SPRING 2024 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
ENGL 202-01 & 03: Intro to CW; Professor Mozer
ENGL 202-04: Intro to CW; Professor Messer
ENGL 202-50 & 51; Intro to CW; Professor Weinberg
Welcome to the English Department’s online version of ENGL 202: Intro to Creative Writing. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the genres of fiction, poetry, and drama, learning the nuts and bolts of craft. The first part of the semester will be a primer in four areas of craft: detail/image, voice/point-of-view, character, and setting. You’ll experiment with these foundational elements in writing exercises, and discuss how published writers apply them in their stories, poems, and plays. For the remainder of the semester, you’ll take a close look at each genre in mini-units. You’ll be introduced to the creative writing workshop, reading the work of your classmates and exchanging constructive criticism on a discussion board. Your instructor will guide the discussion. For your final project, you’ll choose between writing a full-length short story, a series of poems, or a ten-minute play.
ENGL 300-01: Intro to Literature; Professor Clukey
ENGL 300-02: Intro to Literature; Professor Anderson
In this course, we will develop and practice skills for reading, discussing, and writing about literature in English, with a focus on poetry, drama, and fiction (short stories as well as, likely, a short novel).
During the course, we will learn critical terms for analyzing literature, and will develop strategies for writing and revising argumentative papers. We will also discuss the artistic nuances of the literature, and briefly discuss their artistic and cultural contexts.
My main goal is to offer feedback and support to help you develop your interpretive and writing skills. There will be three longer essays (one each about poetry, fiction, and drama), as well as shorter weekly writing tasks.
ENGL 300-50 & 51: Intro to Literature; TBA
ENGL 301-01 Literature Before 1800; Professor Turner
This course is configured around humor in the literature of early Britain (c800 through 1623). We are embarking on what literary critics have traditionally called literary history: a survey and explanation of the major genres, literary movements, and tropes that shape what we now call "English Literature." Much as today, we are undergoing a fundamental transformation of our writing technologies courtesy of the Web and allied technologies, so over the eight hundred years we will cover, “writing” and story-telling went through successive transformations, as texts were disseminated first in hand-written manuscripts and then in printed books. Over the semester, we will map how different genres or kinds of writing were read and provided a kind of “social cement” that generated communities, taught readers how to feel, or which engaged them in discussions of what and how it meant to love, believe, be. Central to the course are questions of authorship: who wrote, how they had access to knowledge, and how their texts circulated. Related to questions of authorship will also be questions of readership.
Writing about literature will be an important part of this course. Writing effectively should be what distinguishes English majors both within and outside the university. Writing is a rewarding, difficult process – be prepared to think hard about the works we read and to spend time writing about the ideas this course considers. Because writing well is difficult, we will spend time talking, thinking, and writing about our writing and our writing processes. Therefore, be prepared to go through multiple drafts of each essay – and remember, writing is never really done, it’s simply due.
ENGL 302-01 Literature After 1800; Professor Hadley
ENGL 303-01: Science and Technical Writing; Professor Poole
Scientific and technical knowledge that is caught up in jargon does no good in helping public audiences decode issues about health, information, data privacy, and so forth. This class helps you to decode the norms of science and technical writing, then work to translate what you know for public audiences.
More specifically, we'll engage with local environmental justice efforts to determine how science and technical writing can be used to push for social change. We'll dig deep into scientific research, create original data visualizations, and learn how to consider story as one of the most important sources of data in science. We may also go out into the field to do research together--join us.
ENGL 303-50: Science and Technical Writing; TBA
ENGL 305-02: Intermediate CW Wkshp: Fiction; Professor Griner
Welcome to English 305, fiction. This course is designed to help fiction writers and students interested in fiction hone their craft. I expect to see all of you improve as writers, readers and critics. That doesn’t necessarily mean I expect you to become more polished writers; in some cases it may mean you’re more willing to take risks, while in others it may mean you’ll gain greater expertise in things you already do well. Class participants will also be expected to deepen their reading practices and to provide thoughtful feedback on their peers’ work and insight into the work of published fiction writers. Beyond that, the most important goals are probably the ones you discover and define. The focus of the course is student work. We’ll read published pieces, and have various exercises, designed to help improve writing, generate ideas, etc., but the majority of class periods will be taken up with workshops.
ENGL 305-03: Intermediate CW Wkshp: Poetry; Professor Adams
This intermediate course offers students the chance to sharpen their skills as writers, readers, and critics of poetry. Although we will spend time discussing original work by the students in the class, we will spend as much time discussing important formal features of poetry (including diction, line, meter, rhyme, syntax, image, metaphor), as well as some genres and forms of poems (like the sonnet). We will read a combination of canonical and contemporary poetry with an eye to what it can teach us about poetic form, and we will perform various writing exercises and experiments, both to put what we have learned from other poets into action, and to explore new poetic possibilities.
Assignments will include: writing exercises, written responses to peer manuscripts, a book review of a contemporary poetry collection, and a final portfolio of 10–12 original poems with a brief introduction.
ENGL 305-04: Screenwriting; Professor Stansel
In this course we will study and practice the art of writing for the screen. We will read various texts on the craft of screenwriting, look at examples from different genres, and try to understand how different screenwriters deal with plot, character, setting, time, and other aspects of the craft. For their main projects, students will try their hand at a television pilot script and the start of a feature script (synopsis, outline, and first act). As a class, we will “workshop” these student projects, offering honest and supportive feedback. Through the semester, students will also write short analyses of films and TV episodes, some assigned and some of their choosing, in an effort to push their appreciation of these forms past passive entertainment and into a deeper understanding.
ENGL 306-55 & 56: Business Writing; Professor Smith
This distance education course is designed for Arts and Sciences students anticipating careers in the professions, e.g., law, business, or government, just to name a few; concentrates on composing in a variety of rhetorical situations in business discourse; and emphasizes practicing composing processes, developing an appropriate style, learning professional problem-solving, integrating oral and written communication, collaborating with peers and supervisors, and using new communication technologies. We will read, analyze, and compose workplace texts so that you can develop your writing and your understanding of writing for specific situations within a workplace/professional context. The possible genres include letters, blogs, emails, reports, proposals, presentation slides, case studies, memos, videos, and white papers. This class will be offered online with 100% digital instruction and no designated meeting times.
ENGL 309-01: Inquiries in Writing; Professor Rogers
This course will focus on “truth telling” and interdisciplinary research writing to discover how published authors and student writers employ narrative methods to convey their messages to an audience of readers. We’ll look at various forms of storytelling such as personal narratives, literary journalism, essays, journals, and travel writing, as well as the I-search project, a form of research journal. Throughout the course, students will read and share work as they write and reflect throughout the narrative process.
ENGL 309-02: 21st C Writing & Reading; Professor Kopelson (CANCELLED)
This writing intensive course uses students’ own experiences to examine what it means to write, read, and learn in the 21st century. We begin the course with reflective writings about our own literacy learning and writing processes. As the course progresses, we turn our attention to how recent and ever multiplying technologies and byproducts of technology are changing writing, reading, learning, the nature of attention and focus, the nature of reality and truth, and our brains themselves. Course readings will be drawn from writing studies, reading theories, education scholarship, popular science writing, and cognitive neuroscience. Throughout, the course is firmly grounded in making reflective connections between course readings and our own experiences as students, readers, writers, learners, and citizens. Written assignments range from weekly reflective writings and responses to the readings, to researched writing, to writing for public forums. WR
ENGL 309-03: Writing in the City; Professor Harmeling (CANCELLED)
ENGL 309-50: Inquiries in Writing; TBA
ENGL 310-02: Intro to Prof. Writing; Professor Schneider
ENGL 310-50: Intro to Prof. Writing; Professor Johnson
ENGL 315-50: Culture, Text, and Media; Professor Mattes
"Antiracist Media and American Literature"
This distance-education course focuses on how Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color (BIPOC) strategically use text technologies and publishing media - including manuscript, print, oratory, book format, archives, and digital networks - to shape their literatures.
We will begin with case studies of nineteenth-century Black and Indigenous authorship. Readings include works by Frederick Douglass and Sarah Winnemuca (Northern Paiute). We will discover how these writers strategically depict their uses of alphabetic literacy and intervene in white infrastructures of print media in order to negotiate, critique, and dismantle racist ideas about selfhood and sovereignty.
Later, we will read graphic novels that extend these BIPOC media strategies. These works center on an eighteenth-century massacre of Conestoga Native Americans (Lee Francis and Weshoyote Alvitre’s Ghost River) and a nineteenth-century Virginia slave rebellion (Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner). We will consider how these writers and illustrators of color have developed antiracist compositional practices involving book format and digital design, as well as BIPOC-controlled digital publishing initiatives.
Finally, we will turn to a mind-bending work of fiction whose aesthetic elements - including characters, plots and themes - are driven by text technologies: The People of Paper, by Salvador Plascencia. In particular, we'll think about how he employs technologies of print such as ink, printing, paper, typography in order to dramatize the multiethnic borderlands of the American southwest, and to meditate on the commodification of BIPOC experiences of violence and pain by contemporary publishing. Taken together, these life narratives, graphic novels, fictional works, and digital initiatives foreground the vital role of text technologies and publishing media in facilitating BIPOC stories - stories in which people of color are rendered not in genocidal terms of pure victimization, but rather in irreducible and ongoing legacies of survivance.
ENGL 325-01 & 02: Intro to Linguistics; Professor Stewart
ENGL 334-50: Shakespeare II (The Strange, The Supernatural, and the Other”); Professor Stanev
Shakespeare lived in an age of exploration, fantasy, and imagination, but also in a time of widespread fears of the new and different. For his contemporaries, the visible and the invisible worlds often clashed. The Bard was interested in studying clashes with the strange, the monstrous, and the supernatural, and his plays often examined the capacity of such encounters to reflect and challenge the world of cultural, social, and political change that the Renaissance is famous for. Shakespeare’s plays also actively imagined the Other by transforming racial, cultural, or gendered differences into notions of strangeness and unease. This course will study plays that problematize and examine supernatural elements, as well as forms of “othering,” set in the context of warfare, colonial conquest, visions and fantasies of self and others, gender, sexuality, social taboos, ritual, sport, and games. From the archetypal monster Caliban in The Tempest to the deformed protagonist of Richard III, from the weird sisters of Macbeth and the goblins and preternatural storms of King Lear to the monstrous sin of Pericles, and to the diverse cast of fairy folk in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we will survey Shakespeare’s interest in the odd and the unusual. In addition, we will watch selected scenes from adaptations of the plays under discussion and consider how the visual and aural staging of supernatural/othered elements works to channel specific ideas about the social and cultural relevance of the fantastical in the past and in the present.
ENGL 369-01: Minority Trad American Lits (AHD1); Professor Mozer
ENGL 371-03: Hebrew Bible as Literature; Professor Sherman
Reading the Hebrew Bible as Literature/the Hebrew Bible in Literature
Many of us think that we somehow know what is in the Bible, even if we rarely encounter it directly. Yet when we do read it, we can sometimes be shocked anew by both its violence and moral energy, the myriad ways that it radiates human suffering, outrage, spiritual insight, and sometimes even stupefies us with what can seem a bleak portrait of human (and perhaps divine) failings. As Matti Friedman says, “I loved Bible stories as a kid for the same reason that my kids love them now—because they’re not stories for kids.”
Considering the diversity and complexity of the Hebrew Bible, it should not be surprising that the interpretation of the Bible as literature has been a multifarious and ongoing process. As one contemporary biblical critic proclaims, as readers “our inclination must be toward ‘both…and,’ not ‘either…or,’ or in the words of the Maoist Chinese slogan, ‘let a hundred flowers bloom.’ For unlike what happened to that slogan in China, where its proclamation led to an outburst of critical voices the beleaguered government felt compelled to suppress, in biblical studies the ‘hundred flowers’ and more are the only way to capture the rich texture of what the biblical corpus has to offer.”
Prospective students of faith should take note that this course might pose serious challenges for them: the paradigm that guides this class is literary analysis. Hence we will explore some critical voices for whom the Bible is only a literary text, with no particular discernable theological meaning or correspondence. On the other hand we will also encounter interpreters for whom the Bible is a literary as well as a theological text, and should be savored in all of its ambiguity, symbolism, mystery, and indeterminacy. But it is worth keeping in mind something that author Daniel Handler once said: “The way we understand the stories is the Torah are somewhere between literal and metaphorical. Unlike a lot of other religions, where they’re really stressing the literal all the time.” In this course, a degree of irreverence is always welcome. As Woody Allen once remarked: "I don't believe that God is evil, He's just an underachiever."
This course is also intended as an immersion in contemporary uses of the 2,000 year-old tradition of Midrash. Traditional Midrash is the ancient rabbinic tradition of exegesis (written and compiled between the first and 11th centuries) in which wherever the Torah seemed to be tantalizingly less than explicit or specific, interpreters sought to provide fresh interpretation and meaning in contexts relevant to their present moment. Traditional midrash includes many opinions on a single verse often in dialogue or disagreement, an inherently democratic discourse. This traditional variant of storytelling is a close relative of intertextuality which theorist Susan Handelman aptly describes: “Texts echo, interact, and interpenetrate.” Thus, in later weeks of this class we explore representative examples of how the modern literary imagination responds to ancient stories and uncovers fresh and often disturbing truths there by brushing those sources up against contemporary realities. Particular attention will be given to identifying and studying specific Biblical passages, stories, symbols and motifs, as they are used today by fiction writers and poets. Especially for feminist writers, the midrash proves an irresistible genre. Given the paucity of women’s voices in the biblical text, the midrash genre, simultaneously modern and traditional, is an ideal outlet for feminist exploration.
According to Judith Plaskow: “listening to the traditional sources, we wait for the words of women 'to rise out of the white spaces between the letters in the Torah' as we remember and transmit the past through 'the experience of our own lives.'” In the works of and the Jewish American writer Anita Diamant and others, we will find vibrant exemplars of this creative “listening.” Assignments will include two written essays (midterms) and shorter informal response papers throughout the semester.
ENGL 373-02: Women & Global Literature; AHD2; Professor Rabin
The Middle Ages (ca. 500-1500) are often depicted as a “dark age” for women during which rigid gender roles were rigorously enforced, traditional heterosexual relationships were the norm, and oppressive religious authority stymied all possibility of non-conformity or rebellion. The reality, however, was far more complicated. In this course, we will examine the various ways in which medieval authors, both male and female, treated issues of gender and female identity in their works. As we shall see, not only was the understanding of female identity more complex than the traditional view admits, but narratives centered on gender also offered a lens through which authors could consider larger problems of authority, selfhood, and ethical psychology. The texts we will read each approach these themes from very different perspectives, and I encourage you to bring your own ideas and interests into class as well.
WR, AH, D2
ENGL 373-53: Women & Global Literature; AHD2;Professor White
ENGL 374-50: Gender & Children’s Lit.; AHD1; Professor White
ENGL 375-50: LGBTQ Lit in US-The Not So Distant Past; AHD1; Professor Kopelson
This fully online section of LGBTQ Literature takes a deep dive into four 20th century US novels, three of which are expressly autobiographical, that help us examine literary representations of racialized, classed, national “LGBTQ” identities and experiences in the century before such an inclusive and yet deeply specified abbreviation became possible. Thus, the course aims to remind you of, or perhaps acquaint you with, recent queer histories and experiences in and of the US (as represented literarily). In fact, the character of the U.S. as nation, and of “American-ness” as an ideal, figures prominently in all novels.
In addition to the four novels, we will read (and write about) literary criticism of each text under study in order to 1) deepen our understanding of the novels’ meanings and 2) to deepen our understanding of the conventions of analyzing and writing about literature.
Course requirements include: weekly discussion board posts and/or other written responses to the reading and/or to the literary criticism under study, and two essay examinations, one at midterm and one at semester’s end.
Larsen, Nella. Passing Baldwin, James. Giovanni’s Room Lorde, Audre. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues Articles of literary criticism
ENGL 402-02/HON 436-02/ HON 446-02, "Medieval Women,"; Dr. Joseph Turner
In Virgil’s Aeneid, Virgil tells of Dido, the African Queen, who was forced to flee her native Phoenicia, forced to seize ships to carry her and her people across the sea, before founding and ruling the well-ordered and bustling city of Carthage. The text summarizes her heroic triumph with three Latin words: dux femina facti, “a woman was leader of the deed,” or even more simply, “she was boss of the whole thing.” You may know other female bosses of history and of fiction: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of twelfth century France who went head-to-head with a Pope and won; or Chrstine de Pizan, whose fourteenth century Book of the City of Ladies is often hailed as one of the most important texts in western feminism; or Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, an outspoken voice against antifeminist double standards of her day. This class will focus on such socially privileged women but also lesser known women such as Margery Kempe, the English brewer, evangelist, and perhaps the first woman known to require her husband to sign a “postnuptial” agreement; as well as Julian of Norwich, an English mystic whose Revelations of Divine Love is the first devotional text known to be authored by a woman in English. If you join me for this class, you’ll learn much more about real and fictional medieval women who fought against a culture that attempted to restrict their agency and self-authorship, a culture that continues to generate debate and dissent today.
ENGL 403-03: Advanced CW; Professor Griner (CANCELLED)
Welcome to English 403. This course is designed to help writers hone their craft. I expect to see all of you improve as writers, readers and critics. That doesn’t necessarily mean I expect you to become more polished writers; in some cases it may mean you’re more willing to take risks, while in others it may mean you’ll gain greater expertise in things you already do well. Class participants will also be expected to deepen their reading practices and to provide thoughtful feedback on their peers’ work and insight into the work of published fiction writers. Beyond that, the most important goals are probably the ones you discover and define. The focus of the course is student work. We’ll read published pieces, and have various exercises, designed to help improve writing, generate ideas, etc., but the majority of class periods will be taken up with workshops. Please keep in mind that this is a multi-genre course. While there is no requirement that you write in more than one genre (though you are free to do so), you will be asked to read and critique poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and perhaps drama, and you should be prepared to do so.
ENGL 405-75: Edit, Publish, Design; Professor Schneider (CANCELLED)
ENGL 413-01: Magic in the Middle Ages; Professor Rabin
In this course, we will trace the history of medieval magical and alchemical practices from their late Classical beginnings through their proliferation in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Our readings will range from alchemical manuals passed in secret from hand to hand by practitioners of the “Mysterious Science” to literary texts concerning figures such as Merlin and Dr. Faustus. And as we follow their search for the Philosopher’s Stone, who knows? Perhaps we might even succeed where others have failed…
Literature before 1800
ENGL 416-01: American Modernism; Professor Clukey (CANCELLED)
ENGL 450-01 & 02: Coop Intern in English; Professor Strickley
ENGL 491-01: Critical and Interpretive Theory; Professor Williams
Humans are meaning-making creatures who are constantly engaged in the act of interpretation. We are always actively making meaning from the events in our lives and the texts we encounter. We frame these interpretations through our values, expectations, and bodies of knowledge - or, to put it another way, as the theories by which we already understand the world. Critical theory provides us with different sets of interpretive lenses through which to understand the social events and contexts around us, including how they are represented in literature, popular culture, and, in fact, all the reading we do. In this course we will study different critical theoretical approaches that will help us understand more fully the social, psychological, political, and historical forces that shape our culture and our literature. The readings for the course will focus on selections by critical theorists, supplemented by short works of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction that allow us to see how our theory can shape and illuminate our interpretations.
ENGL 504: Advanced Creative Writing; Professor Maxwell
This creative writing course will revolve around writing poems, developing confidence about reading and discussing poetry, and providing feedback on peers’ work. Our texts will include Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red, paired with the documentary Fires of Love; Inger Christensen’s alphabet (translated by Susanna Nied); Gabrielle Bates’ Judas Goat; and Ari Banias’ A Symmetry, along with a dream-work unit featuring such poets as Mathias Svalina and Eleni Sikelianos. Participants will submit poems for workshop; produce new work in response to experiment-based prompts; and read and discuss published work. You’ll leave the class with a short book of poems (also known as a chapbook) and insight into submitting your work, should you be interested in pursuing publication.
ENGL 506-51: Teaching of Writing; Professor Horner
Prerequisite: ENGL 300, or ENGL 309, or ENGL 310, or consent of instructor.
This 100% online asynchronous version of English 506 will be devoted to making useful sense of scholarship on the teaching of writing. We will examine the terms, concepts, assumptions, and concerns that seem to be key in some of the literature constituting that scholarship, such as writing processes, writing assignments, reading in the learning and teaching of writing, evaluation of student writing, errors, language difference, and modality in composition. This is not a “how to teach writing” course but a course in which we try to make sense of the subject of teaching writing: what writing might entail, how it is learned, what and how conceptions of these have and might shape writing pedagogies.
For this course, I have selected readings that represent a small network of past and recent scholarship addressing writing pedagogy from the perspective of the teaching of college-level writing—something about which all of you will by now have had some experience. You should approach the readings as representing ongoing scholarly conversations and debates that, as students advanced in your college careers and therefore with some experience with college writing, you are in a position to begin to engage and to contribute to. Your contributions will include but are not limited to frequent short response essays, discussion board forum postings, and position papers. Students enrolling in the graduate section of this course will be asked to prepare a 20-25 page research project in addition to contributing response essays, discussion board forums, and position papers.
Because this section of English 506 is taught entirely online as asynchronous, all classwork and class communication will take the form of digital written texts. Accordingly, all students should have access to reliable internet and be able to check the course Blackboard website daily, and all students should expect to contribute some form of writing—even if only a discussion board forum posting—every few days—and to receive frequent responses from me to their written contributions. One benefit of this course is that it will provide you with experience useful for imagining what is entailed in the teaching of writing in an entirely online environment—a growing phenomenon in the US and abroad.
Please note that the teaching of creative writing is taught in a different course offered by the UofL English department—English 507. We do not address creative writing in English 506.
ENGL 542-50: Sword & Sorcery-CUE; Professor Stanev
This course will examine a broad range of Tudor, Elizabethan, and Jacobean dramatic and non-dramatic works, and trace the evolution of distinct and complex interlocked themes woven around concepts of chivalry, heroism, magic, faith, race, and gender relations. We will also discuss texts, in which the heroic interacts with the sacred, the erotic with the occult, the gendered with the ungendered, the alien with the exotic, the sinful with the fallen, the fantastic with the subversive, and the imperialist with the “Other.” We will read works in several genres: from lyric poems and prose and verse romances to dramatic plays, travelogues, and early picaresque and science fiction novels. Thestudent learning outcomes will form significant awareness of the restless complexity and inner controversies of a literary period of discovery, schism, conflict, and new possibilities in thought, philosophy, devotion, and expression, channeled through the “swords” and “sorceries” of powerful yet troubled cultural and social imaginaries.
ENGL 551-01: Jewish ID Graphic Novels & Com; Professor Sherman
ENGL 551-50: Writing from Life; Professor Strickley
Have you ever wondered if the stories you’ve grown up hearing about your family would make for a powerful written work? Have you ever considered bringing the story of your own life to the page? If so, this online creative writing workshop might be right for you. Students will learn the difference between an engaging anecdote and a compelling work of art by experimenting in a variety of forms: short stories, literary essays, and poems. Close readings of published work and regular writing exercises will draw forth the matters of craft at hand and workshop sessions with peers will help participants shape the raw materials of life into persuasive works of prose or poetry. Undergraduates, graduates, and non-degree students are welcome to enroll in this unique online offering. Benefits include rolling deadlines designed to accommodate any schedule and the option of learning and writing from the comfort of your own home.
ENGL 555-01: Coop Internship; Professor Mattes
ENGL 555-02: Coop Intrn: Miracle Monocle; CUE; Professor Strickley
ENGL 564-01: Whitman & Dickinson; CUE; Professor Adams (CANCELLED)
Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are generally recognized by poets and critics as the two sources of a distinctively American poetry — sources on which contemporary poets continue to draw. This course will read their major poems in an effort to familiarize ourselves with their achievements, reassess some of the conventional wisdom that has accrued to their bodies of work (particularly regarding Whitman’s politics and Dickinson’s privacy), and to see how their poetry and personae have been received by subsequent writers around the world and in the U.S. (including Jorge Luis Borges, Jules Laforgue, Gabriel Garcia Lorca, Allen Ginsberg, Susan Howe, and Lucie Brock-Broido). Requirements will include several short writing assignments and a final research paper/project.
Literature after 1800/CUE
ENGL 572-01: The Real & Fantastic in US Lit, 1865-1910; CUE; Professor Chandler
This course will explore a rich body of literature produced within what is often called the Age of Realism, a period in which artists and writers created ground-breaking work that rendered aspects of the world in recognizable but illuminating ways. In the United States, realist writers such as Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Edith Wharton, and William Dean Howells demonstrated how literature could “get real” in exploring the drastic, large-scale changes in American society and their effects on human psychology. Also significant was the prominence of writing that did not fit into the category of realism, because it reckoned with more intangible experiences: dreams; the unknown; realms beyond what could be seen and heard; alternative worlds, including new versions of the past. In exploring literature about the real and the fantastic, this course will facilitate understanding of a complex era of literary production. The authors we will explore may include Twain, Chesnutt, Wharton, Howells, Ambrose Bierce, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sarah Orne Jewett, Zitkála-Šá, Stephen Crane, and W. E. B. Du Bois. In addition to reading assigned literature, students will be expected to maintain a reading journal, write two essays, conduct and share research on a relevant topic, and participate in discussions.
ENGL 575-01: African-American Innovation in Literature and Film;CUE; Literature after 1800; Professor Anderson (CANCELLED)
African-American writers and filmmakers have often felt the need to challenge artistic conventions and redefine storytelling to present peculiar aspects of Black experience. In this course, we will look at Black writers' transformations of several genres--autobiography, speculative fiction, poetry, the Western, the detective novel, the horror film, and the television sit-com—to comment upon America's social and cultural landscape.
Possible writers and filmmakers include James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Percival Everett, Walter Mosley, Julie Dash, and Jordan Peele. Assigned work will include journaling, a research essay, and a final research project at the end of the semester. This is an in-person class.
ENGL 599-01: Literacy as Disruption and Possibility; WR;CUE; Professor Williams
The recent excitement – perhaps even uproar – over generative AI programs like ChatGPT is just the latest example of a long, long history of developments and debates about the ways in which we read and write. Socrates wasn’t in favor of literacy. Critics in the Renaissance worried that the printing press was going to allow too many ordinary people to read. And some people in the 19th Century feared that pencils with erasers would encourage students to make mistakes. Now, with digital media, we are in another age of change – and often controversy – about the impact of technologies on how we read, write, and think. In this course we will explore the ways in which the ways we read and write, and how the technologies we use to do so shape the texts we create, our conceptions of authorship, and the larger culture around us. We’ll think about the disruptions, and the possibilities of changes in technology and how we can respond to these in creative and critical ways. This means we will look back at the history of literacy and technology, to understand how we’ve gotten to this moment and what those forces looked like. And then we will look around us at the transformations in writing and communication happening at a pace that sometimes seems difficult to fully process or adapt to. We’ll think about how different kinds of texts – from books to video to sound – have evolved and how we can imagine and use them for our own ideas and explorations. We will also be considering the ways technologies of reading and writing have shaped culture, power, privilege, and identity and how we can understand those influences on our lives and culture today. And we’ll try to have some fun.