Skip navigation

School of Humanities

English Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Spring 2020

 

ENG 200

Drama and Society: Classical to Contemporary Survey

TR 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM)

Dr. Christopher Foley

foley 1

Conceptually, this survey course introduces students to a wide range of dramatic literature through an exploration of the unique societal role of theatrical performances in different cultures at different historical moments.  From the ritualistic origins of ancient Greek and medieval Japanese drama to the emergence of commercial theaters in Shakespeare’s London and the subsequent rise of theatrical realism in 19th century Europe, we will read, analyze, and discuss representative dramatic texts alongside selections of theoretical writings addressing the social function(s) of drama at certain historically situated moments.  We will conclude our survey course with a consideration of the continuing relevance of drama and dramatic performances throughout the world today.

 

ENG 203

World Literature
TR 9:30-10:45 – H010 (ref#2442)
Dr. Jameela Lares

lares2

 

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.

 

ENG 203

World Science Fiction
T/Th 2:30-3:45 – H004 (ref# 2439)
Dr. Luis Iglesias

 iglesias 1

Beginning with tales of fantastic adventures, Science Fiction has evolved as a Global and International popular genre, finding expression in all forms of media. And, as a form of speculative fiction, it reflects upon the pressing issues of the contemporary world. “World Science Fiction” will read a range of texts by writers ranging from ancient to contemporary, hailing from the Middle & Far East, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. Along the way, we will uncover the ways SF, while imagining new worlds through time and space, has (and continues to) explore the ways our society has been shaped by science and the world we create (and potentially risk) through technology.

Among the texts:

H.G. Wells: War of the Worlds (1897) - British

Octavia Butler: Dawn (1987) – African American

 Cixin Liu: The Three Body Problem (2006) - Chinese

Voltaire: “Micromegas” (1752) - French

Junot Diaz: “Monstro” (2012) – Dominican-American

Nnedi Okorafor: Lagoon (2014) - Nigerian

YOSS: Super Extra Grande (2016) - Cuban 

For additional information contact Dr. Luis Iglesias (luis.iglesias@usm.edu)

 

ENG 221 (Fiction Writing 1)

ENG 222 (Poetry Writing 1)

cw

 

ENG 321/421

Fiction Writing II and III

Dr. Olivia Clare

MW, 9:30 – 10:45 AM

clare cd

In this class, you will write your own original fiction and workshop one another’s fiction. In addition to honing your craft, you will be working on your workshop skills. Craft topics will include: character, dialogue, setting, structure, style, revision, and more. You may turn in either short stories or novel chapters.

Readings:

Writing Fiction, 10th Edition, Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Ned Stuckey-French 

Short stories and novel excerpts to be distributed in class

 

 

ENG 322/422

Poetry Writing II and III

TR 9:30 - 10:45

Dr. Adam Clay

clay cd

In this poetry writing class, we’ll focus on reading a range of contemporary poets and modeling our work on these published writers. We’ll take part in supportive roundtable discussions where students will share work with their peers and offer feedback for revision. This course will be invaluable to any student, no matter what major they’ve chosen, as it’s an opportunity to consider the manner in which form and content can work in relationship to one another. What can emerge from the constraints (free verse or otherwise) placed upon a poem? How can brevity allow you to find the right word to communicate an idea with your audience? These are skills that can apply to any piece of writing, whether it’s a creative piece or an academic essay.

 

ENG 365

Digital Literacies

M/W: 11:00-12:15pm

Dr. Shane Wood

wood cd

Brief description:

Introduces the history of writing as a technology and the rhetoric of digital design in a variety of contexts.

Full description:

English 365: Digital Literacies focuses on what technology affords communication and how digital design influences communication. What is digital rhetoric? How does technology change the way we read, write, and communicate? In this class, we’re going to study the ways in which technologies expand our understanding of reading and writing, influences our communication, and perhaps, changes the way we see ourselves and our local communities. This class is going to investigate how technologies can help mobilize voices and communities for the purpose of creating social change. At the same time, we’re going to have to problematize how technologies create barriers for certain communities. We’ll examine how digital media has changed approaches to writing, how technology impacts how information is circulated, and why we need to develop digital literacy competencies for academic and non-academic purposes. Here are some concepts/topics we’ll cover: graphic design, usability, user experience, design thinking, multimodality, and multimedia. Here are some platforms we’ll use and analyze: Adobe, Audacity, Evernote, GarageBand, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Hangouts.

 

ENG 371

American Literature II 
TR 1:00-2:15
Dr. Ery Shin

 

Picking up in the aftermath of the Civil War, this joint lecture-seminar series traces how ongoing tensions surrounding the balance of power between genders, races, classes, religions, regions, technologies, and even species have molded the American imagination. The question of how literature forms out of, and feeds into, a distinctly national ethos will be of particular interest. Striking a balance between appreciating texts as autonomous objects and as cultural artefacts backlit by long-running critical debates, the course asks all throughout: what makes certain styles, genres, and sensibilities “American”?

READING LIST

Robert S. Levine, ed., The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter 9th edition, Volume Two: 1865-Present

Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
 

 

ENG 400

Senior Capstone: The World and Robert Frost

MW 1:00 – 2:15

Dr. Jonathan Barron

barron cd

This seminar will read Robert Frost’s collected poems in light of the great political, social, scientific, and world transformations that marked the 20th century. Frost’s poetry has much to say about the singular events of the 20th century. His poetry engages the century’s many events from cataclysmic war to startling discoveries in quantum mechanics.  In this seminar, we will look at the 20th century through the eyes of Robert Frost. 

 

 

ENG 400

Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling
TR 8:00-9:15
Dr. Jameela Lares

lares 1

In this capstone 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 and Lewis’s On Stories.  Besides developing a seminar paper on some topic of imaginative literature, class members will also post written responses on the Canvas discussion board, present on a critical chapter or article about one or more of the authors, and present on an additional work of imaginative literature in some way associated with the authors. 

Probable texts:

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Tolkien Reader ([includes Tree and Leaf, Farmer Giles of Ham]

---, The Hobbit

---, The Fellowship of the Ring

C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

---, Out of the Silent Planet

---, Perelandra (beginning chapters as ghost story—will have .pdf)

---, 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

---, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

---, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

 

ENG 406

History of the English Language

TR 2:30–3:45 pm

Dr. Leah Parker

parker cd

Have you ever wondered why each letter C in “Pacific Ocean” is pronounced differently? Why sweetbreads are meats and sweetmeats are candy? Why sometimes you call yourself “I” and other times call yourself “me”? Why you can play a “bass,” but catch a “bass”? Why you can feel the “wind” on your face, but you “wind” down at the end of the day? Why, when the truth comes out, we say: “the cat’s out of the bag”? What cat? What bag?!

The answers to these questions and more lie in the wild and weird history of the English language!

In ENG 406: History of the English Language, we will trace the history of English from its prehistoric Indo-European roots, through sound changes of the Middle Ages, standardization in the era of print, and diversification as a global language in the modern world. You will learn the basics of linguistics; the pronunciation and basic grammar of Old English (spoken ca. 450–1150 CE) and Middle English (spoken ca. 1150–1500); how to fully utilize dictionaries and editions of English texts; and how dialects develop through isolation, imperialism, and human interactions. In addition to learning about the deep history and vast geographical range of English, students will have the opportunity to create their own entry in an ongoing online glossary project and will cap off the semester by crafting a linguistic biography of an English dialect of their choice.

 

ENG 410

Studies in Ethnic Literature: Cross-Cultural Encounters 
TR 11:00-12:15
Dr. Ery Shin   

 
This course examines the idea of ethnicity on a world stage, thinking through race and its relations with gender, sexuality, class, religion, citizenship, and all the other ways by which an individual comes into focus before the public. It not only crosses national boundaries, but also genres in this pursuit. From South Africa’s mental institutions to Oakland’s freeways to feudal Japan’s phantasmically reimagined fighting rings—from space operas to spiritual memoirs—this joint lecture-seminar series delves into those liminal social spaces dividing the powerful from the abject.

READING LIST

K. Sello Duiker, The Quiet Violence of Dreams

Tommy Orange, There There

Lois McMaster Bujold, Miles Errant

Takashi Okazaki, Afro Samurai 

Sonsyrea Tate, Little X: Growing Up in the Nation of Islam

 

ENG 423

Nonfiction Creative Writing
M 6:00 – 9:00
Dr. Damon Franke

(Gulf Coast Campus)

franke 1

Creative Nonfiction is a new name for an old genre. Essays, reviews, autobiography, and even history long have held the torch of factual storytelling and analysis. This form of writing often went under the generic moniker “prose.”  Now specific subgenres of creative nonfiction exist such as “nature writing,” “sports writing,” the “personal essay,” and the “memoir.”  Other forms have simply continued: the book review, the music or performance review, and general cultural commentary. The most common advice given to aspiring creative writers is “read to write.”  This course will expose students to esteemed examples of essay, review, and personal expression in order to learn from past practice and develop their own voice.  Short exercises in imitation will unveil narrative perspective and literary technique as students cast the borrowed ideas in new contexts.  By the end of the semester each student will have written three short essays or reviews and one “feature” article. The successful student will strike a compelling balance between refining their style and voice and integrating details, investigating topics, and absorbing their material.  Students will create various forms of creative nonfiction written with particular audiences in mind while incorporating the development of a narrative voice often about a particular place.  Students will practice experimenting with form, structure, and style.  Above all, students will cultivate their general writing style and practice incorporating facts within a creative framework.  Students will be encouraged to draw on literary techniques drawn from fiction and poetry as they cast images into a story or review. The ultimate goal for this course is for each student to secure publication of at least piece of writing.  To that end some of our short essays are geared toward niche audiences.  Through this last vein of the class, students will learn standard editorial practices.  Traditionally 95% of students receive As or Bs.

 

ENG 455

Adapting Shakespearean Genres to Contemporary Film

TR 4:00am – 5:15pm

Dr. Christopher Foley

foley 

Polonius’s lengthy catalogue of dramatic genres in Hamlet—“tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral”—suggests that generic hybridity and malleability may have been constitutive features of English Renaissance drama, at least as from the perspective of contemporary actors and playwrights.  Modern critical reception of Shakespeare’s plays, however, has tended to follow a more narrow system of genre classifications: histories, comedies, tragedies, romances, and the so-called “problem plays.”  In this course, we will read representative examples from each of these major critical Shakespearean genres.   We will discuss each play’s generic, thematic, and dramatic preoccupations as well as their staging possibilities, before moving on to consider in turn key filmic adaptations of each play.  Intended to attract both English and Film majors/minors—and, of course, general Shakespeare enthusiasts—we will cultivate the ability to analyze and interpret film as literature while giving reciprocal consideration to the latent filmic potential of dramatic texts.

Please note: for Spring 2020, this course will be offered face to face on the Hattiesburg campus (H001), and via IVN on the Gulf Park campus (G001).

 

ENG 485/585

Survey of the Literature of the South

Deep South

MW 4:00-5:15 pm

Dr. Kate Cochran

cochran cd

This course explores southern literature from its origins in the eighteenth century to the present, through poetry, short fiction, nonfiction, plays, movies, and novels. We will be asking questions both foundational (what is “the South”?) and topical (how does the national media perpetuate southern stereotypes?). Undergraduate students will participate in class discussion and activities, write three response papers, and complete a final research project. Graduate students will have additional responsibilities, including reading critical articles, writing extended papers, and leading a class discussion.

 

ENG 400/485/585

Literature of New Orleans
W 6:00 – 9:00
Dr. Damon Franke

(Gulf Coast campus)

 franke

This course will primarily delve into literary portrayals of New Orleans over the course of the 20th Century.  We will read Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, William Faulkner’s Pylon, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Natasha Trethewey’s Bellocq’s Ophelia, Nelson Algren’s Walk on the Wild Side, and John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces.  Over the course of the semester, students may “tour” the New Orleans neighborhoods of the Garden District, Bywater, Uptown, and Storyville.  Major issues of concern will be the history and culture of these areas as we discuss the communities’ relationship to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, the origins and development of jazz, the unique history and legacy of race relations, and the Big Easy’s associations with corruption, depravity, and the occult in the face of, and perhaps as a result of, the ethos of laissez le bon temps roule.  This seminar involves intensive reading as preparation for an article-length research paper, and then participation in activities, including a field trip to New Orleans culminating the semester.  This is a course about the literature of your metropolis; embrace how others have thought about it and portrayed it.  Not only will we read the significant literary history of the city, but we will also get well acquainted with its music and film.  Students in history, film, psychology, education, political science, and interdisciplinary studies can design their own projects according to their interests.  The elective version of the course (ENG 485) requires less research and writing.

 

 

 

Fall 2019 Course Descriptions 

 

Contact Us

School of Humanities

347 Liberal Arts Building (LAB)
118 College Dr. #5037
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Campus Hattiesburg

Campus Map

usmhumanities@usm.edu

Phone
601.266.4320