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Fall Courses

Fall 2024 courses, listed in numerical order.

English 115 American Experience 

(ALDU) 

Lecture 1 MWF 9:05-9:55 Instructor: TBA
Introduction to literature, history, and images from and about diverse American cultures across historical eras. Readings include fiction, prose, and poetry, often 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: Jon Hoel 
This English course will explore the cultural landscape of the American experience through the lens of work and labor throughout history. Readings will span from the 18th century to the present day and include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and theory, as well as some film and music. (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)  

English 115H American Experience Honors

(ALDU) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: TBA 
Introduction to literature, history, and images from and about diverse American cultures across historical eras. Readings include fiction, prose, and poetry, often supplemented by painting, photography, film, and material culture.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DU) 

English 117 Ethnic American Literature

(ALDU) 

Lecture 1 MWF 1:25-2:15 Instructor: Alejandro Beas Murillo 
We Must Learn to Sit Down Together and Talk About a Little Culture. This course, which borrows its title from Jamaican thinker Sylvia Wynter’s 1968 essay, will serve as an introduction to contemporary Afro-Caribbean art and activism. In our discussions, we will, in fact, sit down and talk about culture and its importance in the Afro-Caribbean and its diasporas as a form of resistance and world-making in the afterlife/aftermath/aftershock of slavery, imperialism, colonialism, and environmental catastrophes. 

Although we will pay closer attention to texts produced in the Caribbean, the US, and Canada between 1965 and today, the culture and forms of resilience central to them are part of a genealogy of resistance started by the enslaved and the maroons during European colonialism in the Caribbean. By understanding that the present and the future of the Caribbean and its diasporas are influenced by the past, our engagement with the region and its peoples will be expansive, transhistorical, and multidisciplinary. 

Assigned authors might include but are not limited to Erna Brodber, Esmeralda Santiago, M. NourbeSe Philip, Soleida Ríos, and Aimé Césaire. In our conversations, we will ask: how does Afro-Caribbean culture shape the society of the region and vice versa? What is the role of culture in our understanding of history and memory? How are forms of Afro-Caribbean resistance and survival expressed differently in music, literature, and cinema? In what ways are family, community, and kinship influenced by culture and vice versa? How do these texts explore Blackness, Latinidad, gender, sexuality, class, language, and citizenship? 

English 131 Society and Literature

(ALDG) 

Lecture 1 MWF 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Tyler Clark 
Camp Culture and Literature: A Herstory of Who She Is and What She Wants! In the 1960s, Susan Sontag famously defined “Camp” as a mode of being and viewing the world through stylization, artifice, and hyper-exaggeration. This nebulous term has also been described as failed seriousness, the tragically ludicrous, and the ludicrously tragic. Throughout history, epochs of time have been dedicated to a Camp sensibility, producing literature and media that accentuates and emphasizes the artificiality of society, cults of glamorous personality, and how the absurd has a way of revealing hypocrisy. Oftentimes, Camp sensibility intersects with marginalized identity as well, and this course will provide a basis for understanding its roots in gay culture. Camp literature takes the form of horror, comedy, tragedy, decadence, and drama, and this course will provide a survey of its most iconic iterations in a global context. Too often Camp is sublimated as unserious or undeserving of critical attention, but with the resurgence of Camp media—such as the popularity of drag or the 2019 Met Gala— this course seeks to broaden our understanding of what Camp is and why it exists. We will discuss how Camp is primarily a viewpoint with which to see the world through its artificiality, tracing its roots in nineteenth-century gay culture, and its varied representations in the modern age. So, zhoosh your riah, slap your drag, and se camper! (Gen.Ed. AL, DG).  

English 131 Society and Literature

(ALDG) 

Lecture 2 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Mitia Nath
Fictions of Filth. This course looks at constructions of filth in literary and cultural texts, and aims to examine how these constructions interact with our social orders. We delve into essays, stories, and films to explore how our imaginations of filth are often steeped as much in our political and economic processes, as in our bodily sensations. Focusing on the entanglements between imaginations of filth on the one hand, and its material dimensions on the other, we inquire into the ways literary and cultural texts draw attention to the formations and circulations of filth in society. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)  

English 131 Society and Literature

(ALDG) 

Lecture 3 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Jade Onn 
Introduction to the multifaceted ways literature both shapes and is shaped by its social and historical contexts. Analyses of plays, poems, and fictional and non-fictional narratives drawn from around the globe and in different eras. Alongside texts such as Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, this course will also investigate the multimodal forms of Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel, American Born Chinese, and read Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians against its 2018 watershed Hollywood adaptation. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)  

English 131 Society and Literature

(ALDG) 

Lecture 4 MWF 10:10-11:00 Instructor: Rowshan Chowdhury 
Where did the master narratives, the standard stories we tell ourselves or our culture tells us, come from and how do they operate in erasing our history? What function does literature serve in mediating our relationship to other cultures and histories? How have the ideals of liberty, equality, and human rights taken multiple and contradictory shapes within the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts of various eras? 

The course ENG 131: Society and Literature is designed to explore these questions, looking specifically at the transnational co-formations that shape American society. Through readings of novels, short stories, essays, poems, and films based on the entanglements of histories of the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Asia, we will address literature’s capacity to endorse, naturalize, dramatize, critique, subvert, or reimagine our relationship to the material world. In our reading and writing assignments, we will study the ways writers from various origins engaged with societal issues including but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender, slavery, assimilation, capitalism, trade, imperialism, fetishization, colonization, and anti-colonial and anti-slavery rebellions. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG) 

English 131 Society and Literature

(ALDG) 

Lecture 5 MWF 10:10-11:00 Instructor: Matthew Walsh 
Introduction to the multifaceted ways literature both shapes and is shaped by its social and historical contexts. Analyses of plays, poems, and fictional and non-fictional narratives drawn from around the globe and in different eras.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG) 

English 131 Society and Literature Honors

(ALDG) 

Lecture 6 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Manasvini Rajan 
Introduction to the multifaceted ways literature both shapes and is shaped by its social and historical contexts. Analyses of plays, poems, and fictional and non-fictional narratives drawn from around the globe and in different eras.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG) 

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture

(ALDG) 

Lecture 1 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Janell Tryon 
Introduction to literature through a lens of gender identity and sexuality.  Texts include fiction, plays, poems that deal with and inspire conversations about the public politics and personal experience of gender and sexuality, both in the past and present. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG) 

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture

(ALDG) 

Lecture 2 MWF 12:20-1:10 Instructor: Sarah Ahmad 
Thinking architexturally: gender and space in literature. In this course, we will study a broad range of texts and media to explore connections between feminist-queer engagements with architecture and text. How can both architecture and text be thought of as systems of representation, and how then, do each of them craft a relationship to any embodied subject (a reader/inhabitant)? This question arises from thinking of imagining a book as a lived space in the tradition of feminist and queer utopias, asking us to think about how racial, gendered, and colonial projects are enacted and countered in literary representations of space. How do differently-minoritized subjects write – and read – places that are ‘useless’ (such as a text) as places of subsistence and meaning-making?  We will work together to floor-plan the textual fields we encounter, thinking critically about the tools these texts use and how and who can live in them. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)   

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture

(ALDG) 

Lecture 3 MWF 1:25-2:15 Instructor: Jeremy Geragotelis 
I

In this class, we will gather and examine the lyrics of popular music from the 20th and 21st centuries to create a genealogy of song-texts that disrupt and destabilize normative conceptions of gender and sexuality. We will read song lyrics as cultural objects that signal self and subjectivity, attending to the frequent, but often disregarded, ruptures of these identities that occur on lyrical, musical, and performative fronts. How do we think about Beyoncé’s conditional reality when she sings “If I Were a Boy”? How might we read Alicia Bridges’ scoff when she sings about “making a man” out of her girlfriend in “I Love the Nightlife (Disco ‘Round)”?  How do Bahamian folk artist Exuma’s lyrics, which gesture towards a Trans future, behave in the mouth of Nina Simone in her cover of the song “22nd Century”?

To widen our scope, we will also dip into the prose of Baldwin, Lethem, Proulx, and Ellison to examine the queer way sound behaves in writing. However, our primary focus will be on reading the song lyrics of various musical artists as literature, drawing from the work of David Bowie, Beyoncé, Kate Bush, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Orville Peck, Frank Ocean, and others. We will supplement these readings with short excerpts from theorists who will give us language to explore these textual and performance-based phenomena: Nina Sun Eidsheim, Daphne A. Brooks, Saidiya Hartman, José Estaban Muñoz, Kara Keeling, and Francesca T. Royster. It will be vital for us as a class to consider how and why these moments appear as they do in an artist’s oeuvre, the queer effect that these moments have beyond the artist’s intention, and the overarching behavior of gender and sexuality as critical rubrics for our conception of the rock/pop/folk star.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG) 

English 140 Reading Fiction

(AL) 

Lecture 1 MWF 1:25-2:15 Instructor: Vika Mujumdar 
Asian American Women Writing War: In an essay published in the Massachusetts Review, Viet Thanh Nguyen reframes the war story in the context of Vietnamese and Vietnamese American literature, writing: “But what if we understood immigrant stories to be war stories? And what if we understood that war stories disturb even more when they are not about soldiers, when they show us how normal war is, how war touches and transforms everything and everybody, including, most of all, civilians?” Through this framing, we will read Asian American women’s war literature to create a taxonomy of writing war. We will consider how fiction, through its imagined lives and contexts, bears witness to war and its aftermath, and examine the legacies of colonialism, war, and imperialism in the work of Asian diasporic women writers in the United States. Through regular reading responses and a final essay, you will learn to critically evaluate both primary and secondary readings, draw connections across texts, and consider the boundaries between literature and life. Writers we read will include Susan Choi, Lan Cao, Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi, and Gina Apostol; critical work will include selections from Viet Thanh Nguyen, Jane Alison, Susan Sontag, Lisa Lowe, and Benedict Anderson, among others. (Gen.Ed. AL) 

English 144 World Literature in History

(ALDG) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Shwetha Chandrashekhar 
This course surveys major theories and debates within postcolonial literary studies with an aim to unpack the economic, social, and psychological effects of colonization on the erstwhile colonies. We will examine the link between colonialism and racial capitalism by engaging with questions concerning slavery, migration, labor, and globalization. 

We will focus on works of fiction from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG) 

English 146 Living Writers

(ALDU)(creative writing) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 4:00-5:15 Instructor: Richie Wills 
This is an introductory course in the work of acclaimed contemporary writers who visit the class to interact with students. (Gen. Ed. AL, DU) 

English 146 Living Writers

(ALDU)(creative writing) 

Lecture 2 TuTh 4:00-5:15 Instructor: Joan Tate 
This is an introductory course in the work of acclaimed contemporary writers who visit the class to interact with students. (Gen. Ed. AL, DU) 

English 150 Writing and Society

(DUSB) 

Lecture 1 MWF 12:20-1:10 Instructor: Stacie Klinowski
This course aims to heighten your awareness of writing as both practice and concept. “Writing Studies” is an interdisciplinary area of study at the intersection of literacy studies, communication, digital studies, education, and linguistics that is interested in how written texts, public documents, technical and professional communication, social media, etc. reflect and impact social organization and change. The course invites students to explore writing in society through a problem-posing approach, focusing attention on how writing is understood, used, and learned. (Gen. Ed. SB, DU) 

English 200 Introduction Literary Studies

(Introduction to major) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 4:00-5:15 pm  Instructor: Heidi Holder
Our focus in this course will be on developing the critical thinking, speaking and writing skills that are needed for success in the English major. Students will become familiar with key literary conventions, literary terms, and critical approaches as we read texts across multiple genres and from multiple traditions. Students will write a lot inside and outside of class, producing a variety of informal writing and three papers of varying lengths through a formal draft-and-revision process.   English majors only.  Prerequisite: Gen. Ed. College Writing. 

English 200 Introduction Literary Studies

(Introduction to major) 

Lecture 2 MW 2:30-3:45 pm Instructor: Ruth Jennison 
This course will focus on developing skills in close reading and mastering the fundamental categories of literary analysis. Most class sessions will center on discussion-based, in-depth textual analysis. We will explore the core terms of literary study, such as: form and content, narrative and narrative structure, poetry and prose, author, voice, context, discourse, and ideology. Students will have the opportunity to work across a variety of 20th and 21st century literary genres and forms. Our syllabus will include works by Claude McKay, Richard Wright, Frank O'Hara, Adrienne Rich, Amiri Baraka, and Sean Bonney. Prerequisite: ENGLWRIT 112 or equivalent.  This course is open to English majors only. This course satisfies the DU and AL General Education Requirements. 

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies for the Major

(Introduction to major)(Environmental Humanities) 

Lecture 3 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Malcolm Sen 
Topic: Environmental Justice, Race, Indigeneity, and Literature 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 genres. Introduction to multiple theoretical schools, including feminist, race, and postcolonial studies, and the environmental studies will be through deliberations on the conjoined aspects of empire and ecology. 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. 

 This course counts towards your Environmental Humanities Specialization. 

English 200 Introduction Literary Studies

(Introduction to major) 

Lecture 4 TuTh 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Jimmy Worthy 
Lecture 5 TuTh 11:30-12:45 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. 

English 202 Later British Literature and Culture 

(British lit after 1700 or 200 elective)(Literature as History) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Jordy Rosenberg 
This course will give students a broad overview of how the novel in the Anglophone and British world came to exist in the forms that we recognize today.  Beginning in the 18th century and continuing into the present, authors may include Olaudah Equiano, Mary Shelley, William Godwin, Laurence Sterne, Edwidge Danticat, China Mieville, Zadie Smith, Arundhati Roy, Shola von Reinhold, and Isabel Waidner. Theorists of the novel form will include likely Sianne Ngai, Annie McClanahan, Mark McGurl, Srinivas Aravamudan, Sarah Brouillette, Anna Kornbluh, Ludovico Silva, and Roberto Schwarz. 

English 204 Intro to Asian American Literature

(DU)(Anglophone/ethnic American or American literature after 1865 or 200 elective)

Lecture 1  TuTh 11:30-12:45  Instructor: Timothy Ong
Introduction to Asian American Literature as an evolving field and to the history, politics, and cultural production of Asian American communities. Themes may include citizenship, borders, space, youth culture, labor, and the body, using texts by and about Asian Americans, including theoretical works, fiction, ethnographic studies, and documentary film. (Gen. Ed. I, DU)

English 221 Shakespeare

(AL)(British lit before 1700 or 200 elective)(Literature as History)(TELA) 

Lecture 1 MW 12:20-1:10 + discussion Instructor: Adam Zucker 
A survey that covers Shakespeare's entire career, from early, sensationally bloody works like Titus Andronicus to the meditative late plays like The Winters Tale and The Tempest. Along the way, we'll investigate the language, the structure, and the elaborate plotting of some of the most famous (and infamous) works ever written in English. Special focus given to Shakespeare's revealing explorations of the interplay between family, political hierarchies, and desire; his interest in distant settings and peoples; and, perhaps most importantly, his attempts to dramatize the struggle of individuals to make sense of the worlds in which they live. Through careful reading and discussion, we will work towards an understanding of why plays that seem so removed from our day-to-day concerns have remained powerfully relevant for four hundred years. Three essays, a mid-term and a final exam. Attendance at lecture and consistent participation in discussion sections required.  (GenEd: AL) 

  • English 221, Discussion D01AA. Fri 10:10-11:00, TA: Grayson Chong
  • English 221, Discussion D01AB. Fri: 11:15-12:05, TA: Grayson Chong
  • English 221, Discussion D01AC. Fri: 1:25-2:15, TA: Christine Muoio
  • English 221, Discussion D01AD. Fri: 1:25-2:15, TA: Christine Muoio
  • English 221, Discussion D01AE. Fri: 10:10-11:00, TA: Dina Al Qassar 
  • English 221, Discussion D01AF. Fri: Fri 11:15-12:05, TA: Dina Al Qassar 

English 250 Intro to Writing, Rhetoric, Literary Studies

(200 elective)(WRLS)(SPOW) 

Lecture 1 Tuth 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Christina Santana 
This course introduces students to the broad field of writing, rhetoric, and literacy studies and serves as an entryway to the many courses and programs in the department focused on those disciplines. Using writing studies as a lens, the course will both investigate and invite participation in the diverse writing practices of contemporary life, including digital and multi-media writing, multi- and translingual writing, and writing for social justice. Rhetorical theory will be used to analyze and engage public discourse. And literacy studies will help us explore the language practices of school and community. From this multidisciplinary perspective, students will not only gain critical awareness of the role of writing, rhetoric, and literacy in everyday life; they will develop versatility as writers across a range of contexts; and they will learn about the many paths opened to them by such study and practice. 

English 254 Intro to Creative Writing

(AL)(200 elective)(creative writing) 

Lecture 1 MWF 10:10-11:00 Instructor: Bec Bell-Gurwitz 
Writing into Empathy and Voice  How can writing be an empathic act? Who are our literary inspirations? How can we distinguish our voices as writers while in community and conversation with others? This course will explore how creative writing opens our world to multiple perspectives and experiences, tapping into the individual and collective unconscious. Together we will build tools to silence the perfectionist that may otherwise block creative practice, finding generative and playful pathways into writing through ritual including associative webs, writing from the perspective of the body, building an “exquisite corpse”, and other experiments. We will also develop an active writing community, celebrating each other's work, and learning craft from literary forebears, focusing on voice, story, and practices across genres from writers like Layli Long Soldier, Ocean Vuong, Renee Gladman, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Carmen Maria Machado, Mariana Enriquez and many others. By the end of the course, you will produce five poems, two short stories, and a creative nonfiction piece, as well as develop a sustainable writing practice to discover your themes, style, and voice in conversation within a larger community of writers. 

English 254 Intro to Creative Writing

(AL)(200 elective)(creative writing) 

Lecture 2 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Katia Bakhtiyarova 
Facing the Mirror: Intro to Creative Writing. What to write about? It’s a torture that no writer, seasoned or amateur, is exempt from. In this course, we will seek to answer this question by learning to tune into our five senses. We will conduct this tuning by keeping obsessive lists of all that catches our attention: a song in the CVS, a barrette in a woman’s hair, a crack in a bathroom tile floor, a cologne from a passing stranger. We will identify patterns in the observations that excite and inspire us, and learn to associate between these images without judgment. We will examine each observation as a mirror into our deeper unconscious – and, in doing so, hope to answer the questions: what do I remember? What do I imagine? What do I write about? Our path will be guided by some of the most singular seers of our time: Akwaeke Emezi, Richard Siken, Ottessa Moshfegh, Ocean Vuong, Morgan Parker, and so many more. Writers will emerge from this journey with two short stories, two non-fiction essays, and five poems. 

English 254 Intro to Creative Writing

(AL)(200 elective)(creative writing) 

Lecture 3 MWF 12:20-1:10 Instructor: Jen Valdies 
Why are we drawn to writing? Language, out of all artistic material, is the most limited, but it is also the oldest, and the most unique in its reception — in order to be understood, it has to be remade in the mind of a reader. Storytelling and poetry are very old practices of expression, but much of the same language that formed those stories and poems is the language we use in our own. The craft of writing, or of capturing a story, a moment, a feeling in detail, is an ancient practice we continuously embody as a living mythology. In this course, we will explore how memory, your own as well as collective and generational, functions as the live material writers use to construct poems, short stories, and works of nonfiction, and how we might capture and wield that material in our own work. Students will investigate and develop their own practice of writing by reading classic and contemporary authors, generating work in multiple or hybrid genres, and by sharing that work in weekly workshops. By the end of the course, writers will have completed a portfolio of five poems, two nonfiction or hybrid essays, and one short story. 

English 254 Intro to Creative Writing: (AL)

(200 English elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 1     MWF 1:25-2:15     Instructor: Porter Lunceford
The Time is Now: Writing with Contemporary Writers. How can we make writing a community based practice? Communities of writers exist here and now, writing about your worlds– and you can join them in this space! In this course we will read contemporary writers across the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction whose work makes gestures towards relationships, family, kin, country, and home. In turn, you will create your own pieces in these genres and join a community of writers both in the classroom and in the lineage of poets and writers who inspire and drive you to create. In addition to reading and discussing the work of contemporary writers, we will share and workshop our own creative pieces across the three genres, with classroom community members offering their reactions, praise, and questions for further exploration. Writers we will examine include Hanif Abdurraqib, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Kaveh Akbar, Agustina Bazterrica, Eula Biss, Franny Choi, Danielle Evans, Terrance Hayes, Ada Limón, Kelly Link, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Sam Sax, Layli Long Soldier, Elissa Washuta, and YOU.

 

English 258H All the World’s A Stage: An Introduction to Performance Studies

(200 elective)(creative writing) 

Lecture 1    Mon/Wed 2:30-3:45     Instructor: Daniel Sack 
This course looks at performance in theatrical and non-theatrical settings, asking how we express ourselves, how we take action, and how we watch others doing the same. Students will develop critical tools for analyzing live and televised events, practice close readings of texts and performance objects, and rehearse their own verbal presentation performances. We will look at a variety of objects for study from around the globe, including playscripts, recordings of speeches and performances, political rallies, and performances in the theater and in everyday life. (Gen. Ed. AT) 

English 268 American Literature and Culture before 1865

(Amer lit before 1865 or 200 elective) 

Lecture 1 MW 4:00-5:15 Instructor: TBA 
In this course we will read narratives of individual and collective cultural transformations from the colonial and early republican periods in American literature. We will trace throughout these narratives various figurations of "American" subjectivity, such as the captive and the redeemed; the slave, the servant, and the freeman; the alien and the citizen; the foreign and the native. Through such textual figures, we will explore as well the cultural production of a broader narrative of the “imagined community” of the nation. While reading a selective survey of literary works, travel narrative, and poetry from the 1670s through the antebellum era, we will address as well critical and theoretical reconsiderations of the literature and culture of the early republic. 

English 269 American Literature and Culture after 1865

(Amer lit after 1865 or 200 elective) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Brenna Casey 
This course explores the definitions and evolutions of a national literary tradition in the United States from the conclusion of U.S. 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 insights into the definition and content of literature in the United States. 

English 272 American Romanticism

(Amer lit before 1865 or 200 elective) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Brenna Casey 
This course will serve as an introduction to American Romanticism, the U.S.-based literary period spanning from roughly 1820 until the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War. Through the study of essays, novels, short stories, and poetry, we will track aesthetic characteristics, philosophical developments, and historical events through this retrospectively consolidated literary movement. Members of this class can expect to read canonical American Romantic figures such as Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau, as well as other lesser known authors contiguous to this period. 

The course will probe sources in literature, art, religion, philosophy, and reform as we investigate movements including transcendentalism, abolitionism, women’s rights, utopianism, and temperance. Readings will include works from Emerson, Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and others. Credits: 3.000 

English 300 Junior Year Writing

(Junior Year Writing) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: TBA 
Topic TBA.  Course description forthcoming. 

English 300 Junior Year Writing

(Junior Year Writing or anglophone/ethnic Amer) 

Lecture 2 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Mazen Naous 
Topic: Colonial Texts, Postcolonial Responses. The experiences of colonization and the challenges, both residual and emerging, of the postcolonial world have produced innovative ways of writing in English, including the possibility of writing back. These postcolonial responses to canonical British texts critique, challenge, and reinvent Anglocentric notions of literature and language. In effect, these rewritings are cultural translations that offer us much-needed new versions of familiar narratives. We will read Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe with J. M. Coetzee’s Foe, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with both “The Story of the Three Calenders, Sons of Kings; And of the Five Ladies of Bagdad” from The Arabian Nights (Trans. M. Galland) and Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad. Some questions that we will consider are: Why do these writers respond to the colonial texts in question? How do their novels rework dominant perceptions of race, gender, and culture? How can we re-read the earlier works in light of these postcolonial responses? Literary and cultural theories will guide our readings and film viewings.  

English 300 Junior Year Writing

(Junior Year Writing or anglophone/ethnic Amer)(SPoW/WRLS) 

Lecture 3 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Haivan Hoang 
Topic: Race and Rhetoric. This course explores how legacies of racism have impacted reading and writing practices in the United States. Literacy has been withheld from racially minoritized people through legislation, school-based exclusion or segregation, and culturally-biased assessment. Still, people of color have also read and written texts to combat racism and critically imagine a more just world. Our readings will explore this wider racialized history and then center Asian American texts. To deepen our analyses, you’ll learn about and apply a few key concepts from critical race theory (CRT) to help us understand how race and racism persist systemically or through institutional policies and practices.  

In this junior-year writing seminar for English majors, you’ll practice applying critical theory to textual analysis and also practice crafting and revising genres that are foundational to English studies: literary, personal creative nonfiction, and rhetorical. Each genre enables us to express critical perspectives about race and its impact on the human condition. More broadly, we’ll reflect on why analytical and imaginative writing in English studies matters in this world, and you’ll curate a digital portfolio that showcases your writing in this course and introduces who you are as a writer. 

English 300 Junior Year Writing

(Junior Year Writing or anglophone/ethnic Amer) 

Lecture 4 TuTh 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Sarah Patterson 
Topic: Representation in Black literature.  In this course, students will hone the ability to write through formalist and new historicist approaches to literary analysis by way of studying African American reform literature alongside a history of the American Temperance movement in the period between 1830 to 1880. Writing assignments will move students through stages of efficacious writing that has exploratory, analytical, and reflective aims. We will read the works of major Black authors such as William Wells Brown and Frances E. W. Harper alongside a survey of cultural materials that situate African Americans’ contributions to a reform movement that set a foundation for the Prohibition era of the 1900s. A primary objective of this course is to familiarize students with the mechanics of writing about literature in the context of historical events, philosophies, and documents. 

English 302 Studies in Textuality and New Media

(300 elective) (SPoW/WRLS)(Digital Humanities)(Social Justice)  

Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Sarah Patterson 
Topic: Nineteenth-Century African American Literature and Digital Archives. This course identifies the relation between the American slave narrative tradition and the production of twentieth- and twenty-first digital archives, databases, and other public-access resources. Students will learn the representational and print-based dynamics of literary works, part of abolitionist causes surrounding former slaves who documented their journey from bondage to freedom in memoirs, autobiographies, and other types of writing. Case studies in related archives will demonstrate the ways collections of literature, financial records, maps and other content produce new ways of studying this historical era. Our readings of staple American slave narratives such as the 1845 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass will bring clarity to the political, legal, and economic predicament of the American slave in contrast with other forms of northern hemispheric slavery and lesser-known works of enslavement life writing. Writing and presentation assignments will ask students to pair their understanding of historical literature with the content of digital archives that illuminate the history and culture of American slavery. 

English 313 Intro to Old English Poetry

(British lit before 1700 or 300 elective) 

Lecture 1 MWF 12:20-1:10 Instructor: Stephen Harris 
Old English is a language spoken in Britain from the early 400s to the 1100s. In this course, you will learn to read it. It will give you a good grounding in English grammar as well as a solid sense of the origin of English vocabulary. Once you can read Old English, you are only steps away from reading Old Norse, the language of the Vikings, as well as Old Saxon and Old Frisian. As well as learning the Old English language, we will read Old English poetry, including "Caedmon's Hymn," "The Seafarer," "The Wanderer," "Dream of the Rood," "The Battle of Maldon," and the epic Judith, about a warrior maiden who leads her army to heroic conquest ("Sloh tha wundenlocc thone feondsceathan fagum mece ..."). It is like no other poetry in English. Reading it in the original language allows you to practice intense close reading, an essential component of a literary education. You will also be introduced to Norse and Celtic myths. Old English inspired J. R. R. Tolkien's Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It inspired Seamus Heaney's North as well as his Beowulf. And it was a profound influence on Jorge Luis Borges. We will examine runes and learn to make manuscripts. A working knowledge of English grammar is recommended. 

English 317 (Dis)ability and Literature

(300 elective)(social justice) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Janis Greve 
This course will delve into the thriving field of disability studies as it engages with literary texts and the arts. Reading and viewing from a range of genres, we will explore how texts portray disabilities across the human spectrum.  A primary goal will be to investigate how writers with disabilities communicate physical experiences that depart from the idealized human form of Western culture.  Paradoxically, an equally important goal will be to become less sure of what disability is, questioning our received notions. We will hope to develop insight into human physical variation and our accountability to one another, while cultivating the empathy and self-reflection we may need as potential caregivers and responsive, informed human beings.  This is a service-learning course, where students will partner with adults with cognitive differences to create a project.  The service-learning will be integrated into regular class hours.     

English 319 Representing the Holocaust

(300 elective) 

Lecture 1 Tu 2:30-3:45 + disc Instructor: Jonathan Skolnik 
Major themes and critical issues concerning Holocaust representation and memory in a global context. The course examines literature, film, memoirs, music, visual arts, memorials, museums, and video archives of survivor testimonies to explore narrative responses to racism and the destruction of European Jewry and others during World War II. There are no prerequisites. 4 Credits. (Gen.Ed. DG AL). 

  • 319 Disc 01AA. Th 1:00-2:15, Instructor: Nataliya Kostenko
  • 319 Disc 01AB. Th 10:00-11:15, Instructor: Nataliya Kostenko
  • 319 Disc 01AC. Th 2:30-3:45, Instructor: TBA
  • 319 Disc 01AD. Th 10:00-11:15, Instructor: Thakshala Tissera
  • 319 Disc 01AE. Th 11:30-12:45, Instructor: TBA

English 329H Tutoring Writing: Theory and Practice

(300 elective) (SPoW/WRLS)(TELA) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: Anna Rita Napoleon 
Prerequisite: Gen. Ed. College Writing 112 or 113 with a grade of "B" or better.  Students interested in the course should submit an application to writingcenter@acad.umass.edu by March 19: (1) a formal letter explaining why the student is interested and has potential to become a writing tutor; (2) an academic writing sample (attached as a word or pdf file) and (3) the name and email address of the student’s 112 instructor or another instructor who can speak to the student's qualifications.  While the preferred deadline was set for March 19, additional applicants may be considered if seats are available.  The strongest applications will be invited to an interview. 

English 350H Expository Writing Honors

(300 elective)(creative writing) (SPoW/WRLS) 

Lecture 1 MW 2:30-3:45 Instructor: John Hennessy 
This course is designed for students who have a special interest in personal narratives, documentary forms, travel writing, and/or innovative approaches to feature writing. Students will read and write a variety of literary non-fiction forms, including memoir, documentary essays, and profiles, and the course will have a workshop component.  Texts will include works by Joan Didion, Helene Cooper, Cathy Park Hong, and others. Students will also be encouraged to try other forms of non-fiction, including travel writing, interviews, editorials, reviews, etc.) 

English 355 Creative Writing Fiction

(300 elective)(creative writing) 

Lecture 1 MWF 11:15-12:05 Instructor: Ella Hormel 
Writing Small: Flash + Micro Fiction. In short fiction, every word counts. If a novel is a house, short fiction is a bedroom—intimate and carefully decorated with only the essentials. In this generative workshop, we’ll explore the ways in which even the most pint-sized stories can pack a punch and how the limitations of space can open up creative possibility. Through authors such as Lydia Davis, Hiromi Kawakami, George Saunders, and K-Ming Chang we’ll explore fiction’s shortest forms—flash and micro—to build a deeper understanding of the craft of very short fiction. The workshop setting will allow us not only to engage with the works of our peers, but also write our own short stories, developing and experimenting with our writerly voices. Each student will have the opportunity to workshop at least two stories during the course, and by the end of the semester, students will have written and developed a small collection of flash and micro fiction. 

English 356 Creative Writing Poetry

(300 elective)(creative writing) 

Lecture 1 MWF 12:20-1:10 Instructor: Allison McKean 
Poetry of The New Surreal- Non-Linearity, Reality, & Imagination  How do you depict your (perhaps) intensely felt consciousness? What is revealed in non-rational and non-linear tellings? What happens to our poems when we do not follow all the rules of space and time? How do we invite our imagination to deepen our reality? In this course, we will use the ideas of the surrealist avant-garde movement from the twentieth century and recontextualize it in the contemporary. In addition to surrealism’s interrogation of the interior, we will explore surrealism’s political and social efficacy as it scaffolds nonnormative structures such as  queerness, communism, and non-whiteness. Through generative writing and in-class workshops, we will utilize the power of surrealist techniques in our own work to illustrate our consciousness, scrape our dreamscapes, and utilize memories as architecture. Students will write at least one poem a week, experiment with imitations of style, and engage in critical responses to course texts. Our readings will range from surrealism’s multi-cultural origins in 20th century French, Spanish, Japanese, American, and Afro-surrealism to contemporary surrealist works including Emily Hunt, Amanda Nadelberg, Wendy Xu, Heather Christle, CAConrad, Rosmarie Waldrop, Dorothea Lasky, Magdalena Zurawski, Tongo Eisen-Martin, and Bhanu Kapil. 

English 358 The Romantic Poets

(British lit after 1700 or 300 elective) 

Lecture 1 MW 4:00-5:15 Instructor: Suzanne Daly 
Poetry of the Romantic period (1789-1832) including works by Anna L. Barbauld, Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Felicia Hemens, John Keats, Mary Robinson, Percy B. Shelley, Charlotte Smith, and William Wordsworth. Political, religious, and historical frames of critical reference will be brought to bear on our reading. 

English 359 Victorian Imagination

(British lit after 1700 or 300 elective) 

Lecture 1 MW 2:30-3:45 Instructor: Suzanne Daly 
Legal definitions and popular conceptions of crime and criminal behavior underwent significant revision in nineteenth-century England, and the literature of the period registers major points of contention. We will read works of fiction and poetry that address the following questions: What kind of crimes did the Victorians like to imagine, to read about, and to punish vicariously through imaginative literature? What did criminality mean to them? What is narrative justice, and what formal and/or ideological functions does it serve? We will read fiction by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Elizabeth Gaskell, Oscar Wilde, and Sarah Waters. Poets may include Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Swinburne, and Tennyson. 

English 362 Modern Novel 1945-Present

(anglophone/ethnic Amer or Amer lit after 1865 or 300 elective) (social justice) 

Lecture 1    TuTh 2:30-3:45     Instructor: Mazen Naous 
Topic: Contemporary Arab American Fiction. This course examines the significance of contemporary Arab American fiction within a transnational American setting. We will begin by positioning Arab American fiction in relation to sociopolitical and cultural preoccupations in the US. We will investigate Arab American literature as a burgeoning literary tradition in its own right, and as a critical lens through which we can better gauge US cultures and politics. The selected novels will allow us to see the ways in which Arab Americans both contribute to and are influenced by the sociocultural and political landscapes of the US. Our novels employ a range of literary techniques, including playing with form, interpolating transliterated Arabic 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 Arab Americans. The course includes works by Zaina Arafat, Anissa M. Bouziane, Omar El Akkad, Laila Lalami, and Sahar Mustafah. Critical essays and cultural theory will guide our readings.  

This course fulfills the General Education curricular designation of Literature (AL). It demonstrates that novels do more than imitate life; they interpret and explain it. Furthermore, this course considers the function and aesthetic evaluation of novels in relation to the societies that produce them. 

English 366 Modern Poetry

(300 elective or Amer lit after 1865)(Literature as History)(Social Justice) 

Lecture 1 MW 4:00-5:15 pm 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 the ascendance of modern capitalism? Focusing on the period between 1890 and 1950, 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 378 American Women Writers

(American literature after 1865 or 300 elective)

Lecture 1   TuTh 1:00-2:15 PM    Instructor: Gloria Biamonte

“What Moves at the Margin”: Reading Contemporary American Women Writers.

“The proper stuff of fiction does not exist,” wrote Virginia Woolf in 1925, “everything is the proper stuff of fiction, every feeling, every thought; every quality of brain and spirit is drawn upon; no perception comes amiss.”  The contemporary writers we will be reading in this course – a rather open-ended exploration of American women writers from the mid-1970s to the present – would agree with Woolf.  Exploring the richly diverse, original, and, at times, radically experimental narratives that evolve– sometimes quietly, other times filled with rage, almost always with longing, and, at moments, with deep love -- we will consider the writers’ attempts to respond to the social, economic, and political events that shaped their lives.  Though our focus will be on the novel, we will also be reading short stories, poetry, and nonfiction.  Close textual readings will help us to examine the subtleties of character interactions, the weaving together of multiple storylines, and the inventive narrative devices that each writer uses in creating their stories. And we will ask: how do these authors create a space for the reader to enter— a space where understanding and empathy can grow?  Authors may include: Maxine Hong Kingston, Jhumpa Lahiri, Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, Jennifer Egan, Jesmyn Ward, Linda Hogan, Adrienne Rich, Ming Holden, Anna Deavers Smith, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Karen Russell. 

English 379 Intro to Professional Writing

(300 elective)(PWTC) (SPoW/WRLS) 

Lecture 1: TuTh 1:00-2:15 Instructor: David Toomey 
Lecture 2: MW 4:00-5:15 Instructor: TBA 
This course offers an overview of commonly encountered professional genres such as memos, reports, job materials, and grant proposals. Students gain practice writing in these genres, with an emphasis on clarity and concision. They develop more sophisticated research skills and gain experience in communicating specialized information to non-specialist readers. Finally, they are exposed to the range of professional writing careers as they explore writing on both theoretical and practical planes through consideration of audience, as well as wider professional, social, and cultural contexts. Prereq.: ENGLWP 112 or equivalent; junior or senior status with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. (3 credits). 

English 380 Professional Writing and Technical Communication I

(300 elective) (PWTC) (SPoW/WRLS) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: Janine Solberg 
Introduces principles of technical writing, page design, and UX/usability. Students write and design a 20-25 page manual documenting a software program, usually Microsoft Word, suitable for use as a professional writing sample. Prereq.: ENGLWP 112 or equivalent; ENGL 379, which may be taken concurrently, with instructor approval (email jlsolber@umass.edu); Junior or Senior status with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. (3 credits) 

English 389 The Major and Beyond

(SPoW/WRLS) 

Lecture 1 W 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, Juniors, and Seniors.   

English 391NM Narrative Medicine: How Writing Can Heal

(300 elective)(creative writing) (SPoW/WRLS) 

Lecture 1 Th 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 398P Literary Programming, Editing and Publishing

(creative writing) (SPoW/WRLS) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 10:00-11:15 Instructor: Syki Barbee 
In this practicum, students will learn skills related to literary programming, editing, and publishing. Topics will include strategies for and approaches to running a successful reading series, managing, and producing a literary journal, book publishing, and others. Students will have the opportunity to study and learn about the English Dept. journal Jabberwocky and to intern for the MFA's Visiting Writers Series. Students may also take the practicum to support their work on professional literary internships they have secured themselves. (pass/fail grading) 

English 412 History of the English Language

(400 elective or British lit before 1700) (SPoW/WRLS) 

Lecture 1 MWF 10:10-11:00 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 450 Advanced Expository Writing

(400 elective)(creative writing) (SPoW/WRLS) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 11:30-12:45 Instructor: David Fleming 
Topic: Family and Community History.  This section of English 450, Advanced Expository Writing, focuses on reading and writing about family, community, and history. It uses the form of the personal essay and the methods of oral, archival, and local history research to open space for writing projects that preserve, interrogate, and articulate the people, places, memories, stories, and absences that constitute our lives and our communities. The central activity of the course will be reading and writing about the people and places that have made us who we are. We’ll read histories, memoirs, and archaeologies of family, community, and place for inspiration and example. Possible texts include Sarah Broom’s The Yellow House, Hisham Matar’s The Return, Theo Richmond’s Konin, and Jeremy Jones’ Bearwallow. We’ll do short exercises in writing about the people and places around us and learn some tools and techniques for answering historical questions about them, all leading up to a semester project of your own design involving writing about family or community history. The course should be useful for students interested in creative nonfiction, local history, archival research, and multi-media writing, as well as careers in teaching, library and museum work, community activism, public history, etc. Ideally, students will have taken at least one intermediate expository or nonfiction writing course, like English 350; but the only official prerequisite is College Writing. 

English 455 Creative Writing: Advanced Fiction

(400 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 1 Tues 10:00-12:30 pm  Instructor: TBA
A seminar in writing short stories and other fiction for advanced creative writing students. Students read in contemporary fiction and in craft topics; write regularly and discuss one another's writing.

English 456 Creative Writing: Advanced Poetry

(400 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 1 Tues 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Claudia Wilson
A seminar in writing short stories and other fiction for advanced creative writing students. Students read in contemporary fiction and in craft topics; write regularly and discuss one another's writing.

English 492N Nature, Climate Change and Literature

(400 elective)(Environmental Humanities) 

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 and humanistic 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. We will read several exciting texts and have the opportunity to analyze documentaries and artworks. Climate Change raises multi-disciplinary problems and presents multi-generational effects; stories are as crucial as ice core data to prepare for a habitable future.  

This course is the capstone course for the Environmental Humanities Specialization. 

English 494EI Writing, Identity & English Studies (IE) 

(Integrative Experience) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 2:30-3:45 Instructor: David Fleming 
Writing, Identity, and English Studies is a nonfiction writing course designed to satisfy the University’s Integrative Experience (IE) requirement. Like all IE courses, it asks students 1) “to reflect on and to integrate” their learning in college, from their major to their General Education courses to their electives and extracurricular experiences; 2) to practice key “Gen Ed” objectives, such as oral communication, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary perspective-taking, at a more advanced level; and 3) to apply what they’ve learned to “new situations, challenging questions, and real-world problems.” This course is a writing-intensive version of the IE, designed for senior primary English majors. We’ll approach the University’s IE goals through the genre of the personal essay. Across five different writing projects, you’ll look back at your college education, identifying key moments and themes; you’ll review your work in English and assess where you are in that discipline: what projects you have found meaningful and what you’d like to do more of in the future; and you’ll imagine how you might apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired in college to problems, communities, and opportunities beyond. We’ll use an anthology of personal essays as prompt and model. At the end of the semester, you’ll collect your work in an e-portfolio, showcasing your knowledge, skills, accomplishments, and aspirations. 

English 494MI Virtual Medieval: Fictions and Fantasies of the Middle Ages (IE)

(Integrative Experience) 

Lecture 1 MWF 1:25-2:15 Instructor: Jenny Adams 
Most people learn very little about the foggy period from 500 - 1500 that lies between the end of the Classical era and the start of the Renaissance.  The little we do learn usually consists of stereotypes.  Such stereotypes include (in no particular order): jousting, chivalry, repression of women, religious fervor, medical ignorance, lice, Crusades, economic injustice, knights, ladies, and plague.  How are these stereotypes produced and reinforced?  What is their relationship to historical “fact”?  In each module we will take up texts, objects and concepts that challenge our ideas about the Middle Ages, and also think about the ways medieval people mapped their own worlds.  In doing so, we aim to produce alternate (and often competing) views of medieval history.  In short, this course is designed to get you to come away with new ideas about about the Middle Ages. 

At the same time, this course is also designed to get you to think new ideas about yourself.  Specifically, the IE is capstone course that invites you to 1) reflect on and integrate all your learning in college, from your major and General Education courses to your electives and extracurricular experiences; 2) further practice college-level oral communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary perspective-taking; and 3) think about ways you will apply your skills to real world problems. 

To meet these two seemingly disparate goals, we will blend our study of the Middle Ages with material that you have studied in your other classes and with lessons you have learned during your time in college.  We will also think about ways how you might apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired in college to problems, communities, and/or organizations beyond campus. Workload is not onerous and will include several shorter essays as well as the creation of an on-line portfolio. 

English 494SI Literature and Social Justice (IE)

(Integrative Experience)(Social Justice) 

Lecture 1 TuTh 10:00-11:15   Instructor: Rachel Mordecai
"What is social justice?" might be the most pressing question of our contemporary moment, as humans confront multiple and overlapping ecological, political, economic and public-health crises, and come to very different ideas of what should be done. How do we know when we are pursuing social justice, and who is the "we" that knows? This class will explore that question through a particular focus on movements for environmental justice: literary representations of people acting to protect their homelands, texts that have prompted or furthered such action, and reflections on and by people who have thought deeply and acted courageously in pursuit of environmental justice. This course fulfils the University’s Integrative Experience requirement, the goals of which are to allow students to draw upon the breadth of their college learning and apply research, communication, and critical-thinking skills to pressing contemporary questions. Together we will read, think, talk and write about how the literature of environmental justice might inform our approach to living justly alongside other beings. 

English 499C Honors Thesis: Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing

(400 elective)(creative writing) 

Lecture 1 MW 4:00-5:15 pm   Instructor: John Hennessy 
Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry, and 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 will include The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, collections of poetry by Nathan McClain and Denise Duhamel, an anthology of contemporary short stories, and non-fiction by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Studs Terkel, Joan Didion, and others.    

Interested students should submit a personal statement: 1-2 pages, list and briefly discuss your reading: your 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: jjhennes@english.umass.edu by APRIL 26.

Spring Courses

 

Spring 2024 courses, listed in numerical order.

To see coursed listed by requirement, or to browse online or STEP courses, use the tabs above.

 

English 115 American Experience

(ALDU)

Lecture 1    Tu/Th 11:30-12:45        Instructor: Tim Ong
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and society with a wide historical scope and attention to diverse cultural experiences in the United States. Specifically, we will approach this study from an ecological perspective that is unique to the American experience, which is to say that this course argues that the study of the environment is necessarily also a study of society and history.

By focusing on American texts that engage with the natural world, the course explores the following questions: what do the words “environment” and “nature” mean in relation to the American experience? How does an understanding of the environment provide a context with which to understand American history, society, and culture? And how do literary representations of the environment broaden our idea of the American experience through their explorations of themes such as individualism, exceptionalism, conquest, expansion, militarism, and imperialism? These questions will inform our reading of short stories, poems, essays, historical texts, films, and other cultural artifacts to get a clearer picture of the American ecological imagination, if only to expand our vocabulary with which to articulate it alongside contemporary environmental urgencies in the Anthropocene. (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)

English 115 American Experience

(ALDU)

Lecture 2    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Alejandro Beas-Murillo
Americans Abroad: Flight and Return. The title of this course might bring to mind the wealthy barons, bachelors and intellectuals in Henry James’ and Edith Wharton’s novels, or the decadent and drunken expats fleeing the constraints of American life in the early 20th century. However, this class will not revolve around such figures; rather, we will study two distinct processes of transport located in two different historical periods, the 1950s and the first two decades of the 21st century: flight, or the need to escape the racist and misogynistic logic of the US, and return, or the diasporic impulse to encounter one’s—or one’s family’s/ancestors’—original land and/or people. Among some of the questions we will collectively answer, we find: What were the processes of home-making and identity re-mapping that Black folks like Langston Hughes or James Baldwin wrestled with and proposed during their trips to other countries? How did each of these authors, artists, and scholars engage with time, place, and memory in their flight and return narratives? What does it mean for the self to return to “the source” in contrast to its escape from the horrors and oppressions of the US nation-state? Can we still understand the US as part of a continent, or should we start approaching it as an archipelago of imperial influence? Together, we will critically think of ways in which these narratives of transport, travel, flight and return, might help us reframe our own engagements with the planet in a world plagued by climate catastrophes, war, and pandemics, but also filled with the freedom dreams of a more just, borderless, stateless world. (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)

English 117 Ethnic American Literature

(ALDU)

Lecture 1    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Kevin Morris
Introduction to newer and older plays, poems, and fiction by writers who embody and represent the ethnic diversity of American identity. A class for anyone interested in stories about the struggle to forge just communities in an imperfect nation. (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)

English 131 Society and Literature

(ALDG)

Lecture 1    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Manasvini Rajan
Introduction to the multifaceted ways literature both shapes and is shaped by its social and historical contexts. Analyses of plays, poems, and fictional and non-fictional narratives drawn from around the globe and in different eras.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 131 Society and Literature

(ALDG)

Lecture 2    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Nataliya Kostenko
Introduction to the multifaceted ways literature both shapes and is shaped by its social and historical contexts. Analyses of plays, poems, and fictional and non-fictional narratives drawn from around the globe and in different eras.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture

(ALDG)

Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15    Instructor: Sarah Ahmad
Thinking architexturally: gender and space in literature. In this course, we will study a broad range of texts and media to explore connections between feminist-queer engagements with architecture and text. How can both architecture and text be thought of as systems of representation, and how then, do each of them craft a relationship to any embodied subject (a reader/inhabitant)? This question arises from thinking of imagining a book as a lived space in the tradition of feminist and queer utopias, asking us to think about how racial, gendered, and colonial projects are enacted and countered in literary representations of space. How do differently-minoritized subjects write – and read – places that are ‘useless’ (such as a text) as places of subsistence and meaning-making?  We will work together to floor-plan the textual fields we encounter, thinking critically about the tools these texts use and how and who can live in them. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture

(ALDG)

Lecture 2    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Jarrel De Matas
Introduction to science fiction and the health sciences that challenge boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality. Texts include science fiction by US and Caribbean writers. 
(Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture

(ALDG)

Lecture 3    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Thakshala Tissera
Introduction to literature through a lens of gender identity and sexuality.  Texts include fiction, plays, poems that deal with and inspire conversations about the public politics and personal experience of gender and sexuality, both in the past and present. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture

(ALDG)

Lecture 4    TuTh 11:30-12:45    Instructor: Rowshan Chowdhury
This course ENGL 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture is designed to introduce students with the basic concepts in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies. Drawing on disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and cross-cultural studies, students will engage critically with issues such as gender inequities, sexuality, families, work, media images, queer issues, masculinity, reproductive rights, and history. Throughout the course, students will explore how experiences of gender and sexuality intersect with other social constructs of difference, including race/ethnicity, class, and age. We will pay special attention to various historical, cultural, social, political, and economical constructs and how they have influenced our lives, and some of the social movements at the local, national, and transnational levels which have led to key transformations.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 190N  Environment, Humanities and Climate Change (Gen.Ed. ALDG)(Environmental Humanities)

Lecture 1 MWF 11:15-12:05   Instructor: Thakshala Tissera
This course introduces students to the exciting, interdisciplinary field of the Environmental Humanities, which engages with the relationship between humanistic study and environmental concerns, such as climate change. While questions of ecology, environment, landscape, and weather have always played a role in literary, historical, and philosophical inquiries, how might those critical lenses be utilized to think through urgent concerns such as anthropogenic climate change and unprecedented species extinctions around the world? Questions of climate and species extinctions are generally consigned to scientific enquiry; however, in this course we will learn how and why the humanities plays a crucial role in these debates. Students will be introduced to a range of literary, artistic, historical, and popular narratives from across the globe that interrogate these questions. In modules such as ecological imperialism and environmental racism, students will gain an understanding of the relationship between empire and climate change, and why it is important to couple (rather than bifurcate) nature from culture. Other modules, for example, will encourage students to critically evaluate the role of fossil fuels in contemporary cultures and recognize the importance of storytelling in building environmental resilience. The final module of this course will encourage students to imagine post-oil, alternative and flourishing futures

English 141 Reading Poetry

(AL)

Lecture 1    MWF 11:15-12:05 PM        Instructor: Joseph Fritsch
In cafés and the backrooms of bars, on the base of the Statue of Liberty, and on four-thousand-year-old clay tablets–sung, spoken, whispered, and known by heart the world over–poetry thrives. In this course, students will acquire reading strategies and a critical vocabulary that will empower them to understand and enjoy poetry in all its forms. Spanning from the contemporary moment to bygone eras, class readings will challenge students to think critically about the very nature of language and how we communicate emotions, ideas, and information. Students will put these lessons to the test by writing their own poems and short essays. Evaluation will consist of four 5-7 page papers, a final 10-page paper, poetic compositions, and participation in class discussion. No prior experience required; all are welcome. (Gen. Ed. AL)

English 150 Writing and Society

(DUSB)

Lecture 1    MWF 12:20-1:10    Instructor: Danielle Pappo
In this course, we will investigate the field of Writing Studies—an increasingly important area of interdisciplinary study at the intersections of literacy, language, education, and social justice. Throughout the semester, we will employ ‘writing’ in its multiple forms as a mechanism to understand, inquire into, and speak back to power in our society, community/s, and at UMass. This course contains three major, interrelated components: reading (i.e. theory, narrative, and research), writing (i.e. reflective writing and assignments), and community engagement. Based upon scholarly, popular, and personal understandings of writing, our guiding inquiries will include:
What is writing?
How & why do people use writing?
What does or can writing do?
What are the consequences of writing?    (Gen. Ed. SB, DU)

English 200 Introduction Literary Studies

(Introduction to major)

Lecture 1    TuTh 11:30-12:45        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.

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies

(Introduction to major)

Lecture 2:    TuTh 10:00-11:15    Instructor: Katherine O’Callaghan
Lecture 4:     TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: Katherine O’Callaghan
Topic: The Ghosts of Literature  Introduction to literary study, concentrating on close reading and analysis of texts, writing and revising critical essays, and discussion of the issues that underlie the study of literature. In this course we will explore short stories, novels, poetry and drama from various theoretical perspectives. Each text will be examined on its own terms, but some general themes will emerge as the course progresses. In particular, students of "The Ghosts of Literature" are asked to construct the myriad ways in which the idea of haunting might be applied to a literary text. Literary heritage, intertextual influence, remnants of lost languages, ghost stories, and themes of absence, loss, and returns will all recur throughout the semester. Reading will include works by James Joyce, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Bharati Mukherjee, Conor McPherson and Henry James. Prerequisite: ENGLWRIT 112 or equivalent.  This course is open to English majors only.

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies

(Introduction to major)

Lecture 3     MW 4:00-5:15     Instructor: Hoang Phan 
English majors only. Prerequisite: Gen. Ed. College Writing.  This course will introduce students to a range of contemporary literary theory and critical reading practices, and provide a survey of the various turns and debates in the recent history of literary studies. Its study of literary texts will be guided by several questions organized around the relationship between history, theory, and literary form: What historical and/or theoretical assumptions do we bring to our readings of literary te xts?  What histories and prior readings do literary texts carry embedded within them?  In what broader social-historical contexts are literary texts produced? How do literary texts address thematic or historical concerns through their formal conventions and innovations?  What are the historical functions of literature, literary criticism, and literary theory?  The goal of this introductory course is to equip students with the critical and theoretical tools necessary for advanced study in both the interpretation of literary-cultural texts and the writing of literary-cultural criticism.  Accordingly, students will write short close reading papers and longer interpretive papers on select literary works, as well as brief exegeses of articles on criticism and theory.

English 201 Early British Literature and Culture

(British lit before 1700 or 200+ elective)(Literature as History)

Lecture 1    TuTh 1:00-2:15    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 221 Shakespeare

(British lit before 1700 or 200 elective)(Literature as History)(AL)

Lecture 1    MW 12:20-1:10 + discussion    Instructor: Jane Degenhardt
This course offers an introduction to Shakespeare’s dramatic works, including a sampling of comedies, tragedies, histories, and romances. Through careful reading and discussion, we will explore the language, themes, and performance dimensions of Shakespeare’s plays. We will seek to understand how they speak to a specific time and place in English history, as well as considering their present relevance and adaptation in recent films. By thinking critically about what it means to historicize, we will ask what Shakespeare’s plays can tell us about history and why this should matter. We will also seek to understand how his plays employ fiction to disrupt assumptions about history and to help shape the terms through which the present and future can be imagined. Attendance at lecture and robust participation in discussion sections required.

  • English 221, Discussion D01AA; Fri 9:05-9:55; TA: Olivia Barry
  • English 221, Discussion D01AB; Fri: 10:10-11:00; TA: Olivia Barry
  • English 221, Discussion D01AC; Fri: 11:15-12:05; TA: Grayson Chong
  • English 221, Discussion D01AD; Fri: 12:20-1:10; TA: Grayson Chong
  • English 221, Discussion D01AE; Fri: 10:10-11:00; TA: Shwetha Chandrashekhar
  • English 221, Discussion D01AF; Fri: 11:15-12:05; TA: Shwetha Chandrashekhar

English 254 Intro to Creative Writing

(200 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 1    MWF 11:15-12:05 PM        Instructor: Samuel Le
Hybrid Fantasy  In this workshop, we’ll consider then discard the boundaries between poetry, fiction, nonfiction. Life-giving vampires while we sleep, quietly injecting our dreams with hopes, ideas, ambitions in exchange for blood. Candid conversations in a Houston cocktail haunt between old friends—or enemies. Walking among forest sprites, or along the boundary between worlds, deep in the woods at night. Creative writing is the playground of dreams, accused of distorting realer pasts, presents, futures. But poetry, stories, language are all that have survived, all that will survive us when we’re gone. What’s really true? If we are unsatisfied with inherited histories, or—dare I say—bored of them, we must make others. We’ll encounter genre-bending authors, both established and emerging—from Alice Notley to Lucy Waigner—from Jewelle Gomez to Yvette Lisa Ndlovu. We’ll investigate their craft, their audacity, their play. We’ll also consider the nonfiction genre and its essentially hybrid nature. You’ll synthesize these vibrant imaginations with your own and create what you want, how you want. We’ll share our art in workshop, bearing witness to each other’s discoveries, thereby refining our own. You’ll determine, as a result, your own terms of hybridity, leaving with 4 poems, 2 short stories, 1 nonfiction piece—or 7 genre-bending creations.

English 254 Intro to Creative Writing

(200 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 2    TuTh 4:00-5:15    Instructor: William Stallins
Nothing Is Impossible: Craft Strategies for the Writing Process.  Do you ever get stuck in a poem? Ever abandoned a story? Every writer has. But writers throughout time have found their own ways around various writing obstacles. In this course, we will learn how to strategize our way through the creative writing process. Taking examples from a varied list of published writers and poets, we will learn the tricks and tools other writers use in their practices. This means that we will be looking at the deeper processes of poetry and prose writing, focusing on finding new approaches to producing and revising. How does Ada Limon get a poem started? How does Mira Bartok move from one subject to the next quickly? How does Toni Morrison set her characters apart? We will ask and answer these questions and more. We will learn how to read as writers and leave the class more aware of our process. We will not only use other writers' strategies, but develop our own. The class also includes a workshop, in which students will read and comment on each other’s work. By the end of the class, students will have produced five poems, two short stories, and two creative nonfiction pieces.

English 254 Intro to Creative Writing

(200 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 3    MWF 10:10-11:00     Instructor: Sara Hetherington
Establishing (Alternate) Realities. All creative writing presents readers with particular realities. In this course, we will analyze published works to determine the logic, rules, and textures of their presented realities, and then practice creating our own. Our goals are to identify the “weirdness” found in any piece of creative writing, no matter how seemingly “normal” the subject matter; and to gain an appreciation for what makes our own writing unique. We will read creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry by both modern and contemporary authors, including Donald Antrim, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Anton Chekhov, Franny Choi, Alice Munro, Mary Oliver, George Saunders, David Sedaris, and Michelle Zauner, among others. Students will give short presentations on authors and texts; complete exercises to practice elements of creative writing; share their writing with their classmates in guided workshop sessions; and offer feedback on each other’s work. By the end of the course, students will have completed a portfolio of 5 poems, 2 stories, and 2 essays.

English 254 Intro to Creative Writing

(200 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 4    MWF 12:20-1:10     Instructor: Katherine Ward
Writing Fear.  Most of us can recall where we were the first time a piece of literature or media deeply frightened us – sitting around a campfire, in front of a basement TV, reading beneath the covers past bedtime. It’s no secret that the stories we’re afraid of tend to linger longest in our memories. But why? In this course, we’ll attempt to decipher what it is about scary stories that draws us in, captivates us, and leaves us craving more, incorporating the techniques we observe into our own creative work. We’ll consider how writers often use fear to engage with the social and the political, to capture and critique the collective anxieties of their particular contexts. We’ll explore this theme across genres, reading and drawing inspiration from a wide selection of classic and contemporary texts, including the work of Edgar Allen Poe, Louise Glück, Stephen King, Carmen Maria Machado, Angela Carter, Alvin Schwartz, Samanta Schweblin, Shirley Jackson, Mariana Enriquez, and more. Along with reading and discussions, students will produce and revise their own poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction, as well as participate in regular, peer-engaged workshops.

English 268H American Literature and Culture before 1865 honors

(American lit before 1865 or 200 elective) 

Lecture 1     TuTh 2:30-3:45         Instructor: Jimmy Worthy
In this course we will read narratives of individual and collective cultural transformations from the colonial and early republican periods in American literature. We will trace throughout these narratives various figurations of "American" subjectivity, such as the captive and the redeemed; the slave, the servant, and the freeman; the alien and the citizen; the foreign and the native. Through such textual figures, we will explore as well the cultural production of a broader narrative of the "imagined community" of the nation. While reading a selective survey of literary works, travel narrative, and poetry, we will address as well critical and theoretical reconsiderations of the literature and culture of the early republic.

English 269 American Literature and Culture after 1865

(American lit after 1865 or 200 elective)

Lecture 1    TuTh 11:30-12:45        Instructor: Brenna Casey
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 273 American Realism

(course in American lit after 1865 or ethnic American/Anglopone or 200 English elective)(American Studies)(Literature as History)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Sarah Patterson

The American Slave Narrative.  The American slave narrative tradition is substantiated by former slaves who documented their journey from bondage to freedom in memoirs and autobiographies. From Mary Prince’s 1831 lament, that, “[s]ick or well, it was work—work—work!” to the “shocking tales of slaveholding cruelty” that appear in 1845 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, this course focuses on the styles of narration and the book industries connected to African Americans’ life writing about enslavement. Our program of study will be divided into sections on terminology, printing methods, and literary representations that were produced for mass consumption. We will study the term “slave” and its legal, political, and economic functions as part of the American institution of slavery with attention to differences between systems of indentured servitude and slavery in the American North and South and the nature of hemispheric relations between West Indian and American slavery. This course also surveys the publishing houses, part of Abolition causes that aided the circulation of slave narratives. Readings by major authors and lesser-known authors include Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Mattie J. Jackson, and Mary Prince. 

English 279 Intro to American Studies

(course in American lit after 1865 or 200 English elective)(American Studies)(Literature as History)(ALDU)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Hoang Phan
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, which draws from a variety of intellectual traditions and disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Students will explore how American literature has contributed to individual and collective visions of American identity and the “American experiment.” Focusing on the role of literature in modern historical understanding, the course will study diverse and historically shifting definitions of American identity, and contested concepts such as democracy, equality, and sovereignty, as these were transformed by political debates and social movement struggles over nationhood and nationalism, slavery and freedom, immigration and citizenship, and by forms of social identification such as class, race, and gender.
This course satisfies the AL and DU General Education Requirements. (Gen. Ed. AL, DU)

English 298H Practicum: Teaching in the Writing Center

(200+ English elective)(SPOW)

Lecture 1    Thurs 4:00-5:15    Instructor: Chandler Steckbeck
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 2023.

English 300 Junior Year Writing

(Junior Year Writing)(SPOW)

Lecture 1    TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: Janis Greve
Topic: Picture this: Lives in Graphic Form  What does it mean to capture a life through both drawing and writing? This course will examine the lively exchange between “written pictures and drawn words” in graphic memoirs from the 21st century.  We will study the diverse methods used by comic creators when fashioning their personal memories, while exploring concepts of remembering, knowing, and identity, pushed in new directions through the graphic medium.  We will also examine a wide breadth of social issues within the genre, including disability, gender, and ethnicity.  Students in the course should be ready to try their hand at their own autobiographical comic; drawing ability is not required.  Texts may include: One! Hundred! Demons! by Linda Barry, Dark Room: A Memoir in Black and White, by Lila Quintero Weaver, Quitter by Harvey Pekar, Cancer Vixen by Marisa Accocella, and more.  Assignments will include a visual literacy journal, a close reading essay, a book trailer video, and an extensive 10-page book review essay, and various writing exercises.

English 300 Junior Year Writing

(Junior Year Writing or Anglophone) 

Lecture 4    TuTh 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Rachel Mordecai
Topic: Caribbean Family Sagas  This seminar will read Caribbean family-saga novels and ask how they mediate ideas of belonging. Students will work on developing the skills and strategies that support strong academic writing in English-lit classrooms. They will also think carefully about the role of reproduction in how families are constituted; what it means to represent a nation through the story of a family; how multi-generational stories map time onto space; and the power of naming, mis-naming, nick-naming, and refusing to name. Authors may include Erna Brodber, Patrick Chamoiseau, Dionne Brand, Julia Alvarez, Rosario Ferré, Maryse Condé, and others. Assignments will include formal and informal papers, some of which will go through the draft-and-revision process; other possible assignments include in-class presentations and online reader-response postings. This course is primarily intended for majors; other interested students should contact the professor for permission to enroll.

English 300 Junior Year Writing

(Junior Year Writing or American lit after 1865 or Anglophone)(Social Justice)(Literature as History)(American Studies)

Lecture 2    MW 4:00-5:15      Instructor: Ruth Jennison
Topic: Resistance and Revolution in 20th and 21st Century American Poetry. How do American poets engage with struggles for social change? What strategies do they use to write about protests, strikes, boycotts, workplace and public occupations, sit-ins, pickets, and mass demonstrations? Our discussions and writing projects will explore how poetry offers ways for its readers to grasp capitalism as a system shaped by class war, racism and sexism. We will investigate the relationship between politics that take place in the streets and politics that take place on the page. Freewrites, short reflections, and longer papers will take up how our poets navigate their work as both militant activists and artists. We will close read and analyze new poetic vocabularies for imagining alternatives to capitalism. Texts will include poetry by Sol Funaroff, Louis Zukofsky, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Muriel Rukeyser, Amiri Baraka, John Wieners, Gwendolyn Brooks, Larry Eigner, Sonia Sanchez, Diane Di Prima, Keston Sutherland, Sean Bonney, Stephen Collis, Kay Gabriel, and Bernadette Mayer.

English 302 Studies: Textuality & New Media

(400 elective)(SPOW)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Amy Diehl
An introduction to digital culture, visual images, audio content, archives, and new media.  Critical approaches include a focus on formal analysis, historical perspective, reception and audience, and cultural theory.

English 343 English Epic Tradition

(early British lit. 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 medieval 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. 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 355 Creative Writing Fiction

(300 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 1        TuTh 2:30-3:45    Instructor: Alex Terrell
HIGH BLOOM. As the trees prepare to bloom, so too should our writing. What is budding in your fiction brain trying to burst forth? What story seeds have you sown that need watering? What rocky story ground needs tilling so your work can grow? 

This course will guide you in crafting fiction by investigating the seeds of fiction craft. We will look at our writing patterns as we would a weather vane to find the bright spots we've been ignoring. We will read fiction, folktales, and other mediums that interrogate the “classic” canon. We will explore themes of home, space, memory, ghosts (alive and dead), and the dark sides of nature. All styles and genres of writing are welcome as we will read across multiple genres including sci-fi/fantasy and magical realism.

This workshop is an invitation to explore the realms of strangeness, human-ness and how even the mundane lends itself to the bizarre. We’ll look at elements of craft such as form, pacing, worldbuilding, voice, suspense, tension, and setting, among others. Students in the workshop will be asked to write original works of fiction, engage in writing community membership, and provide careful, thoughtful critiques of each other’s work.

Prerequisite: English 254 or 354

English 355 Creative Writing Fiction

(300 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 2        MWF 11:15-12:05        Instructor: Nathan Zachar
Exploring the Supernatural, the Gothic and the Strange. Flannery O’Connor said that fiction “is a distortion…to get at truth.” So in this class, we’ll be playing with distortion: specifically, the supernatural, the uncanny, the Gothic, and the strangeness in between. We’ll make animals talk. We’ll flip the room upside down. We’ll explore how these distortions of reality and genre can express feelings of dislocation and alienation, as well as serve as havens for our expressions of identity. Through reading contemporary authors like Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Karen Russell, Monica Brashears, Mona Awad and others, we’ll not only have a better understanding of craft and what makes these works tick, but we’ll create stories of our own, developing our writing styles along the way. This class will strengthen your writing and literary analysis skills. Through a workshop setting, we’ll be routinely exchanging our work with our peers and also learning to engage with the larger writing community, and ultimately, to illuminate the possibilities within your own work. In addition to our workshops, other assignments will include writing papers that engage with elements of craft, reflections on your writing process, and more. By the end of the class, you’ll have produced two short stories, as well as one polished piece.

Prerequisite: English 254 or 354

English 356 Creative Writing Poetry

(300 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 1    MW 4:00-5:15        Instructor: Colin Drohan
“I love my funny poems, but I’d rather break your heart. And if I can do both in the same poem, that’s the best.” – James Tate, The Paris Review

How can we write poems that demonstrate our complex emotional depth while also making our reader laugh?

In this generative workshop, we will write a range of new poems that speak to all the wonders and flaws of our lives. Our goal will be to use humor to surprise us and to move us into the more complicated parts of our poems’ subjects, taking our readers (and ourselves) on journeys they (and we) weren’t quite expecting.

To do this, we will look at the work of both poets and comedians to see what methodologies we might be able to imitate from their work and repurpose in our own. Our readings and in-class conversations will focus on tools and topics that straddle the line between poetry and comedy: analogy, form, pacing, persona, pop culture references, repetition, speaker, structure, style, syntax, and more. Each week we will focus on a particular poetic quality, and writing exercises derived from our readings and videos will help us develop a pool of material from which to draw when writing.

In addition to developing these critical skills which can be applied to all poetry read in the class and in the future, we will analyze each other’s poems through workshop to see how we can more effectively use a range of emotions in our writing.

Pre-requisite: English 254 or 354

English 356 Creative Writing Poetry

(300 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 2    MWF 12:20-1:10    Instructor: Cleo Abramian
Documenting the Body  This workshop seeks to engage the body in the various shapes it takes. We will investigate our corporeal being and that which extends from/beyond/toward it, exploring different practices to tap into where we are writing from. We will also look at how the ways we move through the world dictate our experience both individually and collectively. How is the body identified, signaled or called to? By interacting with the body as document, the document as body, we will write in different realms of sensory experimentation. Together, we will explore a series of readings and writing exercises to tap into various mappings of the body and how they are rendered as living documents. This workshop is open to all writers, at any stage in their process. Together, we will experiment with writing poetry, allowing for expansive interpretations of the term. Classes will be made up of weekly writing exercises, readings, workshops and class discussions. In these activities, we will write a collection of new poems and develop our critical reading and discussion skills. We will be looking at work and examining the poetry and artistic practices of writers such as CA Conrad, Bernadette Mayer, Audre Lorde, Etel Adnan and Jen Bervin.

Prerequisite: English 254 or 354

English 362 Modern Novel 1945-Present

(Anglophone or 300 elective)(Social Justice)(Literature as History)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45         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. 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, Omar El Akkad, 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. This course fulfills the General Education curricular designation of Literature (AL). It demonstrates that novels do more than imitate life; they interpret and explain it. Furthermore, this course considers the function and aesthetic evaluation of novels in relation to the societies that produce them.

English 368 Modern American Drama

(course in American lit after 1865 or 300+ English elective)(American Studies)(AL)

Lecture 1    TuTh 4:00-5:15    Instructor: Heidi Holder
Surveys of American drama are often weighted with family and social drama, and comedy gets short shrift.  But from its inception the American theater employed comedy to examine specifically “American” types, offering not only a stereotypical gallery of “other” Americans but also a form in which African American, Latino, and queer playwrights, for instance, could revise their own images onstage.  In this course we will chart the path of American comedy from Royall Tyler’s “first American play” The Contrast through vaudeville and works by such playwrights as Anna Cora Mowatt, Philip Barry, Christopher Durang, Luis Valdez, George Wolfe, David Henry Hwang, Lynn Nottage, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Young Jean Lee and Selena Fillinger.

Requirements: two essays (6-8 pages), and frequent short writing assignments.  (Gen.Ed. AL)

English 371 African American literature

(Anglophone/ethnic Amer lit or Amer lit after 1865 or 300 elective)(Literature as History)

Lecture 1    MW 4:00-5:15        Instructor: Sarah Patterson
African American Reform Literature and the American Temperance Movement.  In this course, we will study African American reform literature alongside a history of the American Temperance movement in the period between 1830 to 1880. We aim to center African Americans’ distinct and concrete contributions to a social movement often associated with mainstream White American political culture and religious denominations. This class will define the methods and scope of the movement by identifying its major philosophies, figures, laws, and publishing houses. Readings by Black reformers and public intellectuals Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Frances E. W. Harper, and Frank Webb include short stories, novels, and other cultural and visual materials. Students will become acquainted with the Temperance movement as an industry of protesters, organizations, and printing industries that undergirded Americans’ moral cultures prior to the Prohibition era of the 1900s.  

English 372 Caribbean Literature: Sea is History

(Anglophone or 300+ English elective)(Literature as History)(Environmental Humanities)

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 Condé, Tiphanie Yanique, Kei Miller, René Depestre, Dionne Brand and Mayra Santos-Febres.

English 381 Professional Writing and Technical Communication II

(300 elective)(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/page design, and web accessibility. 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 MadCap Flare and either Adobe Illustrator or InDesign). 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 elective)(PWTC certificate)

Lecture 1    TuTh 11:30-12:45    Instructor: David Toomey
The course serves as the capstone to the Professional Writing and Technical Communication specialization.  It also fulfills the Integrative Experience (IE) requirement for English majors.  With a view towards specialization, the course will provide directed opportunities to study in depth an issue related to technology and culture or to explore the theory and practice of particular kinds of writing and technology. With a view towards professionalization, the course will offer an opportunity to workshop professional portfolios, to learn about careers from working professionals.  With a view to lifelong learning, the course will ask students to reflect and record the manner in which they (personally) study a subject and/or develop a skill, and so come to a better understanding of their own learning strategies.  These three aims will be framed by our collective exploration of connections between technology, communication and culture through assigned reading.

English 388 Rhetoric, Writing and Society

(300 elective)(SPOW)(TELA)

Lecture 1    MW 4:00-5:15        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 religion, science, commerce, art, and education. Contemporary rhetorical theories have expanded the purview of rhetoric to include visual media, digital culture, and nonverbal performance and to see rhetorical motivations lurking even 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 relevant objectives of the English section of the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL).

English 389 The Major and Beyond

(SPOW)

Lecture 1    W 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, Juniors, and Seniors.   

English 391C Advanced Software for Professional Writers

(300 elective)(PWTC certificate)(SPOW)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Janine Solberg
Lecture 2    MW 4:00-5:15        Instructor: Nicole O’Connell
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, DH+Games, 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 391NM Narrative Medicine: How Writing Can Heal

(300 elective)(creative writing)(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 416 Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

(early British or 400+ English elective)

Lecture 1    MWF 12:20-1:10        Instructor: Jenny Adams
In this course we will work together through Geoffrey Chaucer's most famous poem, the "Canterbury Tales."  We will read *slowly* through the poem so that we can grasp Chaucer's subtle complexities.  We will also read more broadly in order to place the "Canterbury Tales" in the context of Chaucer's other works and in the context of late fourteenth-century literary culture.  Three response papers, two short essays, a final exam, and the creation of your own Canterbury Tale.

English 421 Advanced Shakespeare

(course in early British literature or 400+ English elective)(Literature as History)

Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15        Instructor: Marjorie Rubright
Course Subtitle: The Drama of Resistance. What does it mean to read literature as resistance? When should literature itself be resisted or rejected? In this course, we’ll explore these questions by focusing on a single Shakespearean play: Othello: The Moor of Venice. Throughout the term, we will explore various critical/theoretical as well as political investments for how they have changed the ways students, scholars, political activists, theater actors and film directors have interpreted and performed this play.  We'll ask: how do various theoretical frameworks as well as lived experiences change what audiences see about the play and, in turn, how does the play itself change over time?

We will: read two versions of the play that were printed in the Renaissance (the quarto and folio editions) alongside modern editions; explore a range of adaptations in the visual arts and in print (including American Moor); and watch a number of film performances. The work of black actors, artists, activists, and scholars will be central to our discussions. We will also speak with actors and directors working on contemporary productions. One class meeting will be held at UMass’s Renaissance Center where you will do hands-on work with rare books from the Renaissance and another will take you through the “Shakespeare Unbound” exhibit at Du Bois library, where we’ll explore Othello’s ongoing American legacies.Students who have taken English 221 (Introduction to Shakespeare) are well-prepared for this course.   

English 450 Advanced Expository Writing

(400 elective)(creative writing)(SPOW)

Lecture 1    TuTh 2:30-3:45    Instructor: David Toomey
The course will approach nonfiction writing on practical and theoretical levels. Each student will undertake a large project developing a single subject into several interrelated nonfiction forms: a popular magazine article or a more specialized journal piece and a formal book proposal. The proposal will be the major work of the course, and will undergo several drafts. In addition, each student will compose a book review of a nonfiction work in a subject related to his or her project, and brief essay that addresses a theoretical issue in nonfiction writing. After successful completion of the course, the student will have produced a submission-ready magazine piece and a submission-ready book proposal.

Most class sessions will be devoted to workshops and/or discussion. Students' writing will be informed by assigned readings involving theoretical issues related to the field; we will discuss those issues both on designated dates and as they arise naturally. Discussion subjects may be grouped into categories of theory, practical matters and craft.

Prerequisite: ENGLISH 350, 355, or 356

English 455 Advanced Creative Writing Fiction

(400 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Daniel Sack
A seminar in writing short stories and other fiction for advanced creative writing students. Students read in contemporary fiction and in craft topics; write regularly and discuss one another's writing.

Prerequisite: ENGLISH 350, 355, or 356

English 456 Advanced Creative Writing Poetry

(400 elective)(creative writing)

Lecture 1    Tu 1:00-3:30 pm        Instructor: Claudia Wilson

Title: Poetics of Environment: Places, Landscapes, and Cities                                             How do we speak to environments? How do they talk to us? How do we commune with each other as we go about our ordinary lives? We know that environments are the units of cities, but the very word implicates many other types of physical places: a crawlspace, a forest, a street, an ocean. These locations could hold so much intergenerationally, historically, and spiritually. The word environment conjures even more if we write about those that we have inhabited. What does this mean for our bodies? When we enter spaces how do our bodies body as they are in them? How are they communing in spaces? Is there a negotiation or shift that happens? What impact does race, gender, or class have on our poetics of environment and how do we find the languages we need so our poems reflect this on the page - spatially and syntactically? Further considerations to ponder : what is the ground we walk or sit on and what can be known of what was there before and now? Is there anything new happening as these time constructs combine? How do these narratives mix in our attempts at poems? Long story short: there is more thinking here for us to do. While acknowledging and existing in our current political climate, these questions will generate the poems we desire to make about spaces and landscapes that help us tap into some possible ecocritical perspectives. This course is not interested in landscape or nature for landscape or nature’s sake. It is interested in what conversations look like underneath the surface and the possible political and/or cultural associations with them/in them and underneath them in relation to being human. We will read poems in this lineage. This is an advanced poetry workshop where we will read widely and generate new poems with a particular focus on various environments while also analyzing our poetics. 

Reading list: Dionne Brand, Rio Cortez, Jan Beatty, Sherwin Bitsui, Pablo Neruda, Miguel Bacho, Evie Shockley, Brenda Hillman, Camille T. Dungy, Toni Morrison, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Katherine McKittrick .

Prerequisite: ENGLISH 350, 355, or 356

English 468H James Joyce honors

(400 elective or Anglophone)(Environmental Humanities)

Lecture 1    TuTh 2:30-3:45    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 elective or later British lit)(Literature as History)

Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15    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, Richard Marsh, Mary Shelley, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

English 486 Writing and Schooling

(400 English elective)(TELA)(SPOW)

Lecture 1    TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: Rebecca Lorimer Leonard
An introduction to writing studies designed for students who may want to teach K-16, the course offers a variety of approaches to understanding writing production and literacy. Focusing on how writing changes in response to cultural, technical, and social shifts, the course examines the impact of such changes on teaching writing.

English 491DS Data Science and the Humanities

(400+ elective in English)(SPoW)(Digital Humanities)

Lecture 1    TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: Stephen Harris
This course introduces you to data science. You will learn the python programming language, how to design simple algorithms, and how to apply data science to the humanities. The skill set you learn in this course is portable to business, law, journalism, teaching, and public service. UMass offers several introductions to data science, but this course focuses on practical applications in literature, language, history, art, architecture, film, music, dance, society, and politics. We start from scratch, so you don't need to know how to program, and high-school-level math is sufficient. You will design and implement a final project on your own or with a team. Grades are based on basic proficiency in python, a good grasp of simple algorithms, and the success of your final project. Please feel free to contact the professor beforehand if you have any questions or concerns about this course.

English 491E Literature & Education

(400 elective)(TELA)

Lecture 1    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Jenny Adams
This course if for students with some interest (it doesn't have to be strong!) in teaching literature at the junior high or high school level.  In the class, we will reflect on our own relationship with literature and reasons to teach it.  We will also work on approaches to teaching literature and become familiar with curriculum planning student assessment.  Assignments include two response papers, four lesson plans, and some practice with classroom teaching.

English 491LM Literature, Music and the Rules of Engagement: Multi-ethnic experiences in the US

(400 elective or Ethnic American/Anglophone)(Social Justice)

Lecture 1    MW 4:00-5:15 pm        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 492N Nature, Climate Change and Literature

(400 English elective)(Environmental Humanities)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        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.
 
Readings:
Novels:
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 & English Studies

(IE)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: David Fleming
Writing, Identity, and English Studies is a nonfiction writing course designed to satisfy the University’s Integrative Experience (IE) requirement. The IE is a campus-wide, upper-division course that asks students 1) “to reflect on and to integrate” their learning in college, from their major to their General Education courses to their electives and extracurricular experiences; 2) to practice key “Gen Ed” objectives, such as oral communication, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary perspective-taking, at a more advanced level; and 3) to apply what they’ve learned to “new situations, challenging questions, and real-world problems.” This course is a writing-intensive version of the IE, designed specifically for senior primary English majors. You’ll review your work in English and assess where you are in that discipline, what projects you have found meaningful and what you’d like to do more of in the future. And you’ll imagine how you might apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired in college to problems, communities, and opportunities beyond. We’ll use an anthology of personal essays as prompt and model. At the end of the semester, you’ll collect your work in an e-portfolio, showcasing your knowledge, skills, accomplishments, and aspirations.

English 494JI Going to Jail: Incarceration in US literature and culture

(Integrative Experience)(Anglophone/ethnic American)(Social Justice)

Lecture 1        TuTh 1:00-2:15    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 from your gen ed coursework throughout. Assignments will include five short papers and two drafts of a longer final paper. Authors may include: Michelle Alexander, Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Martin Luther King, CeCe McDonald, David Oshinsky, Danielle Sered, Bryan Stevenson, Jerome Washington, and Malcolm X. Open only to senior English majors.

English 494SI Literature and Social Justice

(IE)(Social Justice)

Lecture 1    MW 4:00-5:15        Instructor: Jane Degenhardt
Why do we study literature? What is its importance to your life (now and beyond college) and to the world we live in? This writing-intensive class is for students who answer these questions by drawing a connection between literature and social justice. Readings include works by Shakespeare, Saidiya Hartman, Nnedi Okorafor, Celeste Ng, Mohsin Hamid, and Louise Erdrich. We will explore the possible connections between literature and social justice by undertaking critical considerations of empathy, archival absence, trauma and healing, prison education, and mainstream entertainment. Students will undertake a variety of critical and creative assignments. This class counts toward the Social Justice Specialization and is designed specifically to meet the requirements of the Integrative Experience, which serves as a culmination of your General Education curriculum and your undergraduate years. As such, it is intended to help integrate your academic experiences as a college student, drawing connections between your General Education courses, your courses in the major, your electives, and your extracurricular activities.

English 499D Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry, and Literary Non-fiction – 2nd semester

(400 elective)(creative writing)

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 Mona Awad, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Zora Neale Hurston, Virginia Woolf, and Teju Cole, memoir by Helene Cooper, non-fiction by Joan Didion, poetry collections by Nathan McClain, Denise Duhamel, and other contemporary poets (including the anthology The BreakBeat Poets).

Online Courses

 

The University Without Walls (UWW) at UMass Amherst offers online courses and degree programs. For students taking classes on campus, you will need to request an enrollment appointment on Spire before you can enroll in UWW courses. To learn more about UWW and the online degree programs they offer, visit their website.

Summer Session 1 (May 21 - July3) English Courses:

ENGL 131 Society and Literature (GenEd:  AD, DG)

Instructor: Rowshan Chowdhury 
Where did the master narratives, the standard stories we tell ourselves or our culture tells us, come from and how do they operate in erasing our history? What function does literature serve in mediating our relationship to other cultures and societies? How have the ideals of liberty, equality, and human rights taken multiple and contradictory shapes within the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts of various eras? The course ENG 131: Society and Literature is designed to explore these questions, looking specifically at the transnational co-formations that shape American society. Through readings of political speeches, short stories, essays, poems, and films or documentaries based on the entanglements of histories of the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Asia, we will address literature’s capacity to endorse, naturalize, dramatize, critique, subvert, or reimagine our relationship to the material world. During these six weeks of reading and writing assignments, we will study the ways writers from various origins engaged with societal issues including but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender, slavery, assimilation, capitalism, genocide, colonialism, and anti-oppression movements. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

ENGL 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (GenEd: AL, DG)

Instructor: Sarah Luken
This course satisfies the university's Gen.Ed. AL, DG requirements and is worth 4 credit hours. Its purpose is to continue improving the critical reading and writing skills you already have while attending to themes of gender, sexuality, and culture in literature.

ENGL 221 Shakespeare (GenEd: AL)

(early British literature or 200 English elective)

Instructor: Chandler Steckbeck

Shakespeare’s Adapted Women: What is the role of women in Shakespeare’s plays and in adaptations? By pairing Shakespeare’s plays with film adaptations of them, this online and asynchronous course will examine the ways in which Shakespeare’s female characters are treated on the stage and the screen.  Each of the plays will be paired with a film adaptation, and coursework—response essays, online forums, and the final project—will engage with the plays and the adaptations. By examining the changes made (and not made) by the adaptors, we will reflect on the plays and the implications for the characters, especially the women in them. This course will introduce students to some of the conversations around categories of the human—including gender, race, religion, and class—in early modern studies while also examining the politics of engaging with Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations today. In this class, we will ask questions like: How does a character’s race, religion, class, etc. impact her agency in the text? What does Shakespeare bring to conversations about racial, gender, and other kinds of inequities? What is the nature of adaptation and what do adaptive choices tell us about the original work, the adaptation, and the cultural origins of both? (Gen.Ed. AL)

Note: Weekly lectures, assignments, and class discussions will be asynchronous to allow for students from all time zones to be able to equally participate.

ENGL 254: Introduction to Creative Writing  (GenEd: AL)
Topic: Finding Your Writing

(200 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Instructor: Joan Tate              
Finding Your Writing. Why do you write? To express yourself? To create something beautiful? To access something deeper? Maybe you don’t quite know yet. No matter how you feel, your experience, or history, this generative class will explore the writer’s life as it has been practiced in order to find your own unique way of searching. Linda Gregg opens her essay The Art of Finding saying “I believe that poetry at its best is found rather than written.” With this in mind, this course will explore where our writing comes from, both externally and internally through various genres. Together, we will ask ourselves how routine, ritual, reflection, living space, and relationships all factor in as essential parts of writing for you and countless other writers. Students will keep a sensory journal and engage in reflective exercises, guided meditations, and class discourse. Students will leave this class with 5 poems, 2 short stories, and culminate in a writer’s statement or Ars Poetica. We will take inspiration from multi-genre luminaries like Renee Gladman, Eileen Myles, and Audre Lorde, visionary poets like Jos Charles, Eduardo C. Corral, and CAConrad, and fiction giants like Denis Johnson, Lydia Davis, and James Baldwin as well as so many more.

ENGL 269 American literature and culture after 1865

(later American literature or 200 English elective)

Instructor: Timothy Ong

This course is a survey of American Literature, broadly conceived, from the end of the Civil War to the present. Special focus is given to its many forms and concerns, its major writers, its minority voices, its relationship to American society and politics, and its significance to the contemporary reader. Specifically, the course encourages students to reassess the definition of “American Literature” in relation to major historical events that continue to shape the social and cultural life in the US such as imperial expansion, immigration, and industrialization. We will examine and analyze how literary texts that reflect such changes gave rise to new ways of thinking about race, gender, and class and how these categories challenge the idea of a singular American identity.

Over the course of the semester, we will be attending to major movements within the American literary tradition and their historical, political, and cultural contexts. Such movements include realist fiction in the late 19th CE to early 20th CE, modernist aesthetics in American poetry, post-WWII fiction and US imperialism, and contemporary articulations of the American experience. Drawing from both canonical and marginal texts, the course seeks to critically examine social and cultural forces that nominate such designations to fully appreciate and understand the diverse and complex nature of American literature and society. 

ENGL 356 Creative Writing: Poetry

(300 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Instructor: Cleo Abramian
This course seeks to engage the body as the poem itself. We will investigate our corporeal being and that which extends from/beyond/toward it, exploring different practices to tap into where we are writing from. We will also look at how the ways we move through the world dictate our experience both individually and collectively. By interacting with the body as poem, the poem as body, we will write in different realms of somatic experimentation. Together, we will approach poetry with an expansive interpretation of the term, while attuning ourselves to a variety of forms and poetic constraints. Classes will be made up of weekly writing exercises, readings, workshopping and class discussions. We will be looking at work and examining the poetry and artistic practices of writers such as CA Conrad, Bernadette Mayer, Audre Lorde, Etel Adnan and Jen Bervin. Students will leave this course with a collection of poems that they develop into a small chapbook or performance. This course is open to all writers, at any stage in their process.

English 391AG Writing the Graphic Novel

(300 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Instructor: Stefan Petrucha
A nuts-and-bolts look at comic books and graphic novels purely from the writer's side. With 'Making Comics' by Scott McCloud as the basic text, we'll look at panel descriptions that inspire visuals, character-driven dialogue, the seven types of relationship between words and pictures, the writer/artist relationship and more. In addition to various writing exercises, students will develop their own ideas from springboards into completed scripts. This is not a course about artwork, and requires no artistic skill. It is also not a course about superheroes, treating graphic novel as an open medium capable of engaging any type of literary effort from genre to poetry.


Summer Session 2 (July 8 - August 16th) English Courses:

ENGL 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (GenEd: AL, DG)

Instructor: Shwetha Chandrashekhar
This course satisfies the university's Gen.Ed. AL, DG requirements and is worth 4 credit hours. Its purpose is to continue improving the critical reading and writing skills you already have while attending to themes of gender, sexuality, and culture in literature.

ENGL 190N Environment, Climate Change and the Humanities (GenEd: AL, DG)

Instructor: Thakshala Tissera
This course introduces students to the exciting, interdisciplinary field of the Environmental Humanities, which engages with the relationship between humanistic study and environmental concerns, such as climate change. While questions of ecology, environment, landscape, and weather have always played a role in literary, historical, and philosophical inquiries, how might those critical lenses be utilized to think through urgent concerns such as anthropogenic climate change and unprecedented species extinctions around the world? Questions of climate and species extinctions are generally consigned to scientific enquiry; however, in this course we will learn how and why the humanities plays a crucial role in these debates. Students will be introduced to a range of literary, artistic, historical, and popular narratives from across the globe that interrogate these questions. In modules such as ecological imperialism and environmental racism, students will gain an understanding of the relationship between empire and climate change, and why it is important to couple (rather than bifurcate) nature from culture. Other modules, for example, will encourage students to critically evaluate the role of fossil fuels in contemporary cultures and recognize the importance of storytelling in building environmental resilience. The final module of this course will encourage students to imagine post-oil, alternative and flourishing futures.

ENGL 202 Later British Literature

(British literature after 1700 or 200 English elective)

Instructor: Mitia Nath
This survey course introduces students to some key moments in British literary history, starting from the 18th century to the present post-Brexit moment, through a focus on the evolving form of the novel. Drawing on theories of the novel by Ian Watt, Franco Moretti, Mikhail Bakhtin, alongside more contemporary critiques by theorists such as Nancy Armstrong and Guido Mazzoni, this course will examine the emergence of this form as a product of the economic and political forces that were shaping European societies in the 18th and 19th centuries. In our discussions of the 18th and 19th century novels, we’ll also inquire into the intriguing popularity of women novelists in this market-oriented art form. Into the 20th century, we’ll aim to explore the modernist novel’s engagement with a rapidly changing world through the figure of the alienated protagonist, and the postwar novel’s attention to class politics in the light of Britain’s loss of colonies. Our contemporary British novel week will attempt to ask if Brexit also leaves a trace on the novelistic imagination of society and the nation-state. Over the course of six weeks, taking into account the rich history of the British novel, we will continue to reflect on its evolving meanings, especially in the present era of world literature and the global anglophone novel. 

ENGL 385 Creative Writing Nonfiction

(300 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Instructor: Connie Griffin
Creative Nonfiction Personalized Catalog Description The popular genre of Creative Nonfiction incorporates literary techniques such as character development and complication, setting and scene, imagery, and symbolic usage. The genre directs a reader’s awareness toward narrative persona and thematic resonance as well as scene and situation. Because it’s such a broad term, identifying subgenres helps in defining it. These include, among others: biography, autobiography, memoir, essays, literary journalism. Experimentations include nonlinear narrative techniques such as stream of consciousness, flashbacks, and episodic vignettes. In addition to becoming informed about creative nonfiction subgenres and literary techniques, we will focus on writing as a process, approach readings (including peers’ writings) as writers, and apply innovative, as well as traditional research methods, to our writing projects. Although students will experiment with the subgenres of creative nonfiction listed above, you are free to choose your own topics, structural devices, and thematic goals. We will engage in a creative community process of discussion, peer review, and revision.  
 

ENGL 391AJ Writing for a Living

(300 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Instructor Sefan Petrucha
Learn strategies and skills for presenting your book, your articles, your ideas, and yourself in a compelling and competitive manner to potential readers and buyers. Focusing on the rapidly changing world of publishing, will explore creative writing concepts that apply equally in creating job applications and business proposals.

 


Winter 2024 Semester English Course listings

December 18th - January 31st


ENGL 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture

Instructor: TBA
Introduction to literature through a lens of gender identity and sexuality.  Texts include fiction, plays, poems that deal with and inspire conversations about the public politics and personal experience of gender and sexuality, both in the past and present. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

ENGL 202 Later British Literature

(British literature after 1700 or 200 English elective)

Instructor: TBA
The development of British literature from the Enlightenment of the 18th century through the Romaticism and Realism of the 19th century to the Modernism of the early 20th century; literary response to scientific and industrial changes, political revolution and the technical and social reordering of British society.  Open only to English majors, and those studying at the University on international or domestic exchange.

ENGL 254: Introduction to Creative Writing 

(GenEd: AL)(200 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Title: The Craft Behind Worldbuilding: Fantasy, Sci-Fri & Afrofuturism

Instructor: Rudendo Chidzodzo (on spire as Charleen Chidzodzo)
Have you ever read a story that transported you out of this world? Have you ever imagined living in a completely made-up world? How do we create such worlds? What craft techniques make for great worldbuilding? Whether you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, Black Panther, or Star Wars, in this course, we will explore the art of writing speculative fiction & poetry, we will create works that split open the world as we know it. This course will address two genres: Black speculative literature and sci-fi. We will study the masters of speculative literature and sci-fi before attempting to create our own unique worlds. In order for us to break the rules of reality, we must know them first. We will study short stories, poems, essays, comics, etc. By the end of our course, you will have a completed work of prose or poetry that breaks the boundaries of reality.

This course satisfies the Gen.Ed. AL requirement.

ENGL 339 Film and Literature (300 English elective)

Instructor: TBA
Film-works as extensions, continuations, syntheses, and reconstitutions of cultural and artistic traditions. The historical, formal, and aesthetic relationships between literature and the cinema. Emphasis on problems raised in literary aesthetics as a result of film.

ENGL 355: Creative Writing Fiction 

(300 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Title:  Generating Short Stories

Instructor: Lawrence Flynn
How do we generate fiction, using both our imagination and the surrounding world? How do we build stories upward from the sentence? What temporal opportunities are presented by the short story form? What purpose does the short story serve? By examining the process of generating fiction and engaging close readings of classical and contemporary short stories, we will arrive at a greater appreciation for the possibilities and powers of the short story form. Supplemented by craft essays on process, characterization, environment, form, and perspective, we will uncover new techniques to craft stories and practice cultivating writing habits.

Writers of all experiences and backgrounds are welcome. The foundational spirits of our generative workshop will be experimentation, play, and discovery. Buoyed by this energy, we will germinate, draft, and revise two short stories over seven weeks, built from writing routines we will practice together. Regularly, we will also author written responses to our readings, which will draw from a wide range of traditions and voices, including James Baldwin, Italo Calvino, Anton Chekov, James Joyce, Ha Jin, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Peter Ho Davies, Joy Williams, Anthony Doerr, ZZ Packer, Yiyun Li, Jamil Jan Kochai, and others.

ENGL 391AG Writing the Graphic Novel (200 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Instructor: Stefan Petrucha
A nuts-and-bolts look at comic books and graphic novels purely from the writer's side. With 'Making Comics' by Scott McCloud as the basic text, we'll look at panel descriptions that inspire visuals, character-driven dialogue, the seven types of relationship between words and pictures, the writer/artist relationship and more. In addition to various writing exercises, students will develop their own ideas from springboards into completed scripts. This is not a course about artwork, and requires no artistic skill. It is also not a course about superheroes, treating graphic novel as an open medium capable of engaging any type of literary effort from genre to poetry.

ENGL 391AJ Writing for a Living (200 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Instructor Sefan Petrucha
Learn strategies and skills for presenting your book, your articles, your ideas, and yourself in a compelling and competitive manner to potential readers and buyers. Focusing on the rapidly changing world of publishing, will explore creative writing concepts that apply equally in creating job applications and business proposals.


Spring 2024 Semester English Course listings

ENGL 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (GenEd: AL, DG)

Instructor: Sarah Luken
This course satisfies the university's Gen.Ed. AL, DG requirements and is worth 4 credit hours. Its purpose is to continue improving the critical reading and writing skills you already have while attending to themes of gender, sexuality, and culture in literature.
 

ENGL 254: Introduction to Creative Writing  (GenEd: AL)

(200 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)
Instructor: Sara Hetherington
All creative writing presents readers with particular realities. In this course, we will analyze published works to determine the logic, rules, and textures of their presented realities, and then practice creating our own. Our goals are to identify the “weirdness” found in any piece of creative writing, no matter how seemingly “normal” the subject matter; and to gain an appreciation for what makes our own writing unique. We will read creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry by both modern and contemporary authors, including Donald Antrim, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Anton Chekhov, Franny Choi, Alice Munro, Mary Oliver, George Saunders, David Sedaris, and Michelle Zauner, among others. Students will give short presentations on authors and texts; complete exercises to practice elements of creative writing; share their writing with their classmates in guided workshop sessions; and offer feedback on each other’s work. By the end of the course, students will have completed a portfolio of 5 poems, 2 stories, and 2 essays.

ENGL 391AJ Writing for a Living

(200 English or Creative Writing elective)(Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization)

Instructor Sefan Petrucha
Learn strategies and skills for presenting your book, your articles, your ideas, and yourself in a compelling and competitive manner to potential readers and buyers. Focusing on the rapidly changing world of publishing, will explore creative writing concepts that apply equally in creating job applications and business proposals.

Fall 2023 Semester English Course Listing

Sept 5th - December 8th


ENGL 132 Gender Sexuality, Literary & Culture (ALDG)

Intructor: Sam Davis

In ENG 132, we will explore five fundamental theoretical concepts in the Humanities and apply them to a handful of 20th-21st century literary texts written by authors of color. These fundamental concepts include scholarship on Race, Gender, Disability, Class, and Culture itself. We will read core scholars such as Robert McRuer, Devon Carbado, Stuart Hall, Judith Butler, Jennifer Morgan, and Kevin Quashie. Each theoretical text will accompany a literary text including James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Lena Nsomeka-Gomes’s “When I Was A Little Girl,” Cameron Awkward-Rich’s Sympathetic Little Monster, as well as a film, Paris Is Burning, and one episode from the television series Pose. 

The goal of this class is to take complex theoretical concepts and simplify them. In this spirit, the final assignment of the class is to create a digital collection of TikTok videos in which each student takes a theoretical concept and boils it down for a general audience. These videos will be created on a weekly basis wherein each student tackles a particular concept and posts their video on the Moodle. These TikToks then serve as asynchronous weekly material that assists students in their understanding of these difficult concepts. The two skills we work to develop in this class are close reading of dense theoretical texts, and then the ability to explain and describe complex ideas to others, outside of an academic context.

ENGL 254 Introduction to Creative Writing

(AL)(200 elective)(creative writing)

Instructor: Ide Thompson

Analysis of problems of form, elements of genre, style and development of themes of stories and poems, written by class members and in class texts. Lecture, discussion, 5 poems, 2 stories, 2 essays. (Gen. Ed. AL)

ENGL 339 Film and Literature (300 elective)

Instructor: Jon Hoel

This course will engage the process of adaptation, the curious dynamic of cinema and literature, a compelling and complex relationship that continues to produce some of the most interesting texts, year after year. We will challenge preexisting ideas of cinema, of adaptation, and of what makes for an interesting film by questioning cinematic narratives and genre conventions and see how far we can push our textual analysis with cinema. We will read film theory, look at some scripts, and watch some video essays on recent developments in movies. 

The course will engage all kinds of films including but not limited to:
Diary of a Country Priest – dir. Robert Bresson (1951)
The Ascent – dir. Larisa Shepitko (1977)
Solaris & Stalker – dir. Andrei Tarkovsky (1972 & 1979)
Adaptation – dir. Charlie Kaufmann (2002)
First Reformed – dir. Paul Schrader (2017)
Stars at Noon – dir. Claire Denis (2022)

ENGL 385 Creative Writing Nonfiction

(300 elective)(creative writing)

Instructor: Connie Griffin

The popular genre of Creative Nonfiction incorporates literary techniques such as character development and complication, setting and scene, imagery, and symbolic usage. The genre directs a reader’s awareness toward narrative persona and thematic resonance as well as scene and situation. Because it’s such a broad term, identifying subgenres helps in defining it. These include, among others: biography, autobiography, memoir, essays, literary journalism. Experimentations include nonlinear narrative techniques such as stream of consciousness, flashbacks, and episodic vignettes. In addition to becoming informed about creative nonfiction subgenres and literary techniques, we will focus on writing as a process, approach readings (including peers’ writings) as writers, and apply innovative, as well as traditional research methods, to our writing projects. Although students will experiment with the subgenres of creative nonfiction listed above, you are free to choose your own topics, structural devices, and thematic goals. We will engage in a creative community process of discussion, peer review, and revision.  

ENGL 391AG Writing the Graphic Novel

(300 elective)(creative writing)

Instructor: Stefan Petrucha

A nuts-and-bolts look at comic books and graphic novels purely from the writer's side. With 'Making Comics' by Scott McCloud as the basic text, we'll look at panel descriptions that inspire visuals, character-driven dialogue, the seven types of relationship between words and pictures, the writer/artist relationship and more. In addition to various writing exercises, students will develop their own ideas from springboards into completed scripts. This is not a course about artwork, and requires no artistic skill. It is also not a course about superheroes, treating graphic novel as an open medium capable of engaging any type of literary effort from genre to poetry.

ENGL 391AJ Writing for a Living (300 elective)(creative writing)

Instructor Sefan Petrucha

Learn strategies and skills for presenting your book, your articles, your ideas, and yourself in a compelling and competitive manner to potential readers and buyers. Focusing on the rapidly changing world of publishing, will explore creative writing concepts that apply equally in creating job applications and business proposals.

Sorted by requirement

 

Fall 2024 courses organized by requirements in the major that they meet.


English 200 Intro to Literary Studies

English 200, Section 1
English 200, Section 2
English 200, Section 3
English 200, Section 4
English 200, Section 5 


One course in British Literature and Culture before 1700

English 221 Shakespeare 
English 313 Intro to Old English Poetry
English 412 History of English Language


Survey Requirements (total 2 courses)

Two courses total: One course each in two of the following categories:

  • Category 1: British Literature and Culture after 1700

  • Category 2: American Literature and Culture before 1865

  • Category 3: American Literature and Culture after 1865

English 202 Later British Literature (category 1)
English 268 American Literature and Culture before 1865 (category 2)
English 269 American Literature and Culture after 1865 (category 3)
English 272 American Romanticism (category2)
English 358 The Romantic Poets (category 1)
English 359 Victorian Imagination (category 1)
English 362 Modern Novel: Arab American literature (category 3)
English 378 American Women Writers (category 3)


One course in global Anglophone or ethnic American literature, culture, or rhetorics 200+ level:

English 300 Junior Year Writing: Section 2: Literatures of Conflict 
English 300 Junior Year Writing, Section 3: Race and Rhetoric
English 300 Junior Year Writing, Section 4: Representation in Black literature
English 362 Modern Novel: Arab American literature


200-400+ English electives:

English 202 Later British Literature
English 221 Shakespeare
English 250 Intro to Writing, Rhetoric and Literacy Studies
English 254 Intro to Creative Writing (Sections 1-4)
English 268 American Literature and Culture before 1865
English 269 American Literature and Culture after 1865 
English 272 American Romanticism
English 290BH All the World's a Stage: Intro to Performance Studies
English 300 Junior Year Writing, Section 1: TBA
English 300 Junior Year Writing: Section 2: Literatures of Conflict 
English 300 Junior Year Writing, Section 3: Race and Rhetoric
English 300 Junior Year Writing: Section 5: Representation in Black literature
English 302 Studies/Textuality and New Media
English 313 Intro to Old English Poetry
English 317 (Dis)ability and Literature
English 319 Representing the Holocaust
English 329H Tutoring Writing:  Theory and Practice Honors
English 350H Expository Writing Honors
English 355 Creative Writing Fiction
English 356 Creative Writing Poetry
English 358 The Romantic Poets 
English 359 Victorian Imagination
English 362 Modern Novel: Arab American literature
English 378 American Women Writers
English 379 Intro to Professional Writing (Sections 1-2)
English 380 Professional Writing and Technical Communication
English 391NM Narrative Medicine: How Writing Can Heal
English 398P Literary Programming, Editing and Publishing
English 416 History of the English Language
English 450 Advanced Expository Writing
English 456 Creative Writing: Advanced Poetry
English 499C Honors Thesis: Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry and Literary Non-fiction.

Students may count English 398 (a graded, 3-credit internship) towards this requirement.


Junior Year Writing:

English 300 Junior Year Writing, Section 1: TBA
English 300 Junior Year Writing: Section 2: Literatures of Conflict 
English 300 Junior Year Writing, Section 3: Race and Rhetoric
English 300 Junior Year Writing: Section 5: Representation in Black literature

Second majors in English are not required to fulfill their junior year writing or integrative experience requirements in English as they will fulfill them in their primary major.


Integrative Experience:

English 494EI Writing, Identity & English Studies
English 494MI Virtual Medieval: Fictions and Fantasies about the Middle Ages
English 494SI Literature and Social Justice

 

Second majors in English are not required to fulfill their junior year writing or integrative experience requirements in English as they will fulfill them in their primary major.


Important Notes:

If you wish to apply 1 course toward 2 approved requirements, you must pick up 1 extra 300+ English elective and notify the English Undergraduate Office so that we can make the exception on your ARR. For instance, if you would like to count English 300 Junior Year Writing, Section 5 US Literature in a Global Context toward both the American literature before 1865 requirement and also toward Junior Year Writing, you must take one extra 300+ English elective. It can be a writing or literature course.

Dual degree 2nd majors must take junior year writing with us (but are still waived from the Integrative Experience)

We accept no more than three pre-approved transfer, exchange and/or five college courses toward our major requirements.


Contact:

Please contact Celeste (cstoddard@umass.edu) at the English Undergraduate office if you have any questions about the requirements or to get elective credit for an internship and/or transfer courses pre-approved.

5 College & STEP

 

Take a Course at one of the other Five Colleges

One of the unique opportunities open to you as a UMass student is the ability to enroll in courses from the surrounding four colleges:

  • Amherst College,
  • Hampshire College,
  • Mount Holyoke College, and
  • Smith College.

Grades earned at the other four colleges are recorded and factored into your UMass Amherst GPA.

You may enroll in no more than 8 credits per college in a given semester. For example, you could take 8 credits at one college, 4 credits at a 2nd college and 4 credits at a third college. However, you must also be enrolled in at least one 3-credit course at UMass Amherst.

Registration for courses at the four colleges for undergraduate students is held in the Five College Interchange Office, 511 Goodell. You can enroll in 5 College courses during the first 2 weeks of registration, regardless of your UMass Amherst enrollment appointment. 

To learn if a course you are interested in taking through the Five Colleges will count toward the major, please contact Celeste.

 

Find STEP Courses

STEP (Secondary Teacher Education Program) prepares students who plan to teach English at the High School level. Learn more about STEP and teaching career paths.

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