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Undergraduate English Courses

Spring 2021 Courses

To see these options on SPIRE, see our Class Listings page.

English 115 American Experience (ALDU)
Lecture 1    TuTh 11:30-12:45    Instructor: Maria Ishikawa
Primarily for nonmajors. Introduction to the interdisciplinary study of American culture, with a wide historical scope and attention to diverse cultural experiences in the U.S. Readings in fiction, prose, and poetry, supplemented by painting, photography, film, and material culture.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)

English 115 American Experience (ALDU)
Lecture 2    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Benjamin Latini
Primarily for nonmajors. Introduction to the interdisciplinary study of American culture, with a wide historical scope and attention to diverse cultural experiences in the U.S. Readings in fiction, prose, and poetry, supplemented by painting, photography, film, and material culture.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)

English 117 Ethnic American Literature (ALDU)
Lecture 1    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Leslie Leonard
Primarily for nonmajors. This introductory study of American culture encourages students to think critically about ethnic American experiences. Reading texts authored by ethnically diverse American authors, this class asks students to engage critically with American culture and identity, particularly as it is experienced by individuals of various backgrounds. Some of the questions this course explores include: What do we make of American experiences that contradict popular ideas of what it means to exist in America? How do ethnic experiences allow us to more critically consider American culture? How do various authors engage with their ethnicity while still identifying as distinctly American? How have shifting formations of race impacted ethnic authors? Using texts that span from June Jordan and Langston Hughes to Fatimah Asghar and Maxine Hong Kingston, this class uses fiction, poetry, and prose to consider how America and the American experience has been navigated, understood, reimagined, and experienced by various ethnic communities across time with a particular emphasis on the perspectives of these communities. (Gen.Ed. AL, DU) 

English 131 Society & Literature (ALDG)
Lecture 1    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Crystal Baines
Literature and Human Rights.  This course explores the relationship between literature and human rights in the American context and Global South. In what ways do writers use specific genres to articulate and humanize what may seem to be otherwise abstract concepts such as human rights and social justice? How do literary modes of representation both reclaim and problematize discourses of human rights? We will discuss how aesthetics and ethics combine to produce alternative and innovative ways of imagining a ‘just’ society. Students will consider how novels, short stories, and films become a creative platform to educate and raise awareness on compromised or denied social, cultural, and economic rights in systems of war, colonization, slavery, race, and caste. We will also consider instances where writers and artists have successfully agitated society into action and have in turn found their own rights compromised and their voices and works censored or destroyed. This course will include the works of Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nadine Gordimer, Deepa Mehta, and Bong Joon-ho among others. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 131 Society & Literature (ALDG)
Lecture 2    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: David Pritchard
Literature that deals with our relationship to society. Topics may include: the utopian vision; the notion of the self, politics and literature.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (ALDG)
Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15    Instructor: Caroline Heafey
Literature treating the relationship between man and woman. Topics may include: the nature of love, the image of the hero and heroine, and definitions, past and present, of the masculine and feminine.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (ALDG)
Lecture 2    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Yunah Kae
Romantic Variations: Love, Sex, and Representation in Literature. Love stories abound in our present culture – through books, films, news, oral narratives, etc. We staunchly believe that we 'know' and 'recognize' what love is and entails in our individual lives, and we also deploy the word in larger cultural arenas to indicate an absolute social good. This section of English 132 examines the plethora of (often conflicting) meanings that this complicated word holds, looking specifically at what 'love' has meant, now means, might mean, (or meant not to mean) in various personal, social, and political contexts throughout literary history. We will ask questions such as: how did/do people conceive of the origins of love? Who can (or is allowed to) love? How is gender and sexuality represented in love narratives, and conversely, how do these narratives reproduce or contest heteronormative sex and gender difference? How can (or cannot) love, an inherently gendered concept, embody social justice, particularly in contexts of racial violence and economic inequality? And finally, but of crucial importance, is love 'real,' and how is it ever possible (or meaningful) for us to know?
To arrive at answers, we will begin the class by looking at ‘traditional’ Western literature on love (Sidney, Shakespeare, Elizabeth Inchbald), then move onto variations of romance narratives across cultures and societies (Ama Ata Aidoo, Arundhati Roy, Han Kang). By the end of this course, you should be able to think and write more critically about this particular abstract and universal term we take for granted, how the seemingly personal affect of love is in fact historically contingent and deeply entrenched in social structures of gender, sexuality, race, colonialism, and global capitalism, and the ways in which literature might help us make sense of the power and potential violence it
 (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (ALDG)
Lecture 3    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: John Yargo
Literature treating the relationship between man and woman. Topics may include: the nature of love, the image of the hero and heroine, and definitions, past and present, of the masculine and feminine.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (ALDG)
Lecture 4    TuTh 11:30-12:45    Instructor: Angela Kim
This course will comparatively examine gender and sexuality as they are portrayed in popular novels and their media adaptations to account for the significance of their discrepancies. A primary focus of this course will be the exploration of the ways in which race figures into popularized portrayals of gender and sexuality and their subsequent public receptions. We work to ask whose narratives are being circulated and popularized to then discuss the possible insufficiencies and racial biases of these representations.   (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 141 Reading Poetry (AL)
Lecture 1    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Laura Marshall
Poetry, Activism, and Change  Poetry can change the world. I'm not exaggerating. Poems bring us inside different perspectives and experiences. Poets examine, interrogate, and even subvert the traditions and "norms" of our world, and help us imagine new worlds. 
In this course, we will explore the power of poetry by focusing on reading and sharing poetry as a form of social justice activism. We will share work by poets from intersecting marginalized communities, and discover how these poets weave activism into their work through word choice, imagery, and structure. We will also discuss the themes and topics they employ, as well as how their contexts inform their writing choices. Students in this class will read a lot of poetry, write brief guided reflections, learn about the lives and activism of several poets, and share poetry with each other and the wider world. 

Readings for this class will include works by Kaveh Akbar, Maya Angelou, Billy-Ray Belcourt, jody chan, Staceyann Chin, Natalie Diaz, jayy dodd, Terrance Hayes, Ava Hoffman, Ilya Kaminsky, Zefyr Lisowski, Layli Long Soldier, Audre Lorde, Tommy Pico, Claudia Rankine, Raquel Salas Rivera, Danez Smith, Ocean Vuong, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, and many other American and international poets. (This course fulfills the AL Gen Ed requirement.)

English 150 Writing and Society (SB, DU)
MWF 12:20 – 1:10  Instructor: Robin Garabedian
In this course, we will be investigating the field of “Writing Studies,” an increasingly important area of interdisciplinary study at the intersection of literacy, communication, digital studies, education, and linguistics. This field has expanded in recent years to examine “writing” as a mechanism through which to understand the operations of power in society. Throughout the semester, we will focus extensively on social, cultural, and political power relations as writing reflects, creates, or challenges them. Students will have the opportunity to practice writing, and reflect on that practice, through assignments that take up questions such as: What are scholarly and popular understandings about what writing is or can do in the world? How does a diversifying society redefine writing as effective, creative, illegal, failing? How can writing engage people to take social action in ways they might not have before?  (Gen. Ed. SB, DU)

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies for the Major (English 200)
Lecture 1    MWF 9:05-9:55    Instructor: Jimmy Worthy
This course will introduce students to intense literary analysis, or the practice of reading literature critically and actively. Through the study of different literary genres—the short story, speech, novel, drama, poetry, and literary criticism—and literary devices and terms, you will hone your critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. As this is also an introduction to the major class, you will be asked to think seriously about what it means to read, discuss, and write about literature as an informed English major as well as complete assignments designed to help you maximize your experience as an important part of the English Department at UMass. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG).

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies for the Major (English 200)
Lecture 3    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Jimmy Worthy
This course will introduce students to intense literary analysis, or the practice of reading literature critically and actively. Through the study of different literary genres—the short story, speech, novel, drama, poetry, and literary criticism—and literary devices and terms, you will hone your critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. As this is also an introduction to the major class, you will be asked to think seriously about what it means to read, discuss, and write about literature as an informed English major as well as complete assignments designed to help you maximize your experience as an important part of the English Department at UMass. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG).

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies for the Major (English 200)
Lecture 4    TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: Malcolm Sen
Topic: Culture, Capital, Climate.  This class will introduce students to the practice of critical reading of literary texts. It will focus on themes of nature, ecology, ecological imperialism, and the role of global capital in these areas. Students will read a range of exciting texts from around the world and develop a firm understanding of literary genre. Introduction to multiple theoretical schools, including feminist, race, and postcolonial studies, and the environmental studies will be through deliberations on the conjoined aspects of culture, capital and climate. The ultimate aim of this course is to introduce methodologies of close reading and foster critical writing skills. Writing assignments will include analytical précis of theoretical texts, reviews of literary texts, and a critical essay of 8-10 pages. Authors include Amitav Ghosh, Colson Whitehead, Barbara Kingsolver, Rebecca Solnit, Eavan Boland, and Brian Friel.

English 201 Early British literature and culture (course in British literature before 1700 or 200+ English elective)
MW 2:30-3:45    Instructor: Marjorie Rubright
Topic: The Word, the World & the Wanderer. Exploring imaginative works by both male and female authors, this survey of literature from 900 C.E. to 1700 C.E. explores literary art as a world-making enterprise. Significant changes in the English language occurred throughout this period, expanding the horizon of what we mean by 'English' literature. The course will situate the word, the world, and the wander as touchstones along our path as we travel from the epic poetry of Beowulf to Milton's Paradise Lost, from the medieval lyrical romance of Marie de France to literature written in and about the Americas. A host of different wanderers will serve as guides: from pilgrims, exiles, seafarers, and translators, to unruly women, queer shape-shifters, werewolves, fallen angels and devils. By the end of the course, you will: have a historicized appreciation of broad changes to the English language, be familiar with a range of genres produced in the medieval and earlier modern periods, have strategies for close reading to carry with you into future coursework, and experience an increased confidence in your ability to explore literature of the distant past.

English 203 Bible/Myth/Literature (200+ English elective)
Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15        Instructor: David Toomey
The class will explore several of the most studied and influential books of the Old and New Testaments. As a whole, the class will read (from the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament) the books Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth and Isaiah and (from the New Testament) the gospels Luke and John.  Most class meetings, following Luther’s doctrine of sola scriptura (scripture alone) will involve collective efforts to derive coherent close readings of particularly provocative or problematic passages.  Where necessary, following the historical-critical type of exegesis called Higher Criticism, we will appeal to secondary sources.

required text: Coogan, Michael D. (Editor) and Marc Zvi Brettler (Editor). The New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha, Fifth Edition. Oxford University Press, 2018.  ISBN-13:  / ISBN-10: ¬¬¬¬.  Available at Amherst Books, 3 Main St. Amherst MA..

English 221 Shakespeare (early  British or 200+ English elective) (AL)
Lecture 1    MW 12:20-1:10 + 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, haunt or hurt 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. Along the way, we will read tragedies, comedies, a history play and some sonnets. 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 and online retailers.

English 221, Discussion D01AA
Fri : 9:05-9:5
Merita Ljubanovic

English 221, Discussion D01AD
Fri: 12:20-1:10
TA: Dina Al Qassar

English 221, Discussion D01AB
Fri 10:10-11:00
TA: :
Merita Ljubanovic

English 221, Discussion D01AE

Fri: 10:10-11:00
TA: Nick Sancho-Rosi

English 221, Discussion D01AC
Fri: 11:15-12:05
TA: Dina Al Qassar

English 221, Discussion D01AF
Fri: Fri 11:15-12:05
TA: Nik Sancho-Rosi

English 254 Writing and Reading Imaginative Literature (200+ English elective)(creative writing specialization) (AL)
Lecture 1    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Dashau Washington
EMBODYING VOICES.   What is language? What is a body? What is a voice? This course will explore the answers to these questions and illustrate how they are all facets of the same jewel. Together, we'll break down the anatomy of a line, a sentence, a stanza, a paragraph, a page, and explore techniques to expand and complicate their depth. Writers you can expect to read in this course include Hanif Abdurraqib, Claudia Rankine, Ken Liu, Ocean Vuong, Safia Elhillo, Danez Smith, and Layli Long Soldier. Studying these writers, we will examine how they further the message of their writing through experimentation with form and how they use the synergy of structure and language to challenge the tangibility of the subjects addressed. We will determine what techniques empower the voices of these writers to haunt the minds of their readers and we'll cultivate our own practices to teach us to do the same. Through literary exploration, creative writing, and workshopping, we will purposefully shape a body from which the voices of our writing will speak, cry, sing, dance, and shout. (Gen. Ed. AL)

English 254 Writing and Reading Imaginative Literature (200+ English elective)(creative writing specialization) (AL)
Lecture 2    TuTh 4:00-5:15    Instructor: Sarena Brown
Playing with Words.  You might not know it, but you’re already a good writer. You play with words everyday by writing across genre and in many different forms (think about how you use tiktok, group chats, to-do lists, your notes app, etc...). This class will start by considering the many ways you already write before moving into a survey of work by poets and essayists, YA fiction writers, visual artists, and genre-bending artists in between. You’ll write alongside these works to notice how your form impacts your content. Most importantly, you’ll experiment with new ways of writing to help break out of your comfort zones. Together, we will create norms about how we read and give feedback to one another’s work through a lens of compassion and graciousness. Lastly, you will be expected to engage with the larger writing community by attending virtual readings or literary events throughout the Pioneer Valley and beyond. (Gen. Ed. AL)

English 254 Writing and Reading Imaginative Literature (200+ English elective)(creative writing specialization) (AL)
Lecture 3    MWF 10:10-11:00     Instructor: Rabia Saeed
course description forthcoming.  (Gen. Ed. AL)

English 254 Writing and Reading Imaginative Literature (200+ English elective)(creative writing specialization) (AL)
Lecture 4    MWF 12:20-1:10     Instructor: Marcella Haddad
course description forthcoming. (Gen. Ed. AL)

English 268 American Literature and Culture before 1865 (course in American literature before 1865 or 200+ English elective)
Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15    Instructor: Melba Jensen
This course studies the “imagined community” of the United States and the assembly an “American” literature. Readings include fiction, poetry, autobiography, oratory, journalism, and rhetoric written in North America between 1670 and 1865. The readings reflect tensions arising from the status of religious belief, urban vs. rural experience, the rise of industrial labor, and the enslavement of human beings who had “unalienable rights” to life and liberty. The course examines the economic challenges faced by writers like Edgar Poe, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Harriet B. Stowe, and the political challenges facing writers like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs. The course also examines the historical forces that conferred canonical status on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph W. Emerson, Henry D. Thoreau and delayed Emily Dickinson’s and Herman Melville’s recognition until the mid-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 course readings.

English 269 American Literature and Culture after 1865 (course in American literature after 1865 or 200+ English elective)
Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: TBA
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 into the definition, content, and the shape of “literature” in the United States.

English 272 American Romanticism (course in American literature before 1865 or 200 English elective)
MW 4:00-5:15        Instructor: Hoang Phan
Course description forthcoming.

English 298-2 Practicum: Leadership in English Studies
Mon 4:00-5:00        Instructor: Janis Greve
This practicum, taken P/F usually for 2 credits, is for English majors at any level interested in joining and working on the department's Student Advisory Board (SAB). You must be able to meet Mondays from 4-5 pm. The SAB serves as a voice for undergraduate students in English and helps the department recruit, advise, and communicate with prospective and current English majors. Duties include some public speaking (talking to current majors, to new majors, to prospective majors, etc.), some peer advising, and some work helping organize departmental events. Each SAB member will also work, alone or collaboratively, on a special project of service to the department. This is a great way to become more involved in English, to develop leadership and teamwork skills, and to engage with others on projects that can make a difference! By application only: email Janis Greve at if you're interested.

English 298H Practicum: Teaching in the Writing Center (200+ English elective)(SPOW)
Lecture 1    Thurs 4:00-5:15    Instructor: Shannon Mooney
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 2018.

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing)
Lecture 1    TuTh 2:30-3:45    Instructor: Laura Doyle
Topic: Literary and Global Politics.  Course description forthcoming.

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing)
Lecture 4    TuTh 10:00-11:15    Instructor: Rebecca  Dingo
Topic: Writing Human Rights.  Course description forthcoming.

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing)
Lecture 7    TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: Haivan Hoang
Topic: Race and Rhetoric.  Course description forthcoming.

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing or course in early British literature)
Lecture 8    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Jenny Adams
Topic: Arthurian Legends.  In Tennyson’s poem, “The Passing of Arthur,” the faithful knight Bedivere carries the wounded King Arthur to a barge with three queens.  When the women carry Arthur off to Avalon, Bedivere bemoans the fact that his leader has gone.  But eventually, he consoles himself with a single hope: “He passes to be King among the dead, and after healing of his grievous wound, he comes again.” 
Arthur did come again.  And again.  And again.  Twain brought Arthur back in his novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.  Marion Zimmer Bradley offered a feminist version of the legend in her early 80s novel Mists of Avalon.  Hollywood puts out about one Arthurian movie a year, with some of the most recent being A Knight's Tale (2001), Kingsmen (2014) and The Kid Who Would Be King (2019). 
In this junior year writing course, we will think and write about Arthurian legend with a historical (and at times historiographic) eye toward the ways its creators have changed the legend and toward their own self-interests its ever-unfolding history. The goals of this approach are threefold: to sharpen your already good reading and analytical skills; to consider the historical currents that swirl through this legend; and to strengthen your abilities as a writer of literary criticism.

English 315 Speculative Fiction (300 English elective)
Lecture 2    W 4:00-6:30        Instructor: Jordy Rosenberg
Speculative Fiction: Dystopia/Utopia.  Surprising no one, this class is about the relationship of misery to possibility, of oppression to struggle, and of doom to imagination.  We will be reading in the area of speculative fiction, broadly defined, and we will bite off a pretty large chunk of history in doing so.  In fact, this class will be as much about the historical context of speculative fiction as it will be about the fiction "itself."  At the root, what we are seeking to understand is how literature metabolizes historical crisis, and how, in doing so, it can serve as a ballast and inspiration as well. 

Texts and authors will include: Octavia Butler, Colson Whitehead, Victor LaValle, Mary Shelley, Amitav Ghosh, Larissa Lai, N.K. Jemisin, Patrick Chamoiseau, Mohsin Hamid, and others.

English 341 Autobiography Studies (300  English elective or Anglophone/ethnic American)
Lecture 1    TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: Laura Furlan
In this course, our primary work will be to trace the development of Native American autobiography, including spiritual autobiographies, collaborative or “as told to” autobiographies, memoirs, and other contemporary personal narratives. Topics of study will include: the concept of authorship, modes of production, questions of authenticity, and the role of the editor and/or translator, in addition to those specific to Native literatures—relationship to place and community, identity issues, and preservation of language and culture. Authors will include Samson Occum, William Apess, Black Hawk, Zitkala-Sa, John G. Neihardt and Black Elk, N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich, and Deborah Miranda, among others.

English 343 English Epic Tradition (early British or 300 English elective)
Lecture 1    MWF 10:10-11:00        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: Intro to Fiction (300+ English elective)(creative writing specialization)
Lecture 1    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Joseph Moore
The Guise of Fiction: Conveying Truth in Falsehood  We write to communicate the incommunicable. And, by doing so, we enact the ultimate form of empathy. The exchange between writer and reader is intimate, messy. How do we navigate this process without alienating the other? How do we craft stories while staying vulnerable, humble? Through workshop and lecture, we’ll learn to walk the line between characterization and personal experience. We’ll discover how to write from a place of vulnerability, how to open ourselves up to each other. And, we’ll embark on a journey to find our unique voices, strange as they may be. 

There will be readings from living writers alongside writers from the established canon. Readings from writers of color, and writers from around the world. Some of the authors we'll read include Franz Kafka, Carmen Maria Machado, Toni Morrison, Raymond Carver, Zadie Smith and Julio Cortazar. Note that, as classmates, it's our role to foster a safe environment, not only for creative expression, but for creative reception. Offensive and hateful rhetoric in older texts will always be prefaced, if not challenged. It will not be tolerated within the text of your peers. In-class writing exercises will help hone your abilities on the line-level. Expect to offer valuable critique for the work of your fellow peers.

English 354 Creative Writing: Intro to Poetry (300+ English elective)(creative writing specialization)
Lecture 2    MWF 1:25-2:15    Instructor: Mary Scraggs
Course description forthcoming.

English 354 Creative Writing: Mixed Genre (300+ English elective)(creative writing specialization)
Lecture 3    MonWed 2:30-3:45    Instructor: Shana Bulhan
‘Precarious Lives’: Writing with Vulnerability.  In Precarious Life (2004), Judith Butler entreats us: “Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something” (23). This is a sentiment we will begin from and return to throughout this course. Butler is interested in precarity: a condition of material uncertainty and structural abandonment. While some lives and bodies are more precarious than others, this is a political condition that many of us encounter in some form or other during our lives. What are the ways that you experience precarity? How are you marginalized, silenced, threatened, and misunderstood? How can we connect across our shared and differential experiences of precarity, allowing for undoing as well as transformation?

In this course, we will generate hybrid creative work while looking at representations of precarity in contemporary texts across various genres and forms. We will study, honour, and challenge how other writers navigate complicated and complex places of (inter)personal vulnerability. Besides Butler, authors may include Bhanu Kapil, francine j. harris, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Ocean Vuong, Porpentine Heartscape, Richard Siken, and Sarah Kane. Drawing from assigned texts as testimony and inspiration, we will provide candid, thoughtful feedback on each other’s writing. How can we give power to precarity: that which is simultaneously a source of great pain and possibility?

English 355 Creative Writing Fiction (300+ English elective)(creative writing specialization)
Lecture 1        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. Admission by permission of professor.
Students should submit one complete story and a brief personal statement (list and briefly discuss your favorite writers and books) to Professor Hennessy's email address: Please include Spire ID #. DUE NOV 20. OPEN TO STUDENTS FROM ALL DEPARTMENTS.

English 356 Creative Writing Poetry (300+ English elective)(creative writing specialization)
Lecture 1        TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: John Hennessy
English 356 is a poetry workshop. In addition to writing their own poems, students will read widely in contemporary poetry.
Interested students should send a portfolio of up to 3 poems to John Hennessy at by November 20th. Students should (briefly) discuss their favorite poets, writers, books, poems, in a 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.  OPEN TO STUDENTS FROM ALL DEPARTMENTS.

English 356 Creative Writing Poetry (300+ English elective)(creative writing specialization)
Lecture 2    Mon 11:15-1:45    Instructor: Martín Espada
This is an advanced poetry workshop. Students should participate actively, producing poems independently for review in class, engaging in writing exercises, and commenting on work submitted by others. This is a course designed to help the student define a distinct voice in the work and to reinforce the fundamental skills of writing poems.  We address these objectives through a close reading of student poems, as well as writing exercises. The strengths of student writing receive as much attention as those areas in need of improvement. Registration by instructor permission only. 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. Prerequisite: English majors only. English 354 or equivalent with a B or better.

English 365 The Literature of Ireland AL (Anglophone or 300+ English elective) (AL)
Lecture 1    TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: Katherine O’Callaghan
Nineteenth-century background: the Irish Renaissance; such major figures as Yeats, Synge, Joyce and O'Casey; recent and contemporary writing.  (Gen.Ed. AL)

English 366 Modern Poetry (300+ English elective)
Lecture 1        MonWed 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Ruth Jennison
This course is a survey of modern American poetry. Our guiding question will be: What is the relationship between modern poetry and capitalist modernity? Focusing on the period between 1890 and 1950 and working from a comparativist perspective, we will explore how various poets interpreted their shared historical context through different poetic forms and experiments. In addition to a broad overview of modernism's canonical authors (e.g. Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, W.C. Williams, Ezra Pound), we will spend significant time on the trajectories of African-American poetics (e.g. Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes), feminist poetics (e.g. H.D., Gertrude Stein) and Depression-era anti-capitalist poetics (e.g. Muriel Rukeyser, Kenneth Fearing). Throughout our readings and discussions, we will look at the ways in which our poets are a part of the shifting cultures, politics, and histories of the first half of the 20th century; their works address American imperialism, world wars, rapid industrialization, racism and anti-racism, working class resistance, and the transformation of gender regimes.

English 368 Modern American Drama (AL)(course in American literature after 1865 or 300+ English elective)
Lecture 1    TuTh 4:00-5:15    Instructor: Heidi Holder
This class will provide a survey of American drama, focusing on the early twentieth to twenty-first centuries.  Some examples of the prior drama from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries will also be read and discussed as groundwork for our examination of the more recent plays.  We shall consider key concepts such as the distinctly “American” play (and whether such a thing exists); the use of and reaction against foreign—especially British—models; the popularity of genres such as melodrama and tragicomedy, and of theatrical modes such as realism and spectacle; and the importance of class and race to the development of specifically “American” plays, character types, issues, and themes.  Readings will be drawn from the following: Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, Langston Hughes, Clifford Odets, Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard, Suzan-Lori Parks, Young Jean Lee, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Stephen Karam.  Requirements: a short essay (4-5 pages), regular short writing assignments, and a longer final essay (10-12 pages) (Gen.Ed. AL)

English 372H Caribbean Literature honors (Anglophone or 300+ English elective)
Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15    Instructor: Rachel Mordecai: 
In this course we will read contemporary works from the English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking literatures of the Caribbean (all texts will be read in English), comprising a mixture of "canonical" and emerging authors. Lectures (rare) and discussions (regular) will address central themes in Caribbean writing, as well as issues of form and style (including the interplay between creole and European languages). 
Some of the themes that will preoccupy us are history and its marks upon the Caribbean present; racial identity and ambiguity; colonial and neo-colonial relationships among countries; gender and sexuality. Assignments will include an informal reading journal and three major papers of varying lengths; there may also be student presentations, small-group work, and in-class writing activities. Authors may include Maryse Conde, Tiphanie Yanique, Kei Miller, Rene Depestre, Dionne Brand and Mayra Santos-Febres.

English 381 Professional Writing and Technical Communication II (300+ English)(PWTC certificate)
Lecture 1    TuTh  2:30-3:45    Instructor: Janine Solberg
Extends the work of ENGL 380. Students will learn and apply principles of technical writing, information design, and page design. The objectives of this course are to increase students' organizational and graphical sophistication as writers and information designers. Students can expect to produce portfolio-quality content using industry-standard software (typically Adobe InDesign, MadCap Flare). Prerequisite: English 380. Junior or senior status and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.

English 382 Professional Writing and Technical Communication III (300+ English)(PWTC certificate)
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 391C Advanced Software for Professional Writers (300+ English)(PWTC certificate)(SPOW)
Lecture 1    MoWe 2:30-3:45        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 379. 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 391C Advanced Software for Professional Writers (300+ English)(PWTC certificate)(SPOW)
Lecture 2    MW 4:00-5:15        Instructor: Elena Kalodner-Martin
See above for course description.

English 391NM Narrative Medicine: How Writing Can Heal (300+ English elective)(creative writing specialization)(SPOW)
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 397GS Introduction to Video Games Studies (300+ English elective)(New Media)
Lecture 1    Mon 4:00-6:30        Instructor: TreaAndrea Russworm
Video games have become the most popular and lucrative entertainment medium of our time. We know that more than 65 percent of adults report playing video games across a wide range of devices—from computers and consoles to smartphones and tablets. We also know that video game developers and video game design programs have seen an unprecedented increase in applicants throughout the past decade. Yet, how do we understand and study video games not only as a popular medium but also as a meaning-laden cultural art form? What are some of the ways in which we can formally think about how games have come to matter in our society—both to avid fans and to people who would not call themselves gamers? 

This course introduces the now-established methods and theoretical debates that comprise the interdisciplinary academic discipline of “video game studies.” It prioritizes analyses of the formal, historical, cultural, and sociopolitical dimensions of games as these aspects have been discussed by game scholars including Ian Bogost, Nick Dyer-Witheford, Mary Flanagan, Jane McGonigal, Lisa Nakamura, and Katie Salen. The course will better prepare students to think and write critically about topics ranging from the fan-fiction of the Halo franchise and the geo-politics of Resident Evil 5 to the widespread appeal of The Sims as a form of individual and group therapy. We will also study game genres like First-Person Shooters, Role-playing Games, and Simulation Games as we investigate key concepts in video game studies, such as theories of play, rules, cheating, modding and hacking culture, live-streaming, choice, ethics, and machinima. Students will complete weekly written reflections, a video game genre presentation, and a final animated video project that offers a savvy analysis of video games as culture. This course counts toward the Digital Humanities +/- Games specialization, a certification that is administered by the English department but is open to all university students.

English 412 History of the English Language (400+ English or early British literature)
Lecture 1    MonWed 2:30-3:45    Instructor: Stephen Harris
Why do people in MA sound different than people in NY?  Have people always spoken like this?  HEL is a thrilling ride through the major changes in English phonology, morphology, syntax, spelling, and vocabulary from the 5th century to the 21st century. Among the topics we will consider are historical change and dialectic difference, literacy and morality, the emergence of vernaculars and the decline of Latin, and the current state of English. No previous knowledge of linguistics, Anglo Saxon, or Middle English is required.  
English 468 James Joyce (400+ English or Anglophone)
Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15    Instructor: Katherine O’Callaghan
From one hundred-letter thunderwords to falling giants and pirate queens, this course allows you to delve into the magical prose world of one of the world's most innovative writers. In "The Writings of James Joyce" we will discuss Joyce's short story collection Dubliners, his semi-autobiographical A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, his modernist epic Ulysses, as well as sections from his extraordinary masterpiece Finnegans Wake. The emphasis will be on a close textual examination of Joyce's prose, as well as historical, cultural, and political contextualizations. Joyce's musical content and inspirations will be a dominant theme of the course. His character, Stephen Dedalus, worries that his "souls frets in the shadow" of the English language, but we will discover how Joyce reinvents English for his own purposes. For English majors only.

English 469 Victorian Monstrosity (400 English elective or British literature after 1700)
Lecture 1    MW 4:00-5:15        Instructor:  Suzanne Daly
Although the term “monstrosity” connotes fear and repulsion, many nineteenth-century writers were compelled by the idea of attraction between humans and not-quite human creatures such as demons, vampires, goblins, and ghosts. In exploring the aesthetic, political, economic, historical, and racial(ized) dimensions of these enchanted literary liaisons, we will consider their relationship to literary/cultural movements including medievalism, realism, and the gothic revival as well as to contemporary political debates over science, empire, immigration, masculinity, and the status of women. Primary texts may include poetry by Gottfried Bürger, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Mary Robinson, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, and William Wordsworth, and prose by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Sheridan Le Fanu, Margaret Oliphant, and Richard Marsh.  

English 491AC The Major and Beyond: Career Exploration for English Majors (SPOW)(New Media)
Lecture 1    Wed 11:30-12:45    Instructor: Janis Greve
Why wait any longer?! This course helps you pave the way to a valuable post-graduate experience--be it a program, internship, or job. You will practice important job search skills, learn to articulate the worth of your major, 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, interviews with professionals from fields of interest, a professional presentation, a short paper researching professions, 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 491LM Literature, Music, and the Rules of Engagement: Multi-Ethnic Musical Experiences in the US (400+ English elective or Anglophone)
Lecture 1    TuTh 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Mazen Naous
In this course, we will analyze 20th century novels, poems, and a play by African American, Native American, Mexican American, and Arab American writers, who draw on music, especially jazz and blues, to perform race, gender, class, and migration. In particular, we will consider the relationship between musical styles and historical events, and their impact on the characters’ identities and lived experiences. Some class time will be spent on listening to and critiquing musical pieces in terms of their influence on the forms, aesthetics, and politics of our texts: the rules of engagement. We will read works by Diana Abu-Jaber, James Baldwin, David Henderson, Américo Paredes, Sherman Alexie, August Wilson, and a selection of jazz and blues poems.

English 491SA Amandla!  S. African Literature & Politics, Apartheid and Post-apartheid (400+ English elective or Anglophone)
Lecture 1    MWF 10:10-11:00        Instructor: Stephen Clingman
“Amandla!” means “Power”, and it was a prominent political slogan in the anti-apartheid struggle. Over the last hundred years, South Africa has seen transitions of a momentous nature: from a colonial past to a postcolonial present; from the oppressions of apartheid to Nelson Mandela’s first democratically elected government in 1994 and the postapartheid period beyond. In this setting South African literature has kept the pulse of its society, registering its lived experience and telling its inner history. In this context we’ll read works by key writers both black and white, male and female. We’ll draw on fiction, drama and poetry, and dip into music, documentaries and video to widen our sense of cultural and political engagement in and through a tumultuous history. We’ll work to understand the relationship between politics and art, and we’ll also gain a sense of the extraordinary cultural and social range of South African literature—of its voices, views and perspectives, the possibilities, complexities and problems of a new society in the making. Authors will range from the most noted and famous, such as Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee (both Nobel Prizewinners), to lesser-known but nonetheless extraordinary writers, among them Njabulo Ndebele, Zoë Wicomb, K. Sello Duiker, and Phaswane Mpe. By the end of the course you’ll have some insight into a remarkable country and some remarkably powerful literature, relevant and resonant not only for its own world but also our own.

English 491Z Poetry of the Political Imagination (400+ English elective or Anglophone)
Lecture 1    Tues 1:00-3:30        Instructor: Martín Espada
Juniors and Seniors, International Exchange or National Exchange plans, or Graduate students with TECS subplans only. Poetry of the political imagination is a matter of both vision and language. Any progressive social change must be imagined first; any oppressive social condition, before it can change, must be named in words that persuade. Poets of the political imagination go beyond protest to define an artistry of resistance. This course explores how best to combine poetry and politics, craft and commitment. Students read classic works ranging from the epigrams of Ernesto Cardenal, written against the dictator of Nicaragua, to Allen Ginsberg's Howl, the book that sparked an obscenity trial. They also read the farmworker poems of Diana García, born in a migrant labor camp; the emergency room sonnets of Dr. Rafael Campo; the prison poetry of political dissident Nazim Hikmet; and the feminist satire of Marge Piercy, among others. Students respond with papers, presentations or some combination.  Class visits by authors complement the reading and discussion.

English 492N Nature, Climate Change and Literature (400 English elective)
Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15        Instructor: Malcolm Sen
The Guardian describes climate change as “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” It is not surprising that the newspaper should cast the unfolding threat of climate change through the lens of a “story.” Climate change has been cast as an environmental problem with economic, political and scientific solutions. However, as the geographer Mike Hulme pointed out: “Science may be solving the mysteries of climate, but it is not helping us discover the meaning of climate change.” In this seminar we will read groundbreaking novels, short stories, critical essays, and creative non-fiction that engage with the big questions of environment, weather and climate. The aim of the seminar is to show the importance of literary study in this period of interminable catastrophes, and also to demonstrate the crucial ways in which culture, capital and climate are imbricated within each other. Students will also have the opportunity to watch short documentaries and analyze climate change-related artworks. Climate Change is a multi-issue problem with multi-generational effects; stories are as crucial as ice core data to prepare for a habitable future.

Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide
Octavia Butler, The Parable of the Sower
Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior

Short Stories:
Kevin Barry, “Fjord of Killary”
Sara Baume, “Finishing Lines”
Kim Stanley Robinson, “Sacred Space”
Margaret Atwood, “Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet”

Creative Non-Fiction:
Rebecca Solnit, Zadie Smith, and Kathryn Schultz

Contemporary Art:
Siobhan MacDonald Edward Burtynsky

Writing Assignments:
Critical Précis of Theoretical Text – 1 page - 5 assignments
Creative Non-Fiction – 5 pages
Book Review – 5 pages
Critical Essay – 10 pages

English 494EI Writing, Identity and English Studies (Integrative Experience)
Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15        Instructor: Haivan Hoang
Course description forthcoming.

English 494FI Philosophizing Your Future (Integrative Experience)
Lecture 1 Wed 4:00-6:30        Instructor: Laura Doyle
In this class, as we reflect together on your college experience and look ahead to your future, our main theme will be collectivity. We'll approach this shared project philosophically.  Drawing on your past coursework and other experiences, we'll explore the ways each of us becomes who we are with and among others, as part of a collective world--at work, school, and home, and in various, sometimes conflicting communities. Our reflections on personhood and collectivity will be prompted by readings from philosophy, history, and literature, as well as by discussion of our experiences in and observations about the contemporary world.  For written work, there will be three personal memoir essays; an integrative analytical essay, and several ungraded thinking assignments. There will also be an oral presentation based on your interview with someone in a career you are considering.  Open only to senior English majors. 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: Incarceration in US literature (Integrative Experience or 400+ English elective)
Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Suzanne Daly
Why do we put people in cages? In what ways does the caging of humans impact those outside as well as inside? 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 economics, politics, race, and social class, 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. We will draw on the knowledge and critical skills you have gained through your gen ed coursework throughout. Assignments will include five short papers and two drafts of a longer final paper. Authors may include: Michelle Alexander, Malcolm Braly, Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Martin Luther King, CeCe McDonald, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, David Oshinsky, Bryan Stevenson, Jerome Washington, and Malcolm X.  Open only to senior English majors.

English 497T Teaching Writing in the 21st Century (400+ English elective)
Lecture 1    TuTh 1:00-2:30    Instructor: Donna LeCourt
Why do we privilege some kinds of writing over others? What uses and functions does writing serve in society?  How is writing changing as a result of social media and other technologies?  An introduction to writing studies designed for people who may want to teach K-16, this course will inquire into the changing nature of writing in the 21st century. Specifically, we will investigate why and how writing matters within social hierarchies; what conceptual frames we have for understanding writing production; how cultural contexts affect a writer's choices; how textual features reflect different writers and ways of knowing; and most importantly, how people learn to write.  To do so, we will look into research and scholarship on diverse literacies, writing processes, the nature of academic writing, and how writers from diverse populations may approach writing tasks differently.  We will focus not only on how we might teach writing but also on how writing is changing in response to multiple Englishes, digital platforms, and the information economy.  By the end of the course, students will be able to articulate their own position on what the goals of writing education ought to be and start to define a teaching practice that might emerge from it.

English 499D Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry, and Literary Non-fiction – 2nd semester (400+ English elective)(creative writing specialization)
Lecture 1    Wed 4:00-6:30    Instructor: John Hennessy
499D is the second semester of Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry, and Literary Non-Fiction, 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 will include _The Art of the Story_, a fiction anthology, novels by a variety of writers, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Virginia Woolf, and Teju Cole, memoir by Helene Cooper, non-fiction by Joan Didion, poetry collections by Major Jackson, Denise Duhamel, and other contemporary poets.
Interested students should submit a personal statement: 1-2 pages, list and briefly discuss your reading preferences: favorite books, writers, poems, poets, etc.; also, tell me if you are a student in Commonwealth College—some priority will be given to ComColl students, but some of the most successful students in 499 in past years have come from outside Commonwealth College. Also include a writing sample—one complete story or essay, or 5-10 poems. Some combination of poetry and prose is also permitted.
SEND TO: by NOV 20.