carey
This course introduces literary and critical methods for playing, reading, writing,
and designing video games and interactive fiction. Students will play, read, and analyze
interactive stories while engaging with broader critical issues in game studies and
literary studies. The course will explore topics such as game literacy, game writing,
worldbuilding, character design, text adventures, user interfaces, dialogue trees,
branching narratives, visual novels, environmental storytelling, and more. By exploring
the relationship between games, fiction, storytelling, design, and culture, students
will learn how games are used to tell stories, build worlds, and think through social
issues. The course is open and accessible to all kinds of players, from the experienced
or casual to those without any gaming experience. Students will learn critical skills
in reading, writing, and analysis, along with digital competencies in game writing
and interactive storytelling.
Fiction Writing I
In this class, you will write your own original fiction. Class sessions will be organized
around craft topics, which will include assigned outside readings and writing exercises.
You will also write one short story or novel chapter. Craft topics will include: character,
dialogue, setting, structure, style, revision, and more.
Poetry Writing I
ENG 223 ONLINE
Creative Writing I: Mixed Genre
Session: Eight Week - Second (October 10 – December 8)
Dr. Olivia Clare Friedman
In this course, you will write your own original fiction and poetry. Class sessions
will be organized around craft topics, which will include assigned readings and writing
exercises. We’ll begin with fiction. Craft topics will include: character, dialogue,
setting, structure, revision, and more. For poetry, craft topics will include: the
line, sound, imagery, and more.
Recommended Text: Imaginative Writing, 3rd or 4th Edition, Janet Burroway
Short stories and poems to be distributed in class.
Mrs. Amy Carey
A study of the structures, origins, power, and rhetorical nature of language and the
effects of different approaches to grammar. This course is designed for both English
and English Licensure students and will fulfill the language elective requirement
for licensure students. Students will analyze standard and rhetorical features of
English language and grammar, also considering how history, culture, and systems of
power have traditionally defined grammatical standards and how those standards are
continually changing and adapting. Participants will gain confidence in their own
mastery of advanced English grammar; they will also deepen their ability to analyze
its rhetorical effects and communicate that analysis to others through Field Notes
assignments and a final research project. Students in this course will use a rhetorical
framework for studying both prescriptive and descriptive grammar structures and apply
that framework to their own writing.
Survey of Contemporary Literature
Dr. Monika Gehlawat
What is the contemporary? When does it begin and how do we keep up with its endlessly
shifting horizon? In an effort to identify what constitutes contemporary literature,
what themes, forms, and prevailing concerns arise in this historical period, we will
read literature starting from the postwar period by authors like Grace Paley and Christopher
Isherwood and move all the way up to the present day where we'll read the work of
living writers like Zadie Smith and George Saunders. Along the way, we'll consider
ideas linked to postmodernism, realism, the "new sincerity" and autofiction, as well
as related artistic developments in film, painting, and music.
Elementary, My Dear Watson: Detective Fiction
Dr. Alexandra Valint
Detective fiction is a genre seemingly obsessed with rules; in fact, the members of
the 1920s Detective Club actually took an oath to uphold them. And yet, much of the
fun in reading detective fiction is watching authors play with and even upend such
rules. In this course, we will read influential, canonical examples of detective fiction
and more contemporary and global examples across different media (literature, film,
podcasts). We will start with two authors who indelibly shaped the genre and created
the stereotypical detective: Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock
Holmes (along with his sidekick Watson); we will also consider nineteenth-century
female detectives, paying particular attention to how the gender of the detective
affects the investigation and the narrative. We will read “golden age” authors such
as Agatha Christie, as well as the hardboiled fiction of Raymond Chandler. The primary
rule of detective fiction is known as “fair play”—the notion that an author must construct
the mystery in a way that allows an observant reader to solve the crime; and yet,
detective fiction also revels in tricking and misleading the reader through false
clues, leads, and suspects. Therefore, throughout the course, we will seek to understand
how detective fiction works—its conventions, its moves—and how it works on us—its
effects, its thrills, its surprises. We will also be attuned to how issues of gender,
class, and race intersect with criminality and its detection.
ENG 321 / 421
Fiction Writing II / III
Dr. Jennifer Brewington
ENG 322 / 422
Poetry Writing II / III
Writing and Education
Multiple sections available
Analysis of Literature
Dr. Nicolle Jordan
Analysis of Literature
Analysis of Literature
Dr. Leah Parker
In this section of ENG 340 Analysis of Literature, we will engage with that most infamous
of Old English poems—Beowulf—as our constant companion through the historiography
of English studies, movements in critical theory, and the core English major skills
of literary analysis and argumentative writing. We will read multiple translations
of Beowulf, from J. R. R. Tolkien to Maria Dahvana Headley, and trace evolving approaches
to the poem from the traditional to the cutting-edge. Not only will successful students
have an intimate familiarity with Beowulf by the end of this course, but they will
also be prepared to apply their expertise in literary analysis and critical theory
to remaining coursework in the English major or minor.
British Literature I
Dr. Leah Parker
How does literature shape our culture, our history, and our individual selves? This
survey explores British literature from the eighth century through the eighteenth
century. Students will read authors and texts that are considered parts of the “canon”
of English literature, as well as their less canonical—though no less important—contemporaries.
We will explore the relationship between literature and history, through stories that
reimagine history in light of their own historical moments, from the beginnings of
the English language to the dawn of the British Empire. We will also explore aspects
of British literature beyond English, including texts translated from Latin, French,
and Celtic languages and texts inspired by or commenting on other parts of Europe
and the world.
Readings will include selections from Beowulf, the Mabinogi, Le Morte Darthur, Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost, and works by authors including the Venerable Bede, Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer,
Margery Kempe, Sir Philip Sidney, Lady Mary Wroth, Queen Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare,
Margaret Cavendish, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, and Phillis
British Literature II
Dr. Charles Sumner
American Literature I
Dr. Luis Igelsias
American Literature II
Dr. Ery Shin
Picking up in the aftermath of the Civil War, this introductory survey traces how
literature forms out of, and feeds into, a distinctly national ethos. What makes certain
styles, genres, and sensibilities “American”? This question, along with those concerning
the nature of nationalist narratives and narratives of nationhood, will be of primary
interest all throughout.
African American Literature
Dr. Sherita Johnson
In this course, you will survey the African American literary tradition, concentrating
on the experiences of those who were enslaved and/or struggled to be free, as expressed
through their poetry, fiction, autobiography, essays, and vernacular art (e.g. folk
tales and music—religious, secular, and work songs). Starting from the colonial era
progressing to the dawn of the 20th century, we will examine generations of writers
including Jupiter Hammon, Phillis Wheatley, Venture Smith, George Moses Horton, David
Walker, Frances Harper, Frederick Douglass, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ida B. Wells-Barnett,
Pauline Hopkins, and Charles Chesnutt.
Senior Seminar: Cancelling the Confederacy
Dr. Kate Cochran
This capstone course will investigate the persistence of the Lost Cause mythology,
historical revisionism, white nationalist ideology, and antebellum nostalgia in various
texts set before, during, and after the Civil War. To be clear, the class does not
advocate for any aspect of the Confederacy: we will consider history and literature,
film and current events as we seek to discern why the Confederate legacy retains such
an enduring presence and how we might alter that in future. Texts will include excerpts
from John Pendleton Kennedy’s Swallow Barn (1832), Frederick Douglass’s Narrative (1845), Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), and Mary Boykin Chesnut’s A Diary from Dixie (1905); the 1939 film adaptation of Gone With the Wind; 20th and 21st-century novels including Shelby Foote’s Shiloh (1952), Ernest Gaines’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971), Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987), and Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad (2016); and secondary sources and recent articles about Confederate flag and monument
Senior Seminar: Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling
Dr. Jameela Lares
In this seminar, we will be exploring how three blockbuster authors—J. R. R. Tolkien,
C. S. Lewis, and J. K. Rowling—have both understood the nature of imaginative literature
and successfully written it. As a class, we will read not only several works by each
author but also look at their own theories of composition, including Tolkien’s “On
Fairy-Stories,” Lewis’s On Stories, and whatever we can turn up on Rowling. Class members will also post written responses
on the Canvas discussion board, facilitate a class discussion, and present on an additional
literary text by one of the authors or in some way informed by one of more of the
C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia.
---, Out of the Silent Planet.
---, On Stories and Other Essays on Literature.
---, Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold.
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
---, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Scholastic, 2001).
---, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
---, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Tolkien Reader (includes “Leaf by Niggle,” “On Fairy-Stories,” and Farmer Giles of Ham).
---, The Hobbit.
---, The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings.
Literature Study for Teachers
Dr. Kate Cochran
This course is designed to examine both theoretical and practical problems in the
teaching of literature. Through reading poems, short stories, memoirs, and novels
as our primary texts, we will become acquainted with textual and generic issues while
our secondary text offers pedagogical and methodological guidance for instructors
charged with teaching literature. Students will practice class activities, create
a book talk, complete a multigenre research project, take a final comprehensive essay
exam, and observe a class video, including writing a reflection on the observation.
As a required course for English Education students and an elective course for Elementary
Education students at the undergraduate level, this course seeks to help students
understand the current theories and processes of teaching literature. Students will
learn about themselves as readers and will work together to further deepen their understanding
of how students learn.
LGBTQ+ Literature: Queer(ing) America
Dr. Luis Iglesias
While The Stonewall Riot of 1969 in New York City’s Greenwich Village marked the dramatic
turning point of the LGBTQ Rights movement and spirit, the United States has long
made expressive space for queer(ing) aesthetics and literary production. Locating
Walt Whitman as the emergent outspoken and unapologetic writer of Queer America, this
class will highlight works that engage with the idea of “America” and the nation’s
spirit of personal freedom and individualistic expression, opening up spaces for writers
in the US to explore the imaginative and authentic stories of LGBTQ people across
a wide spectrum of social and racial identities. These works examine the lives, dangers,
and survival of individuals and forged communities where homosocial/homosexual desires
and loves shape their self-understanding and place in American society.
Leaves of Grass (1855), “Live Oak with Moss” sequence (1859), Calamus culster (1861), Walt Whitman
Giovanni’s Room (1956), James Baldwin
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982), Audre Lorde
Angels in America (1991), Tony Kushner
Lot: Stories (2019), Bryan Washington
Gender Queer: A Memoir (2019), Maia Kobabe
Fiebre Tropical (2020), Julianna Delgado Lopera
Afterparties: Stories (2021), Anthony Veasna So
Note: Several works depict adult situations and content
Rhetoric in English Renaissance Literature
Dr. Jameela Lares
"Rhetoric is the greatest barrier between us and our ancestors. . . . Older than the
Church, older than Roman Law, older than all Latin literature, it descends from the
age of the Greek Sophists. Like the Church and the Law it survives the fall of the
Empire, rides the renascentia and the Reformation like waves, and penetrates far into the eighteenth century; through
all these ages not the tyrant, but the darling of humanity. . . . "
--C. S. Lewis
This seminar will close-read some of the finest literature in English—from the late
sixteenth century through Milton—while it learns more about how the English Renaissance
understood language and its role in culture in terms of rhetoric. Seminar members
will thus expand their understanding not only of Renaissance English literature but
also of classical rhetoric and its critical potential. We may discover conferencing
and publishing possibilities as well. This course will be co-taught with ENG 558.
Course requirements (weights will differ between graduates and undergraduates): thoughtful
reading of texts, regular attendance and participation in seminar discussions; ten
weekly discussion posts; two oral presentations, each with a short written component
(undergraduates) or a more extended class teaching session and teaching portfolio
write-up (graduates); a researched seminar paper.
Thomas M. Conley, Rhetoric in the European Tradition (U of Chicago P).
Norton Anthology of English Literature, 10th edition, vol. B.
Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, 4th edition, ed. Chris Baldick.
The British Novel to 1900: Novel Environments
Dr. Nicolle Jordan
What does the British Novel pre-1900 teach us about humanity’s relationship to the
environment? How has the novel imagined the value of the earth’s resources, and must
this value necessarily be based on their usefulness to humanity? How would the world
look different if humanity instead valued nature for its own sake? Finally, how have
novels trained us to think of humanity as part of nature or, conversely, as separate
from it, and with what consequences? This course explores these questions by investigating
nature in its many guises: rivers, storms, flowers, floods, animals, plants, and much
more. Authors include Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, George
Eliot, and Joseph Conrad.
Survey of 20th Century British Literature
Dr. Charles Summer
This class will cover classic twentieth-century British novels and novels. The book
list includes: Mrs. Dalloway (Woolf); Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Joyce); Women in Love (Lawrence); Lady Chatterley's Lover (Lawrence); Good Morning, Midnight (Rhys); Return of the Solider (West); "Indissoluble Matrimony" (West); Tarr (Lewis); Goodbye to Berlin (Isherwood); The Wasp Factory (Banks); and Butcher Boy (McCabe).
Studies in African American Literature
Dr. Michael Aderibigbe
This course examines major African-American authors and cultural movements from the
20th century to the present. Among the movements and topics we will study are the
Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts, the Dark Room Collective, and Afro-formalism.
Some of the authors we will focus on include Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Bennett, James
Baldwin, Etheridge Knight, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marilyn Nelson, Tracy K. Smith, and Kevin
view previous course descriptions here