Spring 2011: ENGL Course Descriptions
1000.01 Introduction to Interpretation (4 sem. hours). Taught by Staff. This course is a prerequisite to most courses in the English department. It focuses on a variety of interpretive problems and on different kinds of texts, including films.
ENGL 2020.01 British and American Literary History, II (4 sem. hours) Taught by Dr. Laura Franey MWF 11 - 11:50 AC 334
In this class (required for the English major and English minor), students will study fiction, poetry, and drama from around 1789 through the present. We will focus especially on literary movements, developments in particular genres over time, and shifts in aesthetic tastes and in popular subject matter. While focusing mainly on the work of so-called "major authors" (such as Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, and T. S. Eliot), we will also debate value judgments in literary studies and analyze some texts by "non-canonical" or "minor" authors. Evaluation of students' learning will take place in the form of in-class exams as well as out-of-class essays.
Required for the English major and English minor.
2020.02 Introduction to British and American Literary History II (4 sem. hours). Taught by Dr. Suzanne Marrs. A history of British and American literature from 1800 to the present, with an emphasis on the meaning and development of literary history. Grades will be based on reading quizzes, a mid-term examination, a term paper, and a final examination.
Required for the English major and English minor.
ENGL 2400.01 Introduction to Creative Writing (4 Sem. hrs.) Taught by Dr. Steve Kistulentz.
In this class, you will look at the form, function and fundamentals of the short story, the poem, and the personal essay. From a writer's perspective we will read and analyze a number of texts to assist us in developing a common vocabulary with which to discuss the nuances of good writing. This course serves as a feeder course for advanced classes in each genre; whatever art form we pursue, successful expression requires a mastery of the fundamentals. Picasso drew still lifes before painting Guernica, Michelangelo worked from his famous notebooks. In the context of this course, this means not only writing fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction, but also learning to read as a writer, learning to interpret that reading, and ultimately, incorporating that expanding world view into a revised version of your work. Throughout the semester we will read short fiction, essays and poems with an eye to discovering the secrets of their craft, and we will workshop student work in fiction, poetry and non-fiction. We'll also discuss the writing life, the challenges that plague writers, both past and present. Because this course follows the workshop model, attendance, along with active and respectful participation, is mandatory.
ENGL 3130. 01 The Brontës/Women Writers (4 Sem. hrs.) Taught by Dr. Laura Franey.
MWF 9 AC 223
In the nineteenth century, the village of Haworth in northern England produced a remarkable family of writers - the Brontës. Three of the Brontë siblings - Charlotte, Anne, and Emily - published both fiction and poetry (usually under the androgynous pseudonyms Currer, Acton, and Ellis Bell), and they wrote remarkable stories even as children. In this course, we will study the juvenile writings as well as a good portion of the sisters' published adult fiction and poetry. The novels we read will likely include Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Villette. We will also read selections from the jointly written "Poems of Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell" (published in 1845) and we will read biographical texts about the Brontës. We will especially consider these writers as women writers, viewing their lives and writing in the context of Victorian ideas about women's roles, capacities, and responsibilities.
Note: This course may be used to fulfill the Author requirement for the English major.
Also, this course may be used to fulfill requirements for the Women's and Gender Studies minor.
ENGL 3180: Memory and Southern Memoir (4 sem. hrs.) Taught by Dr. Peggy W. Prenshaw.
How does one transform a memory of one's life into a memoir? into a story?
In this course we will pursuer answers to this question and read a variety of life stories by southern writers - autobiographies, memoirs, and some fiction and poetry. We will also consider various theories of autobiographical memory and the ways memory may be transformed in the composition of life narratives. Assignments include keeping a reading journal, several brief response papers, an outside report, and a three-part autobiographical essay-- part one in lieu of a mid-term examination and parts two and three due later in the semester.
Texts: a paperback anthology, Southern Serlves, ed. James Watkins (includes selections by Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Kaye Gibbons, Dorothy Allison, Robert Penn Warren, and others); Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Colored People, Mary Karr's Liars' Club, Rick Bragg , All Over but the Shoutin', Eudora Welty, One Writer's Beginnings, Ellen Douglas, Truth: Four Stories I am Finally Old Enough to Tell, and Dorothy Allison's autobiographical novel, Bastard out of Carolina. On autobiographical theory: Paul John Eakin, How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves. Participation in class discussion is essential-- and expected.
ENGL 3450.01 Writing for New Media Taught by Dr. Anita DeRouen MWF 11 a.m.
The one technological surety available to us is the certainty that technologies will change; think about how many new communication platforms have come your way in the last five years. The advent of Web 2.0 - a term used to describe web platforms that encouraged interactivity and, most importantly, user-creation of content - put writing and publishing web content in the grasp of anyone with access to the web, regardless of their technical savvy. Because of these new platforms, our conversations can take on forms familiar (the ebook, the essay, the editorial, the review, the journal) and new (blog or vlog, forum discussion, tweet, tumbl); successful communicators in this landscape are able to shift rhetorical strategies to take advantage of the affordances of different media.
In this course, we'll examine the writing challenges and opportunities presented by the new media formats. Our examination will include theoretical perspectives (traditional and contemporary discussions of relevant rhetorical, and communication theory and topics) and opportunities for practice (case studies, writing assignments in various media, student-selected projects). We will cover basic web authoring tools (HTML), but this course will not focus on development of whole websites/environments.
ENGL 3500.01 Homer & Joyce Taught by Dr. Anne MacMaster TTh 2:45 pm
In writing Ulysses, James Joyce parallels the day-long wanderings around Dublin of his protagonist Leopold Bloom to the ten year travels and adventures of Homer's Odysseus, a hero of the Trojan War who ranges around the whole of the Mediterranean in his efforts to reach home again. By juxtaposing his modern day Everyman to Homer's Odysseus, Joyce not only compares our lives in the modern city to those of Homer's heroes, but he also raises questions about the forms that we use to make sense of modernity. By reading the episodes of Homer's Odyssey against Joyce's loose adaptations of them in Ulysses, we'll work collaboratively to make sense of the parallels between ancient epic and modern novel.
We will begin by reading the opening books of the Odyssey, known as the Telemachiad, alongside Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a novel that Joyce completed seven years before Ulysses and which, like the Telemachiad, constitutes a coming-of-age story. We'll compare Homer's initial focus on Odysseus's son Telemachus to Joyce's initial focus on Stephen Dedalus, the autobiographical protagonist of Portrait who becomes the focus of the first three episodes of Ulysses. Then, after beginning with the youthful Telemachus and Stephen, we will, like Homer and Joyce, shift our attention to the main characters of the epic works, the strategist Odysseus and the prudent Bloom. Reading and discussing some episodes from each work each week, we'll trace the wanderings of each protagonist, Odysseus around the whole known world (to the Greeks) and Bloom around the modern city, until each man re-unites, toward the end of the narrative, with his younger counterpart (Telemachus or Stephen). While paying attention to the differences between the Odyssey and Ulysses, we'll also remain mindful of the two works' underlying archetypal affinities, especially the father-and-son theme, about which Joseph Campbell notes, "the central concern of both [works] is male initiation into a world different from that of brutal masculine assertion." When we reach the reunion of father-figure and son in each narrative, we'll consider the relevance to our own world of the alternatives to "brutal masculine assertion" that Odysseus and Bloom have to offer Telemachus and Stephen respectively. Finally, in each text, we'll reach the ultimate reunion toward which the whole plot has been heading - the coming together of Odysseus with his faithful Penelope and of Bloom with his wife Molly. Here, we'll explore the theme of marriage in each work and consider what the epic of journey and of home-coming has to offer us that we cannot get in an epic of war, like the Iliad.
ENGL 3750.04/ LAST 3750: South of the Border: Visions of Mexico in Anglo-American Literature, Film, and Popular Song (4 sem. hrs). Taught by Dr. Eric Griffin in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
Some of the twentieth century's most important writers of narrative fiction, drama, film, and popular music found Mexico an alluring setting against which they could cast their short stories and novels, plays, films, and songs. At times these productions could romanticize Mexico as a land of possibility, or conversely, they could construct Mexico as a "badland" of sensuality, violence and chaos. While these oppositions could often foster the basest form of cultural stereotyping, they also served to reveal the shortcomings of a "Gringo" culture defined by the unrelenting pursuit of profit. Featuring literature, film and music from the heart of the twentieth century - including works by D.H. Lawrence, Tennessee Williams, Graham Greene, and Malcolm Lowry, films by John Huston, Orson Welles, and Sam Peckinpah, as well has a host of popular songs - the course will explore the ways Mexico has been envisioned in the Anglo-American public mind, measuring these representations against our own experience of living in Yucatán, "South of the Border." (May be used to satisfy the CORE 5 requirement in Literature.)
English 3750.01: Literature and Sexualities (4 sem. hrs). (T, TH 10:00AM - 11:15AM). Taught by Dr. Greg Miller.
This course will examine literary representations of sexuality, desire, identity, politics, and culture. We will consider the shaping forces of religion, the law, psychology, class, and race, studying texts such as The Canticles (The Song of Solomon) and the story of Jonathan and David in The First Book of Samuel from The King James Bible; Dante's portraits of his teacher Brunetto Latini as well as the murdered lovers Paolo and Francesca; Edmund Spenser's "Bower of Bliss" from The Faerie Queene; William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra; Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market"; Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway; D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers; Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Toni Morrison's Beloved; Michael Cunningham's The Hours; Audre Lorde's Zami, A New Spelling of My Name; Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being; Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain, and Thom Gunn's Boss Cupid. We will consider theoretical studies of gender and sexuality, including such thinkers as Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Adrienne Rich, Eve Sedgwick, Jonathan Goldberg, and David Halperin.
English 3750.03/ 4900.01: Advanced Interpretation, Poetry (M, W 01:00PM - 02:40PM)
In this course, we'll consider the function, nature, and purpose of poetry from a variety of perspectives. We'll focus on reading individual poems closely and thinking about poetry as a genre. We'll read contemporary collections like Tony Hoagland's The Donkey Gospel and Denise Dumamel's Kinky as well as Philip Larkin's Whitsun Weddings and Shakespeare's Sonnets. We'll also read selected poems by Emily Dickinson and an anthology of poems spanning antiquity to the twentieth century. We'll scan poems for metrical patterns and variations, considering the functions of rhythm, line, stanza, metaphor, diction, sound, and genre, among other things. And we'll read some examples of practical criticism of poetry as well, including Cleanth Brooks' The Well Wrought Urn. The seminar will require a sustained and developed essay on a particular poet or critical question about poetry that will demonstrate a command of critical vocabulary, complexity of thinking, and a clear and compelling analysis of particular poems; students will write these final essays in conversation with other scholars of poetry in accordance with the standards of the discipline. (Seniors taking the course as 4900, a capstone seminar, will have some assignments that differ from those students taking it as 3750.)
ENGL 3900 Senior Seminar in Creative Writing (4 sem. hrs). Taught by Dr. Steve Kistulentz
As the final course in the sequence of creative writing courses, students in ENGL 3900 are expected to design a workplan around a semester-long creative project in the genre of their choice. Students present a draft of the project for discussion with the instructor and their peers using the workshop model; the instructor then recommends ancillary texts and the students drafts and executes a revision plan for the remainder of the term's work. Weekly class meetings include the reading and discussion of specimen texts and the workshop-based discussions of smaller student work as well.
COMM 2000 Introduction to Communications (4 sem. hours). Taught by Dr. Curtis Coats.
An introduction to the processes of communication through analysis of interpersonal and intercultural communication, communication in groups, and communication in organizational settings. Includes introduction to principles of advertising and public relations, as well as the history of journalism and mass media in the United States.
COMM 2400: Communications Ethics (4 Sem. hrs.) Taught by Dr. Curtis Coats.
A famous media scholar once said that media are America's storytellers. On its face, this doesn't seem all that profound, but it builds on an idea that media messages greatly influence how we understand ourselves, others, and the world. Further, media messages help us understand what is "normal," what is "right," what is "good," and what is "true."
Given this power to shape and tell cultural stories, media producers have tremendous ethical responsibilities. These responsibilities often combine and collide with other responsibilities: to earn profit, to inform the public, to entertain the public, to sell a product, etc.
In this class, we will enter the conversation about media ethics. This conversation will extend to ethics in media professions, to ethics in intercultural issues, and to ethics in personal relations and identities. We will ground this conversation in a discussion of ethical theory, which we will apply to current media events.
IDST 2500 Sudan: A World in Conflict (M, T, W, F 09:00AM - 09:50AM) (4 Sem. hrs.) Taught be Dr. Greg Miller.
Since the beginnings of the Sudanese civil war in the early 1980s, more than two million people have been killed, hundreds of thousands in the region of Darfur in the last few years. What are the sources of this conflict? Are there global implications to be learned? We will explore Sudan's history and some of the religious, ethnic, linguistic, geographical, economic, and political components of this ongoing conflict. In addition to historical studies, we will view films and documentaries and read autobiographies, a novel, a travel narrative, poetry, and essays. We will examine current efforts to save threatened lives and build a peaceful society. For context, we will also ready short stories by African writers who are not from Sudan. Students will have the opportunity to work with local Sudanese refugees to document their lives and their connections with family and friends still in Sudan or refugee camps in surrounding African countries. Foci: Literature, History