Our Courses

Autumn 2017: 4000-Level

1000-level | 2000-level | 3000-level | 4000-level | 5000-level and above

ENGLISH-4150: Cultures of Professional Writing
Instructors: Christiane Buuck, Daniel Seward and Christa Teston
Examine writing in various workplaces. Analyze writing discourse that shapes professional organizations. Explore ongoing technological and cultural shifts required of workplace writers and the role of digital media. 
ENGLISH-4189: Professional Writing Minor—Capstone Internship
Instructor: Jennifer Patton
Students work on-site in an organization doing writing-related work and meet weekly to discuss related topics. 
ENGLISH-4513: Introduction to Medieval Literature
Instructor: Christopher Jones
The study of masterpieces from the Middle Ages, chosen for their values in interpreting medieval culture as well as for their independent literary worth. 
ENGLISH-4520.01: Shakespeare
Instructor: Alan Farmer
*This course will explore the formal, social, and political engagements of Shakespeare's plays. It will pay particular attention to how his plays conform to and work against the genres of comedy, tragedy, history, and romance, and to how they represent such issues as gender, sexuality, religion, race and political power. In addition to some critical and historical essays on the early modern theater and culture, we will likely read some combination of the following plays: Richard III, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Measure for Measure, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. 
ENGLISH-4522: Renaissance Poetry—Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Fall in Renaissance Literature
Instructor: Alan Farmer
In this course, we will read what is arguably one of the best, most exciting, most contentious and most challenging poems in English literature: John Milton's Paradise Lost. First published in 1667 (and revised in 1674), Milton's epic largely centers on the fall of Adam and Eve, but it also covers events from the beginning of creation to the end of time. The poem looks back to the fall from Heaven of Satan and his rebel angels, ahead to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and ultimately to the final judgment. In doing so, the poem addresses issues ranging from divine justice and the authority of God, to the origin of evil and the nature of sin, to the values of love and heroism, to the topical concerns of political theory and nationalism. We will read the entirety of Paradise Lost, but we will also study Milton's poem in relationship to his earlier, radical political writings from the 1640s, in which he called for the freedom of the press, the right to divorce and the execution of King Charles I. Finally, we will read other narratives of the Fall found in sermons, treatises and poems, including works by Aemilia Lanyer, Rachel Speght, Mary Roper and other women writers, as we consider the complicated religious, gender and literary politics of Milton's poem.
ENGLISH-4535: Special Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth Century British Literature and Culture
Instructor: Sandra MacPherson
Focused study of a major theme and/or critical problem arising from literature Restoration and/or eighteenth-century Britain: race and enlightenment, crime and criminals, sex and the city, the culture of sensibility and transatlantic literary culture. 
ENGLISH-4543: Twentieth-Century British Fiction—Political Fictions
Instructor: Thomas Davis
This course examines a wide range of fiction produced from locations that made up the British world system. We will be concerned primarily with the way literary texts register historical and political tensions and, sometimes, get marshaled directly for political ends. Our readings will take us through the various ways literature engages questions of empire, racism, fascism and migration in the twentieth century. We will close with two contemporary novels: Ali Smith's Autumn (first post-Brexit novel) and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, astirring meditation on the human. To address the relationship of aesthetics and politics, we will consider the formal dimensions of texts-figural language, emplotment, characterization, perspective, generic fidelity and infidelity-as encryptions of the multiple historical antagonisms that plagued Britain's slow descent from atop the world-system over the course of the twentieth century. Authors may include: Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Christopher Isherwood, George Orwell, Ali Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Sam Selvon and others.
ENGLISH-4547: Twentieth-Century Poetry
Instructor: Sebastian Knowles
A study of twentieth-century British and American poetry, with emphasis on such major figures as Frost, Yeats, Stevens, Eliot, Williams, Auden, Bishop and Langston Hughes. 
ENGLISH-4553: Twentieth-Century U.S. Fiction
Instructor: Jesse Schotter
A study of American fiction after 1914, with emphasis on such major figures as Anderson, Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Faulkner.
ENGLISH-4559: Introduction to Narrative and Narrative Theory
Instructor: Sean O’Sullivan
Study of narrative in its different manifestations, e.g., novel, autobiography, film, legal testimony and theories of its form and significance. 
ENGLISH-4563: Contemporary Literature
Instructor: Jessica Prinz
A study of poetry and prose written since approximately 1960.
ENGLISH-4564.02: Major Author in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century British Literature—Oscar Wilde
Instructor: Jill Galvan 
*Oscar Wilde is many things to many people. Some know him for his wit: his famously brief, paradoxical sayings and his comically masterful play The Importance of Being Earnest. Others associate him with modern ideas of art, especially the theory of art for art's sake, laid out most strikingly in his preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray. For still others, Wilde is an iconic gay man, remarkable for his sexual expression in his life and his art and ultimately tragically condemned for it. His biography gives us a stark portrait of a culture in which homosexuality is a literal crime. This class will examine these various faces of Wilde—his comedy, his sexuality, his celebrity, his individualism, his avant-gardism. We will read his major writings, in all their stunning range of genre (farce, melodrama, fairy tale, Gothic novel, Socratic dialogue, prison letter and more), putting them in the context of late-Victorian literature and history. Additionally, we will reflect on our own contemporary perception and mythology of Oscar Wilde. What have his writings on art, identity and culture come to represent for us, and why? 
ENGLISH-4565: Advanced Fiction Writing
Instructor: Lee Martin
*This is an advanced writing workshop that asks you to think about how literary fiction is made. Therefore, we won't be considering genre fiction (romance, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.). By literary fiction, I mean stories that are more character-driven than plot-driven. These stories show us something about the complexity of human existence by concentrating on characters and their conflicting wants, needs, fears, hopes, etc. I don't mean to suggest that these types of stories are without plots. Plenty happens, but what happens externally is less important than what happens internally to the characters involved and what it means for the rest of their lives. In other words, events occur because of the types of people characters are, and the plots that unfold always reveal something new about the inner lives of those characters. We might put it this way: characters create plots, and plots reveal characters. The main texts for this workshop will be the two stories that each student writes and presents for discussion. At the end of the semester, each student will present a portfolio that will include the drafts of the two stories with one of them significantly revised. We may have outside reading assignments of craft articles and stories. Each student will mark manuscripts and prepare summary letters for the other writers in the workshop.
ENGLISH-4566: Advanced Poetry Writing
Instructor: Marcus Jackson
Advanced workshop in the writing of poetry. This is a class for serious students of creative writing. Admission is by portfolio submission to the instructor. 
ENGLISH-4568: Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing
Instructor: Staff
Advanced workshop in the writing of creative nonfiction. This is a class for serious students of creative writing. Admission is by portfolio submission to the instructor.
ENGLISH-4571: Studies in the English Language—Language and Media
Instructor: Lauren Squires
The uses of language in media reveal the complicated interplay of language and social identity. This course will explore language in various popular media, bringing critical analysis to bear on media texts. We will use sociolinguistic concepts from the fields of language variation, discourse analysis and studies of genre, register and style. These will help us explore both mass media (like movies, TV, newspapers, music and sports broadcasting) and digital media (like instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter and texting). In our investigations, we will pay careful attention to media forms, linguistic forms and social factors. You will leave the class equipped with new ways of viewing media and popular culture, and with new tools for critically considering the role of language in everyday life.
ENGLISH-4572: Traditional Grammar and Usage
Instructor: Roger Cherry
*This course will first explore various meanings of the term "grammar."  We will examine our personal experience with "grammar" in order to establish a foundation for the academic study of the subject. Then we will turn our attention to the grammatical structures identified in the study of English syntax. Finally, we will take up a number of usage issues. Although the study of English grammar and usage might enhance speaking or writing abilities, the main focus of the course is not on improving these skills; for that you should enroll in a speech or writing course.
ENGLISH-4575: Special Topics in Literary Forms and Themes—Tainted Love: Queer Narratives, 1963 to Present Day
Instructor: William White
*From John Rechy's hustler travelogue City of Night to Audre Lorde's biomythography Zami to Alison Bechdel's graphic novel Fun Home, this seminar will explore how queerness has been portrayed, explored, challenged and broadened over the past sixty or so years. Topics will include coming-out stories, the literature of AIDS, performances of gender (with a keen eye toward drag), queer anti-urbanism and queer retellings. There will also be optional movie nights, with viewings of the classic documentaries Paris Is Burning and Small Town Gay Bar (popcorn provided). Readings: Alison Bechdel, Fun Home; Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle; Bernardine Evaristo, Mr. Loverman; Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You; Randall Kenan, A Visitation of Spirits; Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name; Mark Merlis, An Arrow's Flight; John Rechy, City of Night; Justin Torres, We the Animals and Achy Obejas, Memory Mambo.
ENGLISH-4576.01: History of Critical Theory I: Plato to Aestheticism
Instructor: Ethan Knapp
Study of the history of literary criticism and of special topics in critical theory; study of the developments and basic texts in literary criticism and critical theory from Plato to Oscar Wilde. 
ENGLISH-4577.02: Folklore II—Genres, Form, Meaning and Use
Instructor: Merrill Kaplan
Study of folk groups/communities, folklore genres and issues/methods in folklore studies. Study of the relationship between cultural forms, community interpretations and social uses. Folklore minor course. 
ENGLISH-4578: Special Topics in Film
Instructors: Sean O’Sullivan and Mark Conroy
Examination of particular topics, themes, genres or movements in cinema; topics may include particular directors (Orson Welles), periods (The Sixties) or genres (horror). 
ENGLISH-4580: Special Topics in LGBTQ Literatures and Cultures
Instructor: Martin Ponce
Focuses on themes and issues in LGBTQ literature and culture. 
ENGLISH-4583: Special Topics in World Literature in English
Instructor: Adeleke Adeeko
Study of literatures written in English and produced outside of the U.S. and Britain; topics include colonial/postcolonial writing, regional literature, theoretical and historical approaches and genres. 
ENGLISH-4587: Studies in Asian American Literature and Culture
Instructor: Martin Ponce
*This is a combined lecture course
Focuses on problems and themes in Asian American literature and culture from the late nineteenth century to the present. Topic varies. Examples: Asian American Literature and Popular Culture and Empire and Sexuality in Asian American Literature. 
ENGLISH-4590.07H: Literature in English after 1945
Instructor: Jessica Prinz
*This is a seminar in literature 1945 to the present. Students will be asked to do a hefty amount of reading in preparation for a discussion-based class. We will read novels by Delillo, Egan, Eggers, Morrison, Ishiguro and Danielewski. We will also consider a set of wonderful short stories by the following authors: S. Rushdie, K. Vonnegut, R. Carver, N. Hornby, R. Ellison, J. Cheever, D. Sedaris and D.F. Wallace. 
ENGLISH-4591.01H: Special Topics in the Study of Creative Writing—Creative Writing and Music
Instructor: Michelle Herman
*In this creative writing seminar, we'll look at all aspects of music-writing—from writing that describes what a piece of music or band or musician sounds like through written portraits and profiles of musicians and composers, fictional and non-, and from science writing about how and why we listen to music to writing for music (song lyrics and writing for musical theater). We'll read Nick Hornby, Stephen Sondheim, Rosanne Cash, Vikram Seth, Ellen Willis, Lavinia Greenlaw, Lin Manuel-Miranda and more. We'll listen to everything from Jimi Hendrix to Rufus Wainright. And you will be doing your own music writing in response to each segment of the course—and tackling a major final project that links music and creative writing. 
ENGLISH-4591.02H: Special Topics in the Study of Rhetoric
Instructor: Margaret Price 
Study of rhetorical theories and practices through examination of social communities, texts, movements and periods both past and present.
ENGLISH-4592: Special Topics in Women in Literature and Culture
Instructor: Jennifer Higginbotham
Using feminist perspectives, students will learn to analyze literature and other cultural works (film, television, digital media) written by or about women. Time period and topic vary.
ENGLISH-4597.01: The Disability Experience in the Contemporary World
Instructor: Margaret Price
Global, national and local issues of disability in the contemporary world; interdisciplinary approach combines historical, literary, philosophical, scientific and service-oriented analysis of experience of disability.
ENGLISH-4999: Undergraduate Research—Thesis
Instructor: Staff
A program of reading arranged for each student, with individual conferences, reports and a paper and/or thesis.
ENGLISH-4999H: Honors Research
Instructor: Staff
A program of reading arranged for each student with individual conferences, reports and an honors thesis. Open only to candidates for distinction in English.