Spring 2012 Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2012 Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2012 Undergraduate Courses

ENGL 2100: Film Interpretation ENGL 3840: Adolescent Literature
ENGL 2220: Literature and Culture of the U.S. ENGL 4150: Literary Theory and Criticism
ENGL 2230: African-American Literature ENGL 4160: Women in Literature (Honors)
ENGL 2520: Shakespeare ENGL 4400: Studies in Verse
ENGL 2980: Special Topics - Introduction to English Studies (English 2000) ENGL 4440: Studies in the Novel
ENGL 3050: Practical Writing ENGL 4620: Advanced Writing
ENGL 3120: Western World Literature ENGL 4640: Professional Writing
ENGL 3140: African Literature ENGL 4720: Language Variation in American English
ENGL 3200: American Literature I ENGL 4790: Law and Literature (Honors College)
ENGL 3210: American Literature II ENGL 4790: Writing in the Secondary School
ENGL 3300: British Literature I ENGL 4800: Teaching Literature in the Secondary Schools
ENGL 3310: British Literature II ENGL 5220: Studies in American Literature - The Early American Novel
ENGL 3660: Advanced Fiction Writing ENGL 5390: Post-Colonial Literature
ENGL 3670: Advanced Poetry Writing ENGL 5550: Major Authors- Chaucer and Late Medieval Culture
ENGL 3690: Writing in the Elementary School ENGL 5660: Creative Writing Workshop, Fiction
ENGL 3710: Structures of Modern English ENGL 5670: Creative Writing Workshop, Poetry
ENGL 3740: Language in the Elementary School ENGL 5680: Creative Writing Workshop, Playwriting
ENGL 3820: Literature for the Young Child ENGL 5740: Grammar in Teaching Writing
ENGL 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader ENGL 5970: Studies in English

 

English 2100: Film Interpretation

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 - 2:50; Knaus 2452
Dr. Casey McKittrick

Film Interpretation is a course designed to acclimate students to thinking critically about the medium of cinema. In watching films of various genres, time periods, and nationalities, and learning critical vocabularies for assessing the cinematic experience, students will learn to discuss how narrative, sound, mise-en-scene, cinematography, and editing work together to produce meaning for the film spectator. Students will confront aesthetic, social, and ideological questions surrounding the production and reception of movies. Films may include, but are not limited to: Citizen Kane, Election, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Boogie Nights, Grand Illusion, Nosferatu, The Hours, Mildred Pierce, Rear Window, Vertigo, Higher Learning, and Rebel Without a Cause.

 

English 2220: Literature and Culture of the U.S.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 - 3:50; Brown 1025
Dr. Nicolas Witschi

Through a region-based approach to the study of literary works (and, when possible, other artistic achievements or cultural artifacts) by members of the varied cultures that constitute the United States of America, this course considers the perspectives and sustaining values of these cultural groups and considers the challenges, problems, and opportunities of a pluralistic American society. This course satisfies one (1) General Education requirement in Area III: The United States: Cultures And Issues.

 

English 2230: African-American Literature

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:50; Brown 4030
Dr. Casey McKittrick

This section of African American Literature examines predominantly 20th century African-American literary and cultural production. Students will become conversant with some of the social, political, and aesthetic questions bound up in Black authorship and readership. The focus for this course is on the novel, with a foray into essays and short stories. Authors may include, but are not limited to, W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Zora Neale Hurston, Ann Petry, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Ntozake Shange.

 

English 2230: African-American Literature

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00 - 5:50; Brown 4010
Dr. John Saillant

This course surveys African-American literature from the era of the slave trade to the present. Written work includes three essays.

 

English 2520: Shakespeare

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 - 1:50; Brown 4002
Dr. Margaret Dupuis

In this class we will look at a variety of plays written by William Shakespeare, including representative plays from the following sub-genres of drama: comedy, tragedy, and problem play. It is important to consider these plays not only as literature to be read, but as works that were meant to be seen, heard, and acted. Therefore, we will approach the six plays on the syllabus as both literary works and performance pieces, allowing plenty of opportunity for personal expression and interpretation while also honoring the written text. The plays to be studied in this class include The Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night. Folger Library editions.

 

English 2520: Shakespeare

Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 - 1:50; Brown 2037
Dr. Grace Tiffany

This class is an introduction to the college-level study of Shakespeare, and is classified as a general education class. In it we will discuss and see portions, on video, of six of Shakespeare’s best-known plays. While we will treat these plays as works designed for performance, careful reading of their dialogue will be necessary in order for them to be understood, and so we will go slowly. Some historical background of the age of Shakespeare will be provided throughout to enhance understanding of the plays. In addition to the reading, assignments include six in class short-essay tests (worth 10% each of final grade), a final exam (worth 20% of final grade), and class participation in the form of attendance, attentive listening, and discussion (20%).

The final exam is optional and, if taken, guaranteed either to raise or, at worst, not to hurt your grade. (If it threatens to lower your grade the final exam grade will be dropped.) If students want their grades to be averaged from their class participation and six earlier test grades and to skip the final, that is permissible.

Extra credit (one project) is possible in exchange for a presentation, a memorized speech from Shakespeare, a written review of a Renaissance drama performance, or a dramatic performance done for the class. Students are responsible for designing and proposing such extra-credit projects.

Plays to be read: The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, Richard III, The Winter’s Tale.

Editions: Folger and Cengage, on order.

 

English 2980: Special Topics - Introduction to English Studies (English 2000)

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 - 12:15; Brown 1345
Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn

This course serves as an introduction to the discipline for English majors with interests in creative writing, literature and language, or rhetoric and writing studies. You will meet and learn from professors in your areas of interest; you will also have a chance to explore in depth a distinctively humanistic approach to knowledge, understanding and communication. The course will help you establish and begin working toward your own intellectual and professional goals, both within the English major and in your professional career. Now in its third year, this pilot course has been newly expanded to three credit hours.

 

English 3050: Practical Writing

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:50; Brown 1045
Dr. Brian Gogan

Writing can produce quite practical results. It can secure an interview for you or alert you to a hazardous condition. It can walk you through a complicated process or convince your boss to support your idea. English 3050 is a course concerned with this kind of writing and its goal is to develop your confidence and competency in written communication. During this course, you will:

  • Write in a variety of practical genres including resumes, letters, emails, memos, reports, and proposal
  • Practice strategies for anticipating, identifying, and addressing the situated needs of audiences
  • Craft polished documents that demonstrate the fundamentals of reader-centered communication
  • Research the habits of writers in your discipline.

 

English 3050: Practical Writing

Mondays, 6:30 - 9:50; Brown 1045
Dr. Charlotte Thralls

English 3050 is a course designed to develop your confidence and competency in written communication. Whatever your future career plans or your current, favorite media for communicating (print, digital, twitter, Facebook or other social media), you are likely to need strong writing skills. Numerous studies, for example, show that in many professions, communication skills are ranked at the top (first or second place) of the most valued qualities for success. Many of you might be surprised at how central writing is in the day-to-day life of most professionals. To help prepare you for the challenges ahead, this class will expand your writing repertoires beyond the academic essay or research paper.  Through various class projects, you will 

  • Become familiar with the formats and rhetorical challenges of various practical genres and document formats (memos, reports, manuals, web text, visual displays and designs, etc.)
  • Develop  skill for anticipating (and addressing) the needs and reactions of audiences to communications in different contexts
  • Learn the fundamentals of reader-centered communication, including the fundamentals of document design and readability used to create well-crafted documents
  • Learn about some documents and communication habits typical for professionals in your discipline

The course is held in a computer lab with plenty of opportunity for personalized help with course projects.

 

English 3120: Western World Literature

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 - 10:50; Brown 1028
TBA

Beginning with the narrative of Gilgamesh, emanating from the (Middle-Eastern) city culture of Mesopotamia more than 4,000 years ago, and ending with Turkish writer OrhanPamuk’s 2004 novel, Snow, we will question existing constructions of the West and its literary canon by investigating some of that canon’s masterpieces. We will engage with a variety of literary genres (poetry, fiction, drama) from various “Western” countries, excluding those from Britain and the United States.

List of required longer texts: Anon., Epic of Gilgamesh; Homer, Iliad; Sophokles, Antigone; Vergil, Aeneid; Boccaccio, Decameron; Machiavelli, Mandragola; Voltaire, Candide; Kafka, “The Metamorphosis;” de Beauvoir, When Things of the Spirit Come First; Pamuk, Snow.

 

English 3140: African Literature

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 - 3:15; Brown 3045
Dr. Allen Webb

Today there are 1 billion people living in Africa, speaking perhaps 2000 languages. The continent comprises 20% of the land of the planet, is enormously rich in resources, yet much of Africa is desperately poor with vast populations attempting to live on less than $2 per day.

This course seeks to use African literature, memoir, film, biography, autobiography, history, library and on-line sources to begin to understand the enormous complexity of Africa and the challenges facing the continent. A cornerstone of this course is the idea that knowledge creates responsibility. Students will be expected to address what they are learning by research, collaboration, and action.

We begin our study of the current crisis in Africa by looking at the colonial and early national period. Turning to literature from the present we will encounter issues such as economic and political corruption and collapse, resource exploitation, poverty, education, the condition of women, the environment, warfare and child soldiers, AIDS, immigration, etc.

As we learn about challenges in Africa we will also explore solutions. Africa is young; in some countries half of the population is under 25. Most of our reading will be about young people, many college age, their life experience and how they are making a positive difference. After extensive reading and study as a class, students will form groups focused on specific issues to engage in additional reading, research, action, and work with African and international organizations dedicated to a brighter future for the continent.

For further information consult allenwebb.net.

 

English 3200: American Literature I

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 - 12:15; Brown 3002
Dr. John Saillant

Survey of American literature from the planting of the colonies to the Civil War. Writings studied include poetry, autobiography, sermons, fiction, essays, and political documents. Student assignments include three essays.

 

English 3200: American Literature I

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 - 3:15; Brown 4025
Dr. Scott Slawinski

In this course students will read literature from the Age of Discovery and Exploration, texts from colonial America, and eventually pieces from the early United States up to the Civil War. While short stories, poems, and plays will be on the syllabus, class participants will also read diaries and journals, Puritan sermons and Transcendental essays, personal narratives and epic histories. Authors will include Captain John Smith, William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lydia Sigourney, and Walt Whitman, to name a few.

Longer works likely include Sukey Vickery’s Emily Hamilton, Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life, and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. We will be looking at issues like the nature of freedom, shifting religious beliefs, the growth of authorship and the publishing industry, appreciation of the natural environment, and the growing problem of American slavery. At minimum, class assignments will likely include two long essays, a final examination, and frequent reading quizzes.

Texts: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vols. A and B. (Norton, 7th edition)
Emily Hamilton and Other Writings (University of Nebraska Press)

 

English 3210: American Literature II

Fridays, 4:00 - 6:30; Brown 3045
Dr. Daneen Wardrop

In the course of the semester we will encounter a variety of American literatures from 1865 to the present, including literature by authors of racial and ethnic diversity in a wealth of literary genres. For instance, our readings include African American fiction, Asian American poetry, Native American autobiography, and more. Aiming for both coverage and acute comprehension, our objective will be to investigate United States literature from after the Civil War to the present.

Because the class is a survey course our readings will be fast and furious but not, it is to be hoped, without depth. I want us to accomplish the challenging task of reading a voluminous amount of literature and finding insights about the works as they exist in conversation with each other and as representatives of the American ethos. There will be two papers, one group presentation, and three exams.

 

English 3300: British Literature I

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 - 3:15; Brown 4030
Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn

This course surveys British literature from its beginnings to the eighteenth century. You will learn about the changing cultural conditions under which early British literature was composed and read; the significant ideas, worldviews, and conflicts that inform medieval and early modern literature; and the origins and development of traditional literary forms. Course requirements will include midterm and final examinations, regular reading quizzes, recitation of a short poem, and at least one interpretive essay.

 

English 3300: British Literature I

Wednesdays, 5:30 - 8:00; Brown 2048
Dr. Eve Salisbury

This course offers a wide variety of texts written in English over a number of centuries during which time England experienced profound ideological and linguistic change. Beginning with Caedmon's Hymn and Old English poetry, continuing through the Middle English period of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales into the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries of pre-modern English, our study of this literary corpus allows us to see the dynamics of linguistic transformation and to understand how a distinctively British literary tradition is made.

 

English 3310: British Literature II

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:15; Brown 4025
Dr. Jil Larson

This course offers you a survey of British literature in the Romantic Period (late 18th and early 19th century), the Victorian Era (1837-1903), and the Modern Period (20th century to the present). This is quite a bit to cover in one semester, but we will read selectively, hitting many of the highlights and exploring both continuities and discontinuities as we make comparison among literary texts published throughout this rich period of literary history.


English 3310: British Literature II

Tuesdays, 5:30 - 8:00; Brown 1048
Dr. Scott Slawinski

This course begins with the Romantic period, moves through the Victorian era, and concludes in the twentieth century.  Rejecting many of the values of the eighteenth century, the Romantics put forward their own sense of artistic achievement.  The class will consider the Romantics’ varying use of their aesthetic values, including their interest in the common, their lauding of nature, and their political activism.  Authors from this period include Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, the Shelleys, Barbauld, and Robinson. 

The Victorian period occupies about two thirds of the nineteenth century, and its authors’ wide-ranging concerns reflect the period’s length and variety.  We will take up issues of class, empire, gender, sexuality, and aesthetics.  Some of the Victorians include Carlyle, the Brownings, Ruskin, Tennyson, Hardy, and Stevenson. 

The first part of the twentieth century is dominated by the experimental literature of the Modernist movement.  The class will look at their notions of art and how they implemented them.  Moderns to be read include Woolf, Lawrence, Mansfield, and the World War I poets. 

The post-World War II era widens the range of authors considerably, and among those writers the class will sample are Larkin, Auden, Thomas, and Lessing.  All three eras’ aesthetic values permeated not just their writings but other arts such as architecture, painting, and music, and the class will consider and compare all these forms of expression alongside the readings.

Course requirements include reading quizzes, regular attendance, two essays (one involves research), and a final examination.

 

English 3660: Advanced Fiction Writing

Fridays, 2:00 - 4:30; Brown 3037

Professor Thisbe Nissen

Immersion in the genre of fiction. Students are challenged to explore multiple avenues of entry into writing prose fiction, and to read widely, extensively, and closely within the genre. This course involves substantial amounts of reading and writing, both critical and creative.

 

English 3670: Advanced Poetry Writing

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 - 31:15; Brown 4048
Dr. Nancy Eimers

This is a poetry writing workshop and reading course. We'll read poems from anthologies and poetry collections, attend poetry readings, talk and write about contemporary poetics, and look closely at the work of class members. We'll explore from various angles that moment when, as poet Russell Edson, says, "the mysterious other life begins to send its message."

 

English 3690: Writing in the Elementary School

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 - 11:50; Brown 3045
Dr. Elizabeth Amidon

This course focuses on the writing development of pre-school through middle school children, and on ways one can encourage and respond to student writing, assess writing and writing growth, and use writing as a means of learning. This course also fosters a theoretical understanding of the writing process, in part through writing experiences in varied genres and forms, and emphasizes writing as an integral component of the entire curriculum.

 

English 3690: Writing in the Elementary School

Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 - 1:50; Brown 3037
Dr. Toby Kahn-Loftus

Focuses on writing development of pre-school through middle school children, and on ways one can encourage and respond to student writing, assess writing growth, and use writing as a means of learning. Fosters a theoretical understanding of the writing process in part by writing in varied genres and forms. Emphasizes writing as an integral component of the entire curriculum and demonstrates the use of powerful mentor texts for teaching craft, grammar, and vocabulary.

 

English 3710: Structures of Modern English

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 - 3:50; Brown 3037
Dr. Paul Johnston

The course introduces students to the idea of English (and language in general) as a multi-leveled, patterned, structured system, a vehicle for speakers to produce utterances and to communicate in a social context. Participants learn the terms and concepts needed to study each level of this structure: phonetics/phonology (sounds), the morphology (meaningful word parts), lexical studies and semantics (words and meanings), syntax (sentences), and pragmatics (texts and whole utterances). Students will also study how writers of literature use these levels of language to create effects and patterns that guide readers toward certain interpretations of their texts.

 

English 3740: Language in the Elementary School

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:15; Brown 3045
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:30 - 4:45; Brown 3045
Dr. Toby Kahn-Loftus

This course will deal with the following topics: the history and structure of words, dialects, and interlanguage (i.e., lingua franca, a common language used by speakers of different languages) as cultural phenomena; teaching reading and writing in light of language variations; aspects of grammar most useful to writers; research on teaching grammar; and integrating language study into the elementary curriculum.

 

English 3820: Literature for the Young Child

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 - 3:50; Brown 4010
Dr. Gwen Tarbox

English 3280, Literature for the Young Child, is a survey course that will focus on these questions: 1) What are the distinguishing features of contemporary texts written for children, aged 0-9? 2) How has the representation of childhood altered over the last two hundred years in texts written for children and what do these changes in representation tell us about adults’ anxieties regarding children and their behavior? 3) What forms of critical analysis have been brought to bear upon children's literature and how can they enrich our understanding of the genre?

In a typical unit, students would read a pair of related texts-- say, Wilder's Little House on the Prairie and Louise Erdrich'sThe Birchbark House--and consider ways that the authors write about a subject, in this case, westward expansion and encounters between indigenous people and settlers. In addition to engaging in class discussion of the novels, students would read scholarly articles on the texts that would form the basis of a short critical essay.

Other text pairs will include the following: Bridges' Through My Eyes and Burton's Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel; Tan's The Arrival and Wiesner'sThe Three Pigs; Annie Barrow’s Ivy and Bean, Book 1 and Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret ; multiple variants of the Cinderella story; Seuss' The Lorax and Silverstein's The Giving Tree.

Assignments for ENGL 3820 will include quizzes, a mid-term and a final examination, 2 short critical essays, and a poster presentation.

Prerequisite: Sophomore status

 

English 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader

Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 - 1:50; Brown 3045
Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00 - 5:50; Brown 3037
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:50; Brown
Dr. Judith Rypma

English 3830 focuses on criticism of works for children in grades 4 through 8, with a focus on critical thinking and close literary analysis. Works read include a variety of novels, epics, myths, poems, biographies, etc. This a lecture and discussion class, and serves as a content course for both education and non-education majors. It also fits Distribution Area 2.

Texts will include Spinelli's Eggs, Nikki Grimes' Bronx Masquerade, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Devil's Arithmetic, I am Mordred, Bruchac's The Code Talker, Paolini's Eragon, and Tuck Everlasting. A variety of handouts of myths, hero tales, and poems will also be provided.

 

English 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 - 11:50; Brown 3010
Dr. Gwen Tarbox

English 3830, Literature for the Intermediate Reader, is a survey course that will focus on these questions: 1) What are the distinguishing features of contemporary texts written for children, aged 9-12? 2) How has the representation of childhood altered over the last two hundred years in texts written for children and what do these changes in representation tell us about adults’ anxieties regarding children and their behavior? 3) What forms of critical analysis have been brought to bear upon children's literature and how can they enrich our understanding of the genre?

In a typical unit, students would read a pair of related texts-- say, Blume'sAre You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and Jeff Kinney’sDiary of a Wimpy Kid --and would consider ways that the authors write about a subject, in this case, adolescent development. In addition to engaging in class discussion of the novels, students would read scholarly articles on the texts that would form the basis of a short critical essay.

Other texts will include: Stead, When You Reach Me; L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time; Gaiman, Coraline (text narrative and graphic novel); Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ;Gantos, When Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key; Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963.

Assignments for ENGL 3830 will include quizzes, a mid-term and a final examination, 2 short critical essays, and a poster presentation.

Prerequisite: Sophomore status

 

English 3840: Adolescent Literature

Tuesdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 4037
Dr. Elizabeth Amidon

This course focuses on an analysis of literature for adolescents from a variety of critical and culturally diverse perspectives. It emphasizes the adolescent experience as reflected in literature, the history of adolescent literature and media, and the distinguishing features of classical and contemporary works.

 

English 4150: Literary Theory and Criticism

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:50; Brown 4037
Dr. Christopher MacLean Nagle

This course will introduce students to the most important and influential areas of contemporary literary theory and criticism. Since the question of what is literary is often at the heart of this work, for our purposes literary will be construed broadly enough to encompass a range of cultural practices--practices which involve reading not merely books and other conventional textual artifacts, but also those texts and practices of everyday life (the psychic, the social, the artistic, the economic, etc.) for which criticism and theory provide important interpretive tools as well.

Although our focus will be on 20th-century trends, we will engage with the most foundational modern influences (e.g., Freud, Marx, Nietzsche) on contemporary critical inquiry--both literary and cultural--and we will seek a balance between more difficult theoretical texts and more user-friendly literary criticism, adding some key works of literature to the mix as well. The range of critical approaches will be wide, reflecting the diversity of critical thinking in a globalized, multicultural world.

A word of caution: the readings for this class will often be dense, abstract, and difficult--to some, it might seem more like a course in philosophy than one in literature. While one of our considerations will be how such distinctions are made, these two traditions are intimately and unavoidably related, and students should be prepared for the kinds of challenges that deeply speculative--and often provocative--texts afford.

To this end, students will need to bring to this class a mind open to challenging and sometimes troubling questions of politics and aestheticsCin short, of *valuation*, of what we value and why we do so--and must be willing to work hard to come to conclusions of their own. The expectation, in short, is that you will consider work not merely as the labor involved in completing your course assignments, but rather in Michel Foucault's sense, in which "to work is to undertake to think something other than what one has thought before." This will be our criteria for success in the course.

 

English 4160: Women in Literature (Honors)

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:15; Brown 4035
Dr. Martha Faketty

This is a course in literature written by American, Canadian, and British women in which we will study poetry, short stories, two plays, and two novels as well as considering a few important pieces of feminist criticism. As we move through the centuries chronologically we will explore the themes, images, and questions with which these women writers were most engaged. The subjects of the literary canon and of women’s creativity and productivity will certainly among topics we discuss. The course will require you to write six three-page papers of various types as well as your choice of either a poetry explication paper of about four pages or an analytical paper of four to five pages related to one or more pieces of criticism. You will also take an essay exam during final exams week.

 

English 4400: Studies in Verse

Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:00 - 11:50; Brown 4010
Dr. Daneen Wardrop

As William Carlos Williams famously articulated, “It is difficult / to get news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” In this course we will try to wring “news” of sorts from the poems we look at, and also to discern what it is that poetry has for lack of which people “die miserably.” Toward such objectives, I anticipate a class of active questioning, talk, cross-talk, and counter-talk, in which we find the benefits and pleasures that might energize us as human beings in a changing society in which we seek the Williams-articulated life-saving qualities of poetry.

The course includes poets writing in the English language from the sixteenth century through contemporary times. We will study particular forms in poetry, including the villanelle, sonnet, sestina, and others, and will examine some specific contemporary authors’ works in depth. Our inquiries will be scaled from the critically well-traversed poem to the spanking new verse of which we’ll be among the first critics to read carefully. Within this context, we’ll have ample opportunity to explore creatively and critically. The basic format for the course will be poem after poem.

 

English 4440: Studies in the Novel

Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00 - 5:50; Brown 3002

The study of the development and diversity of the novel as a literary form. Emphasis will be on the novel from the eighteenth- to the early twentieth-century. Attention shall be paid to the critical and theoretical bases of interpretation. 

Prerequisites & Corequisites: Prerequisites: Two courses that count toward the English major at the 3000-level. 

 

English 4620: Advanced Writing

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:50; Brown 1045
Dr. Thomas Kent

Catalog Description: Practice in developing the forms and techniques of writing, editing, and researching required in business, industry, and government. Students should take this course as their capstone experience in practical writing. For more information, contact instructor at Thomas.Kent@wmich.edu.

 

English 4640: Professional Writing

Thursdays, 6:00 - 7:20; Brown 1045
Dr. Charlotte Thralls

WMU Catalogue Description: Professional Writing provides practice in developing the forms and techniques of writing, editing, and researching required in business, industry, and government.  Students should take this course as their capstone experience in practical writing. Prerequisite: two writing courses.  English 3050 (Practical Writing) recommended.

About the Course: As a capstone to your classes (and experiences) in practical writing, this course is designed to help you move to the next level: either a career as a professional writer or a career that requires a high level of communication competence.  The course thus focuses on some of the knowledge and skills you’ll need to make this transition.

Through course projects, for example, you will have an opportunity to

1) Develop Professional Quality Projects that Demonstrate Your Communication Experience and Expertise. Here, you will gain experience with communication strategies (for example, adapting information to readers, using print and digital technologies, designing pages and documents, creating visual evidence and displays), important in workplaces and the professions.

2) Learn What It is Like to Do a Writing Project for a Client. Here you’ll move beyond writing just for your teachers and get invaluable experience in creating documents for actual organizations.

3) Develop Techniques for Effective Presentation of Your Writing Experience and Competence.  Here, you’ll learn how to create a professional portfolio—in either digital or print form—that synthesizes and articulates your knowledge and skills as a writer. Students typically report that the portfolio is an invaluable tool in their job searches and applications to graduate or professional schools.

 

English 4720: Language Variation in American English

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 - 11:50; Brown 3037
Dr. Paul Johnston

This course illustrates the interplay between language variation and social structures, groupings and speakers' linguistic attitudes and how these influence the formation, maintenance, use, and decline (if any) of dialects of English, with emphasis on those found in North America. Students learn the educational implications of such variation, how writers exploit it as a resource, and the methodology dialectologists and sociolinguists use to study it. They are introduced to how factors like geography, race/ethnicity and gender affect and are reflected in language variation, both within English and in respect to other languages spoken in the United States and Canada, and do projects involving researching dialect variation first-hand.

 

English 4790: Law and Literature (Honors College)

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:15; Sangren 2205
Drs. Katherine Joslin (English) and Kevin Corder (Political Science)

This is course about how we tell stories in indictments and trials as well as in press accounts and later in fiction and non-fiction, in movies, and even in poetry. An indictment is the exclusive narrative or depiction of facts as represented by the prosecutor and the state. The spectacle of trial and contemporary accounts in the press, however, may provide counter-narratives that ultimately prevail. How do prosecutors construct narratives that will persuade a grand jury to hand down an indictment that can withstand the scrutiny of the defense, the judge, the jury, the media, and the community? What can we learn from the text of indictments about the ways that prosecutors frame violations of social norms and about culturally anchored icons and imagery that underpin the factual basis of the case?

A legal case, especially one that surrounds a brutal or egregious act, makes its way into newspapers and television and the Internet, where journalists are less constrained by law and more inclined to tell highly colored stories. How does a narrative change in focus and scope once it is reported in the press? What are the pressures on the media in a news cycle governed by 24/7 broadcasting? And how are juries and the public in general swayed by narratives that may be sensational? Writers always have an eye on crime. Some criminal and political stories later make their way into literature where fact and fiction blur. How do writers of fiction and non-fiction prose and poets depict the violation of social norms in stories that may bend fact to arrive at truth and use icons and images to create aesthetic beauty? And how to filmmakers use similar images to recreate the story in narratives meant to provoke thought as well as to dazzle and entertain.

 

English 4790: Writing in the Secondary School

Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 - 1:50; Brown 3045
Dr. Jonathan Bush

Catalog Description: Focuses on the continued development of student writers in grades 7 to 12, and on ways one can encourage and respond to student writing, assess writing growth, and use writing as a means of learning. Fosters a theoretical understanding of the writing process, in part by writing in varied genres and forms. Emphasizes writing as an integral component of the entire curriculum. For more information, contact Jonathan.Bush@wmich.edu.

 

English 4800: Teaching Literature in the Secondary Schools

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 - 1:50; Brown 3045
Dr. Karen Vocke

English 4800 is a capstone course which considers fundamental questions of why and how to teach literature; we will also focus on recent waves of reform, reader response, cultural studies, and the impact of the internet. Using both reader response and cultural studies approaches, we will examine the ways that culture and literature intersect to inform--and transform--our practice. We will use a thematic approach to explore a variety of themes in a problem-posing, student-led format.

Of special emphasis in this section of 4800 are the following: examining the reading process—how effective readers engage texts and use strategies to make the most of their reading experiences; understanding the history, current state, and influence of the English literary canon; examining issues of censorship, and designing curriculum and lessons sensitive to students of diverse abilities and backgrounds.

A variety of technologies are examined in this class: digital storytelling, website creation, wikis, webquests, and podcasting, to name a few. Guest speakers will include area teachers and administrators.

For additional information, contact Dr. Karen Vocke at Karen.Vocke @wmich.edu

 

English 5220: Studies in American Literature - The Early American Novel

Thursdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 4037
Dr. Philip Egan

The course will study Ameican novels from the early republic to about 1860. In addition to some of the well-known works of this period by Melville (Moby-Dick), Hawthorne (The Blithedale Romance), and H. B. Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin), we will sample several works from, among others, the sentimental, domestic, and captivity subgenres of narrative including: Susannah Rowson's Charlotte Temple; Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly; Catherine Sedgwick's Hope Leslie; Sara Willis Parton's (Fanny Fern's) Ruth Hall; Harriet Wilson's Our Nig; and Rebecca Harding Davis's Life in the Iron Mills. We may do others if time allows. In order to give us a more complete picture of American novels of this period, students will also report on some outside works as well.

 

English 5390: Post-Colonial Literature

Thursdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 3037
Dr. Todd Kuchta

This section of Postcolonial Literature will focus on terrorism from the era European colonization to the present. We will consider the contemporary “war on terror” and related phenomena—suicide bombing, interrogation, torture, unlawful detainment, and the suspension of rights—within the context of western imperialism and its aftermath. What is terrorism? Who is capable of exercising it? How has it been deployed in different historical and cultural contexts? And how have writers from around the world attempted to understand it? The first half of the course will focus on representations of terror in highly regarded novels from Palestine, post-independence Kenya, and apartheid South Africa.

These will likely include Sahar Khalifeh’s Wild Thorns, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s Petals of Blood, J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, and Nadine Gordimer’s July’s People. We may also view The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo’s stunning film about Algeria’s resistance to French colonization. In the second half of the semester, we’ll focus on more recent works inspired by 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These will include Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Nadeem Aslam’s The Wasted Vigil, Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown, and perhaps some short fictional accounts of the 9/11 hijackers by Martin Amis and Don DeLillo.

Alongside the fiction we will read critical work by important postcolonial theorists (Frantz Fanon, Paul Gilroy, Edward Said, and Gayatri Spivak), as well as more recent scholarship on terrorism by Talal Asad, Derek Gregory, Anne McClintock, and Sangeeta Ray. Students will write regular response papers, one short essay, one research paper, and be expected to participate regularly in discussion.

 

English 5550: Major Authors - Chaucer and Late Medieval Culture

Tuesdays, 6:30 - 9:00; Brown 3010
Dr. Eve Salisbury

As the “father of English poetry,” Chaucer contributes not only to the literature of Britain but to literary and social histories extending well beyond spatial and temporal boundaries, shaping modes of thought that reach into our present moment. To get some sense of Chaucer’s influence in these fields of knowledge and experience, we read (and speak aloud in Middle English) The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde, The Book of the Duchess, The Parliament of Fowls, and some of the short poems. We will ask questions about Chaucer’s characterizations, constructions of gender and class, the many genres in which he works, his poetic innovations, adaptations, and affiliations.

How do normative codes of behavior such as those implicitly and/or explicitly defined in chivalry and courtly love influence individual and group identities? How does Chaucer’s work fit into and/or comment upon a vacillating and ever-expanding cultural milieu? How does the notion of pilgrimage relate to other forms of medieval travel? Since Chaucer often eludes definitive interpretations (one reason his work is still so intriguing to us), we may not come to any specific conclusions. Nonetheless, the process of reading, speaking, and interpreting these particular works promises to be engaging, enlightening, even entertaining.

 

English 5660: Creative Writing Workshop, Fiction

Mondays, 4:00 - 7:30; Brown 3010
Professor Thisbe Nissen

A course focused on students’ original short fiction and on extensive, close reading of published work in the genre. Students train to be close readers, careful writers, and attentive editors. The goal is effective creative and critical articulation: thoughtful and artful production and critique. This course involves substantial amounts of reading and writing, both critical and creative.

 

English 5670: Creative Writing Workshop, Poetry

Wednesdays, 6:30 - 9:50; Brown 3010
Dr. William Olsen

This class involves extensive criticism of student poems, in a traditional workshop environment.

The workshop will also serve as a forum for discussions of aesthetics. Students may be encouraged to work with models, and the class will involve the reading and discussion of at least three books of contemporary poetry.

 

English 5680: Creative Writing Workshop, Playwriting

Tuesdays, 6:30 - 9:50; Brown 2037
Dr. Steve Feffer

 

English 5740: Grammar in Teaching Writing

Tuesdays, 6:30 - 9:50; Brown 3045
Dr. Karen Vocke

Catalog Description: Dealing with issues and methods in the teaching of grammar, this course for teachers focuses on using grammar to develop content, style and voice, and skill in revising and editing writing. For more information, contact the instructor at Jonathan.Bush@wmich.edu.

 

English 5970: Studies in English - Performing Gender in Shakespeare's Sonnets

Wednesdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 3017
Dr. Margaret Dupuis

Shakespeare’s sonnets are among the most famous love poems in the English language, yet many readers are unaware that several (perhaps most) of them were addressed to a young man. In this class we will situate Shakespeare’s work within the sonnet tradition and examine his rhetorical strategies through an interrogation of the speaker’s voice(s), implied narratives both within individual sonnets and the order in which the sonnets are published. We will pay particular attention to the inherently dramatic character of the poems and the ways in which gender is performed by and within them.

 

Department of English
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