Fall 2024




ENGL 202-01 ENGL 202-01/02 Introduction to Creative Writing; AH Professor Mozer



ENGL 202-03 Introduction to Creative Writing;AH; Professor Strickley

In this class, we’ll experiment in three forms—poems, short stories, and ten-minute plays—while searching for the most potent mode of expression for our talents and ideas. The aim is not necessarily to decide (once and for all) what kind of writers we are, but rather to discover the range of literary tools at our disposal as writers. The course will be comprised of three major components: the craftshop (wherein we’ll read published work and discuss the elements of craft); the workshop (wherein we’ll write poems, stories, and plays and respond to the work of our peers); and the portfolio (wherein we’ll use what we’ve learned in the course to draft and revise a highly polished work of literary art). Students who invest fully in all three portions of the course will emerge from the class with an enhanced understanding of the art forms at hand; a fluency in the language of constructive (and artful) criticism; and a body of creative work about which they can (and should!) be proud.



ENGL 202-50 Introduction to Creative Writing;AH; Professor Weinberg



ENGL 202-96 Introduction to Creative Writing;AH; Professor Abplanalp



ENGL 202-97 Introduction to Creative Writing;AH; Professor Dennis



ENGL 300-04 Introduction to Literature; Professor Mozer



ENGL 300-05 Introduction to Literature; Professor TBA



ENGL 300-06 Introduction to Literature; Professor TBA




ENGL 300-52 Introduction to Literature; WR; Professor Ridley

This is an asynchronous online class intended to provide an introduction to ways of reading and writing about fiction, graphic fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama. We’ll be using the Norton Introduction to Literature (shorter) 14th edition ed. Kelly J. Mays (and not to be confused with the high school 14th edition by the same editor, which you may perhaps have encountered already). This Norton anthology is available as an e-book that will integrate into Blackboard: its contents range from works by the canonical names of “Eng. Lit.” to twenty-first century writers bringing a global perspective to the creation and appreciation of literature. And as the opening of this course description refers to graphic fiction and non-fiction, you can safely assume that in addition to reading and writing about literature, we’ll be asking wider questions about what counts as literature and how the tools of literary analysis can be applied across a range of types of text. Assessment methods will include discussion board posts and quizzes, as well as a final paper demonstrating familiarity with the standard conventions used in writing about literature. If you have any questions before or after signing up for the class, please don’t hesitate to email me: glynis.ridley@louisville.edu


ENGL 302-01 Literature in English After 1800; Professor Hadley


ENGL 303-01 Scientific & Technical Writing; Professor TBA


ENGL 303-50 Scientific & Technical Writing; Professor TBA


ENGL 304-01 Creative Nonfiction; Professor Griner



ENGL 305-50 Intermediate Creative Writing Workshop;CW;Professor Stansel

In this intermediate-level fiction course, students will have the opportunity to build on understanding gained in introductory courses, and continue to hone their skills in the art and craft of prose storytelling. We will read and respond to a wide variety of published work, and use those as the basis for our own practice. Through the semester, in addition to weekly exercises, students will compose and turn in two short stories, both of which will be read and discussed by classmates in a challenging yet supportive atmosphere.


ENGL 306-01 Business Writing; Professor TBA


ENGL 306-50/54 Business Writing; Professor Smith




ENGL 306-53/55/56/57 Business Writing; WR; Professor Tanner

In English 306, students engage critical thinking and writing by developing their writing processes and producing finished professional text. Some assignments are structured to offer choices that will allow participants to relate the course work to work or career objectives. The instructor en-courages students to use these options to apply the course work to current or anticipated work ex-perience.



ENGL 306-100 Business Writing; Professor TBA


ENGL 309-01 Inquiries in Writing; Professor Rogers


ENGL 309-50 Inquiries in Writing; Professor TBA


ENGL 310-01 Intro. To Prof. & Public Writing; Professor Sheridan

ENGL 310, Public and Professional Writing, introduces students to the practices involved in becoming a public/professional writer as well as the extent to which professional writing fills everyday workplace practices. Throughout this course, students will query the ethics of public writing, analyze the kinds of public and professional writing that surround them in the Louisville metro area, and practice developing their own voice as a writer for public/professional audiences.



ENGL 310-02 Intro. To Prof. & Public Writing; Professor Schneider



ENGL 315-02 Youth Literature & File: Culture, Text & Media; Professor Chandler

This in-person course will focus on representations of child and adolescent agency and vulnerability in contemporary youth literature and film. In exploring relationships among identity, culture, textual representation, and mass-media technologies, the course will facilitate understanding of media systems that shape representations of cultural identities. The reading and viewing list is still under construction, but it may include literature and film about growing up in the South and about intersections between history and the present. The course will require careful reading and viewing of assigned texts, engaged participation, and writing assignments, including an exam, a journal, and a research essay.



ENGL 315-50 Culture, Text Media; Antiracist Media & American Literature; Professor Mattes

This course focuses on how people of color in North America 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 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 design and print and 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 the Latinx author, 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 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 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 325-02 Introduction to Linguistics; Professor Stewart



ENGL 330-01 Language & Culture; Professor Swinehart



ENGL 333-50 Shakespeare; The Strange, The Supernatural, and the Other; Common Core; 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 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 cultural or gender 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 witches 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. The course learning outcomes will allow you to 1) develop broader awareness of Shakespeare’s dramatic works within the rich social and cultural currents of late Tudor and early Stuart England; and 2) learn in depth about Shakespeare’s interest in the invisible and odd, especially in connection to significant early modern ideas, such as dynastic continuity, opportunism, alienation, sexuality, scepticism, scientific thought, exploration, and colonial enterprise. The learning outcomes will be assessed through several weekly Discussion Board posts, a brief position paper, and a final research essay.


ENGL 342-01 Black Women Novelists;WR;AHD; Professor Logan

World literary establishments have not always recognized Black women writers as vital contributors to the world of letters. This course is designed to provide that space within which we acknowledge, discuss, and critique their contribution to black (and world) literature. We will explore, comparatively, selected texts (from slave narratives to contemporary novels) by African, African American, and Caribbean women, and focus on issues/concepts such as:

identity (gender, cultural, racial, sexual, class), resistance, voice, patriarchy, subaltern status, slavery, and colonialism, and diaspora. Equal attention will be paid to the theoretical assumptions, as well as the historical, social, political, and cultural forces that undergird the creative works of these continental African and Diasporic women novelists.



ENGL 369-01 Minority Traditions in American Lit.; Professor Anderson




ENGL 370-50 Study Abroad; Professor Sheridan




ENGL 373-50 Women & Global Literature; AHD2; Professor TBA



ENGL 373-51 Women & Global Literature; AHD2; Professor TBA




ENGL 374-51 Gender, Race, Sexuality in Children’s Lit; Professor Heinecken

This course examines the representation of gender, race, and sexuality in children’s and YA literature through close readings of a range of novels published in the U.S. and Britain from 1850- on. Course readings are presented in a roughly chronological fashion in order to foreground the evolution of ideologies and different themes related to gender, race, and sexuality in children’s and YA literature, with a major focus on late 20th century and early 21st century literature. Works that will be examined include classic and contemporary books by leading authors such as Louisa May Alcott, Sandra Cisneros, Mildred Taylor, and Namina Forna, among others. This course satisfies the University Cardinal Core AHD1 requirements.


ENGL 394-02 The Jewish Short Story; Professor Sherman

What really makes a story “Jewish?” The exciting international Jewish short stories studied in this course are immersed in the Jewish experience. Yet many of these authors are also ambivalent the “Jewish author” label. Their voices give us insight into the world in which they live and the ideas that live in their imagination. The themes in these stories are universal in our experience as Jews. Their word choice, their characters and the words they speak, and the persona who tells the story all paint a picture of a theme, an idea, the thoughts they have. Students will learn about the surprisingly diverse Jewish settings and environments that enliven the Jewish short story and analyze the language the characters use and the narrator uses to establish the theme of the story. In this way, students will assess how an author can use this genre as a way to reflect on what makes up Jewish identity. As we will see, the Jewish experience in modernity and the conflicts and challenges it has struggled with has been the subject of a significant body of literature. We will read and discuss representative works of fiction by Jewish writers from the late 19th century to the present, originally in English or translated from various languages including Hebrew, Yiddish, English, German, and Russian. Building on the literary techniques studied in this course, students will be given the option to write either traditional analytic essays or develop their own original short story, to explore their sense of the Jewish experience in other cultures over time and space.


ENGL 401-01 Honors Seminar; Professor Adams


Questions of personhood are ancient, but they remain important in the present. What is a person? Where and when does personhood start and end? What makes the identity of a person persist through time? How do we tell if someone or something is a person in the first place, and what do we owe them (or it) once we make this decision? Can animals and plants and inanimate parts of the environment be persons? What about corporations or artificial intelligences?

This course will introduce students to some major ideas about persons in the history of philosophy and psychology, and follow those ideas into works of literature, art, and cinema that are invested in exploring them. Our major concern will be to see what literature and art can add to our understanding of the concept of a person; secondary aims of this course include equipping students to enter into contemporary debates about the status of persons in a sophisticated way, and to consider the relevance of these debates to our own lives. Theoretical readings may include work by Aristotle, Boethius, the Buddha, Descartes, Locke, Kant, Freud, James, Beauvoir, and Maslow. We will also likely read work by Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Kafka, Woolf, Baldwin, Plath, Philip K. Dick, and other contemporary writers; look at some modern portraiture and photography; and screen some films.

Requirements will include several short papers and a longer final essay.


ENGL 403-01 Advanced Creative Writing; Professor Adams

The objective of this advanced course is to help you to improve as writers, readers, and critics of your preferred genres (fiction, poetry, drama, creative non-fiction). We will spend much of our time reading and discussing work written by students, which will be distributed and studied in advance. But we will also read a range of texts by classic and contemporary writers, both to see how things have been done, and to inspire student writing. Work will include regular short responses, a book review, and a final portfolio of original writing.


 ENGL 404-02 Miracle Monocle: Editing, Publishing, and Promoting a Literary Journal; Professor Strickley

In its history as a publisher of innovative literary and visual art, Miracle Monocle has produced 22 high-impact, digital issues. Recently, the journal earned the National Program Director's Prize from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, further establishing it as an innovative presence in the literary publishing landscape. This course will offer students a front-row seat to the process of selecting and editing work for publication in this dynamic journal. In addition to addressing many of the challenges specific to digital publishing—web design, social media integration, online submission management—students will also earn hands-on experience in maintaining an editorial calendar, corresponding with contributors, building editorial consensus, and preparing work for publication—skills that are directly translatable to a career in print or digital publishing. Students will also address many of the ethical and technical issues still problematizing the global shift to a digital media environment. The course will culminate in the publication of the 23rd issue of Miracle Monocle. Students will also have an opportunity to help bring our next print anthology into being.




ENGL 414-50 British Lit. from Shakespeare-Neoclassical Period; Lit before 1800; Professor Ridley

This is an asynchronous online class. The catalog title is very broad, allowing the opportunity to consider texts from the late 16th to early 18th centuries. To try and chart a coherent path through all the material this could cover, the course will be themed around “plague literature” – that is – the written response to outbreaks of plague in early modern Britain. Everyone in the class will share the experience of having lived through the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic and, even as instructors moved to online delivery at that time, a growing body of scholarship began to emerge that considered the parallels between individuals’ and societies’ responses to the threat of contagion now and in centuries past, trying to make sense of it all. We’ll consider how Shakespeare’s life and career were shaped by periodic outbreaks of bubonic plague in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England, and move chronologically through the early modern period with readings including works by John Donne, and Samuel Pepys. We’ll read Daniel Defoe’s prose fiction, A Journal of the Plague Year, published in 1722 but set during the bubonic plague outbreak of the mid- 1660s. And we’ll consider the experiences of English aristocrat Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu as she traveled through the Ottoman Empire, learning enough about the Turkish management of smallpox to become an early proponent of vaccination, at a time when medical practices championed by women and originating in another culture were resisted by the British establishment. All material needed for the course, from primary texts to critical essays, will be loaded to Blackboard so there is nothing to buy. Assessment methods will include discussion board posts, a weekly reading journal, and final paper. If you have any questions before or after signing up for the class, please don’t hesitate to email me: glynis.ridley@louisville.edu


 HON 436-04/HON 446-04 Comic Emotions; Professor Turner

Art often makes us feel something, and every art form works differently. A novel provokes our emotions differently than visual art. But what happens when we combine the two into one composite or hybrid medium? How does that form - which we often call comics or graphic narrative - tug at our emotions in ways that traditional print novels or even films cannot? We will consider how comics has become a prime medium for creators interested in identity, trauma, and social belonging. And, relatedly, why the comics has aroused so many emotions from a particular segment of society that wishes to ban or censor such material.

The course will build most of its theoretical approach through visual art, affect theory, literature, and the emerging field of comics studies, while also turning to relevant studies in biology and cognitive science.

Our texts may include the dreamscapes of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (the comics and the recent audiobook adaptation), Julie Maroh’s crisp and evocative inking in Blue is the Warmest Color, the violent charcoal sketches of Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner, and others, some of which will be chosen by students.



ENGL 450-01 Coop Internship in English Studies; Professor Mattes



ENGL 470-01 Science Fiction; Professor Clukey

This class will survey the history of science fiction. We’ll begin with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, arguably the first modern science fiction (SF) novel. Then we’ll consider what SF was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including its emergence from related genres like detective fiction, imperial adventure stories, and the Western. We’ll discuss how writers like Jules Verne, HG Wells, HP Lovecraft, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, along with their editors, consolidated literary tropes from previous centuries into a newly marketable genre in pulp magazines and books. Next, we’ll turn to the post-WWII era, the so-called Golden Age of science fiction, when writers took on the nuclear age and the genre exploded into television and cinema. We’ll cover the development of “hard SF”; countercultural New Wave SF of the 1960s and 1970s; the growth of Black and multi-ethnic SF in the 1980s and 1990s. Along the way, we’ll consider how definitions and understands of the genre have changed and how it has grown, and entered the mainstream, in the last ten years. Because SF is a multimedia genre, we’ll read novels, watch movies, and examine fan culture.


Assignments will likely include: frequent quizzes, short papers, a midterm, and a final.



ENGL 480-01 Digital & Visual Composition; Professor Williams

If I want to communicate an idea today, I have a range of choices of media and modes of communication available to me. Do I make a video? A podcast? A written document? An infographic? How should I decide what media and modes to use? What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing between printed words, images, sound, or video? How can rhetorical concerns of audience, genre, and style help me decide, and create, an engaging and effective digital communications? What devices do I want to use to engage with? And how do I consider the role of emotion in how we choose and compose digital writing? The rapid development of digital media over the past two decades has led to new genres and forms of communication available to us all. In this course we will explore the potential and possibilities of “writing” in the digital age. We will explore the ideas, technologies, and challenges that shape digital and visual composition. We will read and talk about the role that issues such as mobility, circulation, sampling, generative AI, and ethics play in how we approach creating digital compositions. In addition, we will consider how these digital affordances connect to rhetorical concepts such as audience, genre, and style. We will create a range of digital and multimodal pieces, both to practice composing processes in different media, as well as to reflect on their opportunities and limitations. It’s a chance to explore new ways of composing and communicating, and have some fun at the same time.



 ENGL 492-03 Special Topics in InterpretiveTheory; Professor Kopelson

This course offers a partial survey of developments in the mode of critical theory known as “queer theory.” Since the overarching goal of the class is to define, explore, and come to an understanding of what is meant by “queer theory”—what it is, what it does, and to what ends—I will leave the term undefined here, and invite you to come explore it further in class.
The course takes a roughly chronological approach toward our overarching goal, beginning with precursors to and founding figures and moments of queer theory, moving to its actual inception and early definitions offered by some of its practitioners, then on to some key developments and debates over the 1990s and 2000s, ending with more recent evolutions, intersections, and departures of the last decade.
Though we are primarily concerned with queer theory itself in this course, we will also devote some attention to queer criticism or analysis—doing some readings which allow us to see queer theory in action as it has been deployed to read contemporary cultural texts.
At the end of the course you should have a solid sense of what queer theory is and does, how it began, where it has been, what some of its strengths and weaknesses are, and where it might be going.
Course requirements include but are not limited to: written engagement with theoretical course readings; participation in class discussion; completion of take-home essay examinations at midterm and semester’s end. The course is targeted to advanced undergraduate students who, ideally, will have had some previous experiences in theory or philosophy courses.


ENGL 504-01 Advanced Creative Writing Workshop;WR; CW; Professor Stansel

This upper-division fiction course offers students who have already completed introductory and intermediate workshops the opportunity to further refine their craft. The discussion-based class will focus on the study and creation of linked stories, with students reading and responding to stories from linked collections and discussing strategies for both short-term and sustained engagement with the reader. The class will examine different aspects of the storytelling craft, including scene-building, plot and sub-plot development, writing voice, among others. In addition to creating and workshopping short stories, students will work on developing story ideas and structuring approaches for storytelling.


ENGL 504-02 Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop;WR; 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 506-50 Teaching of Writing;WR;CUE; Professor Kopelson

“The Teaching of Writing” seems like a simple title representing a simple, everyday classroom phenomenon. But what do we mean when we say “teaching writing?” Is “writing” one thing? If we say no, then what kind(s) should be taught, and to what ends? That is, what should be our goals for teaching “writing”? What do we hope to enable our students to do? In what contexts? These are the questions with which we begin the course, and to which return again and again throughout the semester.

This course, taught fully online, will be of interest to students planning to teach writing in the future. It will also be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about (what is misleadingly called) “the writing process,” and to reflect on their own experiences as writers and as students. The course is grounded in making reflective connections between our own experiences as students and writers and the course readings, which are drawn from Composition Studies and English Education scholarship. The course involves weekly writing, on either the discussion board or in other written responses to readings, and culminates in a scholarly research project driven by independent inquiry into a research question of interest to you.


 ENGL 542-50 Sword & Sorcery ;CUE; Pre 1800 Historical Dist.; 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, proto-colonial, 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. The student 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, channelled through the “swords” and “sorceries” of powerful yet troubled cultural and social imaginaries. The student learning outcomes will be assessed through Discussion Board posts, one shorter position paper, and one longer research essay. Since this is a CUE- (“Culminating Undergraduate Experience”) bearing course, you will demonstrate in your final research paper critical thinking skills and convincing use of the conventions of literary analysis (such as formal diction and argumentative prose that engages secondary sources) gained in this class.


ENGL 545-01 Studies in British Lit. of the Romantic Period;CUE; Professor Hadley



ENGL 551-01 Literatures of Slavery; Professor Clukey

This course will examine the legacies of slavery in the United States. We will look at how literature, film, and other forms of popular culture reconstruct histories of slavery and track how it evolved into new racial ideologies that affect the justice system, housing, universities, healthcare, and the environment. We’ll also look at how writers, artists, and intellectuals are seeking to educate the public at large about the legacies of slavery right now (such as the New York Times’s 1619 Project and Kara Walker’s sculptures and installations). Our guiding questions include: how do Americans remember the history of slavery within their own families and within the nation? How are cultural memories of slavery mediated by race, class, gender, art, popular culture, and the educational system? How does art—literature, cinema, and visual arts—narrate the reverberations of slavery in our current moment and why does it matter? What role do cultural memories of slavery play in current debates about race, migration, and justice in the United States in general and in Louisville in particular?  

We’ll read slave narratives, poetry and fiction from Mary Prince, Harriet Jacobs, Edgar Allan Poe, Eric Walrond, Arna Bontemps, Kiki Petrosino, Saidiya Hartman, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Colson Whitehead, Jesmyn Ward, alongside films like Birth of a Nation and Get Out. Assignments will likely include frequent quizzes, a 5-minute presentation, 3-page close reading papers, and a final research project. This course counts toward post-1900 distribution requirements.



ENGL 567-76 Post Colonial Voices: Writing Experience in African Lit.;WR;CUE; Professor Logan

This seminar will address some major trends in the development of postcolonial African literature, delineate, and explore the historical, socio-political, aesthetic, and cultural conditions/forces that occasioned its advent, production, and dissemination. Participants will read, discuss, and critique selected primary texts (prose fiction) produced by writers from across the continent, as well as diverse theoretical and critical reflections that contextualize related key issues/topics the course seeks to address: imperialism, colonialism, Negritude, neocolonialism, decolonization, postcolonialism, apartheid, orature, hybridity, gender and identity politics, tradition and modernity.


ENGL 599-01 Texts and Technologies; A Reintroduction to Books; WR/CUE: Professor Mattes

In our current moment of digital media shift, this course asks, how do people “know” themselves and their worlds through books? What is distinctive about knowledge that is created through the writing, reading, publishing, and collecting of books? How does book knowledge—that is, bibliographic knowledge—shape our expressive cultures and our world? And what are the social consequences of knowledge created in such a way? This semester we will try to find some provisional answers to these questions.

Students will encounter a range of writings by artists and scholars that can, in part, be read as a series of polemics about the role of bibliographic knowledge, including narrative, poetry, and drama. In analyzing how these writings are aesthetically, thematically, rhetorically, and physically bound up in books, we will trouble the everyday ordinariness of “the book”—a thing, a practice, and a standard that is so often taken for granted. Readings and assignments, at once theoretical, historical, and technical, point to the heterogeneity and ubiquity of bound-and-inscribed forms and place them in relation to both historical technologies and digital text technologies.

Students will not only foster and demonstrate this media awareness through traditional written assignments. This course also has an obligatory hands-on component—object lessons that I am calling “book studies.” These studies may include participating in a letterpress demo; surveying rare books and artists’ books in special collections; and/or altering existing book objects and writing via annotations, revisions, new formats, and even digital technologies. By demanding rigorous attention to media practices, this course not only asks how other people think with books—it implores us to do so, too.