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Spring 2022 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Spring 2022 Course Descriptions PDF

This information was posted on Thursday, October 21, 2021, and will be updated with additional information before JMU class registration begins on Monday, November 8, 2021. 



SPRING 2022 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

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


200 LEVEL COURSES

ENG 221-0001: Literature/Culture/Ideas
Dr. Katey Castellano (castelkm@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 10:20-11:10 AM
Burruss 036
This course will explore inspiring and strange stories about human relationships with land, plants, and animals. Students can expect to emerge from the class with a working knowledge of concepts from the environmental humanities and a better understanding of how to relate a literary work to its historical, political, and cultural contexts. **This class is open to Centennial Scholars only.**Note: This class is open to Centennial Scholars only. For that reason, it should probably not be included on the advertising lists. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

ENG 221: The Literature of Trauma, Healing, and Resilience
Professor Erica Cavanagh (cavanaek@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 12:45-2:00 PM
Health & Behavioral Science G010
In this course, we will read fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and hybrids of these genres on the themes of trauma, healing, and resilience. The literature we read will cover an array of traumatic experiences, from a one-time incident, such as an attack or significant loss, to a chronically toxic environment, such as an abusive parent or society whose power structures support discrimination. How does an author express a traumatic experience on the page? Does the form itself, in the way a story is told or in the structure of the sentences, reflect the traumatic experience? What does an author say explicitly and what does the author leave out, and to what effect? These are some of the questions we’ll discuss. Excerpts from two books on trauma, Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score, which focuses on the brain science of trauma, and Resmaa Menakem’s My Grandmother’s Hands, which focuses on race-based trauma, will supplement the literary works we read and offer us a lens for interpreting that literature as well as a language for talking about the effects of difficult experiences and how we might address them. Toward that end, we will also read and discuss tools for healing and resilience.

ENG 221-0002
Dr. Katey Castellano (castelkm@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 1:50-2:40 PM
EnGeo 2301
This course will explore inspiring and strange stories about human relationships with land, plants, and animals. Students can expect to emerge from the class with a working knowledge of concepts from the environmental humanities and a better understanding of how to relate a literary work to its historical, political, and cultural contexts. This class fulfills the General Education Cluster II literature requirement. It also counts towards the Environmental Humanities/Studies minors and the English major/minor.

ENG 222: Ideology and Global Cinemas
Dr. Dennis Lo (lodh@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 11:30 AM-12:20 PM
HBS G040
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.

ENG 222-0010: The American Short Story
Dr. Dawn Goode (goodedm@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 11:00 AM-12:25 PM
Health & Behavioral St G010
This course will chronologically trace the American short story as it developed from the nineteenth century to the present. We will approach this distinctly American form of prose fiction from various angles, exploring formal elements, literary movements, individual authorial styles, socio-historical periods, and thematic comparisons across texts. We will read stories from early 19th-century authors such as Irving, Hawthorne, Poe, and Chopin and 20th-century authors like Faulkner, Hemingway, O’Connor, and Carver. We will also read more contemporary writers like Oates, Proulx, Gaitskill, Alexie and Machado. Many other major American authors will also be studied, including Twain, Chopin, Cather, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Baldwin, and Carver. In studying these authors, we will work our way through various literary movements including romanticism, realism, modernism, and postmodernism. In addition to charting the development of the short story genre, we will practice close reading skills 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 help illuminate how good stories are works of deliberate craftsmanship. Finally, our reading of these texts will be focalized through the lens of feminist/gender studies. Like the form of the short story itself, our concepts about gender have evolved and continue to do so. We will explore how our texts represent gender and its intersection with other social constructs of identity (race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability, nationality, etc.). Our goal is to critically think about how these interlocking systems have shaped and influenced the historical, cultural, social, political context of both our texts and our understanding of the world around us. This course fulfills the General Education Cluster II-Literature requirement; a 200-level course requirement for the English major; and may count as an elective for the WGSS minor (course substitution needs to be approved by Dr. Mary Thompson, director of the WGSS program).

ENG 221H: Wild Things: Children’s Literature, Animals, and Ecology
Dr. Danielle Price (price2dx@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:20-3:35 PM
Location TBA
The Lorax, Charlotte the Spider, Fantastic Mr. Fox: children’s literature is full of talking beasts and animals. Often these animal characters reflect social concerns. This course explores and analyzes the use of animals in children’s literature, moving toward contemporary texts with an environmental purpose. We will consider such questions as: How do these animals reflect our ideas about children and the world we live in? What is the function of these animals in their particular texts? What does it mean to speak with as opposed to speaking for something? Course materials will include fables and folktales, picture books, novels, and film.

ENG 222: Liking Poetry
Dr. Annette Federico (federiar@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 12:40-1:30 PM
Keezell G9
In this class, we will read and discuss a diverse array of lyric poetry in English. Developing sensitivity to the richness of the English language and learning to enjoy poetry are important objectives. We’ll also want to try to understand the unique vision of each poet within specific contexts, and examine how different poems fit into the broad and undulating landscape of poetry. Other goals: to learn how to do a close reading of a poem, to practice public speaking and collaborative learning, to expand your knowledge of particular poets and poems, to comprehend the emotional world of a poem and our own emotional worlds, and to help you gain respect and appreciation for the work poets do and what they give to the world.

ENG 222: Intro to Poetry
Dr. Mark Parker (parke3ml@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 10:20-11:10 AM
ISAT/CS Building 0159
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 should also develop specific skills. By the end of the semester, you should be familiar with many poems, 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.
Two lectures; Friday discussion section.

ENG 236: British Literature
Dr. Heidi Pennington (penninhl@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 9:35-10:50 AM
Harrison 1261
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 is structured as a hybrid, flipped-classroom course that combines independent reading and online exercises with mandatory in-person sessions. Enrolled students will complete assigned readings and assessments twice weekly online (asynchronous). Enrolled students are also required to attend the once-weekly in-person discussion sessions, which will take place during one of our regularly scheduled class days/times. During the mandatory in-person discussion sessions, we will interpret, analyze, and make connections among the ideas, information, and readings assigned for that week. Our class will meet *in-person* on Day 1 of the semester. To be clear: All in-person discussion classes and completion of readings and online assessments are mandatory elements of this hybrid course. Any changes to this mode will be announced in a timely manner through Canvas to enrolled students.
This course will be taught as a hybrid, flipped-classroom course. All elements -- including assigned readings, twice-weekly online teaching quizzes, exams and essays, and all weekly in-person discussion sessions -- are mandatory elements of this course for all enrolled students.

ENG 239-0002: Introduction to World Literature – Fairy Tales

Dr. Sofia Samatar (samatasx@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 3:55-5:10 PM
Miller 1101
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, and examine contemporary retellings. They will increase their understanding of the promises and challenges of world literature and revel in one of the most delightful and rewarding forms of storytelling.

ENG 247: American Literature to 1865
Professor Matthew Rebhorn (rebhorme@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 10:20-11:20 AM
Keezell G9
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 (hefnerbe@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 10:20-11:10 AM
Miller 1101
ENG 248 Survey of American Literature II 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 260-0001: Survey of African American Literature
Dr. Allison Fagan (faganae@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 12:40-1:30 PM
HBS G010
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. Students can expect to complete in-class reading and comprehension quizzes, group discussion board writing assignments, and midterm and final assessments.

ENG 299: Writing About Literature

Richard Gaughran (gaughrre@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 11:10 AM-12:25 PM
Keezell 107
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.

ENG 299: Writing About Literature
Dr. Heidi Pennington (penninhl@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 12:45-2:00 PM
Keezell 310
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, revision, and metacognition, 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 diverse 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. The skills and awareness that we cultivate in this class will be portable: they will serve students well in both their future literary studies and in a wide range of potential professional endeavors.

ENG 299-0003: Writing About Literature
Dr. Sofia Samatar (samatasx@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 12:45-2:00 PM
Keezell 107
How do you write about literature—and why? In English 299, we’ll study book blogs, professional book reviews, and academic literary criticism, honing the skills you need to enter the large and fascinating world of book culture. You’ll get to build a research paper from the ground up, focusing on your own interests, and incorporating literary theory to enrich and strengthen your ideas. This course will increase your understanding of how literature works, and why—in academic journals, major newspapers, and personal blogs—people write about it with such passion

 

300 LEVEL COURSES


ENG 302: Literature and the Law
Dr. David Babcock (babcocdj@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 12:40-1:30 PM
Keezell 310
Our culture is obsessed with the power of law, as well as its limitations. Whether we abide the law or break it, the law remains a pillar of how we understand the rightness or wrongness of our actions. At the same time, we are often painfully aware when the law does not align with our senses of truth and justice. This class explores how the literature of the past century has responded to fissures and paradoxes within the law, both in times of legal crisis and when the law appears to be working normally. How do individuals and communities decide which laws are legitimate? What kinds of violence are permissible in the name of the law? Can the law itself become the tool of the powerful against the powerless? In posing these questions to cultural texts, we will gain familiarity with the vibrant subfield of literary studies known as “Law and Literature,” and refine our sense of literature’s relevance for social and political questions. 

ENG 310: Modern English Grammar

Dr. Sharon Cote (cotesa@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 11:10 AM-12:25 PM
Location TBA
In this course, we will examine the structure of the English language from a modern, linguistic perspective. Students should gain an awareness of what it means to be a native speaker of a language and develop a conscious understanding of unconscious grammatical principles and rules that govern the everyday use of English. They should also acquire the necessary terminology to discuss details of English grammar and learn to apply this knowledge and terminology both to the analysis of a rich variety of sample sentences in English and to the production of their own basic examples. 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 318: Shakespeare's Comedies and Histories
Dr. Mark Rankin (rankinmc@jmu.edu)
Monday & Wednesday, 1:50 PM - 3:05 PM
Miller Hall G002
"Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs. Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings: How some have been deposed, some slain in war, some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed, some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed--all murdered." William Shakespeare, Richard II
This course offers an overview of the comedies and histories of William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Selected plays will offer a representative sampling of Shakespeare work in these genres but are by no means exhaustive. We will divide the course into two units, one focusing on the histories, and one on the comedies. In order to understand Shakespeare’s cultural, literary, and political contexts, we will read selected primary sources from Shakespeare’s time in order better to understand the plays. Students are encouraged to use these sources in their written assignments as a lens for reading the dramas.   


ENG 330: The Nineteenth-Century Novel ~ Novel Readers
Dr. Heidi Pennington (penninhl@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 11:10 AM-12:25 PM
Keezell G9
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 entangled relationships that exist between text and world.

ENG 340: Modern British Literature and The Crash into Modernity
Dr. Siân White (white2se@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 10:20-11:20 AM
Keezell 308
“On or around December 1910, human character changed”: Modern British Literature and The Crash into Modernity 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 348: Studies in Linguistics and the English Language
Dr. Sharon Cote (cotesa@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 3:55-5:10 PM
Keezell 308
Semantics and pragmatics are, respectively, the study of meaning in language and the study of linguistic meaning in discourse and situational contexts. But, what is the meaning of "meaning?" In this course, we'll begin by exploring how contemporary semanticists and others are attempting to explain not only what is "said" but also what is intended and what is conveyed by all of us with language. We'll then use this knowledge as background for a critical examination of different perspectives on how non-literal language, and particularly metaphor, fit into theories of meaning in language and meaning in human cognition. Through this examination of issues in the study of meaning in literal and non-literal language, students should gain an appreciation of the difference between casual and careful discussions of meaning, should acquire both a solid vocabulary describing word-level meaning and some basic vocabulary for the study of phrasal meaning, should be able to identify certain semantic/pragmatic components of the meanings of specific literal and nonliteral examples, should be able to describe two different contemporary theories about metaphor and to apply them to new examples, and should become aware of how these theoretical approaches to metaphor reflect attempts to handle complex linguistic and cognitive issues.

ENG 355: Southern Literature
Richard Gaughran (gaughrre@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:20-3:35 PM
Keezell 308
The course exposes students to the study of major writers of the American South, all from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will read and discuss various works, including fiction and drama, more or less in chronological order. The distinctive nature of Southern culture, especially the literature, will, of course, be a major theme. We will also discuss and study the region’s special relationship to history and the past, as well as the various writers’ styles and individual themes.

ENG 360-0001: Ethnic American Literature – Immigrant Narratives

Dr. Allison Fagan (faganae@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 10:20-11:10 AM
Keezell G003

“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 371: Literature and the Environment
Dr. Danielle Price (price2dx@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 9:35-10:50 AM
Keezell 310
This course explores and analyzes the use of animals in literature, moving toward contemporary texts with an environmental purpose. It also provides an introduction to animal studies. Course materials will include folktales, picture books, children’s fiction, novels, and film. We will consider such questions as: How do these animals reflect our ideas about the world we live in? What is the function of these animals in their particular texts? What does it mean to speak with as opposed to speaking for something? This course is not open to students who have taken ENG 221/ENG 221H with Dr. Price in the fall of 2021, or who will be taking it in the spring of 2022.

ENG 379: Literature and Empire: The Jewel in the Crown
Dr. Debali Mookerjea-Leonard
Monday & Wednesday, 1:50-3:05 PM
Keezell G9
How did literature written in the colonial era represent the colonized, how did this impact those who were depicted, how did people deploy literature as a way of resisting colonial representations and exploring new ways of describing a postcolonial national identity? This course examines the colonial, nationalist and postcolonial shaping of individual and collective identities through literature; the intersections of race, gender, and nation; the crafting of a new idiom in English in response to both political and literary histories; the significance of choices of genre and form. This course will combine our study of British colonial writings on empire with contemporary responses. Together with works of fiction, which focus on a localized experience of colonialism in South Asia, we will read a set of critical essays which will offer a global perspective on colonial and postcolonial writings.
This course fulfills the “Identity, Diversity, Power” requirement for the English major, it also counts towards the requirements for the World Literature minor.

ENG 381: History of Film to 1960
Richard Gaughran (gaughrre@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 3:55-5:10 PM & Thursday screening at 6:30 PM
Keezell G8
The course aims to look deeply into the history of film from the beginnings of the art form in the early twentieth century through the 1950s. We will examine various developments in the evolution of film, more or less chronologically, beginning with the silent era in America and Europe, through the beginnings of sound, closely studying representative films from various movements and genres. Students will become acquainted with not only thematic concerns within the films of represented directors, but also developments in camera use, mise-en-scène, editing, acting, etc.

ENG 383: Melodrama and Chinese Cinemas
Dr. Dennis Lo (lodh@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 1:50-2:40 PM
Keezell G8
This course examines the history and aesthetics of contemporary Chinese-language cinemas (post-1980s Taiwan, P.R.C., Hong Kong), with a focus on how film melodramas both impact and reflect the region’s sociocultural and political developments. Rather than attempting a sweeping survey of Chinese film history, this course critically investigates a rich variety of comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives. Students will learn to apply various methods of qualitative analysis that draw from fields such as film studies, genre studies, cultural studies, cultural geography, gender studies, and globalization studies.

The course begins by tracing the development of the film industries in Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong, while introducing students to basic techniques in critical, genre, narrative, and stylistic analysis of national cinemas. We will view representative films in a variety of genres infused with melodramatic form – martial arts, historical epics, thrillers, propaganda, and art films – that best capture the cultural and political dynamics of defining historical periods.

This will be followed by an in-depth study of how film melodramas imagine China’s rapidly changing cultural geographies. To explore how social changes are represented in rural, urban, and transnational settings, we will embark on a series of close readings of twelve select films by representative directors of key Chinese-language film movements, including Hou Hsiao Hsien, Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou, Lou Ye, Wong Kar Wai, Tsai Ming Liang, Ann Hui, Edward Yang, and Jia Zhangke. We will focus on the directors’ visual styles, narrative forms, and theories of filmmaking as critical historiography, social activism, and cultural interrogation. Along the way, we will more broadly investigate how Chinese film melodramas act as a social and political force in response to issues of historical consciousness, gender and family values, modernization and urbanization, ethnic identity, education, and social displacement.

In the final two weeks, students will each individually present original research projects that expand on a major theme previously explored in class, such as a comparison of representations of Chinese-ness between co-produced films with transnational financing and state-sponsored national cinemas. The class will culminate with a final research paper based on the presentation that complicates existing paradigms of the national and transnational.
Fulfills: Film Studies Minor, World Literatures Minor and Concentration, Asian Studies Minor, IDP Overlay

ENG 385: Special Topics in Film Study
Dr. Mollie Godfrey (godfrema@jmu.edu)
Monday & Wednesday, 9:35-10:50 AM
Keezell Hall G008
Since its inception at the turn of the 20th century, the American film industry has fostered ideals and images of American identity, often via its fortification or interrogation of America’s Black/white color line. Indeed, from the rise of film through the Civil Rights movement, Black Power, and the rise of independent Black cinema, representations of Blackness and whiteness have proven crucial both to the content of American films and also to the perspectives from which they are made and viewed. This course will investigate the conceptualization of race and both the perpetuation of and resistance to racism in popular American culture by examining representations of Black and white Americans in Hollywood films—as well as the public reception of those films—from the birth of film to the present day. Satisfies the "Identity, Diversity, Power" requirement.

ENG 391: Introduction to Creative Writing – Nonfiction
Professor Erica Cavanagh (cavanaek@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 11:10 AM-12:25 PM
Burruss 36
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.

ENG 392: Introduction to Creative Writing - Poetry
Professor Greg Wrenn (wrenngj@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 12:45-2:00 PM
Burruss Hall 0036
The heart of this course is your original writing, which you'll share in supportive workshops to encourage creativity rather than nitpick. And you’ll be reading some of the most stunning poetry we have, by greats such as John Keats, Sylvia Plath, Robert Hayden, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and William Shakespeare. By the end of the class, you’ll read poetry more deeply and write more poignant, beautiful poems. You’ll have generated a great deal of new poetic material, having developed a sense of the limitless possibilities that the creative life offers.


ENG 393-0001: Introduction to Fiction Writing
Thomas Martin, Instructor (martintm@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 10:20 – 11:10 AM
Keezell Hall 307
In the first part of this course we will study stories by an array of writers 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—and give you writing exercises to help you generate material for your fiction. In the second part of this course, we will discuss Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. To encourage close scrutiny of this book, I will give you five unannounced short-answer quizzes. In the last part of this course, we will workshop your fiction and find ways to build on your strengths.


ENG 393-0002: Introduction to Fiction Writing
Thomas Martin, Instructor (martintm@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
Keezell Hall 308
In the first part of this course we will study stories by an array of  writers 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—and give you writing exercises to help you generate material for your fiction. In the second part of this course, we will discuss Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. To encourage close scrutiny of this book, I will give you five unannounced short-answer quizzes. In the last part of this course, we will workshop your fiction and find ways to build on your strengths.

 

400 LEVEL COURSES

ENG 402: Advanced Studies in British Literature, Pre-1700. Milton
Dr. Mark Rankin (rankinmc@jmu.edu)
Monday & Wednesday, 9:35-10:50 AM
Keezell 310
This course is an in-depth study of the greatest epic in English: John Milton’s Paradise Lost (first edition, 1667; second edition, 1674). Already in 1712 Joseph Addison, one of Milton’s most acute early critics, asserted: “The Paradise Lost is looked upon, by the best Judges, as the greatest Production, or at least the noblest Work of Genius, in our Language.” Does a detailed assessment of Milton’s poem confirm Addison’s judgment? Our course will consider the aesthetic achievement of Paradise Lost in order to understand how this daringly original poem became such a great English classic.

We will examine Milton’s vocation as a self-conscious Protestant poet and engaged polemicist writing in seventeenth-century England and Europe in order to appreciate how Milton (1608-74) came to write his ambitious epic poem about the fall of humankind.  The course will include a meticulous reading of the poem itself, paying close attention to (among other things) its language, its rich use of allusions, its narrative strategies, its revisions of the Bible, its experimentation with genre, and its radical political and religious implications. In considering the “making” of Paradise Lost, we will also consider the origins of the poem in terms of Milton’s career as an author.

ENG 405: Epidemics in Contemporary Global Fiction 
Dr. David Babcock (babcocdj@jmu.edu)
M/W/F, 12:40-1:30 PM
Keezell G3
This course explores the ways that cultural obsessions with disease and contagion get coded within postcolonial 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 phobias of disease, leading us to assume that this fiction is only capable of creating xenophobic feelings. However, postcolonial literature shows us 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, Colson Whitehead, and Kazuo Ishiguro. 

ENG 408: African American Theater and Performance Early Nineteenth Century to Today
Professor Matthew Rebhorn (rebhorme@jmu.edu)
Monday & Wednesday, 1:50-3:05 PM
Burruss 0036
This course offers a brief literary history of African American theater and performance from the early nineteenth century to today. Beginning with blackface minstrelsy, “Uncle Tom Mania,” and the first published play by a Black artist, this course will trace the ways that these initial tropes, characters, and ideas have continued to affect and inflect the genealogy of Black theater history and the trajectory of Black performative practices. We will trace the way the Black American theater tradition has both embraced and rechanneled the theatrical developments of realism, abstractionism, modernism, poststructuralism, and avant-gardism, even as it has responded to the historical lived experience of Black Americans, from chattel slavery to the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter. To do this, we will touch on familiar artists, such as Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson, Langston Hughes, and Eugene O’Neill, as well as less familiar—but no less important—artists, such as Suzan-Lori Parks, Lynn Nottage, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. We will experience some of these works as recordings, and will most likely attempt to see at least one production in the area. NB: This course fulfills the “Identity, Diversity, Power” overlay requirement for the English Major.

ENG 410: Advanced Studies in Author: Jane Austen
Dr. Mark Parker (parke3ml@jmu.edu)
Monday & Wednesday, 1:50-3:05 PM
Keezell 107
This seminar will examine Jane Austen's novels, and it will also serve to develop students' skills in research methods. The class will combine lecture, discussion, and student presentations. While we will pay much attention to these enjoyable and engaging novels themselves, we will also read and discuss criticism of Austen's works. The course will culminate in a substantial researched essay.

ENG 413: Virginia Woolf, Feminism, and The Bloomsbury Group
Dr. Siân White (white2se@jmu.edu)
Monday & Wednesday, 1:50-3:05 PM
Keezell 310
London, 1904. Four siblings – Thoby, Vanessa, Virginia, and Adrian Stephen – move across town from upscale Hyde Park to live in bohemian Bloomsbury after their last remaining parent, Leslie Stephen, dies. Thoby brings his Cambridge friends to Bloomsbury, producing an organic and unexpectedly generative intellectual and artistic friend group made up of writers, artists, art critics, and the economist John Maynard Keynes. The Bloomsbury Group is now known for their complex relationships and nonnormative sexual lifestyles as much as for their anti-war, anti-colonial, anti-fascist, and feminist political stances. Virginia Woolf – renowned writer, feminist, and leftist intellectual – developed her politics of both gender and form in that fertile context. This Advanced Studies English course takes a broad view of Woolf’s novels, essays, letters, and diary entries by reading them alongside the writings and visual art of those dearest to her. In keeping with the rigor expected of 400-level coursework, this course is designed for students who are reading, thinking, and writing at an advanced level. In addition to engaged reading and discussion, students will be expected to read and present on scholarly articles, to produce a significant amount of short critical writing, and, as a final project, to write a 12-15 page research and literary analysis paper. This course fulfills the requirements for the English major and the Identity, Diversity, Power (IDP) overlay, and can also be applied to receive credit toward the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor.
Fulfills IDP overlay and can also be applied to receive credit toward the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor.

ENG 495: Advanced Fiction Writing
Samar Fitzgerald (fitzgesr@jmu.edu)
Wednesday, 7:00-9:45 PM
Keezell 107
In this advanced workshop we will be nurturing and refining our passion for reading, writing, and revising short stories. The 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. You'll be expected to come to class ready to share your personal reactions to stories, and ready to make explicit links between how a story made you feel and why it made you 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: Extreme Behaviors – Depicting Violence in Fiction

Samar Fitzgerald (fitzgesr@jmu.edu)
Monday & Wednesday, 3:25-4:40 PM
Keezell 107
This advanced fiction workshop proceeds from the assumption that an artist’s desire to push boundaries and to disturb, even shock, readers is essential and justified. Violent scenes in fiction have the capacity to alter our senses and force us to think differently about the human experience. But how do we ensure that our depiction of transgressive behavior adds meaning? How do we ensure our narratives are not gratuitously violent, or worse, contributing to the problem of violence?  

We will engage critical texts to help frame our discussion. For example, how do we talk about an aesthetic of violence? What qualifies as violence and can we differentiate it from other forms of cruelty? How do we draw the line between spectator and agent? We will also read many contemporary authors who specialize in the extreme. Be prepared: most of the stories will have triggering elements, and you’ll be asked to pay close attention to the affective experience these texts generate. 

Your written work will be creative and will include at least three stories for workshop (one that depicts explicit violence; one that refers to implied violence; and one that attempts to subvert a convention or stereotype). These stories may be a combination of longer narratives (8-12 pages) and works of flash fiction (1-3 pages). Prerequisite: ENG393/Introduction to Fiction Writing 

ENG 496: Memoir Writing
Professor Greg Wrenn (wrenngj@jmu.edu)
Tuesday, 3:55-6:25 PM
Burruss Hall 0036
In this creative-writing workshop, you’ll learn the art of memoir writing. You’ll write your own memoir chapters and share them in our safe, supportive workshops. And you’ll read full-length memoirs by J. Drew Lanham, Tara Westover, and others, studying their exceptional use of craft to enhance your own.

ENG 496-0002: Speculative Fiction

Dr. Sofia Samatar (samatasx@jmu.edu)
Tuesday & Thursday, 9:35-10:50 AM
Keezell 107
In this creative writing workshop, we will read and write speculative fiction: a category that includes fantasy, science fiction, and horror. We will examine issues and challenges specific to the field, such as worldbuilding, the fictional use of actual science, and the relationship between speculative fiction and philosophy. Students will write two works of fiction, as well as shorter exercises for experimentation and fun. Let’s get weird!

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