UG Course Descriptions: Fall 2014
Days, times and room locations listed below are subject to change. For detailed and up-to-date listings of instructors, course times, room numbers, and open/closed/waitlisted status, see the University's official online Schedule of Classes.
For past syllabi or more information on a specific course, please contact the English Department at 502-852-6801.
English 202, An Introduction to Creative Writing, offers the opportunity to explore the genres of fiction, poetry, and drama with the goal of enabling students to gain or improve competence as readers, writers, and critics in all three genres. Students will leave English 202 prepared for the demands of higher level creative writing courses, having learned a set of techniques for invention, writing, and revision; a critical vocabulary for each genre; experience in workshop sessions; and a broader knowledge of contemporary literature in each genre.
This course will explore key questions in the field of English Studies and offer an orientation into the English major. Some of these questions include: what is literature and how do scholars study it? Why is literature important? Why is literary study important as an academic discipline? How do we read English as a literary language or set of linguistic practices? And how do we write about these practices? What kinds of literature are central to English Studies? What kinds have been neglected? What can literature tell us about culture, and vice versa? What are the distinctions and convergences of creative writing, literary analysis, and evaluation? Required reading for the course will include a novel, plays, several short stories and poems, a writing handbook, and some sample literary criticism.
We will read a selection of the writings of English-speaking peoples from 660 to the Restoration. We will focus on the ways they constructed their views of the world and on the role of writing in that construction, paying particular attention to changes and continuities in cultural values.
This course is a survey of British, Irish and other Anglophone Literature from the late 18th century to the present. We will read selections of some of the best poetry and prose by the Romantics, the Victorians, the Moderns and our contemporaries, including one or two novels.
7142 ENGL 303-50 Scientific and Technical Writing-WR:Distance Ed. (TBA)
4922 ENGL 305-02 Intermediate Creative Writing:Poetry:
T/Th 11:00-12:15 p.m. NS130 (Professors Petrosino)
This intermediate course is for poets who are interested in sharpening their skills as writers, readers, and critics. Successful students in this course will actively engage in a regular writing practice, and will take seriously the processes of composition, critique, and revision. We will spend most class sessions “workshopping” student poems, but we will also devote time to discussing assigned reading and to performing various writing experiments. Assignments will include: responses to peer manuscripts [250 words each], three book reviews of assigned poetry collections [500-750 words each], and a final portfolio [12-15 finished poems]. Students will also be required to compose a portfolio letter [1000-1250 words] introducing the work in their portfolios. Prerequisites: ENGL 202
English 306 is designed for advance business students and Arts and Sciences students (juniors and seniors) anticipating careers in law, business, or government. This course assumes that the better prepared you are to communicate effectively and persuasively using customary business forms, the more readily will you achieve your personal goals. We will compose and present work in modes, both written and visual, expected in business and government. We will also practice composing processes, research relevant business questions, and practice professional problem-solving. As an integral part of these activities, we will examine the rhetorical nature of professional discourse in addressing diverse audiences, sometimes with multiple purposes.
English 310 is designed as an introduction to the field of English studies for non-majors. Students will be asked to read, discuss, and write about literary works, drawn from the three major genres: poetry, drama, and fiction. The course will offer a diverse entry into the methods, terminology, and critical approaches to literature, as well as hone and extend individual rhetorical, argumentative, and critical thinking skills. One particular goal is to expand our knowledge of the research methods in English studies by focusing on the selection, incorporation, and documentation of outside sources, as well as on the evaluation of their content and approach. At the end of the semester, all students should feel more comfortable with the conventions, specific questions, and interpretative approaches that inform poems, plays, and fictitious prose, and be prepared to respond to works from all three major literary genres.
In English 311 we will read and consider a wide range of texts written by Americans (or, in some cases, by people who visited North America) from the early colonial period to around 1865. Along the way, we’ll pursue three main categories of investigation:
1. Literary analysis: To what possible interpretations do these works lend themselves? How does textual evidence support or undermine particular interpretations? How do different works of literature fit together or speak to one another?
2. Contextualization: How do works of literature speak of (and to) the historical moments in which they were produced? What kinds of dissonances, productive or otherwise, arise when twenty-first-century readers approach these texts?
3. Canonization: How are certain works deemed worthy of study, while others are left out? What assumptions and decisions do we make in assigning value to works of literature? How are "classics" made and how are we, as participants in a university course, involved in that process? What other versions of American literary history are possible or defensible? How do the conventional periods into which we divide American literature—often related to the various wars in which the US has participated—define and perhaps limit the study of literature?
Assignments will include short response papers, reading quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam.
Prerequisite: ENGL 102 or 105. Note: Cross-listed with ENGL 325. Introduction to the basic assumptions, methods and concepts of studying language, focusing on the way language influences human experience and the organization of human behavior. Examines the nature, structure and use of language; may apply as elective in either Social Sciences or Humanities meeting divisional or out-of-divisional requirements.
Objective: To introduce undergraduate students to aspects of theoretical linguistics (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) and explore several aspects of applied linguistics. This course will also encourage undergraduate students to think critically about language and its use.
We will follow two majors threads throughout the semester. The first will be to examine the objects or materials, both inherited from the past and “new” to the time period, that provide the context of the plays and sonnets. The second will be to seek to determine how each work introduces characters who are seeking or constructing an identity. Are the characters defining a self or consciously constructing a part. What constitutes identity for a Shakespeare character? For the author ? For the audience? How can a playwright reveal the inner life of major characters? Can a fictional character have an inner life at all? How do ethnicity, gender, and class inform our construction of self? To what extent is the author limited by the cultural mores of the society? Does the creative power of imagination allow the playwright to transform a stock character into a real person, much less a unique self? Can we ever distinguish acting from being? Shakespeare did not have the advantage of studying Freud or Lacan, he understood human complexity, both individual and collective, and he was willing to probe the way our actions, words, gestures, tones, and dreams both hide and reveal our inner selves including our greatest fears and most ardent longings.
In this course, we will be reading some of the most widely recognized and influential works of African Literature in English. We will be asking the question of how English as a language changes in the context of Empire and how African authors use different kinds of englishes to express their own particular world view. As a CD2 class, we will be particularly interested in thinking about how language can be used "encourage an appreciation of the realities of a racially and culturally diverse world." (General Education Cultural Diversity Learning Outcomes)
(subject to change): Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart
Ngugi wa Thing’o “I Will Marry When I want”
“The Trial of Dedan Kimathi”
Flora Nwapa Efuru
Buchi Emecheta The Joys of Motherhood
Tsitsi Dangarembga Nervous Conditions
Ayi Kwei Armah The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born
Selections from various poets
9536 ENGL 371-01 The Graphic Novel: History and Form: MWF 1:00-1:50pm DA109 (Professor Turner)
This course will investigate a diverse selection of plays that have exerted considerable influence upon the development of theater and dramaturgy during the last hundred years. We will begin with some of the high accomplishments of Realist and Naturalist drama, and discuss further the modernist avant-garde stage, epic theater, and the drama of the absurd which came to prominence during and after the World Wars of the twentieth century. Topics will include the intellectual, aesthetic, and cultural milieu of experimental performance, as well as an evolving register of social attitudes and commentaries that came to define a profoundly dynamic, though often fragmented and non-linear, body of dramatic production.
Works on saints, sainthood, and the holy life form one of the most diverse and influential bodies of literature surviving from the Middle Ages. In these texts-which range from the humorous and fantastical to the tragic and sublime-writers expressed their ideals and anxieties concerning medieval culture and their place within it. More than just biographies of exceptional individuals or prescriptions for ethical perfection, texts on holiness provided a means to explore issues of politics, social status, and gender identity. As this is a discussion-based class, we will no doubt cover a wide variety of topics, and I strongly encourage students to bring their own intellectual interests into the classroom.
“Mediating Douglass, Melville, and Whitman”
This course focuses on the writings of three nineteenth-century American writers. First, we will explore the narratives, speeches, and journalism of Frederick Douglass, an African American slave, and later, a famed orator, author, journalist, and abolitionist. Douglass’ virtuosic deployment of writing and speaking across a variety of genres illuminates how US slave society created and maintained racial inequality, and it dismantles the logic by which entrenched power justified such disparity. Then, we will turn to Herman Melville’s anti-transcendentalist vision of humankind’s ability to know one’s self and world when the sources of one’s interpretive and social authority are under duress. Specifically, we will explore how his novel writing and short stories reflect on the uncertain status of antebellum conceptions of work, law, faith, property, gender, ethnicity, race, and class at work in the rapidly industrializing and increasingly stratified United States. Finally, we will consider the evolving editions of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, his wartime poetry and prose, and his earlier journalism. Whitman offers a multitudinous conception of “the many and the one”—a conception of the ways that a people riven by deep differences in belief and experience might still learn to build worlds together during their march toward federal disunion and civil war.
While Douglass, Melville, and Whitman offer different visions of social connection and disconnection, they nonetheless share a profound self-consciousness about writing and living in a slave society and an imperial nation. Relatedly, their works are marked by significant nineteenth-century transformations in transportation, communication, and industrial production. These changes include the rise of daily newspapers; a burgeoning periodical culture; the growth of book printing and publishing; the proliferation of new imaging technologies, press designs, and papermaking techniques; the advent of electric telegraphy; postal system expansion and reform; the increasing establishment of railways, roads, and canals; and the elaboration of intellectual property rights. By placing our semester’s assigned readings alongside local and digital archival sources that speak to these media, we will address two major questions: How are social relations imagined and constituted through literature? And how do media practices shape the formal and historical elements through which people imagine and enact such relations? Ultimately, we will see how a newly modern media environment allowed antebellum Americans to forge social identities and connections—and sunder old ones—by writing and reading their literature.
Billy Budd and Other Stories; Herman Melville; Penguin; ISBN: 9780140390537
Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life; Herman Melville; Penguin; ISBN: 9780140434880
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave; Frederick Douglass; Penguin; ISBN: 780143107309
My Bondage and My Freedom; Frederick Douglass; Penguin; ISBN: 9780140439182
Whitman: Poetry and Prose; Walt Whitman; Library of America; ISBN: 9780940450028
This WR-course focuses on interpreting literature produced from 1865 to 1910, a ripe period informed by distinctly American expressions of realism and naturalism, the develop of a mass readership, the proliferation of ethnic and regional writing, and the continuing importance of women’s literary contributions.
Required books for the course will include The NortonAnthology of American Literature , volume C, and a couple of additional books. Required work will include a research project, oral reports, an essay, and exams.
This course examines key novels and short fiction by three American modernists and their critical reception.
This introductory survey of African American literature from 1845 to the present is intended to introduce crucial themes and concerns in African American and American literature, 2) enable students to understand these literary works in their historical and cultural contexts, and 3) help students develop their skills in literary interpretation and analytical and critical writing.
Similar to other 400-level courses, this one will help you develop and refine your ability to assess and interpret literature, both orally and in writing; learn the basics of research in the discipline of English, including the range of archival resources; incorporate secondary sources into your own argument; be introduced to theoretical approaches to literature and cultural studies across the curriculum; understand how literary canons and literary histories develop; and understand the complex relationships of African American literature to its historical contexts, such as the importance of literacy, the uses of literature for social representation and moral suasion, and literature's relationship to abolitionism, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Great Migration, and the Civil Rights movement. We will be reading texts by such writers as Douglass, Harper, Du Bois, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Brooks, and Morrison. Assignments may include in-class writing or frequent blogging, two long literary analyses (including a research paper), and two exams.
Prerequisites: You must be a declared English major, with six hours in English beyond 101 and 102 or 105. You must also have a 3.0 GPA and receive permission of the instructor. Internship opportunities and placements are researched by the student and submitted for approval by the Director of Internships. Each Internship position needs to have at least 40 hours of work on site and include a supervisor/mentor on site willing to provide a final evaluation of the Intern to the English Dept. All Internships should be off-campus; this requirement may be waived by the Director of Internships if the student can demonstrate that the position does not directly benefit the English Dept. or another degree granting Academic program. Students may petition to use their current work-site as an Internship, if they can identify a project or position that is SUBSTANTIALLY different from, and supplementary to, their normal work requirements.
Not long ago, Milton stood with Shakespeare as twin pillars stabilizing the canon in English Literature. This seminar will explore how this structure developed and then how it eroded so that Milton has now fallen into Shakespeare's shadow. In addition to reading works by Shakespeare and Milton, we will also read various critics instrumental in the building of the English canon, most especially the English Romantics. Finally we will look at the persistence of both Milton and Shakespeare in American popular culture (by reading Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass and watching Disney's Lion King). Requirements: Take Home Midterm, Final Paper, Class Presentation.
In this course we will examine a selection of published contemporary plays by American and British dramatists. We’ll discuss formal characteristics of the works, as well as elements of cultural context, including such questions as current trends in contemporary writing for the theater, and the relation of contemporary theater to other current art forms. As a WR course, ENGL 470 includes formal assignments and research as an integral part of the course.
In this course, we’ll focus on the development of literary theory—those concepts and terms that govern our understandings of language, literature, aesthetics, and interpretation. While we don’t always acknowledge the ways in which our understandings of reading, textuality, authorship, and interpretation impact our encounters with literary texts, these ideas—ideas that all have extended histories—in many ways circumscribe what we do. In this class we’ll look at a number of theoretical “schools,” or approaches to interpretation. We’ll start with New Criticism, which is in many ways the model we still use for close reading, before looking at how different ideas of what constitutes a reader or a text complicate that model. From there, we’ll look at theories of interpretation that focus both on the political and the philosophical—that is, on the ways in which issues of class, race, gender, and sexuality, alongside broader issues of language—continue to impact what it is we do in English Studies.
The questions guiding this course, then, will focus on what it means to“do” literary studies: what is a text? A reader? An author? What is the relationship between reading, interpretation, and language? What is the role of theory in determining and understanding that relationship? And in that regard, how does theory offer us tools for thinking in richer ways about language and textuality? Prerequisite: ENGL 300 or 310.
Graded work and grade scale:
Course forum on Blackboard (30%);
This class will be devoted to the Black Arts Movement--an important, national artistic movement in the mid-1960’s to the mid-1970’s. Its artists and theorists sought ways to link artists and audiences, to develop new principles for evaluating art based on Black experience, cultural traditions, and ethical responsibility. They also sought new performance conventions for communicating with audiences about political, economic, and cultural issues, and developed such institutions as community centers and theaters.
Accordingly, we will examine precursors to the BAM, connections between the Black Arts Movement and the Black Power Movement, conversations and debates among Black Arts intellectuals and artists during the period, and the varieties of public art and institutions created in communities throughout the United States. We will also discuss the movement’s many influences and lingering controversies, including debates about the function and meaning of art, the place of ethnic literatures in English departments, ideas about race, identity, power, and integration, ideas about gender and sexuality, and the role and representation of women in the movement. We will finally look at competing assessments of the movement’s success and influence.Writers may include such figures as Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Nikki Giovanni, Addison Gayle, Harold Cruse, Larry Neal, Ed Bullins, Etheridge Knight, Hoyt Fuller, Maulana Ron Karenga, Haki Madhubuti, Mari Evans, Ishmael Reed, and many others. Likely assignments include regular blog posts, two research papers, and at least one exam.This class is open to both graduate students and undergraduates. Graduate students will be asked to complete a separate set of assignments suitable for graduate study and credit.
In this course, we'll explore the Inferno of Dante Alighieri with two purposes in mind: 1) to gain an understanding of the poem within its historical context and 2) to investigate how subsequent writers in the English-speaking world have worked with and against the poem's conventions. Readings will include modern English translations of Inferno and other Dantean texts alongside selections of modern and contemporary literary projects that take Inferno as a point of departure. Coursework will offer students the opportunity to complete a mix of critical and creative assignments in contemplation of Dante. As our goal will be to gain a better understanding of the text itself as well as some of the many works of art and literature it has inspired, this course will be team-taught by a poet and a literary historian, and we welcome students interested in criticism, creative writing, and intellectual history into the class.
Women’s Personal Narratives (Fall 2014) will explore women’s rhetorical constructions of agency and subjectivity at the intersection of gender and traditional definitions of self and self-narrative. Women speak from within established androcentric institutions such as: education, family, work, politics, religion, citizenship, and culture. While we may not cover all of these intersections in the course readings, we will employ tools of analysis that can apply to all. Those tools will allow students to engage in research projects across any of these intersections. We will confine ourselves to narratives of self (autobiography, memoir, letters, diaries) written by women rather than about them, and we will interrogate the nuances of this distinction. Course materials will pull from both nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers as well as from contemporary theory in narrative and women’s rhetoric.