The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Undergraduate

Undergraduate English Courses

English Fall 2021 Courses

To see these options on SPIRE, see our Class Listings page. (will be updated shortly)

English 115 American Experience (ALDU)
Lecture 1         MWF 9:05-9:55           Instructor: Angela Kim
Primarily for nonmajors. Introduction to the interdisciplinary study of American culture, with a wide historical scope and attention to diverse cultural experiences in the U.S. Readings in fiction, prose, and poetry, supplemented by painting, photography, film, and material culture.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)

English 115 American Experience (ALDU)
Lecture 2         MWF 10:10-11:00       Instructor: Rowshan Chowdhury
This course deals with the diverse experiences of people from various backgrounds in the United States. To explore the diversity in experience throughout the country’s history, this course will examine the struggles, revolutions, and perspectives of marginalized groups in U.S. history, such as Native Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans. This course will also examine some prominent literary works, both fictional and non-fictional supplemented by painting, photography, film, and material culture, to reflect on how the ideals of liberty, equality, and human rights have taken multiple and contradictory shapes within the social, political, cultural, and economic contexts of various eras. As we explore these aspects, our objectives will be to understand how significant forces and events, such as race, ethnicity, slavery, colonialism, anti-colonial and anti-slavery rebellions, that shaped American civilization from the eighteenth century to the present impact global issues. Authors might include John de Crevecoueur, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fredrick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Toni Morrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ocean Vuong, and Joy Harjo.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)

English 115H American Experience Honors (ALDU)
Lecture 1         TuTh 10:00-11:15       Instructor: Asha Nadkarni
Using the thematic of immigration to and migration within the United States, this course will explore "American experiences" from the early 20th century to the present. Course materials will include literature, films, visual art, and other media forms, with an eye to how each text gives representational shape to the experiences they depict. We will concentrate especially on how they negotiate issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. This course satisfies the DU and AL General Education Requirements.

English 117 Ethnic American Literature (ALDU)
Lecture 1         MWF 1:25-2:15           Instructor: Maria Ishikawa
American literature written by and about ethnic minorities, from the earliest immigrants through the cultural representations in modern American writing. (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)

English 131 Society and Literature (ALDG)
Lecture 1         TuTh 10:00-11:15       Instructor: Leslie Leonard
This course explores the relationship between literature and labor in the United States. We will look to how literature has depicted laborers and the working class across a variety of periods and genres as well as think about how class operates as a barrier to access, particularly when class intersects with race, sexuality, gender presentation, citizenship status, and abled-bodiedness. Some questions this class will consider: How are laborers depicted and how do these depictions affect how the U.S. public is meant to interpret labor? What work is deemed valuable? What aspects of American life are impacted by working conditions? How do texts depict issues of unionization, capitalism, citizenship, blue/white collar work, and the disparities of working in the United States? How might we think of various forms of inequality (racial, gendered, etc.) as intrinsically tied to class and labor (rather than separate from it? How can literature serve as a useful tool for activating social change or organization? Ultimately, students will read from a variety of diverse authors in order to more critically engage with U.S. labor history, capitalism, worker exploitation, and so on in order to more thoroughly engage with our current political and economic moment as well as with their own individual relationships to class and work. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 131 Society and Literature (ALDG)
Lecture 2         MWF 11:15-12:05       Instructor: Nick Sancho-Rosi
Literature that deals with our relationship to society. Topics may include: the utopian vision; the notion of the self, politics and literature.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 131 Society and Literature (ALDG)
Lecture 3         MWF 1:25-2:15           Instructor: Caroline Heafey
Literature that deals with our relationship to society. Topics may include: the utopian vision; the notion of the self, politics and literature.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 131 Society and Literature (ALDG)
Lecture 4         MWF 10:10-11:00       Instructor: Crystal Baines
Literature and Human Rights.  This course explores the relationship between literature and human rights in American and Global South contexts. In what ways do writers use specific genres to articulate and humanize what may seem to be otherwise abstract concepts such as human rights and social justice? How do literary modes of representation both reclaim and problematize discourses of human rights? We will discuss how aesthetics and ethics combine to produce alternative and innovative ways of imagining a ‘just’ society. Students will consider how novels, short stories, and films become a creative platform to educate and raise awareness on compromised or denied social, cultural, and economic rights in systems of war, colonization, slavery, race, and caste. We will also consider instances where writers and artists have successfully agitated society into action and have in turn found their own rights compromised and their voices and works censored or destroyed. This course will include the works of Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nadine Gordimer, and Bong Joon-ho among others. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 131 Society and Literature (ALDG)
Lecture 5         MWF 10:10-11:00       Instructor: Yunah Kae
Literature that deals with our relationship to society. Topics may include: the utopian vision; the notion of the self, politics and literature.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 131H Society and Literature honors (ALDG)
Lecture 1         TuTh 1:00-2:15           Instructor: Jenny Adams
When written English started in the sixth century, it looked like this: Hēt þā hyssa hwæne hors forlǣtan.  Yup, that is Old English.  To be more precise, it’s the second line of the Old English poem, The Battle of Maldon.  Over one thousand five hundred years later, English now looks more like this sentence I’m writing here.  But it also looks like this: Nna mehn, that test hard no be small.  That’s Nigerian dialect, and most of us would understand it as Man, that test was very hard.  Which is all to say that English changes.  Often.  And as it changes, English language and literature constantly reform the identities of those who use it.

This class takes up English literature from the moment of its birth to its twentieth- (and twenty-first-) century iterations.  We will start with Old English and Middle English poetry that helped usher the idea of England, English, and Englishness into being.  We will then follow English across the Atlantic to the North American colonies, where authors used literature to sort out their own emerging (and racialized) identities as English-speaking Americans.  Finally, we will look at the global sweep of English, and the ways colonial and postcolonial writers use English language and literature to rewrite cultures, genres, and identities.

*The Honors version of this course will include a few supplemental readings and viewings of (recorded) dramatic performances.

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture (ALDG)
Lecture 1         MWF 11:15-12:05       Instructor: Mitia Nath
Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture: Literature treating the relationship between man and woman. Topics may include: the nature of love, the image of the hero and heroine, and definitions, past and present, of the masculine and feminine.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture (ALDG)
Lecture 2         MWF 12:20-1:10         Instructor: Suzanne Wimberly
Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture: Literature treating the relationship between man and woman. Topics may include: the nature of love, the image of the hero and heroine, and definitions, past and present, of the masculine and feminine.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture (ALDG)
Lecture 3         MWF 10:10-11:00       Instructor: Subhalakshmi Gooptu
Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture: Literature treating the relationship between man and woman. Topics may include: the nature of love, the image of the hero and heroine, and definitions, past and present, of the masculine and feminine.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 140 Reading Fiction (AL)
Lecture 1         MWF 1:25-2:15           Instructor: Levi Pulford
“The story of your life, described, will not describe how you came to think about your life or yourself, nor describe any of what you learned. This is what fiction can do—I think it is even what fiction is for.” –Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

“We all live our lives from the inside of our bodies out, not from the outside in. Which is why fiction has the texture that it does.” –Samuel R. Delany, The Atheist in the Attic

Life Stories and the Lives of Our Stories This course is an introduction to themes and techniques of fiction based on the work and lives of marginalized writers—specifically BIPOC, LGBTQ+, women, neurodivergent, and immigrants. By exploring how writers’ identities shape and inform their storytelling, we will also consider how various craft elements—such as time, point of view, voice, characterization, and plot structure—allow readers to identify or disidentify with fictional characters and their not-so-fictional truths.

Readings will consist of authors Alexander Chee, Carmen Maria Machado, T Kira Madden, Justin Torres, and Bryan Washington, among others. We will also read Matthew Salesses’ recent craft book, Craft in the Real World. Students will write weekly literary letters—in which we will summarize, praise, critique, and speculate on weekly readings—and students must be willing to engage a diversity of identities with a deep level of empathy and respect as we set out to determine our own personal truths through fiction in our contemporary moment. (Gen.Ed. AL)

English 144 World Literature in English (ALDG)
Lecture 1         TuTh 11:30-12:45       Instructor: Shwetha Chandrashkehar
Study of major literary texts in English from different parts of a postcolonial "third world" -- African countries, the Caribbean, and India.  Commonalities and differences in literary development in postcolonial nations.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 146 Living Writers (Creative Writing) (ALDU)
Lecture 1         TuTh 4:00-5:15           Instructor: Rabia Saeed
Living Writers is a course in contemporary writing and contemporary writers. You will read the work of contemporary writers including those selected for the term’s Visiting Writers Series and respond critically as well as creatively. A unique feature of Living Writers is the opportunity to ask writers questions about their work and about their experiences as artists during lectures—each author will visit class for an extended Q&A with students. In addition to the course goals described below, one of the key issues to consider throughout the class is how the authors and their works both respond to and are products of contemporary culture, how these creations relate to contemporary music, film, politics, and/or other aspects of the time in which we live. (Gen. Ed. AL, DU)

English 146 Living Writers (Creative Writing) (ALDU)
Lecture 2         TuTh 4:00-5:15           Instructor: Rachelle Toarmino
Living Writers is a course in contemporary writing and contemporary writers. You will read the work of contemporary writers including those selected for the term’s Visiting Writers Series and respond critically as well as creatively. A unique feature of Living Writers is the opportunity to ask writers questions about their work and about their experiences as artists during lectures—each author will visit class for an extended Q&A with students. In addition to the course goals described below, one of the key issues to consider throughout the class is how the authors and their works both respond to and are products of contemporary culture, how these creations relate to contemporary music, film, politics, and/or other aspects of the time in which we live. (Gen. Ed. AL, DU)

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies (Introduction to major)
Lecture 1         MWF 10:10-11:00       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 consider 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 2         TuTh 10:00-11:15       Instructor: Laura Furlan
This class is designed to introduce students to literary studies and to strengthen their writing skills. In this course, students will learn to do close readings, develop an interpretation of a literary text, use evidence from the text to support that interpretation, and write and revise papers using MLA style guidelines. We will be exploring the conventions and possibilities of a range of genres (fiction, poetry, and drama), from a wide variety of American authors. This course is discussion based and writing intensive. English majors only. Prerequisite: Gen. Ed. College Writing.

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies (Introduction to major)
Lecture 3         TuTh 1:00-2:15           Instructor: Sarah Patterson
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. Prerequisite: ENGLWRIT 112 or equivalent.  This course is open to English majors only.

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies (Introduction to major)
Lecture 4         Mon/Wed 2:30-3:45    Instructor: Ruth Jennison
This course will help students develop skills in close reading and analytical argumentation. Most class sessions will involve discussion-based collective textual inquiry. We will explore the foundational terms of literary study, such as: form and content, narrative and narrative structure, poetry and poetics, 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, Frank O'Hara, Amiri Baraka, Nathaniel West, Richard Wright, Juliana Spahr, and Sean Bonney. Prerequisite: ENGLWRIT 112 or equivalent.  This course is open to English majors only.

English 200 Intensive Literary Studies (Introduction to major)
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 201 Early British Literature and Culture (course in British literature before 1700 or 200+ elective)
Lecture 1         TuTh 10:00-11:15       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 202 Later British Literature and Culture (course in British literature after 1700 or 200+ elective)
Lecture 1         MW 4:00-5:15             Instructor: Suzanne Daly
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.

English 204 Introduction to Asian American literature (Anglophone/ethnic American or course in American literature after 1865 or 200+ elective)(Social Justice specialization)(I; DU)
Lecture 1         TuTh 11:30-12:45                   Instructor: Caroline Yang
This course will introduce students to literature and film by, for, and about Asian Americans. Students will learn a reading practice that consists of contextualizing the texts in their historical production as well as close-reading and critical thinking. Through reading, writing, discussions, and a final group video project, students will explore how Asian American literature shapes the construction of heterogeneous, diasporic, and transnational subjectivities that challenges the very notion of “Asian American” as a uniform identity and object of knowledge. (GenEd: I, DU)

English 221 Shakespeare (early  British or 200+ English elective) (AL)
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:
 
 Matthew Walsh

English 221, Discussion D01AD
Fri: 1:25-2:15
TA: Sharanya Sridhar

English 221, Discussion D01AB
Fri 11:15-12:05
TA: Matthew Walsh

English 221, Discussion D01AE

Fri: 10:10-11:00
TA: Tyler Smart

English 221, Discussion D01AC
Fri: 1:25-2:15
TA: Tyler Smart

English 221, Discussion D01AF
Fri: Fri 11:15-12:05
TA: Sharanya Sridhar

English 254 Reading and Writing Imaginative Literature (200+ English)(Creative Writing)(AL)
Lecture 1         MWF 10:10-11:00       Instructor: Leah Barber
“Pieces of Air in the Epic”: Literature and Perspective. What does it mean to be an I? This course explores texts that stretch the limits of the first person perspective and their possibilities for our own writing in multiple genres. Focusing on modern and contemporary poetry and fiction, we will read across such genres as: persona poetry, homage, autobiographical verse, epics, multilingual literature and collaged literature. You don’t need prior knowledge of these forms to join this course--you only need to come into the class with a desire to read and write in new ways.

We will discuss the basic elements of craft in poetry and fiction, including form, structure, and voice. Students will develop as writers through readings, short writing assignments, and peer workshops of poetry, short fiction, and hybrid writing. Workshops and revision culminate in a short portfolio of student work.

This course incorporates a variety of writing exercises designed to push the first-person perspective. Favoring risk and play over mastery and approaching published texts and peer writing with generous minds, we will aim for a personal understanding of course concepts and their potential for expanding our own writing processes. Writers of all experience levels are encouraged to enroll.

Readings for this course may include, among others, works by Nathaniel Mackey, Fernando Pessoa, Alice Notley, Douglas Kearney, W.G. Sebald, Raquel Salas Rivera and Cathy Park Hong.

English 254 Reading and Writing Imaginative Literature (200+ English)(Creative Writing)(AL)
Lecture 2         MWF 11:15-12:05       Instructor: Alan Fraser
Who Needs a Hero?  “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” –Joseph Campbell

But does a hero need to fit this monomyth model? In this cross-genre class, we will consider the basic structure of the 12-part hero’s journey—how it operates in contemporary storytelling (including on-screen), and how progressive approaches shift away. Roughly half the class will be spent reading, watching, discussing, and critically responding to outside selections that display ‘heroes’ both within and without the classic hero/anti-hero framework. Structure will be analyzed in sources as varied as television and Hollywood blockbusters to long-form poems and classic mythology. Both in fiction and poetry, we will examine what being the hero entails; the shape of a journey; and ideas that subvert the form.

The remainder of class time will be devoted to students’ own creative work through in-class writing activities and workshopping prepared submissions. This submitted work, taken through the drafting process, will serve to complete a portfolio of five poems, two short stories, and two essays. Writers at all experience levels are welcome and encouraged to enroll.  (Gen. Ed. AL)

English 254 Reading and Writing Imaginative Literature (200+ English)(Creative Writing)(AL)
Lecture 3         MWF 12:20-1:10         Instructor: Stephanie Santos
How You Say It, How It’s Said.  In this course, we will analyze the voice of poets and prose writers—their vocabulary, tone, point of view, and syntax. We will discover how these craft elements can be used to create unique narratives. Can a shift in voice create tension? How can voice be used to make heavy content feel light, or even funny?

We begin with the premise that the best writers are first good readers. For inspiration and advice, we will read and discuss the craft of writing alongside poetry and fiction by contemporary writers, such as R.O. Kwon, Carmen Maria Machado, Danielle Evans, Jhumpa Lahiri, Curtis Sittenfeld, Ocean Vuong, Nam Le, Bryan Washington, and Danez Smith. Using the techniques we glean from this analysis, you will write your own creative pieces to learn about the writing process, exploring what these genres share and what makes each unique.

The course requires participation in class discussions and workshops, diligence in keeping a personal writer’s notebook, and a thoughtful reflection of your final portfolio. Over the semester we will build a supportive writing workshop in which risk-taking and a diversity of aesthetics and subject matters can thrive. Each person will learn to approach their own work with seriousness and others’ writing with the rigorous critical eye and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of the best writers and critics.  (Gen. Ed. AL)

English 268 American Literature and Culture before 1865 (course in American literature before 1865 or 200+ English elective)
Lecture 1         TuTh 11:30-12:45       Instructor: Melba Jensen
This course studies the “imagined community” of the United States and the assembly an “American” literature. Readings include fiction, poetry, autobiography, oratory, journalism, and rhetoric written in North America between 1670 and 1865. The readings reflect tensions arising from the status of religious belief, urban vs. rural experience, the rise of industrial labor, and the enslavement of human beings who had “unalienable rights” to life and liberty. The course examines the economic challenges faced by writers like Edgar Poe, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Harriet B. Stowe, and the political challenges facing writers like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs. The course also examines the historical forces that conferred canonical status on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph W. Emerson, Henry D. Thoreau and delayed Emily Dickinson’s and Herman Melville’s recognition until the mid-twentieth century. The textbook for this course is a free e-book distributed in pdf, Kindle, and .mobi format. Students will need to bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to class to access their course readings.

English 269 American literature and culture after 1865 (Amer lit after 1865 or 200+ elective)
Lecture 1         TuTh 10:00-11:15       Instructor: Sarah Patterson
Figures of Contestation in American Literature and Film.  In this class, we will address literary and theoretical works that tackle America’s changing cultural landscape from 1865 to 1930. In mainstream entertainment culture, fiction constituted the one of the nation’s most popular forms of artistic and political expression, creating spaces for dissent and hagiography alike. From images of workers in industrial squalor, poverty and prostitution in urban city streets to utopian depictions of feminist communities and rallying orations at national conventions, this course will introduce turn-of-the-century figures of contestation taken from the Civil War, Gilded Age, Women’s Rights and the Harlem Renaissance eras. Canonical and lesser-known readings include Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s The Sport of the Gods, Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and the 1915 propaganda film Birth of a Nation. Alongside core readings and film viewings, students will have an opportunity to experience the textual formats and iconography that undergirded past reading cultures using digitized historical newspapers and image archives. Assignments include discussion, a class presentation and short critical responses.

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing)
Lecture 1         TuTh 10:00-11:15       Instructor: Malcolm Sen
Literature and Climate.  Climate change is a complex of ecological and socio-political crises. That the climate emergency originates in the extractive ethos of capitalism and the racist politics of empire is a recurrent theme in modern and contemporary texts. Reorienting the discourse of climate change to reflect its socio-political, cultural, biological, and existential aspects, this course allows students to engage with one of the most pressing challenges of the twenty-first century. We will read literary texts from around the world to think through critical aspects of climate change discourse. The course will especially concentrate on themes such as “Resource Extraction”, “Resource Scarcity,” and “Race, Gender, and the Climate Crisis.” Students will discuss the role of the literary in relation to climate breakdown as they are introduced to major ecocritical, postcolonial, feminist and Marxist methods of enquiry.

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing)(Anglophone/ethnic American)(SPOW)
Lecture 2         TuTh 1:00-2:15           Instructor: Haivan Hoang
Topic: Asian American Writers & Race. How do texts shape our understandings of race? Critical race scholars have argued that writing conventions may obscure race, hinder our ability to write against racism, and even foster racial injury. Such scholars, as a result, challenge us to play with writing in order to make race and racism visible and to imagine racial accountability. In this course, students will learn core principles in critical race theory and apply CRT to analysis of Asian American texts. We'll discuss the impact of racial legacies on Asian American writing. Through these texts, we'll practice bringing CRT, analysis, and writing together through

  • comparative literary analyses of two novels
  • analyses and writing of personal essays and creative nonfiction
  • rhetorical analyses of and responses to news and social media.

Readings will include R. Zamora Linmark's Rolling the R's, Cathy Park Hong's Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, selected qualitative and theoretical work by Mari Matsuda, Lisa Nakamura, Mira Shimabukuro, Morris Young, and others.

Our course goals are (1) to use CRT to analyze and write critical and creative texts in English studies; (2) to understand how racism has impacted Asian American writing traditions; and (3) to foster your writing as an English major (where you'll analyze and write literary, personal, and rhetorical texts). My hope is that this course will help you advance your understanding of why critical and imaginative writing in English studies matters in this world.

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing)(Anglophone/ethnic American)(SPOW)(Social Justice)
Lecture 3         MW 2:30-3:45             Instructor: Rebecca  Dingo
Topic: Writing Human Rights.  Although the Declaration of Human Rights was ratified post-World War II, the US public has seen a recent resurgence in the circulation of human rights stories ranging from Malala Yousafzi’s plight for girls’ education in parts of Pakistan, to images of migrants along the US-Mexico Border and in southern Europe, and even consumer program that gives money to human rights organization for purchasing products. This circulation has sparked conversation about and activism against human rights abuses in the general US public. This course seeks to read stories of human rights abuses (found in social media, documentary films, novels, short-stories, non-fiction) through the lens of writing criticism and rhetoric (i.e. considering the arguments that each story makes and why they make them) and against the legal documents that define and guide our understanding of human rights.  Some questions that will steer us include:

1) What and who defines a human rights abuses or crises?

2) Why do some crises/abuses capture the imagination of the public and others fall flat?

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing or Anglophone)
Lecture 4         MWF 12:20-1:10                     Instructor: Katherine O’Callaghan
Topic: Music and the Irish Novel This seminar examines the role of music in prose fiction, and in particular in the Irish novel. Novels of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, in which music plays a significant role as a thematic, formal, or aesthetic inspiration will be discussed. Traditional music, opera, ballads, jazz, classical, pop, and contemporary music; the musical influences are wide. We will explore how authors depict composers and the act of composition, performers and the act of performance, and the roles of the audience and the reader. What do we mean when we say that a language, or a piece of literature, is "musical"? The objectives of this course are to develop skills of literary analysis; to gain an overview of issues pertinent to the Irish novels on the course; to understand the fundamentals of interdisciplinary approaches to literature; to respond in a creative manner to the intersection of music and literature; to articulate arguments in short and longer essay form and in class discussion. No prior musical training necessary for this course.

Readings will include Kate O'Brien's As Music and Splendour, Bernard MacLaverty's Grace Notes, and Sara Baume's A Line Made by Walking.

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing)((Anglophone/ethnic American)Literature as History)
Lecture 5         TuTh 11:30-12:45                   Instructor: Mazen Naous
Topic: Literatures of Conflict. In times of “conflict” we all have a vested interest in exploring this complex term: How do we define conflict and, more importantly, how do we perceive the outcome of conflict? Where do we locate ourselves in moments of conflict? Do we have control over our individual and collective identities? What role can language play in the formation of identity as expressed in literature and art? These are a few of the many questions that we will be asking throughout the semester. Our selection of texts is global in scope, and includes novels from Iraq, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the United States (in relation to Algerian migration).

English 315 Speculative Fiction (300+ elective)
Lecture 1         TuTh 2:30-3:45           Instructor: Jordy Rosenberg
Speculative Fiction/Science Fiction. This class will introduce students to the concept of literary genre via readings in the area of science fiction and speculative fiction.  Although our focus is on speculative genres, students with an interest in literary theory more broadly will also find the course useful as a focused introduction to critical methodologies.  Students will learn how to use genre to conduct analyses of literary texts, as well as to think about the way historical context influences literary work.   Some questions we will ask will concern when and how the speculative fiction genre began to take shape, and what some of its signature early works are.  We will ask how we identify genres, and we use genre to think about history and historical change.  We will devote a particular focus to how political commitment and forms of resistance take literary form, and we will read texts that seek to represent and reconfigure uprisings of all kinds, from slave rebellions to labor stoppages, to feminist and LGBTQIA struggles.

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

English 317 (Dis)ability and Literature (course in American literature after 1865 or 300+ English 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 disabled and non-disabled writers alike 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, suffering, and our accountability to one another, while fostering the empathy and self-reflection that make for a humane society—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 329H Tutoring Writing: Theory and Practice (300+ English elective)(SPOW)
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 339 Film and Literature (course in  British literature after 1700 or 300+ elective)
Lecture 1    TuTh 2:30-3:45 + Film lab: Tues 4:00-6:45      Instructor: Jill Franks

Adaptations of Postmodern British Literature.   This course will focus on film adaptations of postmodern British literature, from 1945 to the present. Adaptations are works of art in their own right. As such, we shouldn’t hold them to a fidelity standard, since the change of medium and creator necessarily changes the result. The director is the author of the adaptation. We will examine ways in which cultural conditions at the time of production, as well as their own life stories, shape the adaptors’ visions. The tools of both trades, literature and film, will be discussed, i.e., narrative techniques (such as plot, characterization, symbol) and film techniques (such as montage, mise-en-scène, camera angles, lighting). Possible titles: Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Zoë Heller’s Notes on a Scandal, Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, J.G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun, Monica Ali’s Brick Lane and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

English 350H Expository Writing Honors (300+ English elective)(Creative Writing)(SPOW)
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, and others. Students will also be encouraged to try other forms of non-fiction, including travel writing, interviews, editorials, reviews, etc.

English 354 Creative Writing: Intro to Fiction (300+ English elective)(Creative Writing)
Lecture 1                     MWF 1:25-2:15           Instructor: Vida James
Voice and Community in Fiction. In this writing course, we will play with voice as a persona that interprets setting and events. How can voice reveal and conceal character? How can voice represent or distort a community, its values and culture? How do the choices we make in voice and narration change the story’s urgency, temporality, and purpose? We will look at different voices in literature and imitate them, and we will try out different voices for different kinds of stories. We will look at the different voices in our own communities and through experimentation with voice, and we will find our own.

By the end of the semester, students will have had the opportunity to generate new work, and critique and revise 2-3 completed stories. The workshop environment will be welcoming, generative, and constructive, where student needs are centered. Through workshop we will consider that all writing is borne of the communities we come from. Workshop will both be a place to create and improve our craft while also a place to challenge our expectations.

Students will be encouraged to bring in their own references and inspirational texts. Readings for this course may include stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah, Mariana Enriquez, Edward P. Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado, Lorrie Moore, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Tommy Orange, ZZ Packer, Lysley Tenorio.

English 354 Creative Writing: Intro to Poetry (300+ English elective)(Creative Writing)
Lecture 2                     MWF 11:15-12:05       Instructor: Laura Marshall
Traversing Narrative in Poetry.  When we think of story, prose fiction might come to mind first, but story is also inextricable from poems. Even the sparest language and the strangest forms can create scenes and stories in our heads and in our veins -- stories that nourish and sustain us.

Writers in this poetry workshop will study the elements of narrative across a variety of poetic and other forms, exploring how poems tell stories and how to treat the stories we encounter (in our work and that of others) with great care. Through writing prompts and guided experimentation, we will build poems and hybrid pieces that tell stories of worlds within and beyond us. We will blur boundaries and inhabit the space between genres, play with story and structure, and learn to see narrative in a new light, one that can feed our work in any genre.

By the end of the semester, each student will have developed a portfolio of new poems and hybrids. Pieces will be workshopped in a supportive, encouraging community environment, where we will treat feedback as a gift, whether we are giving or receiving.

Readings for this class will be poems, stories, and hybrid works chosen to illuminate writing choices and narrative techniques, and also to inspire us as writers. Works may include selections by Jensen Beach, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Gwendolyn Brooks, Natalie Diaz, Miranda July, Ilya Kaminsky, Etgar Keret, Andrea Lawlor, Augusto Monterroso, Haryette Mullen, Tommy Pico, Claudia Rankine, Ocean Vuong, and others.

English 354 Creative Writing: (300+ English elective)(Creative Writing)
Lecture 3         MWF 12:20-1:10         Instructor: Mark Bias
Era of Strife: Writing in Protest. 

“I’ve been asked how I returned, and it had something to do with the written word.” -Priscilla Becker

Writing is always engaging with the progression and regression of cultural ideologies. In a rapidly changing world, it can be difficult to process and record what is happening around us. In the era of BLM, cancel culture, and Covid, writing is a way for us to slow down and comprehend political strife. However, we are not just standing on the sidelines with our pen and paper, observing what is happening. We are active participants. Sigrid Nunez once wrote, “word people versus fist people. As if words could not also be fists.” In this class, we will come to a better understanding of the power of the written word and how it can enact positive change. We will also discuss the dangers in holding that power and how your identity can be critiqued and marketed in the world of art.

Each week, we will discuss the work of one or two authors and have brief discussions on their craft choices. Discussion topics will include, but are not limited to: the way repetition mimics the chant heard from a crowd of protestors, the use of explicit language in dialogue, marginalized characters through white writing, etc. Each week will conclude with a workshop of student work where we will give praise and feedback to each other based on the discussions earlier in the week. By the end of the semester, all students are expected to have a portfolio containing 3 poems, 2 short stories, and 1 nonfiction piece.

Some authors we will be reading include Claudia Rankine, Sean Bonney, Maggie Nelson, Peter Ho Davies, and Ilya Kaminsky.

English 354 Creative Writing: (300+ English elective)(Creative Writing)
Lecture 4         MW 2:30-3:45             Instructor: Julio Diaz
Bodies Are Living Are Experimenting. “I write because life does not appease my appetites and hunger. I write to record what others erase when I speak, to rewrite the stories other have miswritten about me, about you.” -Gloria Anzaldúa, Speaking in tongues: A letter to third world women writers.

Life is not so fulfilling, in it there are: pauses, crevices, lulls of silence that we try our hardest to drown out. What happens if we stop and instead walk into these moments. How do our selves change when our time crawls? How does society transform when its movement is slowed for all to examine? And what is different when we move back into “regular time”?  These are just a few questions participants will mull over in our time together.

In this class, we will experiment with how silence and (lack of) movement echo with/in/out the body. Via guided prompts, selected readings, and discussions, will we experiment and create pieces in different genres. These pieces will be workshopped in class and later revised. By the end, students will have a portfolio comprised of their workshopped pieces.

English 355 Creative Writing Fiction (300+ English elective)(Creative Writing)
Lecture 1         TuTh 10:00-11:15       Instructor: Jordy Rosenberg
In this course students will write and workshop short stories. They will also read widely in modern and contemporary fiction and complete a series of assignments intended to address specific aspects of fiction writing. Admission by permission of professor.

Students should submit one complete story and a brief personal statement (list and briefly discuss your favorite writers and books) to Professor Hennessy's email address: jrosenberg@english.umass.edu. Please include Spire ID #. DUE May 1st. OPEN TO STUDENTS FROM ALL DEPARTMENTS.

English 355 Creative Writing Fiction (300+ English elective)(Creative Writing)
Lecture 2         Fri 11:15-1:45              Instructor: Edie Meidav
To apply for this prose workshop, by April 15, please send one email to emeidav@umass.edu with the subject heading PROSE (your name) into which you will paste two paragraphs: one sample of your creative work in prose, and one paragraph of creative autobiography, touching on your influences and interests.  By May 15, applicants will know their status. Registration after this date is possible, but priority will be given to students who meet the April 15th deadline.  Please let us know 1) if you are seeking the specialization in Creative Writing and 2) when you plan to graduate. Registration by department permission only.

English 356 Creative Writing Poetry (300+ English elective)(Creative Writing)
Tu 4:00-6:30                            Instructor: Peter Gizzi
Students should submit a portfolio of three poems in a Word document to Professor Gizzi at
gizzi@hfa.umass.edu by April 30th. Students will be notified by the end of the semester of their status. Registration after this date is possible, but priority will be given to students who apply this semester for the fall. Registration by instructor permission only. Prerequisite: English majors only. English 354 or equivalent with a B or better.

English 359 Victorian Imagination (course in British literature 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, poetry, and nonfiction prose 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?

Novels will include Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret; Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White; and Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist. Poets may include Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Swinburne, and Tennyson. Nonfiction prose by Victorian writers including Matthew Arnold, Frances Power Cobbe, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, Caroline Norton, and William Thackeray will supplement our primary texts.

English 362 Modern Novel 1945-Present (Anglophone/ethnic American or 300+ elective)(American Studies)(Literature as History)(AL)
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 selected novels employ a range of literary techniques, including playing with form, interpolating non-English words into the texts, disrupting time, and complicating narrative point of view. We will engage the relationship between aesthetics and politics in these textual interventions, and consider the effect of this relationship on the representations and receptions of Arab Americans. The course will probably include works by Zaina Arafat, Omar El Akkad, Laila Halaby, Mohja Kahf, and Laila Lalami. We will also watch and discuss two films. Critical essays and cultural theory will guide our readings and film viewings.

English 365 Literature of Ireland (Anglophone or 300+ elective)
Lecture 1         MW 2:30-3:45             Katherine O’Callaghan
Nineteenth-century background: the Irish Renaissance; such major figures as Yeats, Synge, Joyce and O'Casey; recent and contemporary writing.  (Gen.Ed. AL)

English 368 Modern American Drama (course in American literature after 1865 or 300+ English elective)(American Studies)(AL)
Lecture 1         TuTh 4:00-5:15           Instructor: Heidi Holder
Topic: The Comic Tradition. 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, Jules Pfeiffer, Christopher Durang, Luis Valdez, George Wolfe, David Henry Hwang, Lynn Nottage, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Jen Silverman and Young Jean Lee. (GenEd: AL)

English 371 African American literature (Anglophone/ethnic American or course in Amer lit after 1865 or 300+ elective)(American Studies)(Social Justice)
Lecture 1         TuTh 2:30-3:45           Instructor: Jimmy Worthy
This course will offer students an overview of the important literary works produced by African American authors throughout the twentieth-century. We will examine the ideas, concerns, and preoccupations of African American authors as expressed in various literary pronouncements. ENG 371 will also allow students to assess the values and aesthetics that are not only representative of African American literature of the twentieth-century, but that define the particular genre and historical context from which the literature emerges. Using this critical orientation and throughout this course, students will discuss and write about texts with respect to how these works address challenges to gender, racial, economic, and national identity in the United States and throughout the African Diaspora. Furthermore, by focusing on African American literature since 1900, ENG 371 offers students the ability to chart the development of African American authors’ literary sensibilities across the twentieth-century and within multiple genres. Such endeavors will enable students to figure the literature produced by African Americans as indictive of a collective artistic imagination and representative of a process by which African Americans employed the written word in their demand for recognition and personhood. In essays and discussions, students are to consider the development of twentieth- century African American letters within the four specific literary areas we will encounter: Early Twentieth-Century and the Harlem Renaissance, The Realist/Modernist Movement, The Black Arts Era, and Literature Since 1975. In your writing, and discussion, make sure to engage these questions: What claims does African American literature make for itself given its political and aesthetic contexts? How ultimately does literary art function for the disenfranchised?

English 373 American Indian Literature (Anglophone/ethnic American or 300+ elective)(American Studies)(Literature as History)
Lecture 1         TuTh 2:30-3:45           Instructor: Santee Frazier

This course will engage in critical reading and discourse on Indigenous Literature—fiction, nonfiction, poetry writing across different landscapes, cultures, and political situations—published since 2015. The focus of this course is to establish understandings of Indigenous Literature beyond the problematic lens of cultural authenticity, but instead consider how writers are creating intellectual linkages between cultural knowledge and the literary arts
.

English 374 20th Century American Literature (course in American literature after 1865 or 300+ elective)
Lecture 1   TuTh 11:30-12:45          Instructor: Gloria Bimonte
"Tell it Slant": Conflict and Memory in 20th Century American Literature.  “The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers,” wrote Toni Morrison. “Its force, its felicity” she continued, “is in its reach toward the ineffable.”  What forms does that reach take for the 20th century writers we will be reading this semester?  What are 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?  Our goal in examining these novels will be double: on the simplest level, we will be interested in how these writers interpreted and responded to the places and times in which they lived – the major social, economic, and political events that shaped their lives; on a deeper level, though, we will consider how each of these works--and all of them together--attempts to create something we might call now an "American consciousness," attempts to invent, or re-invent, America.  And we will, of course, examine the novels, stories and poems as works of art.  How do these authors create a space for the reader to enter— a space where understanding and empathy can grow? Our close textual readings will also 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.   

English 379 Intro to Professional Writing (300+ English elective)(PWTC)(SPOW)
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 Comm I (300+)(PWTC)(SPOW)
Lecture 1         TuTh 11:30-12:45                   Instructor: Janine Solberg
Junior and Senior students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Introduces principles of technical writing, usability, and page design. Simulates writing/editing processes used in the computer industry. Students write and design a 20-25 page manual documenting a software program, usually Microsoft Word. Prereq.: ENGLWP 112 or equivalent; ENGL 379 (which may be taken concurrently with instructor approval); junior or senior status with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. (3 credits).

English 385 Creative Writing: Nonfiction (300+ elective)(creative writing)
Lecture 1         Thurs 1:00-3:30           Instructor: Laura Furlan
The aim of this course is to introduce students to the possibilities and paradoxes of creative nonfiction in order to sharpen their skills as creative and critical writers. We will investigate the debated definition of “creative nonfiction,” read and discuss possible forms that this genre may take—the personal essay, flash nonfiction, the environmental essay, the lyrical essay, and travel narrative—and explore its boundaries through our own work. The center of this course will be a workshop of students’ writing. In workshops, and in supplementary discussions and activities, we’ll study elements of prose craft such as character, setting, dialogue, sound, voice, and image. In addition, we’ll focus on issues of particular importance to creative nonfiction, including voice, veracity, and innovation of form.

English 386 Studies in Writing and Culture (Anglophone or 300+ elective)(SPOW)
Lecture 1         TuTh 10:00-11:15       Instructor: Haivan Hoang
What is writing? How does writing inform our understandings of race? How might such understandings affect how we engage in discussions about race? This course is, first, an introduction to foundational questions about "writing" and "culture." Scholarship from writing studies and critical race theory will prompt students to define writing as a social act and explore how writing impacts identity formation and social movements. With this conceptual framework, we will then analyze how texts enact race, including but not limited to discourses about race circulating in universities; course readings will be, for the most part, nonfiction texts that are written for academic as well as more public audiences. In short, our purpose is to examine how everyday written texts reinscribe and/or interrupt understandings of racial identity and racial injustice and to write back to contemporary conversations about race. Course requirements will include writing short academic responses to readings, one discourse analysis of race-focused discussions in universities, and one interview-based case study.

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

English 391S Doing Digital: Critical Skills, Literacies and Methods (300+ elective)(New Media +/- Digital Humanities)(SPOW)

Lecture 1         MW 1:00-2:15             Instructor: Janine Solberg

This class is an introduction for students who want to build basic digital proficiencies and a stronger technical foundation while also remaining attentive to broader social, ethical, and political issues. Students can expect to learn how to use and analyze a variety of digital tools, programs, and platforms, which may include: HTML and website customizing, interactive storytelling, visualization, and software programs from the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign).

 

English 470 Individual British Authors: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group (400+ elective or course in British literature after 1700)(Literature as History)
Lecture 1         MW 2:30-3:45             Instructor: Gretchen Gerzina
Virginia Woolf and her friends were among the most innovative and creative people of their time, producing art, literature and a way of life that both shocked and impressed the cultural establishment of early twentieth-century Britain. Woolf’s experimental literary style in novels like To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, and The Waves still influences writers today; her nonfiction books and essays—most notably A Room of One’s Own—explore topics like gender, war, and literary criticism. Her sister Vanessa Bell was an artist, as were Duncan Grant and Roger Fry. Lytton Strachey revolutionized twentieth-century biography. Known for their unconventional lives and loves, they appear tangentially or overtly in novels by Aldous Huxley and E.M. Forster. In this course you will learn more about the intellectual and social milieu within which Woolf and her friends worked; learn more about late Victorian and early modernist aesthetics; gain an understanding and familiarity with the works of Virginia Woolf; and become skilled at the close reading of early modernist fiction.

English 481 Individual American Authors: Frederick Douglass’s 19th Century (400+ elective or course in Amer lit after 1865)(Social Justice)(American Studies)(Literature as History)
Lecture 1         TuTh 11:30-12:45                   Instructor: Nick Bromell
Race, Struggle, and Democracy in 19th-Century US Literature. Americans today are living in an important and exciting time, when the Black Lives Matter movement has brought powerful new pressures to bear on white racism, exposing its systemic and pervasive permeation of American culture. In the spirit of this movement, in this course we turn to the nineteenth century – arguably the period when white racism became firmly established in the US – and we read the literature of the period in relation to that development. How and why did anti-Black racism take hold at that time? What position did white writers like Emerson, Whitman, Stowe, Phelps, Thoreau and Melville take on slavery, abolition, and race? The central figure in this course and our guide in this exploration will be the great Black abolitionist and anti-racist writer Frederick Douglass. We will try to see this period and its literature through his eyes. We will delve into his penetrating analyses of race and American culture. And we will discover that those analyses speak to our time as cogently as they did to his own.

Texts:

Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (Norton Critical Edition)

________, Selected Writings and Speeches (Handout)

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, The Silent Partner

Herman Melville, “Benito Cereno”

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (selections)

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Selected Writings  (Handout)

Henry David Thoreau, Selected Writings (Handout)

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (Penguin Edition of Whitman’s 1855 edition)

Frances E.W. Harper, Selected Writings (Handout)

James M. Whitfield, Selected Writings (Handout)

Prof. Nick Bromell has written extensively about nineteenth-century US literature in general and Frederick Douglass in particular. His publications relevant to this course include:  By the Sweat of the Brow: Literature and Labor in Nineteenth-Century America (Chicago: 1993), The Time is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of U.S. Democracy (Oxford: 2013) The Norton Critical Edition of “My Bondage and My Freedom” (Norton: 2021), The Powers of Dignity: The Black Political Philosophy of Frederick Douglass (Duke: 2021), and essays in Critical Philosophy of Race, American Literary History, Political Theory, Raritan, and American Literature.

English 491AC The Major and Beyond: Career Exploration for English Majors (SPOW)
Lecture 1         Wed 11:30-12:45        Instructor: Janis Greve
Why wait any longer?! This course helps you pave the way to a valuable post-graduate experience--be it a program, internship, or job. You will practice important job search skills, learn to articulate the worth of your major, and leave the class with a better sense of your vocational direction. In addition to receiving individualized guidance in creating a cover letter and résumé of immediate use, other assignments are likely to include attendance at career events, interviews with professionals from fields of interest, a professional presentation, a short paper researching professions, and participation in a mock interview. Note: for an additional credit and some extra work, students can opt to have the course count toward an English elective. Please contact Prof. Greve if you are interested. Sophomores and Juniors. Seniors by permission of the instructor only.

English 492D Children’s Literature (400+ elective or course in British literature after 1700)(Literature as History)
Lecture 1         MW 4:00-5:15             Instructor: Gretchen Gerzina
Topic: Pirates, Orphans, and Empire: The Victorians in Children's Literature.  British children's novels offer several ways of understanding the Victorians and Edwardians through ideas about childhood and orphanhood, masculinity and femininity, literature, nature and scientific discovery and invention, social history, the imagination, poverty and consumerism.

For example, The Water Babies explores what was then the new concept of Darwinism and its place in a religious world. The Wind in the Willows looks at the role of the pastoral in a changing world of industrialism and consumerism. Both Peter Pan and Treasure Island look at pirates and the role of adventure stories, and ideas of masculinity. The two Alice novels make a strong pitch for fantasy and the imagination in a rigidly class-bound society. The Secret Garden discusses the regenerative power of nature, and both this novel and The Little Lame Prince talk about disability. Many of these books changed the way that adults and the world they made or inherited thought about childhood itself and are still relevant today.

In addition to these and other novels, we will read critical materials on Victorian childhood and literature, the formation of class identity, why orphans are central to this literature, and how Victorianism and literature before the Great War set the stage for a rapidly changing world.

English 494DI Dystopian Games, Comics, Media (Integrative Experience)(Digital Humanities +/- Games)(SPOW)
Lecture 1         Wed 4:00-6:30                        Instructor: TreaAndrea Russworm
In this class, we will study video games, postmodern cultural theory, and comic books as we ask questions about the persistence of dystopian narratives in print and digital visual culture. For example, what do dystopian narratives in comics, video games, and new media productions have in common? What makes "dark," "moody," and outright apocalyptic narratives like The Walking Dead, Half-Life 2, Fallout 4, and Mass Effect popular in this current historical moment? Can postmodern cultural theory help us better understand some of the social and political ramifications of dystopian culture? Further, can the theory help explain how such stories envision the perils of the future in ways that inadvertently comment on our current times? Is it possible that the cautionary tales of dystopian narratives might, if heeded, make the world a better place? We will compare different game genres (including RPGs, first-person shooters, war games, third person action games) in order to make arguments about the types of anxieties, fears, and dreams that get articulated in each genre. Please note: This class will follow a team-based learning format, meaning all students will be asked to play a leading role in class discussions and will be required to work closely on digital projects and other assignments with members of a team. Gaming experience or access to a gaming system is not required. This is also a "General Education Integrative Experience" class and all students will receive credit as such. In the context of our major the General Education Integrative Experience means certain learning objectives will be emphasized: critical thinking and writing, persuasive communication, creative and analytical thinking, pluralistic perspective and team-building, and developing technological literacies. Open to senior English majors. Non-majors, Five College area students, and other students may contact the professor for permission to enroll.

English 494FI Philosophizing Your Future (Integrative Experience)(Social Justice)
Lecture 1         Fri 10:10-12:40        Instructor: Laura Doyle
In this class, as we reflect together on your college experience and look ahead to your future, our main theme will be collectivity. We'll approach this shared project philosophically, aiming to widen our understanding of identity, agency, and the pursuit of a meaningful life. We'll explore the ways each of us becomes who we are with and among others, as part of a collective world in various, sometimes conflicting communities. Our reflections on personhood and collectivity will be prompted by readings from philosophy, history, and literature, as well as by discussion of your experiences and college courses.  For written work, there will be two personal memoir essays; an integrative analytical essay; and several ungraded thinking assignments. There will also be an video presentation based on your interview with someone about their life and their work in the world. Open only to senior English majors. Prerequisite: completion of English 200 and one course from following period distribution: British literature and culture before 1700, British literature and culture after 1700, American literature and culture before 1865, American literature and culture after 1865.

English 499C Honors Thesis Seminar (400+ English elective)(Creative Writing)
Lecture 1         MW 4:00-5:15             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, an anthology of contemporary short stories, and non-fiction by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Helene Cooper, Studs Terkel, and Joan Didion.

Interested students should submit a personal statement: 1-2 pages, list and briefly discuss your reading preferences: favorite books, writers, poems, poets, etc.; also, tell me if you are a student in Commonwealth College—some priority will be given to ComColl students, but some of the most successful students in 499 in past years have come from outside Commonwealth College. Also include a writing sample—one complete story or essay, or 5-10 poems. Some combination of poetry and prose is also permitted. SEND TO: jjhennes@english.umass.edu by APRIL 26.