School of Humanities
School of Humanities
Introduction to Drama
Dr. Olivia Clare
In this class, you will read a variety of plays, paying close attention to characterization, setting, structure, and scene. You will also see several live productions. Our goal will be to discuss each work with a great attention to detail, focusing on complexities, subtleties, and stylistic surprises.
MW 9:45 – 1:15
Dr. Jameela Lares
This course is intended to acquaint you with significant figures and works of world literature, beginning with early lyric poetry in China and The Epic of Gilgamesh in Mesopotamia and moving through time and space to the modern age. We will focus how literature is constructed, how it describes the human experience, and how we can talk about its interrelationships with time, place, culture, and other contexts. Texts: The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Shorter Fourth Edition, 2 vols., and the handy Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, 4th edition, ed. Chris Baldick.
Introduction to Fiction Writing
MW 9:45 – 11:15
Dr. Olivia Clare
Let your voice be heard. 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.
Introduction to Creative Writing
Dr. Adam Clay
ENG 223 is an introduction to multi-genre creative writing with an emphasis on fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Students will study craft-based guides, read published works, and draft creative work in various genres. The class will place an emphasis on generative writing exercises modeled on published work; students will also take part in peer-review workshops to develop and revise their writing. The class will culminate in the submission of a final portfolio that includes revised creative work, along with a critical introduction reflecting on the writing process as it applies to fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.
Dr. Shane Wood
This course has been revitalized, even by name. ENG 301: Advanced Grammar, formerly known as “English Grammar,” is focused on the power and rhetorical nature of language. We will investigate language and study ideas about language. This class works from the assumption that when we hear the word “grammar,” we think about the prescriptive nature of grammar— rules. Rules that tell us what to do. Or we think about specific parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, verbs. These concepts often lead us to think about correctness in hopes of meeting some standard notion of English. But language and grammar are complex. Read this:
“See, dont nobody all the time, nor do they in the same way subscribe to or follow standard modes of expression. Everybody mix the dialect they learn at home with whateva other dialect or language they learn afterwards. That’s how we understand accents; that’s how we can hear that some people are from a Polish, Spanish, or French language background when they speak English. It’s how we can tell somebody is from the South, from Appalachia, from Chicago or any other regional background” -Vershawn Ashanti Young
Grammar has power. It can change the way we read. It can change the way we understand because language has meaning. This course is devoted to understanding the effects of different approaches to grammar. Every language has a system of governing rules. Studying grammatical rules only takes us so far. We must examine and explore beyond the structural in order to better understand what language does and how grammars evolve. This course will challenge us to consider the dynamic nature of grammar in an interesting and engaging way.
Is grammar boring? No.
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 (such as, the detective cannot be the criminal). In this course, we will weave between reading influential, historical examples of detective fiction and exploring more contemporary and global examples across different media (literature, film, TV, podcasts, games). 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 and Dorothy Sayers, 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.
Literary Study of the Bible
MW 8:00 – 9:30
Dr. Jameela Lares
Although many students know the Bible as a religious text, it is also a literary one, and in this course we will discover its literary nature more particularly. We will read such Old Testament genres as epic, hero story, satiric tale, psalm, proverb, encomium, and epithalamium, not to mention the various literary genres of the New Testament. Required texts: the King James Bible and Leland Ryken’s very readable Words of Delight: Literary Introduction to the Bible (2nd edition). I will recommend and have in the bookstore some copies of the Norton critical edition of the King James Version (2 vols.), which includes scholarly notes and ancillary materials, but you can also access the KJV in other editions or online. Course requirements: regular reading quizzes and class participation, three longer written assignments, a midterm and a final exam.
Writing and Communicating in Education
If your major is related to education or if you are considering becoming a teacher, this course is for you. ENG 330, Writing and Communicating in Education, is an advanced composition course aimed at improving a prospective teacher’s ability to communicate with varying audiences and for varying purposes. Throughout the course, students will learn about their professional organizations and analyze how they function as discourse communities, participate in an extended inquiry project, and explore how teachers use language to communicate ideas. To further their understandings of how communication works in the profession, students take an inquiry stance and investigate a current educational issue of their choice and engage in exploring ways to write about what they have learned. Even though the course is online, it is highly interactive and students are supported by their peers and their professor to engage in topics and writing genres. Communication skills are essential for accomplished teaching, and ENG 330 is certain to help the prospective teacher become more confident and competent in many communication contexts.
Senior Capstone (H002)
On the River: British Literature and Riparian Landscapes
From the Thames to the Congo, rivers in British literature suggest important links between nation and nature. This is especially true for an island nation such as Britain, whose imperial stature was aided in no small part by its mastery of inland and oceanic waterways. This course explores rivers as both agents of nationhood and sites for negotiating national and regional identity. How do rivers aid or determine human activity, and vice versa? How does a provincial river like George Eliot’s fictional Floss differ from an urban behemoth like the Thames, and with what consequences for the landscape and its people? More broadly, what might a riparian—i.e., riverbank—literary criticism look like? Readings include The Wind in the Willows, The Mill on the Floss, Heart of Darkness and selected poetry by William Wordsworth and Alice Oswald.
Senior Capstone (H001)
Dr. Ery Shin
What was modernism? This course pursues this question in an Anglo-American context by surveying works of prose and poetry from mostly the first half of the twentieth century. Through voices such as Stein, Woolf, Baldwin, Eliot, Hurston, and Cage, experimental gestures and tricky emotional truths will receive sustained attention. Building upon impressionist principles devoted to perceptual immediacy, many modernists conceived of their art as being beyond art. Their work was to be approached as pure transcriptions of consciousness, a passive recording of things in themselves. This literary attempt to transcend literature is part of a broader philosophical project that appears in classical thought, gathers momentum in nineteenth-century French visual culture, and culminates in modernism—the myth of anti-art. Its legacy remains contemporary writing’s heightened (by now, near paranoid) self-awareness of its formal scope in a world that, for better or worse, refuses to stand still.
Studies in Ethnic Literature: Jewish American Literature
MW 9:45 – 11:15
Dr. Jonathan Barron
What is the Jewish American literary tradition? Is the literary tradition of the United States secular or is it actually Christian? Where does the Jewish writer fit in the American literary tradition? In this class, we explore these issues as we follow the Jewish American tradition from the early 20th-century to the present. Along the way, we’ll read the Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow along with Bernard Malamud, Cynthia Ozick, Philip Roth, and Grace Paley. We’ll look at fiction and poetry and we’ll also include the recent work of such writers as Nicole Kraus, Nathan Englander, Allegra Goodman, Michael Chabon and Jonathan Safran Foer.
Studies in Ethnic Literature: The Latino Boom and Beyond: Contemporary Latino Literature
TR 11:30 – 1:15
Dr. Luis Iglesias
“The Latino Boom and Beyond: Contemporary Latino Literature” will explore the multiethnic, multiracial, and socially diverse dimensions of contemporary Latino-American literature that has emerged (problematically) with the so called “Latino Boom” of the 1960s. Looking at a range of Hispanic-American writers, we will seek to unpack the term “Latino,” which has come to represent a diverse set of communities that spreads across the full spectrum of American life. At the same time, we will seek to locate those moments – be they aesthetic and/or experiential – that define Hispanic identity in the United States through this rich (and prolific) body of writings as they have evolved to the present day.
Among the Assigned Texts:
Adolescent Literature: As Many Roads to Maturity as Possible
Dr. Jameela Lares
Both children’s and young adult (“YA”) literature favor the narrative. There are, for example, few plays or lyric poem collections on the solid wall of young adult literature at Hattiesburg’s Books-a-Million. But though young adult literature is heavy with plots, characters, and settings, the genre is not limited to the realistic “problem novel,” though that genre represents some excellent texts. As we will see in our examination of YA literature (broadly defined as “texts for maturing persons or about maturation process”), various YA genres represent issues and conflicts in becoming adults, and arguably some genres represent some of these issues better than others. I hope that we can also make use of the extensive YA holdings in our excellent de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection. Course requirements: Thoughtful reading of texts, regular attendance and participation in seminar discussions; regular blog posts on Canvas; an oral presentation on an additional YA text, along with a short written component; a class facilitation; and a researched seminar paper. This course is being taught concurrently with English 518.
Texts will probably include:
Composition Study for Teachers
Dr. Rebecca Powell
This course invites you to study and research how writing is at work in the world, how it moves through your life and communities, how people and institutions deploy writing to include and exclude, and finally, but perhaps most importantly, how to transform and utilize that knowledge in your teaching and professional endeavors. To do this, we’ll research the role of writing in our culture, education, and communities, examine our own writing processes, study the literature on the writing experiences and processes of adolescents, and design lesson plans, activities, and assessments that reflect the labors of our studies.
In this course, we define writing broadly, drawing on composition and literacy studies to expand our definitions of composing beyond the page to the digital and visual. We’ll work together to see how this expansive definition of writing will inform our pedagogy and practices and how it does, or does not show up in education discourses about writing, including the professional statements of the National Council of Teachers English and the Mississippi Career and College Ready Standards. This course is appropriate for elementary and secondary teacher candidates.
Literature Study for Teachers
Dr. Rebecca Powell
Literature in the classroom can work as a mirror, window, or wall. Recent research shows correlations between reading for pleasure and improved life outcomes, which has sparked calls for “reading as a civil right.” This course explores the teaching of literature and reading through the lens of civil rights. In the class, students will explore how to promote independent reading, create diverse reading experiences, and foster cultures of literacy within schools and the classroom.
American Literature 1
THE AMERICAN ORIGIN STORY
Dr. Whitney Martin
In this course, we will explore American literature from its colonial beginning through 1865, the end of the Civil War. We will learn and develop skills for critical textual analysis including close reading and engagement with secondary sources. We will consider the definitions of American identity and the American Dream and examine the relationship between literature and these ideals.
American Novel, 1920-60: Genre and Film
Dr. Damon Franke
Taking to heart the essential nature of a survey, this course offers "something for everyone" as it covers a panoply of literary genres: Romantic Comedy, Bildungsroman Drama, Western, Adventure, Southern Gothic, Detective Fiction, and Science Fiction. Additionally, we will read two novels from the 1920s, one from the 1930s, two from the 1940s, and two from the 1950s. Anita Loos' brilliant comedy became a vehicle for Marilyn Monroe's stardom in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Oakley Hall's Western Warlock draws off the myths of Tombstone and developed a cult following of future major authors. Jack Kerouac's landmark road adventure novel On the Road defined the countercultural spirit of the Beat Generation. Dashiell Hammett's flair for hardboiled detective fiction burst forth in the shocking Red Harvest, which became an inspiration for Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God remained neglected during this period, but now lets us revisit the African American experience through the perspective of a remarkable woman coming of age in the segregated South. George Stewart captures the fears of the Cold War in his post-apocalyptic work of science fiction Earth Abides. To accentuate the fact that these novels are written in the dawning Age of Cinema, we will certainly watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and class will vote on two other filmic adaptations to screen. We will read the seven American novels listed above, and students will research one in order to craft a 10-12 page essay. Students in history, film, psychology, education, political science, geography, and interdisciplinary studies can design their own projects according to their interests. Every student should be able to earn an "A." This class can be a course for the English minor, and it satisfies the 400-level elective and the writing intensive requirements for the major.