Descriptions of some of the English Department’s Spring 2023 Courses
ENGL2540: British Literature after 1900
This class covers nearly 100 years of British literature from the beginning of the 20th century through the present. The course is divided into four sections, and each section is organized around one or more significant historical, cultural, and literary moment/s. By studying novels, plays, poems, nonfiction, and short stories, you will understand the principal aesthetic and ideological concerns animating the 20th century.
(Instructor: Suhaan Mehta; MW 9:25-10:40)
ENGL2820: Introduction to Rhetoric & Writing Studies
This course will introduce students to the history and evolution of Western rhetorical theory from its origins in Ancient Greece and Rome to contemporary approaches. Explores major figures, issues, and theoretical lenses of rhetoric and writing studies, including evolving conceptions of rhetoric and its distinctions from (or overlap with) philosophy and science. Examines evolution of the canon of “the Rhetorical Tradition,” who has been included and why, and its shifts over time, seeking to understand rhetoric as an art form with its own set of principles and a diverse theoretical landscape. This broad exploration will provide a basis for developing an informed practice of rhetorical thinking and production. We will consider the relevance of rhetorical theory within writing studies, especially as it informs understanding of the power of language and human symbolic activity.
(Instructor: Andrea Wenker; Online Asynchronous)
ENGL2920: Exploring English Studies: Sustainability
Topic: The Ecological Writing of Ursula Le Guin.
(Instructor: Nate Siebert; TuTh 3:05-4:20 in person)
ENGL3000: Critical Theory: Foundations & Practice
In this course, you will study theoretical frameworks that are used to approach fictional and nonfictional works from different perspectives. These perspectives emerge from diverse disciplines such as linguistics, psychoanalysis, and political theory. Over the course of the semester, you will: (a) develop familiarity with key ideas from various schools of critical theory (b) understand how these theoretical schools are in conversation with each other (c) learn to analyze a range of print and visual texts through the lens of theory.
(Instructor: Suhaan Mehta; MW 1:40-2:55 In person & Online Asynchronous)
ENGL3010-001 & -002
This rhetoric and writing course places a focus on written rhetoric and builds on the writing skills students possess as advanced undergraduates. It offers diverse opportunities to cultivate writing skills for academic and non-academic situations and genres, for various audiences, and with new rhetorical and stylistic moves. Students will be asked to reflect upon their writing process and account for their rhetorical decisions in each major assignment. To support this work, we will build a trusting community of writers willing to explore and experiment in the domain that we call “rhetoric and writing.” This course is designed to help students develop experience, confidence, versatility, authority, and options as writers. All its assignments and classroom activities are conceived to support students’ cultivation of habits that enable them to negotiate any rhetorical situation effectively, appropriately, and ethically.
Topic: Voice & Rhetoric. The sections of ENGL 3010 that I teach are organized around the theme of voice. To explore this theme, we will begin with a few key theoretical concepts. From each of these theoretical foundations, we will build out a more robust understanding with supporting concepts, and use those structures as a basis upon which to expand in our next unit. By the end of the semester, we will have built a working understanding, piece by piece, of the elements of writing situations and their dynamic complexities. With each unit, students will complete smaller assignments and a major assignment that we can think of as experiments to engage us in discussions about the rhetorical effects of our choices about language.
(Instructor: Andrea Wenker; 001: TuTh 9:25-10:40am / 002: TuTh 1:40-2:55pm In Person)
ENGL3020: Topics in Advanced Rhetoric & Writing
Topic: Rhetoric of Science in Popular Discourse
In this reading-intensive course, we will explore the intersections of rhetoric, epistemology, and science in public discursive contexts, including popular culture, news media, social media and more. Your work in this course will enable you to be a more empathetic and rhetorically savvy participant in the discourses that shape your everyday life.
(Instructor: Cody Kaser; MW 8-9:15am In Person)
ENGL3170: riverrun Literary & Arts Journa
If Ulises Carrión is right that “a book is a sequence of spaces,” you might see this course as something like deep hanging out. In ENGL 3170, we’ll make some spaces to get the community together by editing, producing, and distributing the monumental 50th issue of the student-run campus lit journal, riverrun. Sometimes we’ll have company over (like visiting readers and local book artists), and sometimes we’ll tell stories about the company we’d like to keep (by taking hold of the means of production). Along the way we’ll think together about what it means to have the means. Topics include blatant theft/piracy, the spiritual life of letterforms, page design as space travel, all-you-need-is-a-newsletter, free books/free money, publishing-or-privishing?, manifest/manifesto, and ways to avoid extra charges at the printer’s. Historically taught by squirrelly poets. Includes launch party w/snacks. (Instructor: Chris Martin; M 1:40-4:20pm In Person)
Instructor: Chris (C.J.) Martin teaches first-year writing and rhetoric and creative writing, and he's the faculty sponsor for the campus lit journal, riverrun. He is the author of the poetry collection Two Books (Compline Press), as well as numerous poetry chapbooks and essays. A fine-press bookbinder and letterpress printer, he directs the poetry and art press Further Other Book Works.
ENGL3350: American Literature 1820-1900
Topic: Print Cultures. Traditional college textbooks reprint literary works removed from the print cultures in which they appeared. But in this class, we read important works of nineteenth-century American literature as they were originally published through a variety of proprietary library databases such as the American Periodicals Series (APS) as well as Open Educational Resources (OERs) such as DocSouth. Authors include Lydia Maria Child, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Jack London. We study the abolitionist press. Scholarship is incorporated. You apply what you’ve learned throughout the course in a research paper related to nineteenth-century American print cultures on a topic of your choice.
This course provides a framework for studying American culture across a range of genres and modes between 1945 and the present. Topics may include 1) the great power rivalry of the Cold War; 2) the impact of technological change on the literary imagination, from the atom bomb to the internet; 3) the revolutionary upheavals of the 1960s, such as the Civil Rights movement and second wave feminism; 4) distinctive generic characteristics of postwar American literary form, e.g. southern gothic and cyberpunk; 5) the expanding field of American mass culture, from the camera’s image to Hollywood cinema; 6) thelegacies of realism and modernism, and the place of postmodernism, in postwar American literature; and 7) the role of new period concepts such as globalization within contemporary American culture. Writing in the course will foreground two skills of cultural analysis: close reading and the effective incorporation of secondary sources. This class fulfills the late American literature requirement for the Literature and Secondary Education tracks, and an American literature requirement for other tracks.
(Instructor: Stephen Carter; MW 3:05-4:20)
ENGL3600: African American Literature
In this course, you will examine influential literary works that trace the arc of a literary history that is uniquely African American. The assigned literature dares to innovate and challenge mainstream literary forms and to represent the lives of Black people and of African-American culture even when that was a dangerous act. The assigned works require a reckoning with racism in America’s past and a recognition of people and culture that were erased by mainstream American literary history. Finally, the assigned works celebrate the achievements of average Black American citizens as well as of historical Black figures. You will analyze what these examples of African American Literature reveal about literary history, about American culture, and, especially, what they show us as twenty-first century readers in America. Together, we will consider how African American literature can help us navigate race relations in contemporary America.
(Instructor: Kirsten Ortega; Online Asynchronous)
ENGL3900: Topics in Literature
Topic: Young Adult Literature. We start with classics of Young Adult literature before moving on to contemporary works about race, ethnicity, gender identities, and disabilities. “According to a 2022 report by PEN America, YA titles account for 47 percent of the books challenged” by those seeking to ban books from schools and libraries (Atlantic). Engage in spirited and respectful discussions as we analyze YA lit though a variety of theoretical perspectives including education. The class culminates in a term paper about YA lit on a topic of your choosing using scholarly and other sources. (Instructor: Lesley Ginsberg; Hybrid course that requires meeting in person weekly: Th 10:50-12:05. The remainder of the course requires completing online instruction in Canvas. Students are responsible for weekly online assignments as well as assigned readings and longer written assignments.)
ENGL4410: Topics in Contemporary Poetry Studies Seminar
Topic: Digital Poetics. In this course, you will investigate the ways that poetry is appears in, is altered by, and alters digital space from “hypertext” poems to the “Insta-poetry” of Instagram. You will complete a research project about the relationship between poetry and technology and assert your own insights into “digital poetics.”
(Instructor: Kirsten Ortega; Online Asynchronous)
ENGL4700: Seminar in Critical Theory
Topic: Marxist Theory. This course is a sustained yet accessible study of key thinkers, texts, and ideas in the tradition of critical theory that emerges from, and in conversation with, the works of Karl Marx. We will examine and unpack concepts that often come to mind when we think of Marxism—class, labor, commodity, ideology, capital—but also others that may be less familiar, such as alienation, dialectics, periodization, utopia, reification, and species being. Students will gain critical and theoretical tools for analyzing and interpreting diverse cultural and social phenomena, and will write in a variety of modes and genres, from more conventional practices of argument analysis and close reading to forms such as the manifesto and the aphorism. This course fulfills the summit requirement for the Compass Curriculum and the senior seminar requirement for the Literature and Education tracks in the English major, and can count as an elective in other tracks or minors in the department. English 3000 (Critical Theory: Foundations & Practice) is a prerequisite for this course; talk to Dr. Carter if you have questions about this.
(Instructor: Stephen Carter; W 10:50-1:30)
ENGL4810: Special Topics in Teaching Writing
Topic: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. In this course, you'll learn theories of second language learning, methods of teaching while valuing students’ existing languages and cultures, and strategies for creating inclusive educational environments. This course emphasizes the importance of learning about individuals’ experiences with language, appreciating individuals’ rich linguistic abilities including when they do not speak Standard American English, and drawing on students’ linguistic and cultural backgrounds in teaching writing. Course projects include a video presenting how an educational space includes and represents multilingual individuals, a class Book Club where you'll read a memoir of a language learner and work with a group to lead class discussion, and a video or podcast where you’ll tell the story of an English Language Learner's experience and interpret that story through the theories and teaching methods we learn in class.
(Instructor: Ann Amicucci; T/Th 9:25-10:40)
ENGL4880: Topics in Public Rhetorics
Topic: Rhetoric and Life Writing in the Era of “Truth Decay.” Life writing matters deeply in the practice and study of rhetoric, particularly now, in the era of “truth decay” (Rand), wherein personal experience and opinion influence deliberation as much as, if not more, than expert opinion and data. But, what exactly is “life writing”? What does life writing do to (and for) its writers and in the world? And, what makes a piece of life writing ethical (or not)? In this seminar, we will pursue these questions and examine how various genres of life writing—the memoir, personal essay, autotheory, autoethnography, blended scholarship, etc.—function rhetorically. You will also hone your research abilities and produce a research-informed piece of life writing on a topic and in a genre of your choosing.