ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

 

SPRING 2013 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

 

 

ENGL 201.01: Intermediate Composition

Nancy Barber

TR        1 – 2:15pm

 

In this course, we will write in multiple genres, and we’ll also read, watch videos, and engage in plenty of analysis. As we delve into a variety of professional essays, we’ll attempt to discover how each writer manages to find a presence in his or her writing.  You will have a chance to experiment with many of the techniques we uncover as you write personal and argumentative essays as well as oral histories.

 

ENGL 207.01: Nature Writing (Environmental Science Credit)

Mary Pollock

T          2:30 – 5:30pm

 

There are two kinds of classrooms in “Nature Writing,” one with four walls, where we will spend half our time, the other with trees, sky, plants, and animate beings—birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects, pesky and otherwise. To benefit from this unusual kind of classroom, you have to be willing to walk, sweat, stay silent sometimes, and, above all, pay attention to what is around you. The professor also has two goals for her students: learning a more open way of being in the world and strengthening the writer’s craft. Students will submit field notes and two portfolios with revised essays in several genres. You may be writing environmental, science, or travel writing; natural history; journalism; and/or creative nonfiction. The class meets once a week, on Tuesday afternoons.

 

ENGL 220.01: Understanding Composition and Rhetoric

Michael Barnes

TR        4 – 5:15pm

 

This course introduces students to one of the most historically and intellectually important topics in academia—the study of rhetoric.  Beginning with the classical period, we will define key issues related to the nature of rhetoric (most conspicuously, the apparent conflict between Platonic dialectic and sophistic persuasion).  Carrying this theme of “conflict” forward, through the Renaissance, the Age of Reason, and finally, focusing on contemporary rhetorical theorists (Burke, Weaver, Derrida, Foucault, Toulmin), we will explore how modern interpretations of dialectic and rhetoric cast the classical debate in a new light.  Additionally, the pedagogical associations between rhetoric and Composition Studies will be considered, particularly in reference to Corbett’s reintroduction of the classical system.

 

ENGL 235A.30: Introduction to Film

Joel Davis

R          6 – 9pm

 

Focuses on learning to read film, especially to understand how it constructs stories, communicates ideas, and creates aesthetic experiences. Topics may include techniques specific to film (production design, costuming, lighting, cinematography, editing, and sound); considerations of the spatial and psychological relationships between the camera and the spectator; and cinematic, cultural, and historical contexts.  Students will be expected to master a fundamental vocabulary for film criticism, and to attend screenings as required. In spring 2013, we are fortunate to have Caitlyn Foster as our Teaching Apprentice. Ms. Foster has done post-production work on Flashback: The Movie and has experience in theatre, film, and digital arts. 

ENGL 241A.01: Reading Narrative

Jamil Khader

TR        8:30 – 9:45am

 

Reading Narrative introduces different forms, structures, modes, and media of narrative and provides students with the basic concepts for gaining a critical understanding, analyzing, and writing about a wide array of stories and how they make meaning. We will read and view a variety of narratives, including oral epic literature, short stories, novellas, novels, and film, in an attempt to uncover the strategies that are common to all acts of story-telling from different historical periods and cultural contexts. We will also consider the way readers and viewers respond aesthetically, psychologically, and culturally to these various types of narratives.

 

Texts include: Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel, Maus, Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel, Dracula (and Francis Ford Coppola’s cinematic version, Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Angela Carter’s postmodern, feminist fairy tales, The Bloody Chamber (and the Western fairy tales on which it is based), D. T. Niani’s African oral epic, Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali, Joseph Conrad’s modernist novella, Heart of Darkness, and the Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu’s political memoir (testimonio), I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala. Course requirements include short response papers, two analytical papers, and a final researched, argumentative project.

 

ENGL 243A.01: Understanding Drama         

Lori Snook     

MW     12:00 – 1:15pm

 

This course is to introduce you to the study of drama on the page and the stage. Because this is a literature course, we'll read and analyze a variety of play-texts from Greek tragedy to contemporary English and American work, stopping by Shakespeare on the way; those analyses will include discussion of form, language, structure, plot, and textual history (for example, whether a play's breakdown into scenes is due to the writer or a later editor). Because this is a course about drama, we'll also discuss performance history and theory, and we'll do readers' theatre and occasional scene-study to help us understand the ways in which drama is embodied. Assignments will include a reading journal, one in-class essay, three papers (at least one requiring research and revision), a presentation on a work chosen independently, and a take-home final in which you explain your own dramatic aesthetic in terms of the course reading. This course can fulfill the A General Education requirement, or an English major or minor requirement.

 

ENGL 326H.01: History of the English Language

Tom Farrell

MWF   9 – 9:50am

 

In this course we will seek an understanding of the English Language as it is used throughout the world—but especially in the United States—today, and an understanding of how we got to where we are now, achieved through the study of earlier stages in the language’s history.  We will pursue those goals through lectures, exercises, student reports, the study of samples of English from various times and places (from Burnley's The HEL: A Sourcebook, our only required textbook) and a project analyzing the language of the winner of this year's presidential election.  The central topics of discussion will consistently be phonology (i.e. pronunciation), lexis (vocabulary), and structure (grammar and syntax); we will also attend to variation (dialectology) and attitudes towards language in the various periods of our language's history.  Grading will reflect the kinds of work described above, two exams, and a short paper.

ENGL 341E.JS: Literature and Ethics: Dante’s Commedia

Tom Farrell

TR        11:30am – 12:45pm

 

700 years after its completion, everyone from Doonesbury to The Onion assumes that its readers will know Dante's Commedía.  It is the backbone of honors programs all over the United States, the masterpiece of "the chief imagination of Christendom" (W. B. Yeats' phrase), a summa or encyclopedia medieval philosophy, politics, linguistics, poetics, science, and theology; it is by turns profound, exultant, grim, funny, startling, a poem that everyone should know, one that rewards as much study as one wants to give it.  After a quick look at part of Vergil's Æneid, we will spend about two-thirds of the semester reading through Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, getting a sense of the poem's shape as well as its concerns with ethics, politics, history, gender, psychology, poetry, and theology.  Students will then choose which of their favorite moments to revisit for seminar presentations and essays.  Regular but un-emphasized quizzes or very brief writing exercises, the seminar essay and oral presentation, and a final exam.

ENGL 366.01: Shakespeare

Lori Snook

TR        2:30 – 3:45pm                       

 

“What country, friends, is this?” Viola asks in Twelfth Night: that question will inform the readings in this semester’s course on William Shakespeare. The course will emphasize some of the less familiar terrain of Shakespearean dramatic canon: the early comedy The Comedy of Errors and the early tragedy Titus Andronicus; the tragedy Richard II, leading into the three history plays of the Henriad; the mid-career comedy Twelfth Night; the ‘problem plays’ Measure for Measure and (if time allows) Troilus and Cressida; the Roman tragedy Coriolanus and the half-Roman tragedy Antony and Cleopatra; the romances The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. You also will do directed independent work with two of Shakespeare’s greatest hits (your choice from a list provided to you), in each case leading to a class presentation.  In addition to the independent projects, assignments will include a reading journal and response papers, two researched essays, a performance or creative adaptation (or reading project for those not feeling creative), and a final reflective essay in which you define the term ‘Shakespearean,’ with evidence derived in your semester’s travels through Will’s country.

 

ENGL 381.01: Text – Criticism – Theory

Karen Kaivola

TR        10:00 – 11:15am

 

This course aims to introduce students to “theory”— for our purposes, a set of assumptions about language, texts, readers, and the world that has had a defining impact on the study of literature and culture.   We’ll examine how contemporary theory has (1) evolved within particular cultural, historical, political, and intellectual trajectories;  (2) created new interpretations of literary and cultural texts; and (3) raised questions (sometimes vexing questions) about the nature of language, the texts we study, ourselves,  and the world.  But we'll also explore the implications of theory for what we do as readers of literature.  For “theory” opens up new ways of seeing and understanding—not just about literature and culture but the world(s) we inhabit.  It underpins criticism and critical practice (what we actually do when we read and write about texts).  Our study will be grounded by three early 20th-century novels:  The Great Gatsby, Passing, and Heart of Darkness.  We’ll put each into dialogue with theory; we’ll tease out theoretical assumptions that shape various kinds of criticism and critical practice.  We’ll engage thinkers who have changed the intellectual landscape in our time.  Required Texts:  Tyson, Critical Theory Today; The Routledge Critical and Cultural Theory Reader (eds. Badmington and Thomas); Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Larsen, Passing; and Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Bedford Case Study in Contemporary Criticism edition).  Requirements include short papers and/or blogs, active participation, and a final project (and presentation).

 

ENGL 421.01: Old English

Tom Farrell

MWF   1:30 – 2:20pm

 

Students will develop basic reading knowledge of Old English, the phase of our language spoken and written between 500-1100: the language of Beowulf.  By the end of the semester we will also be reading some poetry.  We will use McGillivray's A Gentle Introduction to Old English and the associated materials on his website as the basis for our work: additional materials and exercises in class.  I offer this course when a cohort of students requests it, so we may need to shift its schedule to accommodate their other commitments.  Grading based on regular quizzes and exams.  Bēoð ȝe hǣle!

ENGL 460.30: Genre Study Seminar: The American Novel                         

John Pearson

MW     2:30 – 3:45pm

 

The American novel is an exceptional and complex art form that helped shape the world’s understanding of what it means to be American as well as what the novel can do.  We’ll trace the history of the American novel from its nineteenth-century flowering, represented by Nathaniel Hawthorne, to contemporary works, such as Mark Powell’s The Dark Corner.  In between, we’ll read novels by Chopin, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Kerouac, Burroughs, Morrison, and Ha Jin.  Each student will also read a novel of his or her choice to fill in our literary history.  This is a discussion-intensive course.  Requirements include engaged participation in class discussion, class presentation, a few short writing assignments, and one seminar paper of about 15 to 20 pages. 

 

ENGL 476.01: Victorian Literature and Film Adaptation (Gender Studies Credit)

Mary Pollock

M         6 – 9pm

 

The goals of this course are (1) acquaintance with some major Victorian literary works, both  popular and “high brow,” (2) learning key theories about the adaptation of one medium into another, and (3) exploring, in particular, the theme of gender. A comparison of contemporary films with Victorian texts that tell similar stories can afford a clear view of gender assumptions, how they have changed, and even the ways in which they have persisted. For example, George Eliot’s Silas Marner sends some clear messages about how women and men should live their lives; so does Steve Martin’s adaptation of this very serious story, A Simple Twist of Fate, but the messages are different because the medium, genre, and historical moment are different. Students will read several novels and plays (by Austen, Dickens, Wilde, and others), view films in class and on their own, complete individual and group projects, and, we hope, engage in lively class discussion.

 

ENGL 499.01: Senior Project

Terri Witek

M         6 – 9pm

 

Designed as a capstone for the English major, this course encourages budding literary critics, theorists, and writers to develop a personal project.   A carefully sequenced series of activities: proposal, draft, project, and final public presentation will organize the semester.  In addition to constructing personal literary projects, students will act as editors, introducers, and respondents to each others' work.

 

 

 

SPRING 2013 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

GRADUATE COURSES

 

ENGL 526.01: History of the English Language

Tom Farrell

MWF   9 – 9:50am

 

In this course we will seek an understanding of the English Language as it is used throughout the world—but especially in the United States—today, and an understanding of how we got to where we are now, achieved through the study of earlier stages in the language’s history.  We will pursue those goals through lectures, exercises, student reports, the study of samples of English from various times and places (from Burnley's The HEL: A Sourcebook, our only required textbook) and a project analyzing the language of the winner of this year's presidential election.  The central topics of discussion will consistently be phonology (i.e. pronunciation), lexis (vocabulary), and structure (grammar and syntax); we will also attend to variation (dialectology) and attitudes towards language in the various periods of our language's history.  Grading will reflect the kinds of work described above, two exams, and a short paper.

ENGL 560.30: Special Topics – The American Novel

John Pearson

MW     2:30 – 3:45pm

 

The American novel is an exceptional and complex art form that helped shape the world’s understanding of what it means to be American as well as what the novel can do.  We’ll trace the history of the American novel from its nineteenth-century flowering, represented by Nathaniel Hawthorne, to contemporary works, such as Mark Powell’s The Dark Corner.  In between, we’ll read novels by Chopin, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Kerouac, Burroughs, Morrison, and Ha Jin.  Each student will also read a novel of his or her choice to fill in our literary history.  This is a discussion-intensive course.  Requirements include engaged participation in class discussion, class presentation, a few short writing assignments, and one seminar paper of about 15 to 20 pages. 

 

ENGL 565.01: Shakespeare

Lori Snook

TR        2:30 – 3:45pm

 

“What country, friends, is this?” Viola asks in Twelfth Night: that question will inform the readings in this semester’s course on William Shakespeare. The course will emphasize some of the less familiar terrain of Shakespearean dramatic canon: the early comedy The Comedy of Errors and the early tragedy Titus Andronicus; the tragedy Richard II, leading into the three history plays of the Henriad; the mid-career comedy Twelfth Night; the ‘problem plays’ Measure for Measure and (if time allows) Troilus and Cressida; the Roman tragedy Coriolanus and the half-Roman tragedy Antony and Cleopatra; the romances The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. You also will do directed independent work with two of Shakespeare’s greatest hits (your choice from a list provided to you), in each case leading to a class presentation.  In addition to the independent projects, assignments will include a reading journal and response papers, two researched essays, a performance or creative adaptation (or reading project for those not feeling creative), and a final reflective essay in which you define the term ‘Shakespearean,’ with evidence derived in your semester’s travels through Will’s country.

 

ENGL 576.01: Victorian Literature and Film Adaptation

Mary Pollock

M         6 – 9pm

 

The goals of this course are (1) acquaintance with some major Victorian literary works, both  popular and “high brow,” (2) learning key theories about the adaptation of one medium into another, and (3) exploring, in particular, the theme of gender. A comparison of contemporary films with Victorian texts that tell similar stories can afford a clear view of gender assumptions, how they have changed, and even the ways in which they have persisted. For example, George Eliot’s Silas Marner sends some clear messages about how women and men should live their lives; so does Steve Martin’s adaptation of this very serious story, A Simple Twist of Fate, but the messages are different because the medium, genre, and historical moment are different. Students will read several novels and plays (by Austen, Dickens, Wilde, and others), view films in class and on their own, complete individual and group projects, and, we hope, engage in lively class discussion.

 

ENGL 581.01: Text – Criticism – Theory

Karen Kaivola

TR        10:00 – 11:15am

 

This course aims to introduce students to “theory”— for our purposes, a set of assumptions about language, texts, readers, and the world that has had a defining impact on the study of literature and culture.   We’ll examine how contemporary theory has (1) evolved within particular cultural, historical, political, and intellectual trajectories;  (2) created new interpretations of literary and cultural texts; and (3) raised questions (sometimes vexing questions) about the nature of language, the texts we study, ourselves,  and the world.  But we'll also explore the implications of theory for what we do as readers of literature.  For “theory” opens up new ways of seeing and understanding—not just about literature and culture but the world(s) we inhabit.  It underpins criticism and critical practice (what we actually do when we read and write about texts).  Our study will be grounded by three early 20th-century novels:  The Great Gatsby, Passing, and Heart of Darkness.  We’ll put each into dialogue with theory; we’ll tease out theoretical assumptions that shape various kinds of criticism and critical practice.  We’ll engage thinkers who have changed the intellectual landscape in our time.  Required Texts:  Tyson, Critical Theory Today; The Routledge Critical and Cultural Theory Reader (eds. Badmington and Thomas); Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Larsen, Passing; and Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Bedford Case Study in Contemporary Criticism edition).  Requirements include short papers and/or blogs, active participation, and a final project (and presentation).

 

ENGL 600.01: Graduate Colloquim

Joel Davis

T          6 – 9pm

 

Extends the student’s familiarity with the concepts and general approaches to graduate level literary study, and to advance abilities in reading texts and in literary research and writing. A required lecture/discussion foundations course offered every third semester.

 

CREATIVE WRITING GRADUATE COURSES

 

ENCW 511.01: Nonfiction Workshop

Andy Dehnart

TR        11:30am – 12:45pm

 

In this workshop, we'll craft and critique different forms of creative nonfiction, including literary journalism, memoir, and the personal essay. Literary nonfiction turns actual people, places, and things into engaging, insightful art. Besides examining new and classic pieces in this fourth genre, we'll write short- and long-form pieces, and give each other constructive but critical feedback in workshop. You'll produce a portfolio of work, including two polished, long-form works of literary nonfiction. The course is offered by permission of instructor, but can be repeated if you've taken it before.

 

ENCW 512.01: Advanced Fiction Workshop

Mark Powell

W        6 – 9pm

 

A workshop building on techniques introduced in ENCW 312 and helps students develop their skills in such fiction techniques as characterization, plot, setting, point of view, and style. Requires credit for ENCW 312 or ENCW 319 and permission of instructor. This course may be repeated.

 

ENCW 514.01: Advanced Drama Workshop

Lori Snook

MW     4 – 5:15pm

 

This course is only for those few, those happy few who’ve already taken the first drama workshop. The heart of the course will be your work on a full-length project (play or screenplay) of your choice; you’ll propose the project, workshop it in progress (using Blackboard as we go), and do outside research and reading appropriate to your project. The class meetings are small-group workshops in Dr. Snook’s office; time and day will be determined in January.

 

 

 

SPRING 2013 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

CREATIVE WRITING COURSES

 

ENCW 311A/411: Nonfiction Workshop

Andy Dehnart

TR        11:30am – 12:45pm

 

In this workshop, we'll craft and critique different forms of creative nonfiction, including literary journalism, memoir, and the personal essay. Literary nonfiction turns actual people, places, and things into engaging, insightful art. Besides examining new and classic pieces in this fourth genre, we'll write short- and long-form pieces, and give each other constructive but critical feedback in workshop. You'll produce a portfolio of work, including two polished, long-form works of literary nonfiction. The course is offered by permission of instructor, but can be repeated if you've taken it before.

 

ENCW 314A.01: Drama Workshop

Lori Snook

MW     4:00 – 5:15pm                       

 

This course is an introduction to playwriting and screenwriting. The heart of the course will be your writing a one-act play and the first act of a screenplay, both of which will be workshopped extensively before your final drafts are submitted. To prepare you to write, we’ll also work on the basics of the craft and read sample plays and scripts. This course can fulfill an A General Education requirement.

 

ENCW 412: Advanced Fiction Workshop

Mark Powell

W        6 – 9pm

 

A workshop building on techniques introduced in ENCW 312 and helps students develop their skills in such fiction techniques as characterization, plot, setting, point of view, and style. Requires credit for ENCW 312 or ENCW 319 and permission of instructor. This course may be repeated.

 

ENCW 413: Advanced Poetry Workshop

Terri Witek

T          6 – 9pm

 

Anyone who has completed ENCW 313 can join this advanced workshop in which students will develop new  work by picking contemporary poets as mentors (follow your Virgil), by placing poems together (sequence and collage) and by moving poetry off the page and into the larger world (off-road poetics).  Resulting in a final 10-piece portfolio, this course is designed to include both literary writers and artists in other genres who want to experiment with poetic crossovers.  ENCW 413/513 may be repeated to advance skills and genre-knowledge, and experimentation is encouraged.  Permission of Instructor

 

ENCW 414: Advanced Drama Workshop

Lori Snook

MW     4 – 5:15pm

 

This course is only for those few, those happy few who’ve already taken the first drama workshop. The heart of the course will be your work on a full-length project (play or screenplay) of your choice; you’ll propose the project, workshop it in progress (using Blackboard as we go), and do outside research and reading appropriate to your project. The class meetings are small-group workshops in Dr. Snook’s office; time and day will be determined in January.