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Spring 2018 Courses

English 115 American Experience (ALU)
 Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Jodie Childers

In this course, we will analyze dissent as expressed through American cultural production. Texts in this course will explore themes of nonconformity and rebellion, examining the figure of the dissident in the cultural imagination; however, we will also historicize dissent, focusing specifically on the relationship between cultural production and formations of institutional and state power. In our investigation of dissent, we will employ an interdisciplinary methodology to trace the various and varied manifestations of individual and collective dissent that have emerged through literature, art, film, and music. As we contextualize our discussions, we will read these texts in dialogue with historical and cultural artifacts, from political cartoons to FBI files.

To complicate our understanding of dissent, we will also pause on moments of quiet or private dissent. Think, for example, of Bartleby the scrivener’s repeated refrain: “I would prefer not to.” In a similar vein, another goal of the course is to recover suppressed/repressed voices of dissent such as the poetry carved on the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station and “outsider art” produced within the confines of the 20th century psychiatric asylum. Rather than romanticizing dissent, we will interrogate this dialectic, foregrounding both the possibilities and limitations of rebellion as aesthetic and political practice.  (Gen.Ed. AL, U)

English 115 American Experience (ALU)
Lecture 2 MWF 10:10-11:00 Instructor: Marlene Perez

What does it mean to feel like an outsider in a new place? How do we decide who belongs in a group and who doesn't? How do our experiences complicate our sense of belonging? In this course we will interrogate the designations'America' and 'American'. We will read a range of texts from the 19th through the 21st centuries that consider questions of belonging, (de)construction of national identity/identities, and language loss and acquisition. Will include works by José Martí, Junot Díaz, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mary Shelley, and others.  (Gen.Ed. AL, U).


English 116 Native American Literature (ALU)(pre-fall 2016 requirements: Anglophone/ethnic American literature)

Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Ron Welburn

The focus of this course will be selected writings and oral tradition narratives by Indigenous North Americans which emphasize cultural resilience despite the devastating colonialism brought on my European settlement. Tentative texts will include novels by Joseph Boyden, Robert J. Conley, and LeAnne Howe, essays and poetry by Karenne Wood, and selected writings by other Native authors. Expect to make a classroom presentation, write a series of short essays and a final.


English 117 Ethnic American Literature (ALU) (pre-fall 2016 requirements: Anglophone/ethnic American literature) RAP only.

Lecture 1 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Anna-Claire Simpson

American literature written by and about ethnic minorities, from the earliest immigrants through the cultural representations in modern American writing. (Gen.Ed. AL, U)


English 117 Ethnic American Literature (ALU)( pre-fall 2016 requirements: Anglophone/ethnic American literature)
Lecture 2 MWF 10:10-11:00 Instructor: Thomas Poehnelt

Ethnic American Literature meets the University's General Education AL & U requirements for Literature and United States diversity. This course will challenge students to consider a diverse range of perspectives by introducing them to a selection of texts written by and about various ethnic groups, engaging broadly and specifically with events in U.S. history. To that end, we will read a range of genres, including: essays, short stories, graphic novels, film, and a novel. While doing so, we will question how these texts unravel historically manufactured and/or institutionally determined projections of what it means to experience "universal" themes through minoritized, people of color perspectives. In other words, students will reflect on their own preconceived knowledge and opinions and consider how different authors complicate standard categories not only of ethnicity, but also of race, gender, class, and nationality. (Gen.Ed. AL, U)


English 131 Literature and Society (ALG)
Lecture 1 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Michelle Brooks

Does storytelling build community? How does it influence society? What can we learn from stories about storytelling? This section of English 131 explores the relationship between society and literature by studying texts that employ narrative frames, also known as "framed tales." We will read collections from the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, the U.S., and Mexico to address how acts of storytelling can create community and give voice to underrepresented narratives. By tracing the evolution of the framed tale genre, we will reflect on how stories are constructed, how storytellers communicate with audiences, how audiences respond to stories, and what happens when stories move beyond dominant narratives. We will start with translations of medieval framed tales that experiment with genre and engage in social critique, and then move through the Renaissance in which authors reframe and reinterpret their medieval predecessors for new audiences. Finally, we will look at present-day framed tales that blend stories and voices to comment on experiences of race and gender. By the end of this course, you will gain a deeper awareness of storytelling that allows you to critically analyze the multiplicity of lived experiences and perspectives across cultures.  (Gen.Ed. AL, G)


English 131 Literature and Society (ALG)
Lecture 2 MWF 10:10-11:00 Instructor: Subhalakshmi Gooptu
How do individuals relate to their societies? If identity and society are inextricably linked, what happens to those who move within and across societies? If societies survive because they continually change, what role might contemporary literature have in this transformation? This course will explore ways in which literature represents and influences society with a special focus on moving populations. We will tackle themes such as immigration, mobility, surveillance, language dynamics and community, among others. Primary texts will include a variety of literary genres that explore ever-evolving societies across the world. (Gen Ed. AL, G)


English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (ALG)
Lecture 1 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Matthew Donlevy
This course will charge students with critically engaging a long history of the de/re-construction of American masculinity. We will trace the development of various masculine identities and idealities across the Nineteenth century, and place them in conversation with current lived realities. Students will engage with texts ranging from a nascent portraiture to fashion advertisements, and from labor songs to utopian prose. We will interrogate the emergence of a working class eroticized body, and the consequences of this in regards to bourgeois masculine self-conceptualizations. We will trace the role Black masculinity played in influencing both working class and bourgeois masculinities even as being influenced in turn. We will do so much more.


This will be a discussion driven course with a significant reading load. However, each of the texts we engage will leave you wishing you could erase it from your mind and start again. This class welcomes all members of our academic community that are prepared roll up their sleeves and genuinely interrogate discourses that worked to establish some viable masculinities while negating, often through force, others. (Gen.Ed. AL, G)


English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (ALG)
Lecture 2 MWF 10:10-11:00 Instructor:Nicole Erhardt
This course will examine contemporary poetry published in the past 20 years that engages questions of gender, sexuality, family, and migration.


Much of our semester will focus on poets whose poetry is informed by diasporic contexts. Questions we will concern ourselves with: What does family teach us about gender, sexuality, and culture? What values, behaviors, and ideologies are passed down intergenerationally? How do poets represent these intersections of family, gender, and sexuality—especially when "home" is a complicated and plural concept? Like many of the poets we will read in this class, you will have both creative and critical writing assignments, ranging from the traditional academic essay to poetry to conducting interviews.  Our challenge is to explore the commonalities across contexts without collapsing their differences, and to consider what literature can reveal about creative approaches to memory, recognition, and justice.  (Gen.Ed. AL, G)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (ALG)
Lecture 3 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Korka Sall

This course examines gender, sexuality, literature, and culture from the African Diaspora. We will look at gender norms and how they are represented, challenged, or questioned in the African Diaspora literature and the Global South by tracing the social construction of gender, the performativity of gender, and the image of the hero and heroine. Examining and discussing gender, sexuality, literature and culture will help us develop a better understanding of social norms and how they impact different cultures and readers.

Through novels, books, film, music, poetry, essay and articles by artists and writers from different parts of the world, we will focus on the different representations of masculinity and femininity in literature but also the definitions of sexuality and their effects on how people interact. Some of the questions this course will discuss include: How do colonial and post-colonial thoughts, literature and discussions shape gender, sexuality, literature and culture? How do female and male writers from the African Diaspora reinforce, challenge or question gender norms in literature? What is the image of the hero and heroine and how is it represented in literature? To what extend does the choice of the writers and artists reflect the performativity of masculinity and femininity? Authors may include Suzanne Cesaire, Mariama Ba, Ama Ata Aidoo, Aime Cesaire, Camara Laye, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Leopold Sedar Senghor, among others. (Gen.Ed. AL,G)


English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (ALG)
Lecture 4 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Emily Campbell

This course will consider the roles of language and performance in representing and (de)constructing elements of identity, with particular attention to gender, race, class, disability, and settler coloniality. We will engage with contemporary (20th & 2st-century) texts, artworks, and other cultural objects such as Kara Walker’s A Subtlety, M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!, Wangechi Mutu’s The End of Eating Everything, Zainab Amadahy’s The Moons of Palmares, and Octavia Butler’s Fledgling. In dialogue with our readings and viewings, we will discuss questions such as: how is a reader also a spectator and/or performer? how does a text’s positioning of its reader(s) shape what we are able to recognize in its content? (Gen.Ed. AL, G)


English 141 Reading Poetry (AL)
Lecture 1 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Ben Roylance

This class will survey the wild and diverse field of poetry. It will interrogate that word— “poetry”— at every opportunity, and search it out where it may be hidden or obscure. All readings will be in English, though several will be translations from other tongues. A major guiding thread in the course will be the mystical or ecstatic impulse in poetry, and the ways in which the presence of the transcendent has informed poets throughout history. Though the class will follow a roughly chronological path, we will weave back and forth through time, developing our own associations as we go along. The purpose of this course is to both introduce students to, as well as initiate them into, the tradition of poetic thinking and history.

4 Credits. Satisfies a General Education requirement. 

Content: Exposure to a variety of poetic forms and philosophies, as well as ideas which undergird those poems; understanding of cultural and historical context of each reading.

Critical Thinking: Students will explore and engage with language and ideas. They will come to each poet or poem on their/its own terms, in a variety of ways: in-class discussion, several essays, creative exercises, and more.

Communication: Poetry, as an art of language, expresses the potential and limites of the written and spoken word.  Students will explore and strive to understand how poetry expresses or works with these limits. (Gen.Ed. AL)

English 144 World Literature in English (ALG) (pre-fall 2016 requirements only: Anglophone/ethnic American literature)
Lecture 1 MWF 10:10-11:00 Instructor: Saumya Lal
This course introduces students to the field of “postcolonial studies,” which explores the enduring, multi-faceted effects of colonization on formerly colonized people and their colonizers. Focusing mainly on the aftermath of the British empire, we will be reading various kinds of literary texts – short stories, poems, essays, and novels – by writers from South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. We will think about how the legacies of colonization continue to influence questions of national and cultural identity. We will also consider how postcolonial literary texts complicate our understanding of key concepts such as decolonization, progress, nation, language, resistance, race, and gender. Writers we will study may include Chinua Achebe, Jean Rhys, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, and Derek Walcott.

This course fulfills General Education requirements in Literature (AL) and the global, social, and cultural diversity requirement (G), and so in our study of postcolonial literatures, we will also be addressing the following fundamental questions: What is literature, and why do we study it? What does diversity mean, and what is the value of reading literature from different cultures? Further, in addition to training you in methods of critical reading, thinking, and discussion, this course will also help you develop your writing and analytical skills. (Gen.Ed. AL, G)

English 200 Seminar in Literary Studies
Lecture 1 MW 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Caroline Yang

This class will introduce students to the practice of critical and active reading by examining how social concepts get constructed and revised in and through literature. In particular, we will study the relationship between race and literature in the United States, investigating how racial identities and differences have been historically in flux. Even more specifically, we will analyze how writers who identify as Asian American challenge the commonplace understanding of race as a natural difference along a black-white binary through their employment of various literary genres such as the novel, drama, short story, and poetry. The ultimate aim of the course is for students to learn how to read, as well as write about, literature in an informed and critical way. Writing assignments will include one short close reading paper and three longer analysis papers that incorporate critical concepts and literary terms. The longer papers will be submitted at the end of the semester in a final portfolio.


English 200 Seminar in Literary Studies
Lecture 2 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Nick Bromell

What is literature for? What good does it do?

These are tough questions, and in this class we’ll be exploring several answers to them. Our focus, though, will be on one: that literature can help us become wiser and better persons.

This approach takes reading literature to be, in essence, a contemplative practice. As we read novels, poems, and plays, we become deeply engaged with them and with their depictions of the world; but at the same time, we do not quite identify with that world, we see it from a distance, however slight. Reading literature thus trains us in the difficult but rewarding practice of being both in the world and out of it, being involved in life and yet able to look at and then alter our own involvement. It is in this sense a contemplative practice.

Among other things, literature can help us become more honest with ourselves and with others. It can help us become less swift to judge and more compassionate.

All these are practical benefits. They explain why English majors are prized by law schools, medical schools, and business schools. These institutions know that people all do better work when they have perspective, when they communicate and collaborate well with others, and when they are wise, not just smart.


As well, works of literature pose all the “big questions,” giving us a chance to deepen ourselves as we work through then again and again:

- does life have a purpose? should it?

- are humans fundamentally good, or not?

- does human self-consciousness radically isolate us in a universe of things and beings that seem to lack such consciousness?

- or can human self-consciousness be our deepest connection to the world?

- how much does history shape who we are?

- can we think without words? how much are we shaped by the language we use?

- what does it mean to “know” another person?

- who are we? where do we come from? where are we going?


Whatever we do with our lives, we will do it better if we have wrestled with questions like these, deepening ourselves through our reading of literature.


English 200 Seminar in Literary Studies
Lecture 3 MW 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Laura Doyle
An intensive seminar for students planning to major in English. While honing skills in close reading and critical writing, we will explore philosophies of language, the dynamics of the artist/audience exchange, and the relationship between social structures and literary forms. We will focus on poetry (mainly sonnets) and fiction. To handle this course, students' basic skills in writing and argumentation should be solid. Beyond that, a love of reading and an eagerness to analyze the power of literature, in discussion and in writing, will be most valuable. The course is writing-intensive with drafts and revisions. Prerequisite: ENGLWRIT 112 or equivalent. Open to English majors only.


English 200 Seminar in Literary Studies
Lecture 4 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Kirby Farrell
We live in narratives: from cultural histories to personal life stories. We’ll be taking a ground-up approach to literary study, examining what goes on in texts by bringing together perspectives from psychology, anthropology, and history.  Instead of starting with pre-defined literary categories and applying them to texts, we’ll be looking first at texts as behavior and analyzing how they're made and the kinds of work they do, working toward useful literary concepts.


The texts we're unpacking  show us writers writing about writing: about the possibilities and follies of story forms and language itself. Some of the texts will be familiar to you. We’re interested in the way writers try to create depths that can’t be grasped in a conventional encounter, just as people seem real and alive to us because there’s more to them than meets the eye.
We'll be analyzing some documentary films, Shakespeare Sonnets, 3 versions of Romeo and Juliet, a play of Oscar Wilde's, and two novels. Required: some short problem-solving papers (1-2pp) and two longer essays. No final.


English 200 Seminar in Literary Studies
Lecture 5 MW 4:00-5:15 Instructor: Sarah Patterson

This course addresses the relationship between writing and identity, focusing explicitly on issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Through an examination of postcolonial and diasporic poetry, short stories, novels, and dramatic works, we will ask how different genres generates different expressions of identity and voice. Questions we will consider include: what kind of voice is enabled by the formal aspects of each genre? How does the play of identity work similarly or differently across genres? What is the relationship between postcolonial and diasporic writings and their American and British antecedents—is it merely imitative or does it entail a radical remaking of Western forms? Over the course of the semester we will develop the literary vocabulary and skills necessary to begin to answer these questions, focusing on close readings and theoretically informed analyses.

This course will also place considerable emphasis on strengthening writing skills through workshops and revision. Students will improve their ability to organize persuasive arguments, articulate clear and specific thesis statements, perform effective close readings, and write compelling conclusions. To this end, students will be required to draft multiple versions of each essay.


English 201 Early British Literature & Culture (British literature  before 1700 or 200+ English elective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 2:30-3:45 Instructor: David Toomey

English majors only. This course will survey the work of influential British writers from the medieval period to the eighteenth century.  We will explore these works for their particular contribution to literature and literary culture; we will also work to understand how they were shaped by their historical, social and political contexts. Coursework will include in-class quizzes, a brief presentation to the class on a subject related to the contexts of the literature the course treats, a mid term response essay, and a final response essay.


English 202 Later British Literature & Culture (British literature after 1700 or 200+ English elective)
Lecture 1  Mon/Wed 4:00-5:15  Instructor: Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge
In this course, we will read representative texts of the 19th and 19th Centuries, from traditionally canonical authors such as William Wordsworth and William Blake to writers who have reshaped the canon, such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Olaudah Equine, and Felicia Hemans. We will focus on form and technique in each work, and the historical and social conditions that inform the writers' choices. Our discussions will engage a variety of critical approaches, including close-reading, feminist, post-colonial, postmodern, and new historicist ones.


English 217 (Dis)ability and Literature (old and new requirements: 200+ English elective)

Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Janis Greve

Impairment and diminished bodily conditions have always characterized humankind, yet disability studies as a field of investigation and form of activism has gained traction only in the last twenty years. This course will delve into that still relatively new field as it engages with literary texts and continues to define the issues most vital to it. Reading from a range of genres and watching a film or two, we will explore how texts portray people with disabilities of many kinds--physical, emotional, social, and cognitive. A primary goal will be to investigate how disabled and non-disabled writers alike communicate bodies that depart from the idealized human form of Western culture, which interprets those bodies as “problems.” An equally important goal will be to develop insight into suffering, personhood, and our accountability to one another, while fostering the empathy and self-reflection that make for a more humane society—as potential caregivers and responsive, informed human beings.


English 221 Shakespeare (AL) (British literature and culture before 1700 or 200+ English elective)
Lecture 1 MW 1:25-2:15 + discussion Instructor: Marjorie Rubright

Do we still live in Shakespeare's world? In the language, poetry, and drama of Shakespeare, what continues to inform, inspire, delight and haunt us? Throughout this introductory course, we will consider how Shakespeare's works shaped ideas about the early modern world and how, in turn, that legacy continues to shape notions of our world today. We will also use Shakespeare to look beyond ourselves: to ask how early modern ideas of gender, race, sexuality, nation, even distinctions between human and inhuman differ in surprising ways from our own. We will read tragedies, comedies, a history play and the sonnets (including Othello, Twelfth Night, Henry V). You will become well practiced in close reading as we consider how individual words and phrases open onto urgent questions about the changing social, political, and theatrical worlds of Shakespeare's time. Major requirements will include one creative project, short critical reflections, and a final exam. Books are available through Amherst Books.Gen.Ed. AL). Discussion section required.


221 Disc 01AA F 9:05-9:55 am

TA: Melissa Hudasko

221 Disc 01AD F 12:20-1:10

TA: David Pritchard

221 Disc 01AB F 10:10-11:00 am

TA: David Pritchard

221 Disc 01AE F 10:10-11:00 am

TA: Sohini Banerjee

221 Disc 01AC F 11:15-12:05 pm

TA: Sohini Banerjee

221 Disc 01AF F 11:15-12:05

TA: Melissa Hudasko


English 254 Writing & Reading Imaginative Literature (AL) (200+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 1 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Megan M. Wilson

This course will introduce you to how and why we write poetry & fiction. We will build up conceptual approaches in both genres and then we will tear them down. We will explicate the roles of logic and emotion in creative writing, only to muddle and reject those conceptions. This class will be a balanced space of critical awareness & wild imagination. Specifically, we will consider images, time, character, rhythm, and other aspects of imaginative writing. You will be required to read & respond to contemporary works of poetry & fiction, write original works in both genres, give & receive peer criticism, and revise your work for a final portfolio.


English 254 Writing & Reading Imaginative Literature (AL) (200+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 2 TuTh 4:00-5:15 Instructor: Kira Archibald

In this cross-genre creative writing course we’ll examine how contemporary writers have tested the boundaries of fiction, poetry and nonfiction and challenged the very notion of genre. As a class we’ll attempt to define what constitutes a short story, a poem and an essay by isolating their essential attributes, and then complicate our definition by introducing texts that blur, bend, and even break these boundaries. Our intention will not be to compel belief or establish conviction but to cultivate our ability to linger in uncertainty. To that aim we will devote our attention to language (metaphor, image, repetition and rhythm) and point of view as we probe this slippery mass of prose behaving badly and poetry misbehaving even more than usual. Be prepared to write and read a lot of curious, beguiling and frustrating texts and to argue enthusiastically with yourself and fellow classmates about any/all assumptions and givens of genre. Cross-genre exploration is welcome though certainly not mandatory. But a willingness to take risks and be surprised by your writing is crucial. (Gen.Ed. AL)


English 254 Writing & Reading Imaginative Literature (AL) (200+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)

Lecture 3 MWF 10:10-11:00 Instructor: Alex Benke
At the core of every great story lies either sex or death (or perhaps both--as the French would say, le petite mort). Love and the human condition each battle for the title of the ultimate driving force behind all creative expression.

How do we explore such ultimately human content when it is confined to words on a page? How do we make sense of these two messes using the tool of writing? How do the messiness of sex and relationships, and the enormity of death, individually defy both poetry and prose? How do these two obsessions force writing to question its own form--force forms to break open--and force our writing minds to break open, to explore beyond "the rules," and beyond our "selves"?

Content: Through a sex-positive feminist lens, we'll read--and challenge--texts that defy form and genre. We'll dig into a range of texts that ignore assumptions about form in pursuit of their own truth. By looking beyond the restrictions of "fiction" and "poetry," we'll be able to see how the work itself reaches its truest truth.

What are the differences between fiction and poetry? Why does a writer choose a particular medium to channel their ideas? Why does it choose the state that it's in? How does it fit the shape of fiction or poetry?
Critical thinking:  We'll approach our own work as its own entity, rather than as something connected to/associated with us. By interacting with our own work as both writers and as readers, we'll learn to see our work through new perspectives, allowing us to see new options and new risks to take. As we analyze texts in class, we'll look beyond the psychology of the writer, into the psychology of the work.

Communication: We will learn how to effectively workshop. How does one respond to the piece rather than the writer? How do we find and get in sync with the piece's intentions, letting our own tastes and styles fall aside?
We'll create a safe space by allowing the work to fall separate from the writer. Writers will become objective, outside observers of their own work.

Connections: By looking at our own work, the work of our peers, and the work of writers whose paths we may not have otherwise crossed, we will be finding unexpected connections. As we sift for new tools and lenses, the universality of our craft will be emphasized. By developing new senses with which we approach texts, we'll gain the ability to examine work in far greater contexts.  (Gen.Ed. AL)


English 254 Writing & Reading Imaginative Literature (AL) (200+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 4 MWF 12:20-1:10 Instructor: Caroline Rayner

This course is an experimental space. Say you begin with a line from a horoscope or recipe or field guide or set of driving directions. Then make it a ritual. Then bring it to life. A story can be told through a numbered list. A poem can consist of text messages. In this class, tradition and convention are fragile ideas. What makes a story different from a poem, different from an essay, different from a play? Where do those boundaries break down? Emotion and imagination matter. In this class, we will write constantly and talk about writing constantly. We will give ourselves permission to explore modes of composition and play with concepts such as voice, narrative, character, imagery, and syntax. We will build new creative habits and perhaps break old ones. Our reading will call history into question, as we will focus our attention toward voices on the margins in order to foster a sense of inclusivity. Not only will we seek inspiration and examine how each text works, but we will also consider what it means to occupy and create space in the world. We will read to become better listeners as well as better writers. We can help each other through thoughtful response. Collaboration is encouraged. Expect lots of discussion. Required work will include a reading journal, weekly experimental writing, as well as a final portfolio of polished work.(Gen.Ed. AL)


English 254H Writing and Reading Imaginative Literature Honors AL (200+ English elective)(creative writing specialization)
Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor Daniel Sack
This honors seminar focuses on the analysis of poetry, short fiction, drama, and creative non-fiction, and fosters an environment in which to explore different forms of response. Our focus will be on the fragment across written genres. Students will read and discuss texts by exemplary authors and by their classmates. Assignments include both analytical and creative writing. (Gen.Ed. AL).

English 268 American Literature and Culture before 1865 (American Literature and Culture Before 1865 or 200+ English elective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Melba Jensen

This course studies the development of the "imagined community" of the nation and the attempt to craft an "American" literature. Readings include autobiography, oratory, journalism, fiction, poetry, and rhetoric produced on the North American continent between 1670 and 1865. They reflect tensions arising from the status of religious belief, urban vs. rural experience, and the rise of industrial labor. The course examines the economic challenges faced by writers like Poe, Whitman, Melville, and H. B. Stowe, and the political challenges faced by writers like F. Douglass and Jacobs. The course examines the historical forces that conferred canonical status on the work of New England writers including Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, and delayed recognition of Dickinson until the twentieth century. The textbook for this course is a free e-book distributed in pdf, Kindle, and .mobi format. Students will need to bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to class to access their annotated course readings. 


English 269 American Literature and Culture after 1865 (American Literature and Culture After 1865 or 200+ English elective)
Lecture 1 MW 4:00-5:15 Instructor: Caroline Yang

This course explores the definition and evolution of a national literary tradition in the United States from the Civil War to the present. We will examine a variety of issues arising from the historical and cultural contexts of the 19th and 20th centuries, the formal study of literature, and the competing constructions of American identity. Students will consider canonical texts, as well as those less frequently recognized as central to the American literary tradition, in an effort to foster original insights i9nto the definition, content, and the shape of “literature” in the United States.


English 269 American Literature and Culture after 1865 (American Literature and Culture After 1865 or 200+ English elective)
Lecture 2 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Gina Occasion

This course looks at national identity, childhood, and protest in America through the narrative spaces of literature. We do so to interrogate marginalized subject positions in our close readings, analyzing the relationships between minor status and race, class, gender, ability, geographic location, and historical moment. This methodology will bring to the surface the ways in which childhood, and youth culture more broadly, are contentious spaces that can both resist and reaffirm oppressive structures. Furthermore, we will see, the privilege of even having a childhood or being recognized as a child (in the ideal sense) is contingent on systems and categories of power. Our questions will consider the relationships between art and protest, diverse embodiments of protest and resistance, and the cultural and historical contexts that inform these movements.
Authors in this survey may include Sarah Winnemucca, Charles Eastman, W.E.B. Du Bois, Harper Lee, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, and Louise Erdrich. Assignments will include two essays and a presentation.


English 279 Intro to American Studies (American Literature and Culture After 1865 or Anglophone/ethnic American or 200+ English elective)
(American Studies specialization)
Lecture 1 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Ron Welburn

American studies is a form of cultural studies shaped traditionally through literature and history around topics of U.S. identity, the "myth & symbol school," American exceptionalism, and popular culture. We will be using lectures and case studies to explore American culture through selected fiction and poetry, music, painting, indigeneity, settler-colonialism, slavery, immigration, and technology. We will read Catharine Maria Sedgwick's 1827 historical novel, Hope Leslie, set in the 17th century, from our 21st-century vantage, and we will engage other texts reflecting the above-noted components. Expect a series of essays; and an oral history project.


English 298C World Cinema
Lecture 1 Wed 6:00-9:00 Instructor: Kirby Farrell
Crime in World Cinema. The series screens films from around the world that dramatize conflicts over "outlaw" behavior. The films explore some of the puzzles and conflicts that emerge as people struggle for more life. Crime opens a window on individual identity, but also on particular cultures and what they share.  Requirements: attendance earns 1 credit; no exams or papers; students have one unexcused absence. A 1-credit film series.


English 298H Practicum: Teaching in the Writing Center (200+ English elective)(SPOW specialization)
Lecture 1 Thurs 4:00-5:15  Instructor: Robin Garabedian
Practicum consists of four hours per week tutoring in the Writing Center and one-hour weekly meetings to discuss tutorials and supplementary readings, to write, and to work on committee projects. Students who have successfully completed English 329H Tutoring Writing: Theory & Practice are eligible to enroll in this course. This is a two-course series. Open only to students who registered in 329H Fall 2017.


English 300 Junior-Year Seminar in English Studies – Junior Year Writing
Lecture 1 MW 4:00-5:15 Instructor: Ruth Jennison
Topic: Anti-Capitalism and Revolution in 20th and 21st Century American Poetry.  How do poets engage in their work with the riot, the swarm, the strike, the boycott, the occupation, the commune, the sit-in, the picket, and the mass demonstration? We will explore (mostly American) poetry written during the three most recent periods of capitalist economic crisis and corresponding social unrest: the 1930s the 1970s, and post-2008.  Our guiding questions will be: How does poetry offer ways for its readers to grasp the contours of capitalism as a system contoured by asymmetrical class struggle, racism and sexism?  What strategies of resistance do American poets embrace and elaborate in their popular and experimental forms? What is the relationship between politics that take place in the streets and politics that take place on the page? What rich tensions arise between the poet as militant and the poet as artist?  Our texts from the 1930s will include poetry by Sol Funaroff, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and Muriel Rukeyser. From the 1970s, we’ll examine the work of Amiri Baraka, John Wieners, Hannah Weiner, Gwendolyn Brooks, Larry Eigner, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and Diane Di Prima. In our study of current poetry we will explore how American poets metabolize the rise of neoliberalism, and popular resistance to the politics of austerity. Contemporary poets will include Keston Sutherland, M. NourbeSe Philip, Rob Halpern, Chris Nealon, Craig Santos Perez, Uyen Hua, Anne Boyer, Fred Moten and Julianna Spahr. We will place these poetic texts in conversation with theories, experiences, and manifestos of resistance and liberation, including works by both individuals and collectives: Marx, Lenin, Mao, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Sylvia Federici, The Black Panther Party, Chicago Gay Liberation, and The Paris Commune, among others. Senior and Junior English majors only. Prerequisite: English 200 with a grade of C or better.


English 300 Junior-Year Seminar in English Studies – Junior Year Writing
Lecture 2 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Daniel Sack
Topic: Beckett Across the Arts. Samuel Beckett's singular body of work during the mid to late 20th century spanned a variety of different genres and media; he wrote essays, academic studies, art criticism, novels, short stories, poems, plays, radio dramas, television scripts, a film, and even an opera. While common stylistics and themes link these diverse productions, Beckett explored the possibilities afforded by specific mediums, their capacities and especially their incapacities. Throughout, Beckett shows us an art of failure, the impossible pursuit of the absolute collapse of image and representation. This seminar will read, listen, watch, and perform Beckett, alongside a small selection of artists and theorists influenced by his work. Experience with the visual or performing arts is welcome, but not required. Senior and Junior English majors only. Prerequisite: English 200 with a grade of C or better.


English 300 Junior-Year Seminar in English Studies – Junior Year Writing
Lecture 3 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Jordy Rosenberg

Topic: Queer/Trans Theory. This course focuses on the emergence of transgender as a subject and object of study. Our focus will be on gaining a basic understanding of the articulation of transgender in the 20th and 21st centuries, largely within a U.S. context.  Our perspective will be trans-disciplinary, drawing readings from history, literature, poetry, film, comics, sociology and anthrolopology.  Readings will introduce students to the central discussions and debates within the emerging field of transgender studies, ranging from defining what "trans" has meant in different historical and institutional contexts, to looking at the intersections of transgender concerns with the politics of health care, colonialism and neocolonialism, and racial oppression and the imperial state. Our focus will be on theory and cultural documents produced by trans authors, filmmakers, and critics, and so we will also be asking about how transgender authors expand discourses of embodiment.  Readings will be drawn from critics such as C. Riley Snorton, Susan Stryker, Aren Aizura, Kai M. Green, and Kadji Amin; and from authors and filmmakers such as Charlie Jane Anders, Yoon Ha Lee, Ryka Aoki, Miller Oberman, Danez Smith, and others. Senior and Junior English majors only. Prerequisite: English 200 with a grade of C or better.


English 300 Junior-Year Seminar in English Studies – Junior Year Writing
Lecture 4 Tu 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Heidi Holder

Topic: The Queer Gothic.  From its emergence in the 18th century, the gothic mode has centered on mysteries of identity; its fascination with the hidden, the forbidden, and the transgressive has made it a recurring site of queer representation. The course will survey key texts and critics to examine the trajectories, possibilities and persistence of the queer gothic. Readings may include the following: stories by Edgar Allan Poe, J.S. Le Fanu’s Carmilla, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith and Randall Kenan’s Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. Some consideration of drama (Jen Silverman’s The Moors and Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep) and film (James Whale’s The Dark Old House and Jim Sharman’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Written assignments: regular 1-page responses, two short essays and a final research paper.   Senior and Junior English majors only. Prerequisite: English 200 with a grade of C or better.


English 302 Studies in Textuality & New Media (300+ English elective)

Lecture 1 MW 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Matthew Schilleman

This course will explore the ways in which media technologies shape the individual and society. Starting with a few historical examples of media revolution (the alphabet, the printing press, television), we will spend the bulk of the semester examining new media such as the internet, videogames, twitter, and virtual reality. In probing these devices and platforms, we will touch on important debates concerning the nature of the mind, the human, and information. We will also delve into a number of theoretical perspectives such as posthumanism, psychoanalysis, and Marxism. Assignments will include critical readings, film viewings, and interactive media experiments.


English 315 Speculative Fiction (Anglophone or 300+ English elective)

Lecture 1 TuTh 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Jordy Rosenberg

What if magic had never died out in Victorian England? What if the Underground Railroad had actually been a subterranean set of tracks and tunnels?  In this class we will focus on that subset of speculative fiction known as "Alternate Histories" to ask questions about the nature of story-telling more broadly, what cultural events come to define history as we know it, and about those artworks that expand our sense of the possible.
Texts and authors will include: Octavia Butler, Colson Whitehead, Kazuo Ishiguro, Larissa Lai, Nisi Shawl, and Philip K. Dick


English 343 The English Epic Tradition (British literature and culture before 1700 or 300+ English elective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Stephen Harris

Topic: Beowulf. This course introduces you to the magnificent epic poem Beowulf in its original language. Written between c. 750 and c.1000 AD, Beowulf is the chief poetic achievement of Anglo-Saxon England. It is a poem of stunning artistry, complex structure, and profound wisdom. Beowulf inspired J. R. R. Tolkien and Seamus Heaney as it continues to inspire today. We will read the poem extremely closely. As we do, we will put it into its historical and literary contexts, imagining Anglo-Saxon readers as well as modern ones. We will discuss Norse myths, Irish myths, charms, omens, and portents. And there be dragons. Recommended for students who have completed ENGL 313, Old English. If you have not taken Old English, you can read the poem in translation. Get in touch with your inner Viking! English majors only. Course prerequisite: English 200 with a grade of "C" or better and 201, 202 or 221 with a qualifying grade of a C or better.


English 354 Creative Writing: Introduction to Fiction (300+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 1 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Chrisopher Ayala

In this class we will write fiction. We will study what it is we write and why we chose to show what we have done. The name of the game is creating worlds unique to our experience, to tell stories that matter to us as if they are the last thing we will ever say for the first time. Our ambition is to enter a room where we, as people who write, come together to read our work and talk about each line as it makes a paragraph that makes a page creating our stories. It will be intensive the scrutiny we place on how we do things and our reading will be twice as much so. The goal of the class is to develop severity.


English 354 Creative Writing: Introduction to Poetry (300+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 2 MWF 1:25-2:15 Instructor: Michaela Loewer
How does poetry function as voice, not just for history, but of the present? What even is a voice? The voice of the poem, of the poet? How does this voice manifest itself in a poem and how can we, as writers, create this voice in our own writing? In this class we will explore the voices that surround us by reading works by contemporary poets, such as Mary Ruefle, Ariana Reines, Zachary Schomburg, Fred Moten, Ocean Vuong, and more. We will engage in discussion about these poets and what their work means for our world today–socially, politically, emotionally, etc. With these poets in mind, you will also be creating your own work, exploring your voice as a writer and person. You will be asked to not only read and write, but engage, discuss, workshop, and revise. The emphasis of this class will not be critique itself, but the process of engaging in conversation with a written work in order to understand and then develop as writers, but more importantly, as humans.


English 355 Creative Writing: Fiction (300+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Kirby Farrell
The workshop participants read each other's stories, asking what kinds of work each story does, and what sort of response it invites from readers. During the semester, we're likely to discuss creativity, reader psychology, and markets.  No textbook, no exams.  Registration by department permission only.


English 355 Creative Writing: Fiction (300+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 2  TuTh 2:30-3:45   Instructor: John Hennessy

In this course students will write and workshop short stories.  They will also read widely in modern and contemporary fiction and complete a series of assignments intended to address specific aspects of fiction writing. 


Students should submit one complete story and a brief personal statement (list and brifely discuss your reading preferences-your favorite writers and books) to Professor Hennessy's email address:  Please include your Spire ID #.  Submission deadline is November 20th. Registration after this date is possible, but priority will be given to students who meet the November 20th deadline. Students will be notified of their status by December 15th. Registration by instructor permission only. 


English 356 Creative Writing: Poetry (300+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: John Hennessy

Interested students should send a portfolio of 3 poems to John Hennessy at by November 20th. Students should (briefly) discuss their reading preferences (favorite poets, writers, books, poems) in separate statement. Please include contact information. Submission deadline is November 20th. Registration after this date is possible, but priority will be given to students who meet the November 20th deadline. Students will be notified of their status by December 15th. Registration by instructor permission only. 


English 356 Creative Writing: Poetry (300+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 2 Tu 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Martín Espada
Students should submit a portfolio of three poems in a Word document to Professor Espada at Students will be notified by the end of the semester of their status. Registration after this date is possible, but priority will be given to students who apply this semester for the fall. Registration by instructor permission only. 


English 359 Victorian Imagination (British literature and culture after 1700 or 300+ English elective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 8:30AM - 9:45AM  Instructor: Adam Colman
Topic: Victorian Investigations. The nineteenth century saw the rise of the detective story, as well as—more generally—a proliferation of novels full of mystery and investigation. What were the contexts of this proliferation? What specific forms did novelists develop for their narratives of investigation? While this course focuses on the interaction between questioning and fiction, we will also ask such questions of our own. Authors will include Arthur Conan Doyle, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon.


English 362 Modern Novel: 1945-Present (Anglophone/ethnic American literature or 300+ English elective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Mazen Naous
Of Immigrants and Migration.  People from countries previously colonized by Great Britain find their way to British shores; people from countries affected by U.S. interventions find their way to the U.S. Some arrive as immigrants and some as migrants (we will consider the implications of these two terms). Both groups, however, endure forms of jingoism, racism, xenophobia, and violence at the social, cultural, economic and political levels. Among other things, immigrants and migrants find that they are perceived as traitors, terrorists, criminals, and job snatchers. In relating the experiences of immigrants and migrants, our selected works employ a range of literary techniques: playing with form, interpolating non-English words into the texts, disrupting time, and complicating narrative point of view. We will engage the relationship between aesthetics and politics in these textual interventions, and consider the effect of this relationship on the representations and receptions of immigrants and migrants. This course examines works dealing with movement from South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Northern Ireland to Britain, and from East Asia, the Arab countries, and Mexico to the U.S. The course includes works by Ana Castillo, Mohja Kahf, John Okada, Caryl Phillips and Zadie Smith. We will also watch and discuss two films. Critical essays and some theory will guide our readings and film viewings.


English 365 20th Century Literature of Ireland AL (Anglophone/ethnic American literature or 300+ English lective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Barry Spence
Although a relatively small country geographically, Ireland has an enormous literary footprint. Particularly throughout the twentieth century, Irish writers made decisive and groundbreaking contributions to the literary and performing arts, changing how we understand the novel, the short story, the play, and the poem. While situating this literature within the broader Irish historical, social, and cultural contexts, this course examines these innovations and considers their relationship to larger literary and artistic movements of the century. We will read works by James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as well as by W. B. Yeats, John Millington Synge, Flann O’Brien, Elizabeth Bowen, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, and others.  (Gen.Ed. AL)


English 371 African American Literature (American literature after 1865 or Anglophone/ethnic American or 300+ English elective)
Lecture 1 MW 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Sarah Patterson

In this class, we will become familiar with genres and rhetorics that nineteenth-century Black writers employ to articulate perspectives on the African American and Diaspora experience. We will explore notions of identity, public consciousness and national belonging, asking: what is the interplay between the imagination and self-determinism? How do sites of publication influence ideas about race, gender, class and community? Readings will draw from works by Mary Prince, Frederick Douglass, Frank Webb and Harriet Wilson. As a way to consider visual rhetorics, students will sometimes pair readings with contemporaneous newspaper literature and will regularly consider the historical moment out of which readings emerge. In addition to active class participation, assignments will include a short response, mid-term exam, final research paper and digital writing entry. (Gen.Ed. AL)


English 374 20th Century American Literature (American literature after 1865 or 300+ English elective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Dix McComas
We will be reading, chronologically, seven American novels whose publication dates span from 1917 (My Antonia) to 1980 (Housekeeping). Each novel involves, to some extent, a kind of “haunting” in the sense defined by British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips in his book Unforbidden Pleasures:

“Something is made possible . . . by making many things impossible; or unthinkable, inconceivable. And yet we are strangely haunted by some of the things and people we are persuaded to exclude. To forbid something is to make it unforgettable (children must not cross the road; adults must not think too much about sex, or the wrong kind of sex). At its best and at its worst to forbid is to coerce attention and to guarantee interest. It is to arrange a haunting [my italics] (p. 2).

of these novels tells a story of wanting and not having, of desires and dreams whose fulfillment is somehow forbidden—or ruled out of bounds by the dictates of social class, race, gender, and/or religion. We will consider the nature of the walls such dreams collide with; and we will see the fate of the dreams and desires that sustain and/or obsess the narrators of these novels. We will witness psychic deals hammered out as acts of survival—as well as moments of extraordinary daring, in which a character recognizes that the forbidden may not be the impossible. Or that culturally placed barricades may not be where the world ends.

Each novel will involve a haunting—an imagined possibility that, in many cases, cannot be fully abandoned or realized.

English 376 American Fiction (American literature after 1865 or Anglophone/ethnic American or 300+ English elective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Asha Nadkarni
Using the thematics of migration within, and immigration to (particularly post-1965 immigration) the United States, this course will concentrate on how U.S. writers negotiate issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. Throughout, it will focus on how particular texts give representational shape to the experiences they depict. Writers may include Jhumpa Lahiri, Viet Than Nguyen, NoViolet Bulawayo, R. Zamora Linmark, Toni Morrison, and Junot Diaz.

English 381 Professional Writing & Technical Communication III (300+ English elective)(PWTC spec.)
Lecture 1 TuTh 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Janine Solberg

This course continues and extends the work of ENGL 380. You will learn and apply principles of software documentation, information design, typography, and page design. You will also learn to use industry-standard software programs such as Adobe InDesign, MadCap Flare, and Adobe FrameMaker. This course asks you to increase your writing, organizational, and graphical sophistication and produce portfolio-quality writing. 
Prereq.: junior or senior status with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better and ENGL 380. Solberg.Prerequisite: English 380. Junior or senior status and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.


English 382 Professional Writing & Technical Communication III (Integrative Experience)(PWTC spec.)
Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: David Toomey

ENGL 382 serves as the capstone course for the Professional Writing and Technical Communication Certificate. As such, the course has two aims: professionalization and specialization. Students will participate in mock interviews, workshop their professional portfolios, and learn about careers in technical writing and information technology from working professionals. The course will also provide students with directed opportunities to explore the theory and practice of particular kinds of writing and technology (e.g., report writing, grant proposals, speechwriting, voiceovers, integration with video and film, web site development). Each student will present a significant report on a topic related to technology, communication, and culture. Prereq.: ENGL 381 (which may be taken concurrently), junior or senior status and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. (3 credits).


English 388 Rhetoric, Writing and Society (300+ English elective)(SPOW specialization)
Lecture 1 TuTh 2:30-3:45 Instructor: David Fleming

This course is an introduction to the history, theory, and practice of rhetoric, defined here as the art of persuasion. For nearly 2,500 years, rhetoric has been the central academic discipline for thinking about the adaptation of discourse to purpose, audience, occasion, and subject matter. The earliest rhetorical arts were focused on public speaking in direct democracies; later rhetorics treated eloquence more broadly, including written discourse and its role in political and legal affairs, as well as religion, science, commerce, art, and education. More contemporary rhetorical theories have expanded the purview of rhetoric to include visual media, digital culture, and nonverbal performance and to see rhetorical motivations lurking in artifacts produced without conscious persuasive design. Rhetoric is useful as a critical tool for analyzing others' discourse; as a practical art for inventing one's own discourse; and as a theoretical discipline for interrogating the languages of social and political life. In this course, we'll learn about and practice these various rhetorics. The course is also meant to help students meet objective 10 of the English section of the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL): "to understand principles of rhetoric as they apply to various forms and purposes of oral and written communication." The spring 2017 syllabus for this course can be seen at


English 391C Advanced Software for Professional Writers (300+ English elective)(PWTC, NMDH, and SPOW specializations)

Lecture 1 MW 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Janine Solberg
Lecture 2 MW 4:00-5:15 Instructor: Janine Solberg

This course offers a beginner-level introduction to web design. It is aimed at English and humanities majors, though students from any major are welcome in the course. This is a hands-on course that meets in a computer classroom. Students will learn to create a website using HTML (hypertext markup language) and CSS (cascading style sheets). You will come away from the course having created a professional web portfolio that you can use when applying for jobs or internships. 

No prior experience with web design or coding is required. Students should be comfortable managing files (naming, uploading, downloading, creating folders) and using a web browser. (Note: This course appears in Spire as "Advanced Software," but that really just means that we're advancing beyond Microsoft Word.)

Prereq: Minimum 3.0 GPA and junior or senior standing. Non-majors or students who have not yet taken Engl 379 should contact the instructor to be added into the course.

This course counts toward the following specializations: PWTC, SPOW, NMDH, as well as the IT Minor.

Prerequisite: English 380. Junior or senior status and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. The Engl 380 pre-req may be waived with instructor permission, space permitting.

English 391ML Multilingualism and Literacy (Anglophone or 300+ English elective)(SPOW specialization)
Lecture 1 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Rebecca Lorimer Leonard

This course is a unique opportunity to participate in a community-university collaboration on literacy and language learning. The class explores what “literacy” and “multilingualism” mean in our current moment by 1) reading, critiquing, and writing about academic understandings of multilingual literacy and 2) partnering with a community organization to support the multilingual activities of local literacy learners. The course aims to understand the impact of literacy in a linguistically diverse society: How is literacy in English the same or different as literacy in multiple languages? How do people come to be praised or condemned for their literacy practices? How does a diversifying society define literacy as effective, creative, or failing? We will read across the fields of writing studies, TESOL, and community-engaged literacy: Kalmar’s Illegal Alphabets and Adult Biliteracy; Prendergast’s Buying Into English; Vieira’s American by Paper: How Documents Matter in Immigrant Literacy; and Auerbach’s From the Community, to the Community: A Guidebook for Participatory Literacy Training. Writing will consist of weekly online responses, two papers, and a longer final project.


English 391NM Narrative Medicine: How Writing Can Heal (300+ English elective)(Creative Writing specialization)
Lecture 1 Thurs 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Marian MacCurdy
This interdisciplinary writing course investigates the cognitive and emotional benefits of writing for diverse populations including trauma survivors, patients, caregivers, teachers or those who hope to teach—anyone who is interested in the power of personal writing to effect change. Training in reflective writing supports clinical and/or pedagogical effectiveness among medical and educational professionals by enabling them to both listen to and respond to stories of conflict, illness, trauma, and transformation and to express their own histories in writing as well. Students will read, write, and discuss personal essays as well as texts that address the relationship between writing and resilience. We will focus on process—how to produce narratives that are both artistically and therapeutically effective. No prior experience with the medical humanities required.


English 491AC The Major and Beyond: Career Exploration for English Majors
Lecture 1 W 4:00-5:15 Instructor: Janis Greve

2 credits. This course is your chance to be pro-active in paving the road to employment both during and after the completion of your degree in English. You will practice job search skills and leave the class with a better sense of your vocational direction. In addition to receiving individualized guidance in creating a cover letter and résumé of immediate use, other assignments are likely to include attendance at career events, two interviews with professionals from fields of interest, a professional presentation, a paper researching vocations, and participation in a mock interview. Note: for an additional credit and some extra work, students can opt to have the course count toward an English elective. Please contact Prof. Greve if you are interested. Sophomores and Juniors. Seniors by permission of the instructor only.


English 491AS The Arabian Nights in World Literature (Anglophone or 400+ English elective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Mazen Naous
Since first being translated into English the 18th century, The Arabian Nights has proved enduringly popular and is responsible for many of the images of the East and the Arab world that persist in present-day literary and cultural discourses. Images of tyrannical and lustful Sultans, harems, genies, magic lamps, and flying carpets have played a significant representational role in the West’s perception of the East as a fantastic, exotic, and dangerous place. By and large, The Arabian Nights is considered to be little more than entertainment; however, many writers have taken up the Nights in their works and have offered complex interpretations and reinventions of it. In addition to reading selections from Richard Burton’s famous translation, we will negotiate the presence of the Nights in English, South Asian, North African, South American, and North American works of fiction and film. Why are these writers fascinated with the Nights? How do their novels rework dominant perceptions of things Arabic and Eastern? How can we re-read the Nights in light of these global works of fiction? Literary and cultural theories will guide our readings and film viewings.


English 491CG Fantasy, Epic, Romance: Renaissance Genres and Modern Fictions (British literature before 1700 or 400+ English elective)
Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Adam Zucker
This upper level seminar places 16th and 17th Century works by Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, and Margaret Cavendish alongside contemporary novels by C. S. Lewis, Ursula LeGuin, and others in order to explore the literary histories and formal engagements of Renaissance and contemporary modes of fantasy writing. Our study of the political and social logic of works not normally described as “speculative fiction” (such as The Faerie Queene, The Tempest, and The Blazing World) will inform our analysis of the ways popular literature fits into our own moment in time. What do imaginary worlds help us see? What do they help us to ignore? Can the analysis and/or enjoyment of unreal things change ideas about citizenship, or identity, or political affiliation? Is another world ever possible? Critical and philosophical readings might include work by Thomas More, Philip Sidney, Francis Bacon, Octavia Butler, and Phillip Pullman, among others. Students will write two shorter essays (one on an earlier, one on a later literary work) in addition to pursuing a longer researched project in which they choose a contemporary novel, film, or other text to analyze with our work over the course of the semester in mind. There will also be an in-class presentation. Experience with (or, at least, interest in) early British literature is advised.


English 494CI Codes, Ciphers, Hackers & Crackers (Integrative Experience)
Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Stephen Harris

This course is an Integrative Experience course. As such, it has two major aims. The first is a practical introduction to codes and ciphers. In order to break codes, we will examine the structures of the English language, as well as the distributive characteristics of words and phonemes. We will consider English as a closed system with a fixed rule set. Our second aim is to examine the relationship between a system and its component elements. Starting with the relationship between letters and cipher types, we will explore the relationship between users and networks, and the relationship between hackers (and crackers) and The System. How does the world of systems and networks compel us to think differently than does the world of westward expansion or discovery? Finally, we will learn simple coding and apply it first to crypts, then to literary texts. No knowledge of codes, ciphers, or computers is necessary, although welcome. Prerequisite: completion of English 200 and one course from following period distribution: British literature and culture before 1700, British literature and culture after 1700, American literature and culture before 1865, American literature and culture after 1865.


English 494JI Going to Jail (Integrative Experience)

Lecture 1 M 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Suzanne Daly
Why do we put people in cages? And in what ways does the caging of humans impact society? Writers have long used the prison as a space from which to ask questions about the nature and meaning of criminality and the rule of law, about human minds, bodies, and behavior, about society and politics, and about how language makes and unmakes us as human beings. In this class, we will study US fiction, poetry, film, and nonfiction prose (print and digital) by prisoners, journalists, scholars, lawyers, and activists in order to consider these issues for ourselves. Throughout the semester, we will draw on the perspectives you have gained through your gen ed coursework to think about two central questions: first, what contribution does each medium, genre, or disciplinary approach make to the study of prisons and prisoners? Second, what aspects of the US punishment industry do you find most compelling to study, and what methods of exploring these topics seem most useful and appealing to you as a writer? Assignments will include five short response papers and two drafts of a longer final paper. Authors may include: Michelle Alexander, Malcolm Braly, Ted Conover, Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Emma Goldman, Piper Kerman, Martin Luther King, Constance Lytton, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, David Oshinsky, Helen Prejean, and Malcolm X. Open only to senior English majors.


English 4994WI Whitman and His Legacy (Integrative Experience)

Lecture 1 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Nick Bromell
What is literature for? What good does it do?

You have probably asked – and been asked -- these questions many times, but they feel especially urgent at this moment, as you complete your coursework as an English major, integrate your literary studies with what you have learned in your other courses, and look forward to the road ahead.

Walt Whitman believed passionately that literature had immense value. For him, literature was not merely an entertainment, or an escape, but a force much needed to enable US democracy to fulfill its potential. He was absolutely sure that literature can help us become wiser persons and better citizen.

Was he right? That’s the question we’ll be discussing in this course. But we won’t just talk about it; we’ll also follow Whitman’s lead and undertake the reading of literature as a kind of contemplative practice. As Whitman himself put it, literature allows us to be “both in the game and out if it.” Although we become deeply engaged with works of literature and their depictions of the world, we do not quite identify with that world. We see it from a distance, however slight. This is exactly what contemplative practices do: they heighten our appreciation of life, and at the same time they encourage us to gain a perspective on ourselves and the way we are living our life.
Whitman’s poems also explicitly pose all the “big questions,” giving us a chance to deepen ourselves as we work through these again and again:
- are humans fundamentally good, or not?
- does human self-consciousness radically isolate us in a universe of things and beings that seem to lack such consciousness?
- Can we think without words? How much are we shaped by the language we use?
- What does it mean to “know” another person?
- Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?

Your English classes are not the only ones (I trust) where such questions have been raised. They animate many other fields and disciplines, including some you have studied. So, in this class we will also be comparing the way literature approaches and understands them with the ways some other disciplines do.

We will also take note that this is an immensely practical benefit. It helps us live better lives. It is also why English majors are prized by law schools, medical schools, and business schools: they know very well that people all do a better job when they are have perspective, communicate and work well with others, and are not just smart but wise. This course aims to encourage you to become fully conscious of this benefit, and to carry it with you as you move on to the next chapter of your life. This is exactly what Walt himself would have wanted.

Texts: The Porable Whitman (ed., Warner); Walt Whitman’s America (Reynolds).
Open only to senior English majors. Prerequisite: completion of English 200 and one of the following period survey courses English 201, 202, 221, 268 or 269.


English 499D Capstone honors Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry and Literary NonFiction (old and new requirements: 400+ English elective)(creative writing spec.)
Lecture 1 Wed 4:00-6:30 PM Instructor: John Hennessy

Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry, Literary Non-Fiction is a multi-genre, two-semester course in creative writing designed to help students complete a Capstone project within the genre of their choice. Both a class in contemporary literature and a writing workshop, Foundations and Departures will offer students a wide variety of reading assignments and writing exercises from across all three genres. At the end of the first semester students will submit a portfolio of original work; in the second semester students will finish drafting and revising their Capstone projects.

Textbooks for English 499D will include: Textbooks will include _The Art of the Story_ (Daniel Halpern, editor), a choice of novels by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Virginia Woolf, Ralph Ellison, Maryse Conde, Milan Kundera, and others, memoir by Helene Cooper and Ta-Nehisi Coates, non-fiction by Joan Didion, poetry collections by Major Jackson, Ishion Hutchinson, Denise Duhamel, Jonathan Moody, and others. Instructor permission required.