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Spring 2021 Course Descriptions

Note: courses are in order by class number, followed by last name of professor

 

200 LEVEL COURSES

ENG 221: Literature, Nature, and the Environment
Professors Katey Castellano and Dan Levine
Online M/W/F 10:10-11:00 AM
This course will examine stories that shape our relationships with land, plants, and animals. Students can expect to emerge from the semester with a working knowledge of concepts from the environmental humanities and a better understanding of how to relate a literary work to its historical and political contexts. This class fulfills the General Education Cluster II literature requirement. It also counts towards the Environmental Humanities/Studies minors.


ENG 221 (0001): Literature/Culture/Ideas: Latinx Storytelling
Dr. Fagan
Online – M/W/F 9:15-10:05 AM
Combination of synchronous and asynchronous work

So who can hear
the words we speak
you and I, like but unlike,
and translate us to us
side by side?”
-Pat Mora

In this Honors course, we will compare and contrast the stories of contemporary U.S. Latinx writers who trace their heritage to Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Central and South America. In addition to considering how race, nation, and ethnicity shape our understandings of Latina/o/x identity, we will also discuss the influencing forces of gender, sexuality, class, and language on Latinx writers. Students can expect to read poetry, short fiction, and 1-2 novels. Coursework will include written essays, an annotation project, and a group presentation.


ENG 221: Sushi and Chicken Kung Pao with a Slice of Apple Pie: Introduction to Asian-American Literature
Dr. Debali Mookerjea-Leonard
Online – M/W 2:15-3:30 PM
The course is designed to introduce students to a variety of writings by Asian-American authors. It will explore the historical formation of Asian American identities, issues of immigration, citizenship, race, and about the aesthetic forms of representation explored by Asian American writers and artists. While we will devote most of our time to literary texts, we will also direct some of our critical attention to the role of popular culture in the ongoing construction of Asian and Asian American identities.
This course fulfills the General Education Cluster 2 Group 3 (Literature) requirement; the survey or “Identity, Diversity, Power” requirement for the English major, it also counts towards the requirements for the World Literature minor, and the American Studies minor.


ENG 221: Modernity and Appetite (World Literature) (Section 0005)
Dr. Molly O'Donnell
Online – T/TH 9:40-10:55 AM
This course introduces students to global literary figures and movements (seventeenth century – present) through inquiry into “appetites.” Through this theme, we will consider both the pitfalls and triumphs of appetite in all its forms as presented in literature. In this course students will think critically about these questions within larger contexts:
+ What drives our actions?
+ What passions help or hurt us?
+ Is man innately subject to physical, emotional, or intellectual appetites?
+ How do our appetites define/control us? How do we suppress them to conform, achieve, disguise, or shine?
+ What are the consequences of sated desire or, alternately, want?
+ Is the response to specific appetites individual or collective?
+ How do our appetites impact others?
+ Do our notions of the validity of appetite change over history and in different cultures?

ENG 221: Modernity and Appetite (World Literature) (Section 0006)
Dr. Molly O'Donnell
Online – 11:20 AM-12:35 PM
This course introduces students to global literary figures and movements (seventeenth century – present) through inquiry into “appetites.” Through this theme, we will consider both the pitfalls and triumphs of appetite in all its forms as presented in literature. In this course students will think critically about these questions within larger contexts:
+ What drives our actions?
+ What passions help or hurt us?
+ Is man innately subject to physical, emotional, or intellectual appetites?
+ How do our appetites define/control us? How do we suppress them to conform, achieve, disguise, or shine?
+ What are the consequences of sated desire or, alternately, want?
+ Is the response to specific appetites individual or collective?
+ How do our appetites impact others?
+ Do our notions of the validity of appetite change over history and in different cultures?


ENG 221: American Psycho: Madness in American Literature

Professor Matthew Rebhorn
Online – M/W/F 2:15-3:05 PM
From psychotic sleepwalking in the eighteenth century to violent self-loathing today, madness has always shadowed the development of American national identity, offering a darker, more insidious underside to what Ralph Waldo Emerson triumphantly called American “self-reliance.” This course explores this dynamic by focusing on the way American madness has been represented in literature, from the novel to short story to film. Taking up early depictions of madness in authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville, following the diversifying representations of madness in Henry James, Willa Cather, and Charles Chestnutt, and coming to talk about the inheritance of these “tropes of madness” in The Haunting of Hill House, Fight Club, and Get Out, this course will offer students a brief history of American madness. By closely reading these texts, developing our writing skills, and learning to think about ideas across multiple texts, this course will also help students both become better readers of texts, and, perhaps understand more fully why “we all go a little mad sometimes.”


ENG 221 (Section 0007): Wilderness, Place, and the Wild in Literature
Professor Marco Wilkinson
Online - T/TH 4:20-5:35 PM
In a globalized world, how do we understand our place in it? In a crowded world, what does it mean for a place to be wilderness? In what feels like a fully mapped world of instant information and constant surveillance, what could it mean to be wild? In this course we will read poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that will address in very different ways what it means to be “from” a place, what it means to be “out of place,” and what it might mean to be “for” a place. Many of these texts will address modern environmental issues and we will use theoretical frameworks drawing from anthropology, the history of science, ecopoetics, sustainable agriculture, queer theory, and more to understand what ecological narratives we find ourselves in and what possibilities there might be for reimagining them.


ENG 221H: The Rebel and the Artist in Modern Irish Literature
Dr. Siân White
M/W/F 10.30-11.20 AM
During the Easter Rising of 1916, as part of Ireland’s struggle for independence from British imperial rule, 36-year-old Pádraic Pearse stood outside of the General Post Office and read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. For this act of rebellion, Pearse was executed without trial along with fifteen others. Pearse was in some ways a rebel; he was also a poet, teacher, and native Irish speaker.
The relationship between the rebel and the artist, the political and the artistic, dominates Irish literary history, especially during the twentieth century. This course traces that evolving relationship from the period of independence, to the partition of the island into two nations – what are now the independent Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, still part of the United Kingdom – and through a period of continuing anti-colonial campaign in Northern Ireland known as “the Troubles.” In novels, plays, short stories, and poems, we will focus not just on art – especially literature – as it represents national identity and nationalist politics, but also on artistic representation as a political act in itself.
This is an Honors section of a General Education course. Students can expect informal and formal writing assignments, midterm and final exams, and individual presentations.


ENG 222: Genres (Speculative Fiction)
Dr. Sharon Cote
Online – T/TH 4:20-5:35 PM
In this course we will focus on a humanistic examination of some major philosophical and social themes in speculative fiction. Also, while discussing a diverse collection of both relatively contemporary and more historical speculative works, we will be led to consider the cultural factors that influence ideas about genre, about literary "greatness," and about the problematic notion of canonicity in the humanities. More generally, we'll challenge our own first responses to readings and hone our ability to evaluate literature and its potential as a gateway to new ideas and insights. We'll explore some connections between our central works and other creative and/or intellectual works. Finally, through all these efforts, we'll work on improving our basic ability to approach ANY text (ie. not just "literature") and, in fact, any communicative act critically, developing basic vocabulary and skills in the techniques of textual analysis.


ENG 222: Liking Poetry (section 0008)
Dr. Annette Federico
Online – M/W/F – 1:00-1:50 PM
In this introductory class, we will read and discuss a diverse array of lyric poetry in English. We will learn how to do a close reading of a poem, expand our knowledge of particular poets and poems, try to comprehend the emotional landscape of a poem and our own emotions, and gain respect and appreciation for the work poets do and what they give to the world.


ENG 222: Liking Poetry (section 0009)
Dr. Annette Federico
Online – M/W/F – 2:15-3:05 PM
In this introductory class, we will read and discuss a diverse array of lyric poetry in English. We will learn how to do a close reading of a poem, expand our knowledge of particular poets and poems, try to comprehend the emotional landscape of a poem and our own emotions, and gain respect and appreciation for the work poets do and what they give to the world.


ENG 222: Ideology and Global Cinemas
Dr. Dennis Lo
Online – M/W/F 11:45 AM-12:35 PM
This course introduces General Education students to the politics, aesthetics, and social contexts of global cinemas, with a focus on films that explore shifting ideologies and cultural identities – class, gender, ethnicity, and race – in times of social tumult. Through weekly screenings, readings, and writing assignments, we will investigate how various genres of global cinemas act as forces of ideological critique in response to issues of geopolitics, globalization, colonization, nation-building, modernization, underdevelopment, migration, and social marginalization. Our survey of six major periods and various styles of socially-conscious global cinemas will span the continents of Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. We will proceed in a chronological order, moving from pre-war (Japanese, European), post-war (Italian, Indian), new wave (French, Japanese, Eastern European, American), and third cinemas (Latin American, African), to accented (Middle Eastern, Chinese) and transnational cinemas (global co-productions).
Complementing the weekly screenings are readings that present close analysis of films and filmmakers, as well as scholarship on the historical, aesthetic, philosophical, industrial, and political contexts shaping these diverse cinematic traditions. Readings will also include texts from various disciplines – film studies, cultural studies, and media studies – that introduce basic techniques and theoretical approaches for critically examining the films’ underlying political and philosophical themes. Writing assignments such as film analysis papers will provide students with opportunities to conduct more in-depth analysis of films, filmmakers, and industries. Our goal is to arrive at a deepened understanding of the stylistic and narrative strategies by which films shape representations of cultural identities, give voice to marginalized social groups, and engage in social critique and activism.
Course modality: online over Zoom and Canvas, with all classes meeting synchronously, assignments asynchronous


English 222: Introduction to Poetry
Dr. Parker
Online
This course provides an introduction to poetry by focusing on one particular kind of poem, the lyric. The goal is for you to be able to read and understand poetry, as well as to take pleasure in it. We’ll talk, of course, about what particular poems mean, but our focus will often be on how they mean. In doing this, we’ll consider poetic form and poetic conventions carefully.
There is a body of knowledge to learn in this course, but you will also develop specific skills. By the end of the semester, you should be familiar with many poems (those we’ve discussed in lecture and in section), and you should be able to speak about them accurately and intelligently. But you should also be able to make well-informed comments on new texts as well.
While the course presupposes no knowledge of poetry, it will require your close attention. Poems are sophisticated and often demanding art objects, and many of them will test your skills of reading and thinking. Be prepared to work hard on them.
The course will be delivered as a series of podcasts and a 50 minute, small group discussion section on Zoom.


ENG 222: Genre(s): Fairy Tales
Dr. Sofia Samatar
Online – T/TH 11:20 AM-12:35 PM
English 222 introduces students to literary genres. In this course, we will study fairy tales, one of the world’s oldest and most widespread genres. Students will have the opportunity to read both familiar and unfamiliar stories; practice comparative analysis; engage with a variety of critical perspectives on fairy tales; examine contemporary retellings; and revel in one of the most delightful and rewarding forms of storytelling.


ENG 222: Lyric Poetry
Prof. Greg Wrenn
Online – M/W 5:35-6:50 PM

And remembering…
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that is full of beads and
receipts and dolls and clothes, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.
—Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Bean Eaters”

Taught by a published poet, this GenEd course is meant to introduce you to the pleasures of reading and writing about lyric poetry, which focuses on emotion rather than telling a story. William Shakespeare, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost—they’re all lyric poets, and we’ll be discussing their masterpieces, along with those by the likes of Adrienne Rich, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Li-Young Lee, in order to learn the fundamentals of poetic craft and contend with some central poetic themes. At the heart of this course are the vital skills of critical thinking, close reading, and empathy, and we’ll be practicing them often in lecture and in writing assignments.


ENG 222H-1: Genre: The American Short Story
Dr. Goode
Keezell 308 - T/TH 11:20 AM-12:35 PM
This course will focus on the American short story as it developed from the nineteenth century to the present. We will approach this diverse form of prose fiction from various angles, exploring formal elements, authorial styles, and literary periods. On our way through charting the development of the short story genre, we will use close readings to excavate how our reading experience is shaped and guided by the creative choices of authors. This is not a “how-to-write-a-short story” course, but rather the aim of the course is to show how good short stories are works of deliberate craftsmanship. Authors to be read include Poe, Faulkner, Hurston, Carver, Baldwin, Oates, Alexie, O’Connor, LeGuin, and Machado.
This course fulfills the General Education Cluster II-Literature requirement and a 200-level course requirement for the English major.


English 236: Survey of British Literature II: Romantics through Contemporary
Dr. Heidi Pennington
Engineering/Geosciences 1302 - T/TH 11:20 AM-12:35 PM
In this overview of British literature from the last two hundred years or so, we’ll examine works of poetry, prose, fiction, and drama. Paying careful attention to historical context, thematic content, and poetic and narrative form, we’ll attempt to generate a rudimentary understanding of what’s so “British” about this literature. In the process, we’ll trace shifting ideas about personal and national identities (including questions of gender, race, and class), authority and authorship, and sociability through the literary creations of diverse writers. Mode: This course will consist primarily of online asynchronous readings, video lectures, quizzes, and writing assignments; there will be a once-weekly online synchronous discussion/Q&A session; several smaller-group in-person meetings are possible this semester, but not definite. Any changes to this mode will be announced in a timely manner through Canvas to enrolled students.


ENG 236H: Survey of English Literature: Eighteenth-Century to Modern
Dr. Price
Online – T/TH 2:40-3:55 PM (online synchronous)
This course introduces you to major authors and literary movements from the late eighteenth century on. Works will include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We will examine the historical contexts of such movements as romanticism and modernism, and move from broad discussions (of aesthetics, history, philosophy, etc.) to close readings of individual texts. Throughout the course we will work on developing and applying the terminology of literary studies.
In our class discussions we will consider how literary works both shape and reflect changing ideas of childhood, gender, and empire. Of particular interest will be the character of the doppelgänger or double, which appears repeatedly on the syllabus. Why do so many characters have eerie doubles? What do those doubles tell us about the hopes and fears of the times in which they appear?


ENG 239: Studies in World Literature: Children, Trauma, and World Literature
Dr. Debali Mookerjea-Leonard
Online – M/W/F 10:30-11:20 AM
Description: The Holocaust, the Partition of India, 9/11, and other civil and political conflicts around the world as well as natural calamities have all claimed children as victims. Many have died but thousands of children have suffered through these disasters and lived to tell their tales. Examining memoirs and fictional accounts of children’s experience of war and violence this course will address the issue of children’s trauma. Through a rigorous engagement with the texts we will raise the following questions: How are children affected by the violence around them? How do they cope with trauma? How do they remember the disasters that overshadowed their lives? How are children’s experiences represented in literature? Why is the child-narrator a popular literary device in writings on social and political conflicts?
This course fulfills Gen.Ed. Cluster 2 Group 3 (Literature) requirement; the survey requirement or the “Identity, Diversity, Power” requirement for the English major; it also counts towards the requirements for the World Literature minor.


ENG 239 (Section 0002): Studies in World Literature: Modern South Asia
Dr. Debali Mookerjea-Leonard
Online – M/W/F 1:00-1:50 PM
This course introduces you to representative works of modern South Asian literature. It aims to cultivate an awareness of the historical, cultural, and intellectual contexts of writings from South Asia through reading works both by Anglophone authors and writers from the region’s vernacular traditions.
Texts for the course have been selected from a range of genres—novel, short story, drama and poetry. Films will be used to provide a visual complement to the texts. Through close reading and analyses of literary texts, and discussions in class, which will be organized around topics such as nation and narrative; home; migration; violence; gender; marginality; and identity, the course endeavors to refine your skills of critical thinking, reading and writing.
This course fulfills Gen.Ed. Cluster 2 Group 3 (Literature) requirement; the survey requirement or the “Identity, Diversity, Power” requirement for the English major; it also counts towards the requirements for the World Literature minor.


ENG 239: Introduction to World Literature- 
Fairy Tales
Dr. Sofia Samatar
Online – T/TH 1:00-2:15 PM
English 239 introduces students to key issues, concepts, and methods in the study of world literature. In this course, we will study fairy tales, one of the world’s oldest and most widespread genres. Students will have the opportunity to read both familiar and unfamiliar stories; practice comparative analysis; engage with a variety of critical perspectives on fairy tales; examine contemporary retellings; and revel in one of the most delightful and rewarding forms of storytelling.


ENG 247: American Literature to 1865
Professor Matthew Rebhorn
Online – M/W/F 11:45 AM-12:45 PM
This course aims to explore the foundations of American Literature from its origins to, arguably, the most significant event in this country’s history—the American Civil War. Helping to guide our exploration of the diverse literary texts constituting “American Literature” during this time period, we will be looking at the numerous formal, stylistic, and thematic ways in which all of these texts “contest,” or challenge, what it meant to be American. Exploring the rich texts of this course, therefore, from Puritan sermons to Enlightenment autobiographies, from Transcendental essays to slave narratives, we will not discover the “real” American experience beneath this era. Rather, we will begin to see the ways in which these contests over the meaning of race, gender, history, class, and religion supplied the foundational energy that drove this country onto the national stage.


ENG 248: Survey of American Literature II
Dr. Brooks Hefner
Online – M/W/F 10:30-11:20 AM
This course is designed as an historical survey of American Literature since the Civil War. In this course, you'll be introduced to many of the major writers, themes, and movements of the last 150 years of American literature. From the horrors of fraternal strife, through the emergence of technological and economic modernity, to the destabilization of the post-war social fabric, our topics of discussion will intersect with U.S. history and other forms of cultural production (films, popular literature, music, etc.).


ENG 260 (section 0001): Survey of African American Literature
Professor Mollie Godfrey
Online - Asynchronous
This course introduces students to major authors, literary forms, and movements in African American literature. We study the emergence and flourishing of African American literature over the past two centuries, noting common as well as diverging themes, techniques, and arguments over the coherence of African American literature as a genre. Throughout the semester we will explore antebellum, Reconstruction, Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights, Black Arts, and contemporary writers in their historical contexts as well as make connections between texts across historical periods.


English 299: Writing about Literature
Dr. Heidi Pennington
Keezell 308 - T/TH 9:40-10:55 AM
This course introduces students to the English major by developing their familiarity with literary genres, important theoretical concepts, and different approaches to literary analysis. With an emphasis on the processes of close reading, critical thinking, and revision, this course will hone students’ skills in analysis, scholarly writing, research, and public speaking. All students will be expected to contribute to in-class discussions. In a variety of ways, the literary texts we analyze in this class will explore the tensions among acts of creation, concepts of knowledge, and how words and representation structure the realities around us. Mode: This course will consist of twice-weekly online synchronous lecture-and-discussion sessions and online asynchronous readings and assignments; several in-person discussion sessions are possible this semester, but not definite. Any changes to this mode will be announced in a timely manner through Canvas to enrolled students.


ENG 299: Writing About Literature
Professor David Babcock
Online – M/W/F 10:30-11:20 AM
This course introduces English majors to current methods of reading and interpreting poetry, drama, and fiction. Students will be invited to join several ongoing conversations within literary studies, and tailor the ideas and concepts they find there to their own intellectual interests. Our emphasis will be on developing the skills necessary to form convincing, thoughtful readings, and then transform those readings into well-evidenced, argumentative essays.


ENG 299 (section 0003): Writing about Literature
Dr. Richard Gaughran
Online – T/TH 11:20 AM-12:35 PM
The course is an introduction to the critical study of literature. It aims to foster skills and concepts basic to literary analysis and interpretation. It seeks to enhance appreciation for literary texts. It attempts to answer such basic questions as “What is Literature?” Can we call some writing “good” and some inferior? On what basis? What preconceptions and evaluative principles are we bringing to the discussion of literature?
The course is writing-intensive, so there will be an emphasis on evaluating and discussing literature in writing. The course attempts to instill in students basic standards for writing about literature.



300 LEVEL COURSES



ENG 302: The Power of Resistance
Dr. Melanie Shoffner
Memorial Hall 2110 - T/TH 1:00-2:15 PM
In this course, we will read a variety of texts that present stories of resistance by ‘everyday’ people during times of war, civil unrest, and social change. Our readings will take us far – from 18th-century Constantinople, Nazi-occupied Hungary, and apartheid South Africa to 20th-century Dominican Republic, China’s Tiananmen Square, and assimilationist Australia – and return us home – to the streets of Milwaukee, the schools of Parkland, and the borders of Mexico. We will consider how authors articulate concepts of resistance and power, how characters engage us (or not) in their struggles, and why we dis/agree with certain forms of resistance over others. **This course’s exploration of stories that develop understandings of equity and justice is particularly suited for students in secondary education.**


ENG 307 (section 0001): Literature, Culture, and Ideas: Bob Dylan in His Times
Dr. Richard Gaughran
Online – T/TH 9:40-10:55 AM
Bob Dylan, the 2016 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, known mostly as a musical artist, has been in the public arena at least since 1962. This course examines his place in the broader culture and the ways in which his artistic output has interacted with that culture. Early regarded as “the voice of his generation,” Dylan has continually endeavored to shed such labels in pursuit of original expression, mostly in music, but also in painting, film, and prose.
The course will examine the major periods of Dylan’s career, beginning with the early engagement with important contemporary concerns: the Cold War, the threat of nuclear destruction, poverty, racism. The course will proceed chronologically, moving into Dylan’s mature period from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, his Christian period, and toward the late flowering at the turn of the century. We will examine lyrics, especially those allusive and elusive, but the course will also touch upon other artists in his circle, both influencers and the influenced.


ENG 310: Modern English Grammar
Dr. Sharon Cote
Online – T/TH 11:20 AM-12:35 PM
In this course, we will examine the structure of the English language from a modern, linguistic perspective. Students will discover what it means to be a native speaker of a language and will develop a conscious understanding of a wide range of particular unconscious grammatical concepts, principles, and rules that shape our everyday use of English. More generally, students should come away from this course with a better awareness of what grammar rules are, of where they come from, of how they can be determined, and of the extent to which they are or are not fixed and comprehensive.


ENG 311: Courting Disaster: Medieval Romance and Its Malcontents
Professor Amanda Gerber
Online – T/TH 2:40-3:55 PM
The Middle Ages invented romance, making love and magic conventional. However, many medieval romances still considered themselves extensions of ancient Roman histories and Near Eastern conflicts, particularly their catastrophes and military exploits. This class examines the resulting language of love from the perspectives of its Roman and Arabic influences, its medieval inventions, and some of its modern reincarnations in romantic comedies. With this framework, we will explore the vexed romantic tradition that modernity inherited from the Middle Ages, including its prescribed protocols and gender roles, its reliance on political and social bonds, and its tendency to break all of these rules to flirt with disaster. In the end, we will answer questions such as: Why do we continue to use medieval romance practices and standards? And what can we learn about our own notions of romance by unearthing their frequently cataclysmic historical sources?


ENG 318: Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories
Dr. Mark Rankin
Wilson Hall 1010 - T/TH 11:20 AM-12:35 PM
This course offers a rigorous overview of the comedies and histories of William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Shakespeare is central to western culture, and one cannot be educated without possessing some familiarity with his plays. However, Shakespeare’s centrality rests upon the playwright’s posthumous reputation as much, or more, than upon critical engagement with the plays themselves. People sometimes feel that Shakespeare “speaks to us” and offers “insight” into “humanity,” without asking what these assumptions might mean. How did Shakespeare understand humanity, and where did he find his ideas? What books did he read, and what influenced his thinking? Does Shakespeare “speak to us” because we want him to, more than any other author? How did Shakespeare engage with the most debated ideas of his time? How and why did later readers fashion the plays into something posthumous, a Shakespeare who “sits with us” and “tells us about ourselves”? What cultural assumptions and priorities does this Shakespeare serve today? Our consideration of these questions will include discussion of ambition, brutality, disguise, gender, greed, humor, identity, intrigue, language, love, magic & miracles, megalomania, monarchical & republican government, nationalism, propaganda, race, regicide, religion, revenge, rhetoric, sexuality, tyranny, and villainy, but we will be interested more in how theme functions in a given play than in exploring any theme for its own sake.
Shakespeare is a product of his time as much as a shaper of ours. This means that he responded to medieval and classical literature in his writing, and that understanding Shakespeare requires understanding the literary and intellectual traditions that he inherited and shaped. Chief among our concerns therefore will be reading Shakespeare's comedies and histories in terms of their corresponding cultural, literary, and political contexts. We will emphasize textual challenges associated with studying his writings as plays, and (as models for our own work) we’ll read and assess selected shared readings in Shakespeare scholarship.


ENG 322: Restoration & 18th-Century British Drama: Heroes, Rakes, & Fallen Women
Dr. Goode
Keezell 308 - T/TH 1:00-2:15 PM
Acknowledged by scholars from a variety of fields as a transformative period, the eighteenth century and its drama embodied notions of gender, class, and sexuality that shifted from fluid and circumstantial behaviors to codified identity categories. Our thematic task for the semester will be to excavate from our selected texts the intense gerrymandering of identity construction that occurred on the stage throughout the period. We also will examine how changes in the political, economic, and social landscape of Restoration and eighteenth-century England helped determine the evolution of various identity categories. Finally, we will explore the changing genre conventions on the period’s stage while reading various sub-genres of drama including the heroic tragedy, the comedy of manners, the tragic-comic romance, and the subversive comedy. Authors to be read include William Congreve, John Dryden, Aphra Behn, Nathaniel Lee, Delarivier Manley, Susanna Centlivre, Nicholas Rowe, and Hannah Cowley.
This course fulfills the pre-1900 overlay requirement for the English major.


ENG 325: Romantic Literature
Dr. Parker
Keezell 308 – M/W/F 10:30-11:20 AM
Close study of selected writers active between 1790 and 1832 in England, including some of the finest lyric poets in English tradition (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats), the inventor of the historical novel (Walter Scott), selected essayists (De Quincey, Hazlitt), and one of the greatest prose stylists of the novel (Austen).

 

English 330: The Nineteenth-Century Novel: Novel Readers
Dr. Heidi Pennington
Keezell 308 – T/TH 2:40-3:55 PM
You are an important figure in the nineteenth-century novel. Yes, dear reader, you! Through both content and formal characteristics, the nineteenth-century novel is markedly attentive to its audience as it explores how meaning operates in and beyond the text. The protagonists of these novels are often readers themselves: readers of texts, and readers of the world around them. Real-world audiences in the nineteenth century responded to their textual counterparts with a wide range of interpretive and emotional actions. Reading novels by Austen, Brontë, Eliot, and others, we will study how these works reflect the changing and distinctly novel experiences of life and literature in the nineteenth century. Examining some of the responses these novels have inspired over the years (in letters, periodicals, and other outlets) will further illuminate how these works of fiction continue to challenge contemporary readers to reconsider the relationship between text and world. Mode: This course will consist of twice-weekly online synchronous discussion sessions and online asynchronous readings and assignments; several in-person discussion sessions are possible this semester, but not definite. Any changes to this mode will be announced in a timely manner through Canvas to enrolled students.


ENG 335: African American Children’s Literature
Dr. Price
Online – T/TH 9:40-10:55 AM (online synchronous)
This course studies the conventions and history of African American children’s literature. We begin with the overarching question of what exactly is African American children’s literature: is it defined by its readership? by the race of its authors and illustrators? by its depictions and themes? We will consider the history of this literature and its expression in various genres including the picture book, poetry, historical fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy fiction, and the graphic novel. We will also discuss the position of African-American literature within the wider world of children’s books, book publishing, and popular culture.


ENG 340: “On or around December 1910, human character changed”: Modern British Literature and The Crash into Modernity
Dr. Siân White
Online – M/W/F 1:00-1:50 PM
Experimental visual art. World wars. Anti-colonial resistance. A worldwide flu epidemic. A revolution of the people. Economic depression. Crowded cities and technological innovation. Profoundly polarized social theories and political movements. Women wearing pants, smoking cigarettes, and riding bicycles.
What a time to be alive and writing! This course focuses on British and Irish literature from roughly the first half of the twentieth century, attending to how literature highlights relationships between modernity and modernism, history and form, artistic theory and practice. In the novels, poems, and short stories we will read, our focus will be on the politics of voice and view: whose voice, whose perspective is featured in each work, and what do those choices tell us about the wider political landscape?
Placing these questions in a broader context means accounting for intellectual perspectives offered by colonialism and imperialism, as well as innovations in scientific theory, psychoanalysis, and mechanical and technological advances; for historical events and trends that include industrialism and the metropolis, The Great War and its effect on the home front; for questions of place that consider London and Dublin, the countryside and the continent, nation and home; for shifting values surrounding social mores, class distinctions, gender roles, propriety, and morality; for the place of the individual in the collective, and for a sense of community in a modernity that privileges the autonomous individual. Authors will include Joseph Conrad, Ford Maddox Ford, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, Elizabeth Bowen and Jean Rhys.

 

ENG 360-0001 Ethnic American Literature: Immigrant Narratives
Dr. Allison Fagan
Online – M/W/F 11:45 AM-12:45 PM
Online: combination of synchronous and asynchronous work
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus’s poem, “The New Colossus,” was published in 1883, but in 2019 we find it – especially these last five lines – cropping up everywhere: from cable news to cartoons, from protest signs to quotations from public officials, and from newspaper ads to Instagram posts, its words resonate with some of the most pressing questions of the present: how do we decide the price of admission to a nation?
This semester, ENG 360 will take up the question of immigration by focusing on narratives of arrivals and departures written by 20th and 21st-century immigrants from around the world. We’ll focus on stories AND silences, tracing the various routes to the United States they have carved into history and paying attention to the vision of America these immigrants bring with them. We’ll study short works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as oral histories archived in Special Collections at JMU’s Carrier Library.
But we won’t just be studying stories; we’ll also be making them. This class will be dedicated not only to researching existing oral histories of local immigrants, but also to recording new oral histories of local immigrants in the Harrisonburg community. We’ll be blending these past and present oral histories into episodes of a class-produced podcast*, gaining research, interview, digital production, and narrative editing skills along the way. We will use our understanding of the value of immigrant narrative to help begin to amplify the narratives of the immigrant communities of Harrisonburg.
*Satisfies IDP Requirement*


ENG 363: Native American Literature
Dr. Henigman
Online – M/W 2:15-3:30 PM
From Hollywood westerns to children “playing Indian”, American Indians loom large in the American imagination. But the images pop culture gives us are little more than stereotypes: humorous or ineffective sidekicks; savages, whether violent or noble; and overall, a tragic and disappearing race, inarticulate, silent, absent from modern American life. However, Native American people have not vanished and have never been silent. Throughout the centuries in which they’ve been in contact with American newcomers, they have been writing to respond to these distorting images and assert their own sovereignty.
This semester we will study these writings by indigenous American people from various tribal groups. We will examine the variety of literacies available to them; the ways in which they have engaged with settler culture and literary forms; and the various genres (as-told-to stories and other autobiographical forms, novels, treaties and treaty speeches, and other experimental forms) that they have employed to represent personal and national identity and experience. Along the way, we will need to learn about the political history and cultural practices of America’s First Peoples, about how they have responded to changing US government policies and actions, and the varying strategies, at once realistic and principled (revitalization movements, the creation of an “Indian public sphere”, and others) they employ to ensure their survivance as Indian nations.
This course satisfies the English Department’s Identity, Diversity, Power requirement


ENG/WGSS 368: Women and the Kunstlerroman
Dr. Thompson
Online – T/TH 1:00-2:15 PM
This course explores women’s literature through a focus on the Kunstlerroman or artist’s novel. By comparing these texts to the traditional Bildungsroman and drawing on relevant feminist literary criticism, we will explore the trope of the woman artist, including the issues of education, mentors, muses/inspiration, creative suppression, critical reception, and healing. We will also examine the politics of canon formation and consider the intersection of gender with other salient markers of identity such as race/ethnicity, social class, and sexuality. Texts will be chosen from the following: Phelps, The Story of Avis; Browning, Aurora Leigh; Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills; Jones, Corregidora; May Sarton, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing; Castillo, Peel My Love Like An Onion; Tretheway, Bellocq’s Ophelia; Bechdel, Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama; Ng, Little Fires Everywhere; Messud, The Woman Upstairs; and Forney, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir.


ENG 390: The Environmental Imagination (creative writing)
Prof. Greg Wrenn
Online – M/W 2:15-3:30 PM
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand, there is
the story of the earth.”
--Rachel Carson, “Our Everchanging Shore”
Taught by an environmental writer, this creative writing course is for the nature lovers and anyone concerned about our collective future as a species. We will read exceptional examples of nature writing to inspire our own original essays on such topics as salamanders and ash trees, coral reefs and grasslands, climate change and environmental activism, trauma and healing, and place and the imagination. We will be paying special attention to narrative, dialogue, imagery, setting, characters, point of view/persona, research, syntax, and figurative language.
While I’m here to mentor and guide you, the course requires you to be unusually self-motivated in terms of library research, interviews, and/or independent field work in the mountains, meadows, creeks, and lakes of George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park. Your hard work will culminate in a final essay about a local creature, ecosystem, or environmental conflict, and how it intersects with your life in Virginia.


ENG 391 (0001): Introduction to Creative Writing – Nonfiction
Professor Erica Cavanagh
Health and Behavioral Studies Building 2099 - M/W 9:40-10:55 AM
In this introductory workshop, you will read a wide array of creative nonfiction, an expansive genre that includes memoir, personal essays, flash nonfiction, lyric essays, literary journalism, video essays, and even podcasts that draw from the techniques of personal essays and literary journalism. The purpose is to expose you to as many styles as possible within a semester so that you can learn what’s possible in creative nonfiction and, just as importantly, so you may find a style that works best with your sensibility and the content of each piece you set out to write.
Nonfiction is rooted in actual experiences as opposed to fabricated ones, so the writing you do in this class will draw from your personal experiences and observations about the world. You’ll also learn the techniques writers use so you can transform your life’s raw material into stories. These techniques include choosing specific, vivid details that help build characters, setting, and scenes. Over the course of the semester, you’ll be assembling a toolbox of narrative forms, literary devices, sentence rhythms, and more to help you become a writer with the tools to write well beyond this semester.
One last note: this class is currently scheduled to meet in person, but if COVID-19 cases remain high and an effective vaccine has yet to become available, we will shift to meeting on Zoom synchronously.


ENG 391 (Section 0002): Introduction to Creative Nonfiction
Professor Marco Wilkinson
Online - T/TH 1:00-2:15 PM
In this introductory course, students will be exposed to the varied world of creative nonfiction, a genre that includes journalism, memoir, essay, and more. As writers of nonfiction we commit to writing that is “not made up” (literally, non-fiction) but that is also “creative.” Creative nonfiction lives, at times uneasily, somewhere in that space between fact and art, always trying to communicate some kind of truth.
We will read from a wide variety of contemporary nonfiction while also looking to its classical roots for context. Weekly writing prompts will track these readings, giving students opportunities to try out various forms of creative nonfiction while interrogating the tension between fact v. truth. Narrative techniques, formal structures, and literary devices will be practiced as methods for developing an authentic and compelling authorial voice.


ENG 392: Introduction to Poetry Writing
Professor Laurie Kutchins
Online – T/TH 1:00-2:15 PM
This creative writing course will introduce you to the art and craft of writing poetry. Our focus is your own creative process, supported and directed by close readings of accomplished published poems. An intensive 4-week, online course, you will write 4 to 5 poems a week, many of which will be assigned in response to our required readings. You will practice using the poetic tools by which poets construct effective, meaningful, and memorable poems. Through online workshops, you’ll learn to provide constructive interpretation and critique of poems written by your peers in this class. And as writers in an online workshop community, you will be guided to write original poems reflecting a wide range of stylistic and thematic choices


ENG 393: Introduction to Creative Writing – Fiction
Samar Fitzgerald
Online – M/W 3:55-5:10 PM
This course is an introduction to writing short fiction. We will approach storytelling not as critics, but as artists and apprentices. When we read as apprentices, our concerns are less theoretical and more practical: What sort of “rules” does the author establish in her opening paragraph? What technical challenges does the author encounter writing in first person? How does the author sustain tension from one scene to the next? When we read as artists, we attempt to understand what makes a story thrilling and unforgettable. Students will sample a wide variety of contemporary short fiction and practice craft with short written exercises. Students will also write their own stories for workshop. Our goal for the semester will be narratives that are skilled, honest, and guided by artistic vision.


ENG 393 (Section 0002)
Dr. Martin
Online – M/W/F 10:30-11:20 AM
In the first part of this class we will study stories by an array of writers—Roxane Gay, Jhumpa Lahiri, Celeste Ng, Joyce Carol Oates, and George Saunders—with an eye to making you better, more sophisticated readers. I will introduce aspects relevant to literary fiction—such as point of view, dialogue mechanics, and dramatic reversal—to enhance your grasp of how it works. I will give you writing exercises to help generate material for your fiction. In the second part of this class, we will discuss Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In the last part, we will workshop your fiction through written discussion threads in Canvas and real-time conversations in Webex.


ENG 393 (Section 0003)
Dr. Martin
Online – M/W/F 1:00-1:50 PM
In the first part of this class we will study stories by an array of writers—Roxane Gay, Jhumpa Lahiri, Celeste Ng, Joyce Carol Oates, and George Saunders—with an eye to making you better, more sophisticated readers. I will introduce aspects relevant to literary fiction—such as point of view, dialogue mechanics, and dramatic reversal—to enhance your grasp of how it works. I will give you writing exercises to help generate material for your fiction. In the second part of this class, we will discuss Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In the last part, we will workshop your fiction through written discussion threads in Canvas and real-time conversations in Webex.


ENG 393 (Section 0004)
Dr. Martin
Online – M/W/F 2:15-3:05 PM
In the first part of this class we will study stories by an array of writers—Roxane Gay, Jhumpa Lahiri, Celeste Ng, Joyce Carol Oates, and George Saunders—with an eye to making you better, more sophisticated readers. I will introduce aspects relevant to literary fiction—such as point of view, dialogue mechanics, and dramatic reversal—to enhance your grasp of how it works. I will give you writing exercises to help generate material for your fiction. In the second part of this class, we will discuss Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In the last part, we will workshop your fiction through written discussion threads in Canvas and real-time conversations in Webex.


ENG 393 (Section 0005)

Dr. Martin
Online – M/W/F 9:15-10:05 AM
In the first part of this class we will study stories by an array of writers—Roxane Gay, Jhumpa Lahiri, Celeste Ng, Joyce Carol Oates, and George Saunders—with an eye to making you better, more sophisticated readers. I will introduce aspects relevant to literary fiction—such as point of view, dialogue mechanics, and dramatic reversal—to enhance your grasp of how it works. I will give you writing exercises to help generate material for your fiction. In the second part of this class, we will discuss Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In the last part, we will workshop your fiction through written discussion threads in Canvas and real-time conversations in Webex.



400 LEVEL COURSES


ENG 405: Advanced Studies in Anglophone Literature. Epidemics in Global Anglophone Fiction
Prof. David Babcock
Online – Monday – 3:55-6:25 PM
This course considers the ways that obsessions with disease and contagion get coded within contemporary geo-cultural contexts. Its premise is that mass epidemics can act as historical catalysts that lead communities to envision themselves—both their problems and potentialities—in new ways. Often we hear about how the boundaries of communities are policed by stoking people’s fears of disease and death, suggesting perhaps that contagion fiction is only capable of producing reactive, xenophobic feelings. In fact, contemporary fiction presents a much more multifaceted picture, one that includes possibilities for both community-building and communal self-critique. Likely authors include John Edgar Wideman, Amitav Ghosh, Mary Karooro Okurut, Jamaica Kincaid, John Le Carré, and Kazuo Ishiguro.
This course satisfies the Identity, Diversity, Power overlay by course directive, and counts toward the Medical Humanities minor.



ENG 408 (section 0001): Advanced Studies in African-American Literature
Professor Mollie Godfrey
Monday 3:55-6:25 PM
Modality: Synchronous Online
This course on the Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Contemporary African American Literature offers an advanced study of key theories and genres of contemporary African American literature, including neo-slave narratives, post-soul satires, and Afrofuturism. Authors include Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Percival Everett, Mat Johnson, Octavia Butler, and Nnedi Okorafor.


ENG 410 (section 0001): Major Author: Flannery O’Connor
Dr. Richard Gaughran
Online – T/TH 2:40-3:55 PM
The course permits students to study in depth the work of a major American writer, Flannery O’Connor. We will read and discuss both of her short novels, and most, if not all, of her short fiction, several of her essays, and pertinent letters. Students should emerge with a feeling for O’Connor’s style and an understanding of such concepts as grotesqueness in fiction; the sense of place as it impinges on individual life; tensions between tradition and “the modern”; race; the function of humor; storytelling and language; etc. Students will also become acquainted with the volume of critical material on this essential writer.


ENG 433: Advanced Studies in Arabic Literature - North African Novels
Dr. Sofia Samatar
Online – Tuesday – 6:00-8:30 PM
This course examines the representation of space in North African novels. We will study novels set in a variety of spaces, such as villages, cities, and the open desert. We will consider the role of storytelling in spatial experience, and how a particular type of storytelling—the novel—helps shape our idea of the world. The class is taught in English; no knowledge of Arabic is necessary. The course fulfills requirements for: Advanced Studies for English Majors; Identity, Diversity, Power; AAAD Minor; MECM Minor.


ENG 484: Poetic Craft and Creativity
Professor Laurie Kutchins
Online – Tuesday 4:20-6:50 PM
From sonnets to slam, haiku to hybrid forms, this course will focus on the practice of poetic forms. We'll explore form as the shape, or blueprint for a poem's structure and unique energy. Students will study and apprentice to a diverse variety of poetic forms, from different cultures, traditions and aesthetics. You will also focus on a particular form of your choice. This course will be a workshop format, with students bringing their original poems to class each week. English 392 is the pre-requisite.


ENG 494: Advanced Poetry Writing
Professor Lauren Alleyne
Online – T/TH 9:40-10:55 AM
In Advanced Poetry, students will read contemporary collections of poetry and essays on poetics with the goal of deepening their understanding of the art and craft of poetry. Students will also engage poetry as practitioners through journaling, writing exercises, workshops, revision and completion of a poetry portfolio, with the goal of building their foundational knowledge of the three pillars of poetry writing-- practice, process, and product.


ENG 495: Advanced Fiction Writing
Samar Fitzgerald
Online – Wednesday 7:15-9:45 PM
In this advanced workshop we will be nurturing and refining our passion for reading, writing, and revising short stories. Craft elements covered in ENG393—such as imagery, point of view, characterization, tension, and atmosphere—will still be fundamental to our class discussions. But without passion, the development of craft inevitably stalls. Passion in this case means a persistent drive to understand why and how certain stories move us more than others. Each student will apprentice a major contemporary fiction writer of their choice and share their journey with the class. The apprenticeship will include a close examination of a collection of short stories, as well as writing original stories for workshop. Students will be encouraged to make explicit links between how a story made them feel and why it made them felt that way. We might not always agree on the merits of a story, but together we will move closer to understanding hidden narrative forces.


ENG 496: Advanced Topics in Creative Writing – Topic: Unearthing Fiction: Archive as Inspiration
Professor Nichole LeFebvre
Online - T/TH
“If libraries hold all the stories ever told,
there are ghost libraries of all the stories that have not.”
– Rebecca Solnit
This advanced fiction workshop will involve research time in special collections libraries, including the digital archives at JMU, UVA, Yale, Berkeley, and the Library of Congress. Throughout the semester, students will find digitized artifacts related to their own interests and re-imagine them into short fiction. An oral history recording might inspire your narration style. An architectural drawing could become a vivid setting. A love letter, a plot twist.
Writers we’ll study include Louise Erdrich, Carmen Maria Machado, and Colson Whitehead, both for their craft and for the ways they incorporate primary and secondary research, as described in interviews. Students will workshop and revise three stories: one set in the distant past (i.e. Erdrich’s “The Flower,” 1839); one in the contemporary age, (i.e. TC Boyle’s “Chicxulub,” which weaves a real-life meteor crash into its fictional narrative); and one that incorporates both past and present, moving in time as in Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys.
Along the way, we’ll return to our central questions: How can an awareness of history deepen contemporary short fiction? Whose stories are told, and therefore, remembered?
Prerequisite: ENG393/Introduction to Fiction


ENG 496 (0002): Trauma, Healing, and Resilience: A Multi-Genre Workshop
Professor Erica Cavanagh
Keezell 308 - M/W 2:15-3:30 PM
In this creative writing workshop we will read nonfiction, poetry, and a hybrid of these two genres called the lyric essay on the themes of trauma, healing, and resilience. Of books, our readings will include Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Jeannette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, and Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead. We will also read shorter works on subjects at center stage in our times, namely the effects of race-based discrimination and also the effects of quarantine amid COVID-19. Excerpts from books and podcasts on the brain science of trauma, race- and gender-based trauma, and also tools for healing and resilience will supplement the literary works we read and offer us a language for talking about the effects of difficult experiences and how we might address them. Over the course of the semester, you will have three writing assignments for which you may choose to write in the genre of nonfiction, poetry, or the lyric essay. For these writing assignments, you will not be required to write about trauma per se, but given the themes of the course, we will all likely write about challenging, alienating, or otherwise disorienting experiences and how we have tried, so far, to understand and address those experiences in our lives.
One last note: this class is currently scheduled to meet in person, but if COVID-19 cases remain high and an effective vaccine has yet to become available, we will shift to meeting on Zoom synchronously.


ENG 496: Ecopoetics: A Multi-Genre Writing Workshop
Professor Marco Wilkinson
Wednesday 5:35-8:05 PM
What might the difference be between “ecological writing” and “writing ecologically?” Who and what have been welcome in the tradition of nature writing, and who and what have been excluded? In a time of environmental collapse, what does it mean to write about nature? Ecopoetics has been variously constructed as nature writing 2.0 or as a repudiation of nature writing, as the coming of age of environmental writing or as a call to move beyond terms like “nature” or “environment” altogether. This emerging field of literary production and theory will be explored through a wide variety of readings in all genres. Students will be encouraged to experiment with their writing, to try out writing in genres unfamiliar to them and to try out new ways of communicating humans’ relationship to the non-human world.
Image for Ecopoetics course. Artist: Balint Szako



Minor Courses


AFST 200: Introduction to African, African American, and Diaspora Studies
Dr. Besi Muhonja
The course offers an introduction to theoretical concepts of AAAD Studies. It centers peoples, histories, knowledges, cultures, and institutions of Africa and the African Diaspora in interdisciplinary explorations of the making of the modern world. May be used for general education credit. Required for AAAD minor.


AMST 200: Introduction to American Studies
Dr. Henigman
How and why do we study America? One of the attractions of the field of American Studies has been that its multidisciplinary approach seems to promise a coherent and unitary way of “explaining” American culture. But is such coherence possible or desirable? How have traditionally resonant myths affected how we view American history and society and America’s place in the world, and what alternative paradigms are possible and useful? We will examine three ideas that have tended to be part of the American self-concept: American exceptionalism, the melting pot, and economic self-determination (including upward mobility). What are the origins of these ideas, and how have they worked in culture? What are the costs of their currency in American ideology? Throughout the semester, we will be mindful as well of international perspectives on these American myths and realities.
This course fulfills Cluster Two Group One as well as a requirement for the American Studies minor.

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