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Undergraduate English Courses

Fall 2022 Courses 

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

English 115 American Experience (ALDU)

Lecture 1    MWF 9:05-9:55    Instructor: Manasvini Rajan
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: Kevin Morris
No course description at this time. (Gen.Ed. AL, DU)

English 115H American Experience Honors (ALDU)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Hoang Phan
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 is open only to first year ComCol students. (Gen. Ed. AL, DU)

English 117 Ethnic American Literature (ALDU)

Lecture 1    MWF 1:25-2:15    Instructor: Shannon Mooney
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: Nicholas 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 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 1:25-2:15    Instructor: Rowshan Chowdhury
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: Thakshala Tissera
Society and Literature in the Anthropocene. This class focuses on literature and the non-human environment in the age of the Anthropocene. We will examine representations of the natural environment, animals, and animality and explore broad questions such as:
*  How can the literary imagination help us better understand and navigate environmental concerns including anthropogenic climate change?
*  How have literary representations influenced our understanding of nature and non-human others and contributed to calls for environmental justice and changes in environmental practices?

While reading a range of fictional and nonfiction texts, this class will introduce students to the Environmental Humanities, Ecocriticism, and Human-Animal Studies.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 131 Society and Literature (ALDG)

Lecture 5    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Nana Prempeh

Topic: Bordered Blackness: The Boundaries of Space, Time, & Identity in Africana Art & Literature  With blackness as a lens, this course focuses on examining various types of borders including national, racial, temporal (relating to time), and legal. From migration to microaggression, absurdities of the present to time travel, slavery and abolition, we will be exploring a wide array of topics to gain a deeper understanding of the pursuit of freedom as well as the politics of power at play where borders and boundaries are concerned. What are the implications of boundaries and borders that go beyond space to include time and personhood? What goes into those boundaries which delineate the borders of legality and criminality, humanity and non-humanity, history and futurity? Who and what determines these borders, how, and why? These and many other questions will be explored using literature as a primary medium of analysis with film and music as supplementary modes of inquiry. (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture (ALDG)

Lecture 1    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Chandler Steckbeck
Complicating Categorization in Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture. A quick scan through any course list or a book’s key terms will reveal how comfortable we are with categorization. The division of the world—and the people in it—into neat, little boxes allows us to grapple with complex ideas in ways that seem approachable. How then do we reckon with those people and ideas that refuse simple categorization? Moreover, how do our artificial reductions of complex ideas into simple groupings rely on and reify assumptions about gender, sexuality, and identity? In this course, we will engage with a variety of texts—including film, short fiction, and poetry—spanning the early modern era to the present in order to tease out and complicate ideas related to identity. We will ask questions like: How do we reckon with characters and texts that seem to refuse categorization? And what does our (dis)comfort with neat-fitting labels say/tell us about ourselves and our own assumptions? (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture (ALDG)

Lecture 2    MWF 12:20-1:10    Instructor: Janell Tryon
Course title: Refusing Containment: Queering Norms of Gender, Sex, and Home. Together we will investigate the historical relationship between housing and gender/sexuality norms within the United States. In order to protect pathways to consumerism, capitalism has long perpetuated the insular single-family household as the ideal form of shelter. The notion of private property-as-private sphere insists upon the preservation of the nuclear family through the surveillance of gender, sexuality, and race. In this course, we will read both critical and literary texts that offer pathways out of housing normativity, as well as characters that defy containment of all kinds. By studying alternative modes of living and dwelling, this course will allow us to queer the public-private binary and imagine new ways of inhabiting shared space.  (Gen.Ed. AL, DG)

English 132 Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture (ALDG)

Lecture 3    MWF 10:10-11:00    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 140 Reading Fiction (AL)

Lecture 1    MWF 1:25-2:15    Instructor: Evelyn Maguire
(Don’t) Stick To The Status Quo.  From a modern spin on the classic murder mystery to an investigation into racial idenity written as satirical screenplay, the contemporary literature we will read in this class pushes the boundaries of what a novel/story “is,” whether through structure, style, narration, or theme. Together, we will survey a diverse array of novels and short stories—each text will have been published in the past 10 years—to understand how contemporary fiction writers are challenging the literary status-quo. 

This course is reading heavy, and engaged participation is expected. Through writing book reviews, analyzing long-form literary criticism, dabbling in writing book blurbs, and participating in class discussion,we will emerge from this course with the skills to engage with contemporary literature both as readers and as critics. Students will learn close-reading skills, practice critical thinking, and leave this class able to make intelligent, literary remarks at dinner parties. Students will have the grading option to either sit for a final exam or to write their own critical literary analysis. This course fulfills a General Education requirement. 

Readings for this course may include work by authors such as Valeria Luiselli, Ottessa Moshfegh, Jenny Offill, Zadie Smith, Ocean Vuong, Bryan Washington, and Charles Yu,  among others.

English 144 World Literature in English (ALDG)

Lecture 1    TuTh 11:30-12:45    Instructor: Shwetha Chandrashekhar
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: Kim Ravold
Living Writers is a course in contemporary writing and contemporary writers. You will read the works of contemporary writers, including those selected for the term’s Visiting Writers Series, and respond to them critically and creatively. A unique feature of Living Writers is the opportunity to ask writers questions about their work and their experiences as artists; each author will visit our class for an extended Q&A. One of the key issues to consider throughout this term 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
See course description above. (Gen. Ed. AL, DU)

English 150 Writing and Society (SBDU)

Lecture 1    MWF 12:20-1:10    Instructor:TBA
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 10:00-11:15    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 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 Introduction Literary Studies (Introduction to major)

Lecture 2    MW 4:00-5:15        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 Introduction Literary Studies (Introduction to major)

Lecture 3    TuTh 1:00-2:15    Instructor: Rachel Mordecai
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 selections of contemporary American literature across multiple genres. Students will write a lot in class and out of it, producing informal weekly reader-responses and three papers of varying lengths which will go through a formal draft-and-revision process.   English majors only.  Prerequisite: Gen. Ed. College Writing.

English 200 Introduction Literary Studies (Introduction to major)

Lecture 4    TuTh 2:30-3:45    Instructor: Sarah Patterson
Social Responsibility in American Literature. Beginning with the Revolutionary era in American history, we will study notions of social responsibility and the construction of the civic sphere as it developed across the long nineteenth century in American literature. Hoping to concretize an idea of America and leadership for future generations, Benjamin Franklin penned The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1793). In the middle decade of the nineteenth century, Henry Thoreau transformed a political speech into a pamphlet that raised objections to the institution of slavery. Nearing the turn of twentieth century, Stephen Crane’s novel Maggie; a Girl of the Streets and Ida B. Wells’ protest pamphlet The Red Record expose realistic circumstances that shape American identity for the masses, particularly members of historically disenfranchised groups. We will examine the ways authors across race, gender, and class differently relate problems and solutions for social ills. We will also analyze this literature as it intersects with social movements and will provide a foundational approach to literary studies. Students will produce two short essays and an annotated vocabulary list during their studies.

English 200 Introduction 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: Stephen Harris
Introduction to the literature and the literary imagination of the Middle Ages and Early Modern England. We will begin with a discussion of the nature of literary artifice before moving to a review of English historical and cultural contexts. We will discuss literary genre and form, style and convention, and the semantic and cultural force of fiction. Readings include Old English lyrics, Beowulf, Chaucer, Milton, Sidney, Spenser, Donne, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Marvell. Brief papers, quizzes, and a final project. Recommended for Sophomores and Juniors. English majors only.  Prerequisite: Gen. Ed. College Writing. 

English 202 Later British Literature and Culture (course in British literature after 1700 or 200+ elective)(Literature as History)

Lecture 1    TuTh 2:30-3:45        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, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, CLR James, V.S. Naipaul, Edwidge Danticat, Daniel Defoe, Aphra Behn, Laurence Sterne, Walter Scott, H.G. Wells, Zadie Smith, Bernardino Evaristo, and Arundhati Roy. Theorists of the novel form will include likely Sianne Ngai, Annie McClanahan, Mark McGurl, Srinivas Aravamudan, Sarah Brouillette, Eva Illouz, Michael McKeon, Roberto Schwarz, Georg Lukacs, and Fredric Jameson.

English 205 Introduction to Post-Colonial Studies (Anglophone or 200 elective)(Social Justice)

Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15        Instructor: Malcolm Sen
This course surveys literatures written in English from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. In doing so it asks what unites the diverse literatures gathered under the rubric "postcolonial". Is postcolonial simply a descriptive category, or does it suggest an oppositional or troubled stance towards colonialism and modernity? To consider this question we will take up major issues and debates within postcolonial studies, namely: nationalism and nativism, subalternity, feminism, development, and globalization. Throughout we will be concerned with questions of identity formation, representation, and literary form.

English 221 Shakespeare (early  British or 200 elective elective) (AL)(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: Sally Luken

English 221, Discussion D01AD
Fri: 1:25-2:15
TA: Chandler Steckbeck

English 221, Discussion D01AB
Fri: 11:15-12:05
TA: Chandler Steckbeck

English 221, Discussion D01AE
Fri: 10:10-11:00
TA: Grayson Chong

English 221, Discussion D01AC
Fri: 1:25-2:15
TA: Sally Luken

English 221, Discussion D01AF
Fri: Fri 11:15-12:05
TA: Grayson Chong

English 254 Reading and Writing Imaginative Literature (200 elective)(Creative Writing)(AL)

Lecture 1    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Lucy Wainger
The Face of Shatter: Writing the “Self.” How does what I know contradict what I feel? Where does my mind go when I let it wander? How is my self mixed up with other entities, such as places, technologies, and nonhuman animals? Can writing ever get me out of my own head—or at least into parts of it I don’t recognize as “me”?

In college apps and the job hunt, we pitch ourselves as worthy investments; on social media, we curate our identities through edited photos and carefully-crafted captions. Your self—yes, your self—is increasingly equated with your “personal brand,” which is supposed to be coherent, consistent, and profitable. This course is based on the opposite assumption: that having a self is a fundamentally weird, indefinable experience. By reading and writing poems, stories, essays, and uncategorizable literatures, we’ll investigate ways the self is blurry, contradictory, abject, even—in some sense—not real.

Writing is often viewed as an act of self-expression, but our focus will be on writers who invent, undermine, and dissolve their “selves” on the page. We’ll study elements of craft such as form, image, voice, and persona, and steal other writers’ strategies to use in our own poetry and prose. Class activities will include reading discussions, individual and collaborative writing, and workshop-style peer review; readings will include work by Nuar Alsadir, Frank Bidart, Akwaeke Emezi, Kim Hyesoon, and Leslie Jamison. By the end of the semester, you’ll write four poems and three pieces of prose, culminating with a portfolio of revised work.

English 254 Reading and Writing Imaginative Literature (200 elective)(Creative Writing)(AL)

Lecture 2    MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Nadia Saleh
Magic for Beginners: Speculative Fiction and Poetry. 
“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.” - Lloyd Alexander
Speculative fiction and poetry include elements that do not exist in recorded history or the present time, and can cover various themes in the context of supernatural, futuristic, or other imaginative realms. In this writing course, we will stretch the boundaries of this genre. We will build worlds, invent magic systems, develop mad scientists, enact hauntings, and dive headlong into fantasy, science fiction, and horror. We will learn by reading and critiquing those who came before us, and practicing and developing our craft alongside each other. Students will develop as writers through readings, short writing assignments, and peer workshops, culminating in 2-3 completed stories or a collection of poems. 

The workshop environment will require students to be willing to engage with diverse identities with a deep level of empathy and respect as we create, improve our craft, and challenge our preconceived notions. Students will be encouraged to bring in their own references and texts that inspire them. Readings for this course may include stories by N.K. Jemisin, Anne Sexton, Carmen Maria Machado, Kelly Link, Octavia Butler, Emma Donoghue, Julio Cortázar, Anne Carson, Angela Carter, Neil Gaiman, Chase Berggrun, Holly Black, Isabel Yap, and Rebecca Roanhorse.

This course satisfies the Gen.Ed. AL requirement.

English 254 Reading and Writing Imaginative Literature (200 elective)(Creative Writing)(AL)

Lecture 3    MWF 12:20-1:10    Instructor: Jacqueline Feldman
Inventing Memory. In this course we will investigate what gives information on a page the quality of memory. Drawing on readings in poetry as well as, perhaps, psychology and journalism we will focus in on a handful of narrative works by Francophone authors we’ll read in translation—Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, Family Record by Patrick Modiano, Sitt Marie Rose by Etel Adnan, The Lover by Marguerite Duras, Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga, The Years by Annie Ernaux—to ask, setting aside the question of fiction versus nonfiction, what is involved in casting a spell such that a text feels, and reads, like memory. These authors appear to draw on the deepest wells of personal experience. So what sets their work apart from autobiography? What are the larger stakes to which these authors appeal? Indeed, what political concerns and investments in historical truth are active in the work of these authors, who in—apparently—writing about their own lives deal with the Occupation of Paris, the Lebanese Civil War, the fallout of the French colonial project, genocide in Rwanda, women’s rights, and more? How can we borrow, from these authors, techniques for drafting prose, or assembling verse, that has the supple, seductive consistency of memory? Can we fool each other? Ourselves? This course will involve the production and careful workshopping of narratives, fiction or nonfiction, written in the first person. It will be absolutely forbidden to ask any of your classmates whether the events of their story, or their poem, “really happened.” 

Students will compose weekly pieces of writing during class, sharing them in weekly workshops, in a dedicated notebook. They will choose certain of these pieces to expand on and revise. They will sit for an examination on the texts that we will read, but the main point of this reading is to identify, each week, a site for experimentation in writing. Laptops will not be allowed (unless you require accommodation otherwise). Results in a portfolio of stories, essays, and poems by which you’ll find you have surprised yourself. Fulfills Gen Ed AL.

English 268 American Literature and Culture before 1865 (course in American literature before 1865 or 200 elective elective)(American Studies)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Hoang Phan
Beginning in the Age of Revolution and ending in the Age of Emancipation, this course will focus on the relationship between American literature and the broader social transformations of this period. Studying the formal and thematic innovations of a range of American writers, the course will explore the various ways these writers responded to the radical upheavals of their times. What are the differing narratives posed by literary works of these periods, on the issues of territorial expansion, slavery, and national union; citizenship and democracy; social order and revolution? Reading widely and deeply, we’ll study the writings of Charles Brockden Brown, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass; Herman Melville; and Walt Whitman, among others. Throughout our readings we’ll examine the ways in which the literature of this period contributed to the imagined community of the nation, as well as raised problems for the dominant narratives of the nation. This course is open to English majors only.  Prerequisite: ENGLWRIT 112 or equivalent.

English 269 American literature and culture after 1865 (Amer lit after 1865 or 200+ elective)(American Studies)

Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15    Instructor: TBA
This course explores the definition and evolution of a national literary tradition in the United States from the Civil War to the present. We will examine a variety of issues arising from the historical and cultural contexts of the 19th and 20th centuries, the formal study of literature, and the competing constructions of American identity. Students will consider canonical texts, as well as those less frequently recognized as central to the American literary tradition, in an effort to foster original insights into the definition, content, and the shape of “literature” in the United States.

English 298-2 Practicum: Leadership in English Studies

Lecture 1    Mon 4:00-5:00        Instructor: David Fleming
This practicum, taken P/F usually for 2 credits, is for English majors at any level interested in joining and working on the department’s Student Advisory Board (SAB). You must be able to meet Mondays from 4-5 pm. The SAB serves as a voice for undergraduate students in English and helps the department recruit, advise, and communicate with prospective and current English majors. Duties include public speaking (talking to current majors, to new majors, to prospective majors, etc.), peer advising, and work helping organize departmental events. Each SAB member will also work on a special project of service to the department. This is a great way to become more involved in English, to develop leadership and teamwork skills, and to engage with others on projects that can make a difference! By application only: email David Fleming at (If you’re interested but have a conflict with the day/time above, let me know: we may be able to change that.)

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing or American literature after 1865 or Anglophone)(Literature as History)(Social Justice)

Lecture 1    TuTh 2:30-3:45    Instructor: Jimmy Worthy
Topic: Suffering and Subjectivity in African American literature.  This course will examine the trope of death consciousness and black suffering in African American literature. By focusing on African American literature as manifestoes of community formation that interrogate the relationship between death and subjectivity, we will explore African American authors’ preoccupation with chronicling characters who embody ritualistic suffering, death, and ultimately reconceptualized black personhood. Our readings will provide plentiful opportunities to analyze how the construction of death in its various manifestations (annihilation, prerequisite for resurrection, cessation of interest in the outside world, transcendent insight that offers access to unfettered interiority, etc.) constitute a governing structure of life deeply embedded in African American belief systems, cultural memory and literary production.

English 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing or American literature after 1865 or Anglophone)(Social Justice)(American Studies)

Lecture 2    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Ruth Jennison
Topic: Resistance and Revolution in 20th and 21st Century American Poetry.  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 300 Junior Year Writing (Junior Year Writing or Anglophone) (Literature as History)

Lecture 4    TuTh 10:10-11:15        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 Anglophone)

Lecture 5    TuTh 1:00-2:30        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 313 Introduction to Old English Poetry (early British literature 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)(TELA)

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 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)(Literature as History)(Social Justice)

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: Ben Latini

319 Disc 01AC
Th 1-2:15 
Instructor: Nataliya Kostenko

319 Disc 01AB
Th 10:00-11:15 
Instructor: Ben Latini

319 Disc 01AD 
Th 10:00-11:15 
Instructor: Nataliya Kostenko






English 329H Tutoring Writing: Theory and Practice (300 elective)(SPOW)(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 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)

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 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 elective)(Creative Writing)

Lecture 2        MWF 11:15-12:05    Instructor: Cleo Abramian
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? The class will call into question the document itself—what defines a document? By interacting with the body as document, the document as body, we will write in
different realms of sensory experimentation. Through our exercises, we will work to recall our understandings of the self and dismantle them. This class will explore a series of readings and
writing exercises intended 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, Alejandra Pizarnik, and Jen Bervin.

English 354 Creative Writing: Mixed Genre (300 elective)(Creative Writing)

Lecture 3    MWF 12:20-1:10    Instructor: Ide Thompson

Writing In The Rhythm. What does it mean to be in rhythm? Is it simply the act of staying “in time” to music? Is it about the ways we move through, rather than to time? Is rhythm something intrinsic? Is rhythm something learned, or is it a marker of identity, culture, and self?

Intrinsically, this class asks us all to step beyond “traditional-western” ideas of poetic and prosaic rhythms and explore unfamiliar ways of writing the beat.

In this course on the stylistic approaches to writing rhythm we will examine the work of a variety of writers to “pick up” the beats of their rhythms, learn to move in them, and then learn to make them our own.

Our ways of seeing rhythm, the ability to feel and contextual movement on the page will be expanded.

Our ways of hearing rhythm, the ability to categorize movement as it appears in the ear, the sounds of the words, morphemes, and punctuation will be pushed into new horizons.

This course will be a collaborative one as learning and working with rhythm while unique to an individual is also a series of lessons in community and collaboration.

In this course we will engage work both written and auditory, spanning the genres of Fiction, Poetry, and Essay with selections from various Western, Caribbean, African American, and African Diasporic  texts and musical pieces, such as Desiree C. Bailey’s “What Noise Against the Cane'',  Ronald Johnson’s “Radi Os”, Arkady Martine’s “Memory Called Empire” and musical forms of Soca and Reggae.

English 354 Creative Writing: Mixed Genre (300 elective)(Creative Writing)

Lecture 4    MW 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Noelle Mrugalla Paraan
The Artifice of Voice.  This workshop will focus on how our choices of craft and medium define the voice we communicate, and ultimately, will focus on the determination of our voice and identity as poets, and develop the eye and the ear in conjunction. We will read closely the work of other poets and writers to examine their choices of subject, form, and language, and examine the relation between the aural and material voice. The primary goal of the student will be to garner the tools and comprehension of identity definition—Just what exactly have we created on the page?; What is this voice, and what is possible?

Students will read from a wide variety of genres, as well as across mediums. Students will choose an artist toward the beginning of the semester whom they desire to study, and present on their chosen artist (A list of suggested artists/writers will be provided, but ultimately, you are welcome to choose from your own ideations). As a workshop, students will present work and provide feedback to each other, write and work inside and outside of class, analyze and discuss readings, and as well complete generative exercises. Students will complete a final packet of work, with the option to range across mediums.

English 355 Creative Writing Fiction (300 elective)(Creative Writing)

Lecture 1    TuTh 11:30-12:45    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 Rosenberg's email address: Please include Spire ID #. DUE May 1st. OPEN TO STUDENTS FROM ALL DEPARTMENTS

English 358 Romantic Poetry (British literature 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 (course in British literature after 1700 or 300+ elective)(Literature as History)

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?
We will read fiction by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Elizabeth Gaskell, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Sarah Waters. 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 (American literature after 1865) or Anglophone or 300+ elective)(Literature as History) (Social Justice)(AL)

Lecture 1    TuTh 10:00-11:15    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, Laila Lalami, and Sahar Mustafah. Critical essays and cultural theory will guide our readings.

English 365 Literature of Ireland (Anglophone or 300+ elective)

Lecture 1    TuTh 2:30-3:45        Instructor: Katherine O’Callaghan
Nineteenth-century background: the Irish Renaissance; such major figures as Yeats, Synge, Joyce and O'Casey; recent and contemporary writing.  (Gen.Ed. AL)

English 374 20th Century American literature (American literature after 1865 or 300+ elective)

Lecture 1    TuTh 1:00-2:15        Instructor: Gloria Biamonte
“. . . soft shadows I have sent out in the world” Reading American Short Stories. "Unlike the novel" says Jorge Luis Borges, "a short story may be, for all purposes, essential." What is essential about the short story, with its singular purity and magic, its focus on those seemingly fleeting moments in human life? To attempt to answer this question, we will be focusing on 20th American short stories and short-story cycles with a few glances back to the ghosts and fantasies that haunted 19th century short stories and forward to the experimental fiction of the early 21st century. Our close textual readings will examine the richly diverse, original, and, at times, radically innovative narratives that evolve and that capture multiple visions of American identity and experience. Our goal in examining these stories 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; on a deeper level, though, we will consider how each of these works 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 stories as works of art.  How do these authors create a space for the reader to enter—a space where understanding and empathy can grow? 

English 378 American Women Writers (course in Amer lit after 1865 or 300+ elective)(Social Justice)(American Studies)(Literature as History)

Lecture 1    TuTh 11:30-12:45    Instructor: Sarah Patterson
The Rise and the Fall of Woman. This class will take on a broad approach to the concept of womanhood using social advocacy as a point of orientation. We will draw from a rich selection of literature including the constitutional decree, the slave narrative, the novel, and a film. This class is especially suited for students who are interested in tracing a history of reformers, missionaries, and charitable public works and who seek to understand evolving notions of feminist thought in American culture. This course of study includes nineteenth century women writers Mary Prince, Margerett Fuller, Frances E. W. Harper, Zitkala-sa, and one contemporary, animated fairy tale.

English 379 Intro to Professional Writing (300 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 Junior and Senior students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Introduces principles of technical writing, page design, and usability. 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 391D Writing and Emerging Technologies (300+ elective)(DH +/- Games)(SPOW)(TELA)

Lecture 1    MW 1:00-2:15             Instructor: Janine Solberg
Our theme for this semester will be publishing technologies. This course meets in a computer classroom, and students will gain hands-on experience with tools commonly used for digital or print publishing (for example: Adobe InDesign or WordPress). This course counts toward the SPoW letter of specialization; it may also be a good fit for students pursuing PWTC, CW, or DH specializations, or those interested in careers in publishing.

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 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 4-5:15        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 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 491E Literature & Education (400 elective)(TELA)

Lecture 1    MWF 10:10-11:00    Instructor: Jenny Adams
Course description forthcoming.

English 491U Putting the Black in the Union Jack: British Black Writing (British literature after 1700 or 400 elective)(Social Justice)(Literature as History)

Lecture 1    MW 2:30-3:45 pm        Instructor: Gretzen Gerzina
In 1963, Jamaican-born dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson moved to London, as part of a long wave of post-war immigrants encouraged to go to England to help revitalize the economy. What he found, as expressed in his most famous recording, was that “Inglan is a bitch/dere’s no escaping it.”
However, black people have lived in Britain since the sixteenth century, and publishing books there since the eighteenth century.  In this course you will study the lives and works of black people in Britain over three centuries. We will read modern prize-winning authors such as Sam Selvon, Andrea Levy, Bernardine Evaristo, S.I. Martin, and Zadie Smith, as well works by black eighteenth-century authors such as Ignatius Sancho.  We will also view several feature films and documentaries about the black British experience over many years. The course's main topics are immigration and outsiders; the long-established black communities; the concept of “home”; modern, multicultural Britain; and the formation of a Black British identity. 
Several of the authors will Zoom into class to discuss their books. Books will include The Emperor’s Babe, Lonely Londoners, Small Island, White Teeth, and poems from A Portable Paradise.

English 491SA AMANDLA! S. African Literature & Politics, Apartheid and Postapartheid (Anglophone or 400 elective)(Literature as History)

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

English 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 all their learning in college, from their major to their General Education courses to their electives and extracurricular experiences; 2) to further practice key “Gen Ed” objectives, such as oral communication, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary perspective-taking; and 3) to apply what they’ve learned at UMass Amherst to new situations, challenging questions, and real world problems. This course is a writing-intensive version of the IE, designed specifically for senior English majors. Over the course of the semester, you’ll use writing to look back on your work in college and ahead to your future, thinking about possibilities for yourself as a writer, scholar, citizen, employee, and human being. 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. The spring 2022 syllabus for this course can be seen at

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

Lecture 1    MWF 1:25-2:15    Instructor: Jenny Adams
spring 2022: 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)(Social Justice)

Lecture 1    TuTh 11:30-12:45    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, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Helen Oyeyemi, Mohsin Hamid, and Louise Erdrich. Students will undertake a variety of critical and creative assignments, including writing their own story or adaptation. 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 497T Teaching Writing in the 21st Century (400 elective)(TELA)(SPOW)

Lecture 1    TuTh 11:30-12:45    Instructor: Donna LeCourt
Why do we privilege some kinds of writing over others? What uses and functions does writing serve in society?  How is writing changing as a result of social media and other technologies?  An introduction to writing studies designed for people who may want to teach K-16, this course will inquire into the changing nature of writing in the 21st century. Specifically, we will investigate why and how writing matters within social hierarchies; what conceptual frames we have for understanding writing production; how cultural contexts affect a writer's choices; how textual features reflect different writers and ways of knowing; and most importantly, how people learn to write.  To do so, we will look into research and scholarship on diverse literacies, writing processes, the nature of academic writing, and how writers from diverse populations may approach writing tasks differently.  We will focus not only on how we might teach writing but also on how writing is changing in response to multiple Englishes, digital platforms, and the information economy.  By the end of the course, students will be able to articulate their own position on what the goals of writing education ought to be and start to define a teaching practice that might emerge from it.

English 497V Introduction to Visual Storytelling (400 elective)(Digital Humanitites +/- Games)(SPOW)

Lecture 1    W 4:00-6:30        Instructor: Jennifer Gutterman
This course explores visual narrative theories and techniques. Students will become familiar with the discipline of sequential visual narrative and the various standard tools and techniques involved for composition, panel design and working with scripts to develop for film, games, comics, television and interactive design. Students will take initial concept ideas through written development, script development where applicable, visual thumbnails and then final sequential imagery in storyboards as a previsualization/developmental step for time-based media linear and non-linear time based media and graphic novels as a finished complete idea of visual narrative for final deployment. Composition, timing, color theory, line quality, technology, detail management and iterative design of visual ideas will be key elements that are covered to understand and develop cohesive and effective visual narrative for a variety of media and output.

English 498 Practicum in Book Editing, Design, and Publication (3 credits, letter graded)

Section 1, Schedule number: 56182        Meeting Pattern TBA        Instructor: David Fleming
The English Department Undergraduate Studies Office is looking for 1-2 junior or senior English majors with experience and/or coursework in editing, design, and publication (including knowledge of InDesign) to help us produce a book-length print publication (with possible online version) that collects and celebrates recent award-winning academic essays from undergraduate English courses. Tasks will include collecting essays from former students, securing permission to publish, editing, adding supplementary material (biography, multi-media, commentary), design, and publication. Persons accepting this position should be able to work without close supervision! By application only: email David Fleming at if you’re interested.

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: by APRIL 26.