Fall 2013 Undergraduate Course Listings

Fall 2013 Undergraduate Course Listings

Fall 2013 Undergraduate Course Listings

ENGL 2100: Film Interpretation ENGL 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader
ENGL 2110: Folklore and Mythology ENGL 4060: Structure, Purpose, and Transfer in Written Communication
ENGL 2220: Literatures and Cultures of the United States ENGL 4080: Visual Rhetoric
ENGL 2230: African-American Literature ENGL 4150: Literary Theory and Criticism
ENGL 2520: Shakespeare ENGL 4400: Studies in Verse
ENGL 2980: Children's Literature ENGL 4420: Studies in Drama
ENGL 3050: Introduction to Professional Writing ENGL 4440: Studies in the Novel
ENGL 3060: Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture ENGL 4520: Shakespeare Seminar
ENGL 3080: Quest for Self ENGL 4720: Language Variation in American English
ENGL 3120: Western World Literature ENGL 4790: Writing in the Secondary School
ENGL 3140: African Literature ENGL 4800: Teaching Literature in the Secondary Schools
ENGL 3150: The English Bible as Literature ENGL 5300: Medieval Literature
ENGL 3200: American Literature I ENGL 5390: Post-Colonial Literature
ENGL 3210: American Literature II ENGL 5550: Chaucer: Chivalry, Courtly Love, and Violence
ENGL 3300: British Literature I ENGL 5550: Spenser and Milton
ENGL 3310: British Literature II ENGL 5670: Creative Writing Workshop--Poetry
ENGL 3670: Advanced Poetry Writing ENGL 5680: Creative Writing Workshop--Playwriting
ENGL 3710: Structures of Modern English ENGL 5760: Introduction to Old Norse
ENGL 3770: Languages in the Multilingual Classroom  


English 2100: Film Interpretation

CRN: 42285
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-2:50; Knauss 2452
Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00-12:20; Brown 1028
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00-12:20; Brown 1028
Dr. Nicolas Witschi

You say, "it's just a movie"? Film is a complex art form designed to communicate, enlighten, and entertain. Whether we‘re talking about Citizen Kane or Dude, Where's My Car, all films require their viewers to be intensely active in piecing together a complex set of associations, narrative devices, and ideas. By looking at the closely related matters of art (style, theme, meaning) and craft (lighting, cinematography, editing, design, sound), this class offers an account of how meaning arises in the interaction between viewers and the medium. Also, with both historically classic films and popular genre movies on our screening schedule, we'll explore a number of themes and issues crucial to the representation (even creation) of America‘s cultural and ideological identity. Understanding what we as viewers do every time we watch a film allows us to enjoy, learn from, and appreciate them to an ever greater degree. This, then, is a class in how to watch and listen to films. Please note: several of the films in this class contain intense, mature, and possibly controversial subject matter and representations. I expect us to approach each and every screening and discussion in a manner consistent with and well-suited to academic inquiry. This course satisfies one (1) General Education requirement in: Area I - Fine Arts.


English 2110: Folklore and Mythology

CRN: 42632
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00-5:40; Knauss 3512
Dr. Mustafa Mirzeler

In this course students will explore the folklore and mythology of people who live in disparate parts of the world. In the world, past and present, what assuage the pain and suffering of people are the stories, the myths, and the imaginary worlds of the ancient storytellers. In reading the accounts of these storytellers, the students will enter into their magical worlds and experience the magical truth of storytelling as well as the magic of the words. In every age, human societies have produced their master storytellers who have moved tradition into new dispensations through the magic of words. They have exerted their influence on the present, giving it a mythic image in a traditional context.

The genius of these ancient storytellers can be traced in the traditional genres of the popular ballad and in the art forms of contemporary master storytellers and poets. In the work of these storytellers new myths arise from and intertwine with the old to create unique and inventive new worlds. Drawing from the contemporary folklore and mythology, this course historicizes and conceptualizes cultural and social contexts that produce folklore and myths around the world.


English 2220: Literatures and Cultures of the United States

CRN: 41119
Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00-12:40; Wood 2720
Dr. Daneen Wardrop

In this course, we will discuss experiences and challenges of those from various cultural groups in the United States, as well as strategies for articulating and preserving cultural values within the larger society. Studying literatures and cultures of the United States through fiction and poetry, we’ll read works by authors such as Toni Morrison, Juno Diaz, Marilyn Chin, Louise Erdrich, Langston Hughes, Sandra Cisneros, and Sherman Alexie. Requirements for the class: papers, presentation, examination, and rigorous class participation.


English 2220: Literatures and Cultures of the United States

CRN: 41120
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00-1:40; Brown 4030
Dr. John Saillant

Ethnicity and cultural variety in American literature from the colonial period to the present, beginning with written accounts of conflict between natives and Europeans, continuing through white literary exercise of hegemony, and treating a variety of racial, religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Our readings treat not only "ethnic experience" but also reflect on the essential question, What is ethnicity?


English 2230: African-American Literature

CRN: 42637
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:40; Brown 1048
Dr. John Saillant

This course surveys African-American literature from the era of the slave trade to the present. Written work includes three essays.


English 2230: African-American Literature

CRN: 41121
Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00-5:40; Brown 4030
Dr. Scott Slawinski

In English 2230, we will take a chronological approach to African-American literature, beginning with the earliest texts available in the eighteenth century. We will trace the African-American experience from the slave trade through abolition, segregation, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and the contemporary era. We will touch on music and art from time to time, and ground our readings in historical context. The primary text for this class will be The Norton Anthology of African-American Literature (2nd edition); some readings outside the anthology will also be assigned. Students can tentatively plan to write at least two essays, complete at least one but possibly two exams, and take frequent reading quizzes.


English 2520: Shakespeare

CRN: 41122
Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00-5:40; Brown 4035
Dr. Margaret Dupuis

In this class we will look at a variety of plays written by William Shakespeare, including representative plays from the following sub-genres of drama: comedy, tragedy, and problem play. It is important to consider these plays not only as literature to be read, but as works that were meant to be seen, heard, and acted. Therefore, we will approach the six plays on the syllabus as both literary works and performance pieces, allowing plenty of opportunity for personal expression and interpretation while also honoring the written text. The plays to be studied in this class could include The Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night. Folger Library editions.


English 2980: Children’s Literature

(Fulfills the requirement for ENGL 3820 or ENGL 3830)
CRN: 45933, 45934
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00-3:15; Sangren 1720
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:30-4:45; Sangren 1720
Dr. Gwen Tarbox

ENGL 2980, Children’s Literature, is a hybrid 3 credit hour course that fulfills the requirement either for ENGL 3820, Literature for the Young Child or ENGL 3830, Literature for the Intermediate Reader. While the course meets a specific requirement for elementary education students, it is an appropriate elective for English majors/minors who are interested in childhood culture and critical theory.The majority of students’ grades will come from periodic quizzes, homework, a midterm, and a final exam.

This course does not fulfill any general education area.

Tentative Text List






The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

Laurel Leaf



Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword

Amulet Books






Hintz and Tribunella

Reading Children’s Literature: A Critical Introduction

Bedford St. Martin’s



The Invention of Hugo Cabret




The Three Pigs




English 3050: Introduction to Professional Writing

CRN: 41320, 42638
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00-1:40; Brown 1045
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00-5:40; Brown 1045
Dr. Charlotte Thralls

English 3050 is a course designed to develop your confidence and competency in written communication. Whatever your future career plans or your current, favorite media for communicating (print, digital, twitter, Facebook or other social media), you are likely to need strong writing skills. Numerous studies, for example, show that in many professions, communication skills are ranked at the top (first or second place) of the most valued qualities for success. Many of you might be surprised at how central writing is in the day-to-day life of most professionals. To help prepare you for the challenges ahead, this class will expand your writing repertoires beyond the academic essay or research paper. Through various class projects, you will

  • Become familiar with the formats and rhetorical challenges of various practical genres and document formats (memos, reports, manuals, web text, visual displays and designs, etc.)
  • Develop skill for anticipating (and addressing) the needs and reactions of audiences to communications in different contexts
  • Learn the fundamentals of reader-centered communication, including the fundamentals of document design and readability used to create well-crafted documents
  • Learn about some documents and communication habits typical for professionals in your discipline

The course is held in a computer lab with plenty of opportunity for personalized help with course projects.


English 3060: Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

CRN: 45026
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-4:45; Dunbar 4204
Dr. Thomas Kent

It is not uncommon to hear rhetoric used as a derogatory term, as if rhetoric is synonymous with deceitful and flashy language, standing in stark opposition to nonrhetoric, which is clear and honest. While rhetoric can certainly be used to manipulate, the term encompasses a much broader meaning and a rich history going back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Simply put, rhetoric is the study of the various signs and symbols that make human communication possible.

A central focus of the course will be how rhetoric functions in contemporary cultural life, giving significance, meaning, and value to day-to-day practices in consumer, corporate, organizational, and popular culture. The overarching course goal is to help you gain knowledge about human communication and how it works, so that you have greater insight into your own communication practices and can better assess the effects and consequences of the communications around you.

Through class readings and course projects, you’ll have the opportunity to study rhetoric in written, oral, and visual forms representing a range of genres and media. Possibilities include literature, business and professional documents, advertising, television, film and video, music, blogs, websites, social media, and more. We will study some of these rhetorical forms together, but for major course papers, you’ll have the chance to choose rhetorical forms of particular interest to you.

Students can expect to

  • read a range of articles and essays that define rhetoric and rhetorical concepts, explain rhetorical theories, and model effective rhetorical analyses
  • conduct research about rhetorical artifacts
  • synthesize and evaluate your research in writing: two short (3-4 pages) papers and one longer (10-12 pages) paper.


English 3060: Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

CRN: 46140
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:30-4:45; Brown 3045
Dr. Maria Gigante

This special section of “Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture” is called “Writing in the Sciences.” It is a writing course designed specifically for science majors who want to learn how scientists construct arguments for their peers and for non-expert publics. Students will learn to critically analyze scholarship in their fields and to create their own projects through various media.


English 3080: Quest for Self

CRN: 41351
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-10:45; Brown 3048
Dr. Philip Egan

This section of Quest for Self will examine principally two kinds of works. Early in the semester we will read a number of “initiation” stories and some short plays, which treat young people who are either confronting a new situation or are passing from one developmental stage to another. In the middle and later portions of the course, we will consider a number of longer works focused primarily upon adolescents and young adults. We will also study some theories of psychological development to see how they enrich (or even dispute) development as it is portrayed in the literature.


English 3120: Western World Literature

CRN: 41356
Wednesdays, 4:00-6:30; Brown 4048
Professor Judith Rypm

This course examines literature by writers from non-English speaking countries in the Western World: French, German, Scandinavian, Czech, Romanian, etc. There will be a slight emphasis on Russian writers, including the works of Gogol, Chekhov, Pushkin, and various poets. Assigned works will include short stories and poems from throughout Western and Eastern Europe and South America, as well as Ibsen's play, "The Dollhouse," and Bulgakov's novel, "The Master and Margarita." Students will have an opportunity to delelop a portfolio that showcases the writing of one writer and his/her works (choices will include, for example, Goethe, Flaubert, Milosz, Solzenitsyn, Marquez, Havel, Kafka, de Maupassant). A midterm and final will test your critical reading skills.


English 3140: African Literature

CRN: 41358
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:30-4:45; Brown 3037
Dr. Allen Webb

http://www.wmich.edu/english/academics/undergrad/images/africamap.pngToday there are 1 billion people living in Africa, speaking perhaps 2000 languages. The continent comprises 20% of the land of the planet, is enormously rich in resources, yet much of Africa is desperately poor with vast populations attempting to live on less than $2 per day.

This course seeks to use African literature, memoir, film, biography, autobiography, history, library and on-line sources to begin to understand the enormous complexity of Africa and the challenges facing the continent. A cornerstone of this course is the idea that knowledge creates responsibility. Students will be expected to address what they are learning by research, collaboration, and action.

We begin our study of the current crisis in Africa by looking at the colonial and early national period. Turning to literature from the present we will encounter issues such as economic and political corruption and collapse, resource exploitation, poverty, education, the condition of women, the environment, warfare and child soldiers, AIDS, immigration, etc.
As we learn about challenges in Africa we will also explore solutions. Africa is young; in some countries half of the population is under 25. Most of our reading will be about young people, many college age, their life experience and how they are making a positive difference. After extensive reading and study as a class, students will form groups focused on specific issues to engage in additional reading, research, action, and work with African and international organizations dedicated to a brighter future for the continent.

For further information consult allenwebb.net.


English 3150: The English Bible as Literature

CRN: 45932
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:15; Brown 4048
Dr. Jil Larson

This course fulfills a General Education requirement and offers an overview of the English Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Our text will be the recently published Norton Critical Edition of the English Bible, the King James Version. We will study the language, the narratives, the poetic imagery, and the complex meanings of selections from Genesis, Exodus, Job, Psalms, the gospels, the epistles, and Revelation. Students will write and revise a paper on a topic of their own choosing. The course work also includes a midterm and final exam.


English 3200: American Literature I

CRN: 41359
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00-3:15; Wood 1728
Dr. Scott Slawinski

In this course students will read literature from the Age of Discovery and Exploration, texts from colonial America, and eventually pieces from the early United States up to the Civil War. While short stories, poems, and plays will be on the syllabus, class participants will also read diaries and journals, Puritan sermons and Transcendental essays, personal narratives and epic histories. Authors will include Captain John Smith, William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lydia Sigourney, and Walt Whitman, to name a few.

Longer works likely include Sukey Vickery’s Emily Hamilton, Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life, and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. We will be looking at issues like the nature of freedom, shifting religious beliefs, the growth of authorship and the publishing industry, appreciation of the natural environment, and the growing problem of American slavery. At minimum, class assignments will likely include two long essays, a final examination, and frequent reading quizzes.

Texts: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vols. A and B. (Norton, 7th edition)
Emily Hamilton and Other Writings (University of Nebraska Press)


English 3210: American Literature II

CRN: 41362
Tuesdays, 4:00-6:30; Dunbar 3204
Dr. Katherine Joslin

What is the nature of literary tradition in the United States? In answering that question over the semester, we will survey American literature written from 1880 to 2013 looking at our national poetry and prose by sampling the work of a variety of writers. Throughout the semester of reading and discussion, we will consider what characterizes a literary culture and will listen for the sound of a national voice. This is a reading and discussion course, and everyone is encouraged to participate actively in class conversation. You are expected to be in class and to have the assigned reading completed. Be prepared for occasional writing assignments and quizzes that will focus class discussion. There will be a midterm and a final exam.


Nina Baym, general editor, The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 1865 to The Present, Shorter Edition

Louise Erdrich, The Plague of Doves


English 3300: British Literature I

CRN: 41368
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00-3:15; Brown 3045
Dr. Grace Tiffany

This class is a broad survey of the first eight hundred years of English literature, starting with Anglo-Saxon poetry (in translation, c. 900), continuing through the Middle English poetry of Chaucer (late 14th century), progressing through the ages of Shakespeare and Milton during the English Renaissance (1580-1660), and ending with an eighteenth-century work of Jonathan Swift. The class will promote understanding of major historical trends as they pertained to the creation of the greatest and most influential works of literature in the English language.

Prerequisite: English 1100 (Literary Interpretation).
Text (approximately $30 on Amazon): The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. I, 8th ed.
Assignments: two take-home writing assignments, quizzes, and a final exam.


English 3310: British Literature II

CRN: 41375
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:00-6:15; Brown 3037
Dr. Jil Larson

This course offers a survey of British literature in the Romantic Period (late 18th and early 19th century), the Victorian Era (1837-1903), and the Modern Period (20th century to the present). This is quite a bit to cover in one semester, but we will read selectively, hitting many of the highlights and exploring both continuities and discontinuities as we make comparison among literary texts published throughout this rich period of literary history. The course work will include a midterm and final exam, one paper, and a series of short writing assignments.


English 3670: Advanced Poetry Writing

CRN: 41398
Tuesdays, 6:30-9:00; Brown 3017
Dr. Nancy Eimers

This is a poetry writing workshop and reading course. We'll read poems from anthologies and poetry collections, attend poetry readings, talk and write about contemporary poetics, and look closely at the work of class members. We'll explore from various angles that moment when, as poet Russell Edson, says, "the mysterious other life begins to send its message."


English 3710: Structures of Modern English

CRN: 41424
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:40; Brown 3045
Dr. Paul Johnston

The course introduces students to the idea of English (and language in general) as a multi-leveled, patterned, structured system, a vehicle for speakers to produce utterances and to communicate in a social context. Participants learn the terms and concepts needed to study each level of this structure: phonetics/phonology (sounds), the morphology (meaningful word parts), lexical studies and semantics (words and meanings), syntax (sentences), and pragmatics (texts and whole utterances). Students will also study how writers of literature use these levels of language to create effects and patterns that guide readers toward certain interpretations of their texts.


English 3770: Language in the Multilingual Classroom

CRN: 41426
Wednesdays, 6:00-8:30; Brown 3045
Dr. Karen Vocke

Second language acquisition theory and pedagogy form the foundation for ENGL 3770, Language in the Multilingual Classroom. Educators today face increasing numbers of students for whom English is a second language. This course provides a foundation in second language acquisition theory, sociocultural approaches to language diversity, teaching strategies for linguistically diverse students, and current issues in the field. Emphasis is place on the needs of English Language Learners in grades K through 8.


English 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader

CRN: 41428, 41424
Tuesdays, 6:30-9:50; Brown 2037
Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00-1:40; Brown 2048
Professor Judith Rypma

English 3830 focuses on criticism of works for children in grades 4 through 8, with a focus on critical thinking and close literary analysis. Works read include a variety of novels, epics, myths, poems, biographies, etc. This a lecture and discussion class, and serves as a content course for both education and non-education majors. It also fits Distribution Area 2.

Texts will include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Spinelli's Eggs, Nikki Grimes' Bronx Masquerade, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Devil's Arithmetic, The Giver, and Tuck Everlasting. A variety of handouts of myths, hero tales, and poems will also be provided.


English 4060: Structure, Purpose, and Transfer in Written Communication

CRN: 44717
Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30-6:15; Brown 1045
Dr. Brian Gogan

Transfer is the application of ideas and aptitudes from one situation to another situation. In terms of written communication, transfer describes the movement of writing and writers from one site (e.g., academic, professional, public, private) to another site.

In this course, you’ll come to understand the influence of certain kinds of writing-related transfer--including near transfer and far transfer, repurposing and reflection, expansion and extension, as well as integration and recontextualization--on your practices of written communication.

More importantly, you’ll “attempt transfer” by producing a number of texts, among them client-based texts and professional portfolio texts. The client-based texts will be crafted to meet the needs of a client organization. These texts will require some off-campus work and will provide you with the opportunity to transfer your knowledge of rhetoric and writing studies from Western Michigan University to the workplace. The texts associated with the portfolio will be developed to meet your individual professional goals once you graduate with your degree in Rhetoric and Writing Studies. A portfolio keeping textbook and an enrollment in an e-portfolio platform will be required for this part of the course.


English 4080: Topics in Rhetoric and Writing - Visual Rhetoric

CRN: 44718
Thursdays, 4:00-6:30; Brown 4035
Dr. Maria Gigante

Visual rhetoric is a recent subfield in rhetorical studies that is concerned with the persuasive potential of images. Debates in the field pertain to issues such as adapting classical rhetoric to visual discourse; interpreting image/text relationships; determining whether or not images can “argue”; and even defining “visual rhetoric.” In this course we will examine contributions from scholars working in the field of visual rhetoric and survey the field of visual studies more broadly, taking into consideration scholarship on (for example) semiotics, advertising, and visual design principles. The units covered in this class will involve rigorous analysis of a variety of visual genres, including photography, advertisements, political images, scientific images, and web interfaces. Projects and assignments will be geared toward making connections between visual discursive practices and the critical theories examined in course readings and discussions. Upon completion of this class, you will possess an understanding of the rhetorical power of visual communication. No matter what your career path might look like, proficiency in visual analysis is increasingly important in a world dominated by visual and digital communication.


English 4150: Literary Theory and Criticism

CRN: 41323
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00-11:40; Brown 3030
Dr. Todd Kuchta

This course provides an introduction to literary theory and criticism from classical antiquity to the present day. We'll begin with a brisk survey of some of the most important ideas about literature from ancient Greece, the Renaissance, the eighteenth century, the Romantic era, the Victorian era, and the early twentieth century. From there on, the course will focus on the most significant and influential movements in contemporary literary theory: structuralism, post-structuralism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, gender and queer theory, postcolonial theory, and new historicism.

Theory has a reputation for being difficult--heavy on abstraction and short on concrete answers. In fact, this may seem more like a philosophy course than a literature course. So why take it? In addition to fulfilling Proficiency 2 (Baccalaureate Writing) in the General Education requirements, it will provide you with a new set of tools for thinking about literature (as well as history, politics, sexuality, society, individual identity, and a range of power relations). Theory is meant to push us beyond our commonplace ways of thinking, making us more self-conscious of our premises and assumptions about literature and the world. With dedication, patience, and plain old hard work, you should leave this course with a much more informed sense of how you read literature--and why you read it that way.

Prerequisites: At least two upper-division English courses. Requirements will likely include regular short response papers, two 5-page essays, and a mid-term and final exam.


English 4400: Studies in Verse

CRN: 41891
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00-3:40; Brown 4048
Dr. Daneen Wardrop

In this course, we will follow a trajectory of the history of poetry across many centuries, including the study of poetic forms such as the sonnet, villanelle, and sestina. Our inquiries will scale the critically well-traversed poem as well as the spanking new verse. We may concentrate on several individual poets, such as William Shakespeare, John Keats, and Emily Dickinson. The basic format for the course is poem after poem. Requirements for the class: several papers, presentation, exams, and spirited class discussion.


English 4420: Studies in Drama - “All the World’s a Stage”: From the Greeks to the Twenty-first Century

CRN: 41331
Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00-1:40; Dunbar 4201
Dr. Eve Salisbury

In this course we study a wide range of drama from the Greeks to the twenty-first century, from early conceptualizations of comedy, tragedy, and theatrical performance to contemporary theaters of cruelty, the absurd, and the experimental. We will consider ways in which drama touches its audiences, encourages a rethinking of personal and collective boundaries, and imparts a sense of place both on the stage and in the world. Provisional readings include: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Lysistrata, Dulcitius, Everyman, Othello, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Doll House, Mother Courage and Her Children, Death of a Salesman, The Buried Child, Fences, Angels in America, and the Laramie Project.

Required Text:
Lee A. Jacobus, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Drama, sixth edition (New York: St. Martin’s, 2009).


English 4440: Studies in the Novel

CRN: 41346
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:40; Brown 4030
Dr. Christopher Nagle

This section of Studies in the Novel will focus on Gothic fiction, one of the most popular traditions in the history of the novel since the 18th century. The course will draw most heavily from the British tradition, tracing the early development of the gothic in writers such as Horace Walpole, Sophia Lee, William Beckford, Ann Radcliffe, and Matthew Lewis, through the stranger variations on gothic themes found in later works of the nineteenth century (Maria Edgeworth, Percy and Mary Shelley, James Hogg, Charles Maturin, Emily Bronte, R.L.Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Joseph Conrad) and draw to a close in the early 20th century.

We will explore a wide variety of themes and issues within the gothic tradition--representations of doubling and the Doppelganger, religious persecution, the terrors of family, the politics of violence, history and its traumas, discourses of colonialism, degeneration and perversion, as well as the development of psychology and pathological cultural typing--while examining the experimentation in narrative form that emerges in this fiction. The works we read will always be strange and challenging, and not infrequently disturbing. Be forewarned!

Students should expect and come prepared for: a heavy reading load each week; a substantial writing component (shorter, exploratory writing as well as longer, formal essays); class presentations; active participation by all members of the class; and reading quizzes if deemed necessary.

Course readings are likely to be selected from among the following possibilities: Walpole's Castle of Otranto, Lee's The Recess, Beckford's Vathek, Radcliffe's Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne or The Veiled Picture, Lewis' The Monk, Austen's Northanger Abbey, Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent, P. Shelley's Zastrozzi, M. Shelley's Transformation, Polidori's Vampyre, Hogg's Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, E. Bronte's Wuthering Heights, Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stoker's Dracula, Conrad's Secret Sharer.


English 4440: Studies in the Novel

CRN: 41348
Wednesdays, 6:30-9:50; Brown 2048
Dr. Cynthia Klekar

See course catalog or contact instructor.


English 4520: Shakespeare Seminar

CRN: 42262
Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00-11:40; Kohrman 3301
Dr. Grace Tiffany

This is a discussion- and writing-intensive course which may fulfill the baccalaureate-level writing requirement of the student’s curriculum. We’ll read and discuss seven of Shakespeare’s plays and experiment with scene readings. We’ll also watch play-scenes on video. Assignments: three very short (2-page) papers (10% each of grade), one 8-to-10-pg. researched paper (25%), final exam (25%), class participation (20%). For written work, students should familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures in the undergraduate catalogue that pertain to academic honesty. “Class participation” means reading carefully, showing up, coming to class prepared to share comments and questions, and listening with respectful attention to others’ comments and questions.

Plays and works: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, some sonnets, All’s Well that Ends Well, Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, Timon of Athens, The Winter’s Tale. Texts: Folger and Evans editions. Other editions may be allowed, but please check with me first.


English 4720: Language Variation in American English

CRN: 42541
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00-11:40; Brown 3045
Dr. Paul Johnston

This course illustrates the interplay between language variation and social structures, groupings and speakers' linguistic attitudes and how these influence the formation, maintenance, use, and decline (if any) of dialects of English, with emphasis on those found in North America. Students learn the educational implications of such variation, how writers exploit it as a resource, and the methodology dialectologists and sociolinguists use to study it. They are introduced to how factors like geography, race/ethnicity and gender affect and are reflected in language variation, both within English and in respect to other languages spoken in the United States and Canada, and do projects involving researching dialect variation first-hand.


English 4720: Language Variation in American English

CRN: 44124
Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00-1:40; Brown 4037
Dr. Lisa Minnick

From the catalog: English 4720 is the study of regional and social varieties of American English from sociolinguistic perspectives, focusing on the forces that influence different types of language variation. It examines issues of linguistic bias and offers a multi-cultural perspective on the role of language in daily life.

Course description, purpose, and objectives: In this course, we will discuss the theories and practices of language variation research, particularly as applied to American English. In doing so, we will consider approaches to the study of language variation, with attention to key figures, studies, and methodologies. We will discuss the functions and effects of dialectal variation, and how factors such as geography, ethnicity, gender, social status and other extralinguistic variables interact with language and contribute to variation. We will also explore how popular perceptions and attitudes contribute to the differential valuation of American English varieties and the effects of these valuations. Finally, students will learn the skills and practices of linguistic research and language description and apply these skills to original research projects.


English 4790: Writing in the Secondary School

CRN: 41841
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00-11:40; Brown 3037
Dr. Jonathan Bush

Built around concepts of 'best practice,' this course includes intensive study and practice of all aspects of teaching writing at middle and secondary schools and will focus on concepts of audience, purpose, and genre as they apply to the processes of writing. We will practice all the skills that make an effective writing teacher - planning, development, response, grading, and classroom activities that support students’ writing processes. We will also touch on grammar, technology, and the effect of Common Core Standards on classroom practices. The course typically concludes with a practical demonstration of teaching, either at WMU or in local high school or middle school classrooms. Students will leave the course with a firm background in teaching writing.


English 4800: Teaching Literature in the Secondary Schools

CRN: 41842
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00-1:40; Brown 3037
Dr. Karen Vocke

English 4800 is a capstone course which considers fundamental questions of why and how to teach literature; we will also focus on recent waves of reform, reader response, cultural studies, and the impact of the internet. Using both reader response and cultural studies approaches, we will examine the ways that culture and literature intersect to inform--and transform--our practice. We will use a thematic approach to explore a variety of themes in a problem-posing, student-led format.

Of special emphasis in this section of 4800 are the following: examining the reading process--how effective readers engage texts and use strategies to make the most of their reading experiences; understanding the history, current state, and influence of the English literary canon; examining issues of censorship, and designing curriculum and lessons sensitive to students of diverse abilities and backgrounds.

A variety of technologies are examined in this class: digital storytelling, website creation, wikis, webquests, and podcasting, to name a few. Guest speakers will include area teachers and administrators.

For additional information, contact Dr. Karen Vocke.


English 5300: Medieval Literature

CRN: 45924
Wednesdays, 4:00-6:20; Brown 3030
Dr. Jana Schulman
Fulfills: Ph.D. Distribution requirement for medieval literature; M.A.-level elective

Diverse texts of the Middle Ages can belong to various genres, raising questions of how epic should be defined. Epic is traditionally understood as a verse narrative about a male hero and his heroic deeds of honor. What unifies the works that we will read over the course of this semester is the fundamental place of “community,” whether the works tell the tales of the establishment of particular communities, the foundation from which communities contemporary with the singer or author draw cultural meaning, or the end of a foundational community. While these communities focus primarily on the deeds of men, the communities in which and for which they perform these deeds also consist of women. Reading these diverse texts will allow us to discuss epic broadly and then more narrowly by examining women authors of epic, female characters in epic, and women’s history as reflected upon in these texts in addition to gender and power dynamics.


English 5390: Post-Colonial Literature

CRN: 45646
Thursdays, 6:30-9:00; Brown 3003
Dr. Mustafa Mirzeler
Fulfills: Ph.D. requirement for Non-traditional literature; M.A.-level elective

Writing about post-colonialism and literature, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, one of the greatest African novelists, suggests that in moments of change, when new societies arise from the old ones, powerful members of the new society often impose silence on the population by taking away certain human rights, such as the right to organize and the right to express political opinions. Such acts, however simultaneously give voice to the oppressed population, and this includes storytellers, writers and artists (1998: 26-28). Political rulers and others have throughout history sought to tame the tongue of the African storyteller and the writers, but success in such endeavors is only sporadically successful, is never long-lasting (Scheub 1996: XV). The African storytellers fuse ancient ideas, motifs, and images of the past with the emotionally felt experiences of the members of their audiences as they persuasively provide new contexts, meaning, and insights to society’s contemporary problems. Storytellers and writers work the images of their tradition to transform the tale into a symbol of the collective voice around which the members of the society could be mobilized for social and political change.

This course gives voice to the African storytellers who are seldom heard from outside of their villages as well as the internationally recognized novelists. Important changes in the lives of the African people came about not only through colonization of the continent, the development of the post-colonial nation states, the introduction of wage labor and modernity, but also by new world order, new forms of political violence and terrorism which have altered the core of the African societies. In contrast to the changes relating to modern nation states which devalued women’s power and authority, and hindered their mobility, new form of terrorism have increased young men’s power and authority and enhanced their mobility and international networking abilities. One of the themes that will dominate the class discussion is the impact of the new form of international violence and terrorism which impacted people’s daily lives, altered gender relations, and transformed the meanings of death and violence. When we analyze the stories of these storytellers and writers, we can see how the narrative of the storytellers gives voice to alternative discourse and becomes an integral expression of the oppressed, serving the imagination and the creation of a new societies and landscapes, engendering new memories from those of the past.


English 5550: Studies in Major Authors - Chaucer: Chivalry, Courtly Love, and Violence

CRN: 45645
Thursdays, 4:00-6:20;
Dr. Eve Salisbury
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for British Literature to 1500; M.A.-level elective

Chivalry and courtly love are often considered to be civilizing forces for all those who subscribe to the codes of conduct such behavioral systems espouse. Yet lurking under a thin façade of civility, aspiration, and idealism resides the potential for discord, disruption, and dissent. In this course, we consider select tales from The Canterbury Tales, as well as The Parliament of Fowls, Troilus and Criseyde, the rarely studied Legend of Good Women, and some of the short poems to explore the poet’s modes of representation (sometimes allegorical, sometimes ironic, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic) against codes of conduct written explicitly for young men and young women. Read in conjunction with Andreas Capellanus’s Art of Courtly Love, Geffroi de Charney’s Book of Chivalry, and select conduct treatises (available online), these works reveal a troubling disparity between courtly expectations and the realities of everyday life.

Required Texts:

Larry D. Benson, et al., The Riverside Chaucer, third edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987).

Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love, trans., John Jay Parry (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960).

The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi de Charny: Text, Context, and Translation, ed. Richard W. Kaeuper and Elspeth Kennedy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996).

“How the Good Wife Taught Hyr Doughter” and “How the Goode Man Taght Hys Sone,” in Trials and Joys of Marriage, ed. Eve Salisbury (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2002). (available online)


English 5550: Studies in Major Authors - Spenser and Milton

CRN: 45811
Mondays, 4:00-6:20; Brown 4010
Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for Renaissance Literature; M.A.-level literature elective

Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and John Milton’s Paradise Lost are the great Protestant epics of the English Renaissance. In this course we will read bothin the context of the Reformation. We will also read other works by these writers along with a selection of literary criticism We will examine Spenser’s influence on Milton as well as the poetics of verse narrative. Course requirements include weekly selection of textual passages for commentary and analysis in class, reading aloud, 1-2 shorter papers and a researched seminar paper.


English 5670: Creative Writing Workshop--Poetry

CRN: 44089
Mondays, 4:00-7:30; Brown 4002
Dr. Nancy Eimers
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

Art, says poet Carl Phillips, “is its own signature--irreplicable, strange, never seen before, not seeable again elsewhere in the future.” In this advanced poetry writing workshop, we will spend the semester exploring how, in poetry, this might be true. We’ll examine the “signatures” of contemporary poets by reading three contemporary collections, and each week we will consider the individual signatures of class members by workshopping class poems.


English 5680: Creative Writing Workshop--Playwriting

CRN: 44090
Wednesdays, 4:00-7:30; Dunbar 3201
Dr. Steve Feffer
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

This is a workshop in the writing, critical reading and presentation of original drama. We will spend most of our time in class on the presenting and workshopping of your work. However, we will also have a few classes where a portion of the session will be devoted to playwriting exercises that will help you develop your existing work, start something new, or to integrate into your own writing process. Additionally, we will have a couple of days of "ice breaking" and additional play development work. Most weeks you will be assigned readings in contemporary drama for consideration of its structure, style, and theatricality, as well as other elements. The emphasis in the class will be the process by which your playwriting ultimately is about writing theatre. To this end: We will work with actors and directors who will assist you with the readings, staged readings or productions of your work--as elaborate or basic as you need--as well as taking part in the discussion of it in order to introduce you to the process by which through performance, drama emerges as theatre.


English 5760: Introduction to Old Norse

CRN: 46218
Tuesdays, 4:00-6:20; Brown 4037
Dr. Jana Schulman
Fulfills: Ph.D. Language Requirement (when taken for two semesters and passed with a ‘B’ grade or above)

In this class, you will learn the fundamentals of Old Icelandic grammar and language; read prose and poetry that will introduce you to the world of gods and men; to issues of marriage, honor, and death, among others; and to serious and comic explorations of such issues. Come explore the worlds of the Norse gods and goddesses, a world where heroes are larger than life--all while learning a new language.


Department of English
6th floor Sprau Tower
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331 USA
(269) 387-2572 | (269) 387-2562 Fax