Fall 2011 Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2011 Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2011 Undergraduate Courses

ENGL 2100: Film Interpretation ENGL 4100: Special Topics in Literature - Graphic Novels
ENGL 2110: Folklore and Mythology ENGL 4150: Literary Theory and Criticism
ENGL 2230: African-American Literature ENGL 4400: Studies in Verse
ENGL 3050: Practical Writing ENGL 4440: Studies in the Novel
ENGL 3110: Our Place in Nature ENGL 4520: Shakespeare Seminar
ENGL 3120: Western World Literature ENGL 4620: Advanced Writing
ENGL 3140: African Literature - Challenges and Solutions to Contemporary Crisis ENGL 4640: Professional Writing
ENGL 3200: American Literature I ENGL 4720: Language Variation in American English
ENGL 3210: American Literature II ENGL 4790: Writing in the Secondary School
ENGL 3300: British Literature I ENGL 4800: Teaching Literature in Secondary Schools
ENGL 3310: British Literature II ENGL 4840: Writing in the Secondary School
ENGL 3660: Advanced Fiction Writing ENGL 5300: Medieval Literature - The Matter of Troy
ENGL 3670: Advanced Poetry Writing ENGL 5380: Modern Literature
ENGL 3690: Writing in the Elementary School ENGL 5660: Creative Writing Workshop, Fiction
ENGL 3700: Writing Creative Non-Fiction ENGL 5670: Creative Writing Workshop, Poetry
ENGL 3710: Structures of Modern English ENGL 5680: Creative Writing Workshop, Playwriting
ENGL 3720: Development of Modern English ENGL 5970: Studies in English - Truth and Lies: Prose Genres
ENGL 3770: Language and Learning in Multilingual Classrooms ENGL 5970: Studies in English - Polyamorous Literature
ENGL 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader ENGL 5970: Studies in English - Scarlet Letters
ENGL 3840: Adolescent Literature ENGL5970: Studies in English - Style, Identification, and Persona in Professional Writing


English 2100: Film Interpretation

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 2:50;
Dr. Casey McKittrick

Film Interpretation is a course designed to acclimate students to thinking critically about the medium of cinema. In watching films of various genres, time periods, and nationalities, and learning critical vocabularies for assessing the cinematic experience, students will learn to discuss how narrative, sound, mise-en-scene, cinematography, and editing work together to produce meaning for the film spectator. Students will confront aesthetic, social, and ideological questions surrounding the production and reception of movies. Films may include, but are not limited to: Citizen KaneElection, Women on the Verge of a Nervous BreakdownBoogie NightsGrand IllusionNosferatu, The HoursMildred PierceRear WindowVertigoHigher Learning, and Rebel Without a Cause.


English 2100: Film Interpretation (Honors College)

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 4:50;
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

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:50;
Dr. Judith Rypma

Catalog Description: Exploration of folklore and mythology from around the world and through the ages using poetry, fiction, film, and other materials.


English 2230: African-American Literature

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:50;
Dr. Casey McKittrick

This section of African American Literature examines predominantly 20th century African-American literary and cultural production. Students will become conversant with some of the social, political, and aesthetic questions bound up in Black authorship and readership. The focus for this course is on the novel, with a foray into essays and short stories. Authors may include, but are not limited to, W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Zora Neale Hurston, Ann Petry, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Ntozake Shange.


English 2230: African-American Literature

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:50;
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 3050: Practical Writing

Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 – 1:50; 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 employers place communication skills at the top (first or second place) of their most valued qualities in employees. 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 some documents and communication habits typical for professionals in your discipline.

This course is approved as a writing intensive course which may fulfill the baccalaureate-level writing requirement of the student‘s curriculum.


English 3050: Practical Writing

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:50; Brown 1045
Dr. Thomas Kent

Catalog Description: A practical course for juniors and seniors who wish to develop their skills in writing. Emphasis is on understanding the writing forms of non-fictional prose such as research papers and reports; personal writing, and pre-professional writing (for students planning careers in business, social service, industry, law, the arts, or other professions).


English 3110: Our Place in Nature

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 –1:45;
Dr. Thomas Bailey

Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer
Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac
Candace Millard, The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey
Carl Safina, The Eye of the Albatross
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

This course will introduce us to a handful of nature writing texts, from classics such asWalden and Sand County Almanac to more contemporary popular books as The River of Doubt. We‘ll take time to read some of the poems of Mary Oliver, the best known contemporary American Nature Poet, and some random poems by poets who‘ve spent a lifetime looking intently at things like trees and birds; I will make these available to you as copies. This course, because it may also satisfy the writing intensive requirement for Environmental Studies majors and minors, some of whom may take the course, is focused on writing and will be judged on how you develop over the term in writing five papers, at least. So we‘ll do a lot of that, and we‘ll also focus on reading, asking ourselves such questions as how texts mean, and how we might know that what‘s they do mean? But mainly, our purpose in English 3110 is to see that literature offers us a way of knowing our environment.

We can understand it scientifically: the natural world operates by laws which we can know, and its wonders can be revealed to us through the study of scientific principles. We can understand it economically: manufacturing, farming, fishing, and foresting and the like give people jobs, and at the same time have a potentially damaging impact on the environment; consequently, we need to plot economic development with an eye to environmental impact. We can understand it anthropologically: culture interweaves with the natural world to enhance as well as distress its health. We can study it historically: our society has affected the natural world over time, and to see and understand how our world has responded is not only informative but predictive. Geography and geoscience [or geology] give us ways to see the interplay of society and the natural world in other ways: petroleum is a product of natural processes which impact our economies and our environment every day; geography can show us, for instance, how a river system such as the Missouri/Mississippi allowed our society to develop and prosper, and do consequent damage to that natural system.

As I said, literature too is a way of knowing, and by learning to respond fully to words, and sentences, and paragraphs, and the longer texts which result from extended writing, we learn about the beauties of the natural world, as well as about place, time, gender, and the everlasting complexities of existence. And we will always be concerned with character, with the human personality; why does TR go down that river at age 55? Why does Deanna Wolfe fall for Eddie Bondo?

Moreover, reading is central to our lives as the main way we access information, so that the more carefully we read [and the more thoroughly we master the art of reading], and the more precisely we garner information from reading, the better work we can do, and the better citizens we can become. Moreover, reading can become a central pleasure of adult life. But to become a good reader, you have to learn to concentrate on language and structure, and the basic patterns of thought, and that‘s what we‘ll do in this class.

Attentive reading and regular attendance are required. There will be five papers, one on each of the books, and a presentation on a nature writer not included on the syallabus.


English 3120: Western World Literature

Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:20;
Dr. Margaret Dupuis

Catalog Description: Study of works selected from the Western literary tradition, excluding those from Great Britain and the U.S.A. Selections may range from biblical literature and great works of Greece and Rome through classics of the Middle Ages and Renaissance to major works of the present. Works will be studied in English.


English 3140: African Literature - Challenges and Solutions to Contemporary Crisis

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 2:00 – 2:50; Brown 3037
Dr. Allen Webb

africamapToday 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 3200: American Literature I

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 – 12:15;
Dr. John Saillant

Survey of American literature from the planting of the colonies to the Civil War. Writings studied include poetry, autobiography, sermons, fiction, essays, and political documents. Student assignments include three essays.


English 3210: American Literature II

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 – 4:45;
Dr. Jon Adams

Description: Exploring authors beginning with late 19th-Century realists through contemporary writers, this course will introduce students to American Literature since 1865 and help them identify, interpret, and/or understand the divergent styles of those responsible for shaping literary arts in 20th-Century America.

Graded assignments include: two essays, 5 reading responses, a comprehensive final, an individual lead for discussion, and in-class exercises on material read for the day.

Required Texts:
Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg, Ohio. Dover, 0486282694
Auster, Paul. Oracle Night. Picador, 0312423667
Erdrich, Louise. Tracks. Harper, 0060972459
Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. Scribners, 0684822768
Jewett, Sarah Orne. The Country of Pointed Firs. Dover, 0486281965
Larsen, Nella. Passing. Dover, 0486437132
Morrison, Toni. Jazz. Vintage, 1400076218
O‘Connor, Flannery. Wise Blood. Farrar, Strauss, 0374505845
Okada, John. No-No Boy. U Wash. Press, 0295955252
Toomer, Jean. Cane. Norton, 0393956008


English 3210: American Literature II

Wednesdays, 6:00 – 8:30;
Dr. Philip Egan

This section of American Literature II will use Volume Two of the Shorter Seventh edition of The Norton Anthology of American Literature (ISBN 9780393930559). We will read a selection of major poets, fiction writers, and playwrights of American literature from the late 19th century to the present, including (but certainly not limited to): Mark Twain, Henry James, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Tennessee Williams. We'll fit in other authors as we can. Students will do lots of short writing, take quizzes, deliver an in-class report, write a longer paper toward the end, and take a final exam.


English 3300: British Literature I

Mondays, 4:00 – 6:20;
Dr. Richard Utz

Students of English Studies should view this class as an admission ticket to the rich tradition of "British" literature from its beginnings in Anglo-Saxon times through the eighteenth century. It offers the kind of broad reading experience in medieval and early modern texts that will help participants develop the necessary skills to read and understand texts written in a variety of past varieties of English. Together, we will read, discuss, and interpret a motley array of texts representative of various periods and genres in the history of "British" literature, explore these texts' coeval cultural contexts, and question our own potential positions -- based on gender, place, race, and ideology, etc. -- toward these texts. Our negotiations of the linguistic, structural, cultural, and poetic alterity and modernity will also serve to empower students to make informed choices from among more narrowly defined courses they might want to take in the future.

Successful completion of this class will depend on completing several substantial writing assignments as well as regular and active class participation. The shorter texts for this class will be available via E-Learning. Students should bring the following four required texts/editions (no others will be accepted in class) to our first class meeting.

Anon., Beowulf, trans. F.B. Gummere (Heritage Cross Classics, 2010).
Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, ed. R.A. Shoaf (Colleagues Press).
William Shakespeare, Henry V, ed. David Bevington and D.S. Kastan (Bantam Classics).
John Gay, The Beggar's Opera and Companion Pieces, ed. C.S. Burgess (Crofts Classics; Harlan Davidson).


English 3300: British Literature I

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:15;
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: The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vols. 1a and 2a, 8th ed.

Assignments: two take-home writing assignments (25% ea.), quizzes (25%), and a final exam(25%).


English 3310: British Literature II

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 – 12:15;
Dr. Jil Larson

This course offers you 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, focusing on writers such as Mary Shelley, William Wordsworth, John Keats, the Brownings, the Brontes, Christina Rossetti, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, William Butler Yeats, and Viriginia Woolf, and exploring both continuities and discontinuities as we make comparison among literary texts published throughout this rich period of literary history.


English 3660: Advanced Fiction Writing

Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:30;
Dr. Jaimy Gordon

Catalog Description: An advanced course in the writing of fiction, with emphasis on class discussion and criticism of each student‘s writing.


English 3670: Advanced Poetry Writing

Tuesdays, 6:30 – 9:00;
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 3690: Writing in the Elementary School

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:50; Brown 3037
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 00 – 1:50; Brown 3045
Dr. Elizabeth Amidon

This course focuses on the writing development of pre-school through middle school children, and on ways one can encourage and respond to student writing, assess writing and writing growth, and use writing as a means of learning. This course also fosters a theoretical understanding of the writing process, in part through writing experiences in varied genres and forms, and emphasizes writing as an integral component of the entire curriculum.


English 3690: Writing in the Elementary School

Tuesdays, 6:30 – 9:50; Brown 3037
Dr. Karen Vocke

Students in English 3690 assume roles of both teacher and writer. We study what research teaches about the needs and interests of K-8 students, identifying the widely varying experiences and interests that individual students bring with them to our classes. In English 3690 we focus on how to teach young students to write and, just as important, how they can use writing to think and to learn. We focus broadly on the writing development of children in pre-school through middle school, especially focusing on strategies that teachers use to (1) encourage and respond to student writing, (2) assess writing growth, (3) link writing and reading, and (4) use writing as a means of learning. This course emphasizes writing as an integral component of the entire curriculum and demonstrates the use of powerful mentor texts for teaching craft, grammar, and vocabulary.


English 3700: Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:20;
Professor Richard Katrovas

This course will be a standard "Iowa"-style writing workshop in which we will explore the range of possibilities for creative nonfiction. Each student will be expected to generate at least three nonfiction texts, and to participate in the critiquing of his or her colleagues' texts. We will also read and discuss masterpieces of the genre. Depending upon whether students have a store of original nonfiction texts as they enter the course, the professor may give assignments.


English 3710: Structures of Modern English

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:50; 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 3720: Development of Modern English

Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:50; Brown 3045
Dr. Lisa Minnick

From the catalog: English 3720 traces the development of modern English from its beginnings to the present, examining historic and linguistic influences on change in spoken and written English. It explores theories of language development, with emphasis on their practical implications.Learning objectives:
Students who complete the course successfully will acquire the following:

  • Language description skills, including proficiency in the International Phonetic Alphabet.
  • Working knowledge of terminology used in the discipline of linguistics.
  • Understanding of the external (social, political, intellectual) influences on language change.
  • Understanding of the internal (linguistic) mechanisms of language change.
  • Awareness of how standard varieties are authorized and institutionalized.
  • Understanding of English as a global lingua franca and the implications of its influence.


English 3770: Language and Learning in Multilingual Classrooms

Thursdays, 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

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:50;
Tuesdays, 5:00 – 8:30;
Dr. 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 Spinelli's Eggs, Nikki Grimes' Bronx Masquerade, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Devil's Arithmetic, I am Mordred, Bruchac's The Code Talker, Paolini's Eragon, and Tuck Everlasting. A variety of handouts of myths, hero tales, and poems will also be provided.


English 3840: Adolescent Literature

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:15;
Dr. Gwen Tarbox

English 3840, Adolescent Literature, focuses on an analysis of literature for adolescents from a variety of critical and culturally diverse perspectives. It emphasizes the adolescent experience as reflected in literature, the history of adolescent literature and media, and the distinguishing features of classical and contemporary works.

Over the course of the semester, students will learn how to conduct research in the field of children‘s and YA literature, will read critical articles and apply critical theory to texts, and will develop presentation and writing skills through a variety of assignments, including traditional in-class exams, a poster presentation, and short essays. Here is a tentative list of required texts:

Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian; Anderson, Feed; Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker; Blume, Forever; Collins, The Hunger Games; Johnson, The First Part Last; Smith,Tantalize; Tamaki and Tamaki, Skim.


English 3840: Adolescent Literature

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9:00 – 9:50;
Dr. Ilana Nash

This course focuses on an analysis of literature for adolescents from a variety of critical and culturally diverse perspectives. It emphasizes the adolescent experience as reflected in literature, the history of adolescent literature and media, and the distinguishing features of classical and contemporary works.


English 4100: Special Topics in Literature - Graphic Novels

Wednesdays, 4:00 – 7:20;
Dr. Gwen Tarbox

Graphic narratives have long enjoyed international popularity; in 2009, one in every five books purchased in France was a graphic novel, and manga magazines and books comprise nearly fifty percent of annual Japanese publishing sales. In the US, the first major graphic novel to gain widespread public acclaim was Art Spiegelman‘s Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, which won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and convinced at least some critics and readers that the medium was not just for child readers.

Currently, we are living through a "golden age" of comics and graphic narrative production, in which works by author-illustrators such as Jeff Smith (Bone) and Ariel Schrag (Potential) adorn museum walls, and the graphic novel sections of Barnes and Noble and independent comics stores are filled with avid readers. Macbeth and Jane Eyre have been rendered into graphic novel form; non-fiction texts, including the 9-11 Commission Report, have enlivened political debate. The challenge for scholars of traditional prose-based literature involves gaining an understanding of the medium, learning the technical vocabulary for analyzing it (for instance, the terms comics, graphic novels, graphic narratives, manga, and sequential art co-exist uncomfortably in scholarly discourse), and developing a set of interpretative stances that take into account the interplay of text/image and the way in which image-only texts convey meaning.

Over the course of the semester, students will develop interpretative skills and learn to write effectively on graphic narratives. Assignments will include a series of short papers, a poster presentation, and a final exam. The reading load will be significant, and the cost of texts may be greater than they would be in a traditional prose-based course.

Here is a list of required texts:

Primary Texts: Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home; Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou (with art by Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna),Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth; Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen; Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis; Art Spiegelman, Maus I: My Father Bleeds History; Shaun Tan, The Arrival; and Jacques Tardi, It Was the War of the Trenches.

Secondary Texts: HeerJeet and Kent Worcester, A Comics Studies Reader; Scott McCloud,Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.


English 4150: Literary Theory and Criticism

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:50;
Dr. Jon Adams

Description (from the Undergraduate Catalog): An introduction to the theory and methods of literary criticism. Readings may be drawn from the history of critical theory or from modern and contemporary schools such as formalism, post-
structuralism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and postcolonial studies, among others. Strongly recommended for all students planning to pursue graduate study.

Graded assignments include: significant, difficult reading; take-home quizzes; summaries of theoretical texts; and, 3 essays, 1 of which will be revised and resubmitted.

Required Texts (please obtain the editions listed):
Barry, Peter: Beginning Theory (3rd ed.) ISBN: 0719079276
Carter, Angela: The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman ISBN: 0140235191
Richter, David H.: The Critical Tradition (3rd ed.) ISBN: 0312415206


English 4400: Studies in Verse

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:50;
Dr. Margaret Dupuis

Catalog Description: A historical and formal study of poetry, emphasizing the development of poetic techniques, major verse forms and styles, and their relation to theories of poetry. Attention shall be paid to the critical and theoretical bases of interpretation.


English 4440: Studies in the Novel

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:50;
Dr. Cynthia Klekar

Catalog Description: This course studies the development and diversity of the novel as a literary form. Emphasis will be on the novel from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Attention shall be paid to the critical and theoretical bases of interpretation. This course is approved as a writing-intensive course which may fulfill the baccalaureate-level writing requirement of students‘ curriculum.


English 4440: Studies in the Novel

Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:50;
Dr. Jil Larson

Studies in the Novel is one of the university’s required baccalaureate writing courses. These courses give you the opportunity to write intensively within your major and, as such, English 4440 is designed to help you hone the skills you have been developing all along in your English courses. It will also offer you in-depth study of a single genre, the novel, as well as subgenres within that larger category. We will read American, British, and international novels that employ a wide variety of narrative techniques and imagine fictional worlds of all sorts. Your writing will allow you to pursue your own particular interests in this literature and share your discoveries and insights with the rest of the class. Although the reading list is still in flux, it is likely to include 18th and early 19th century novels by Daniel Defoe, Mary Shelley, and/or Jane Austen, Victorian novels by Charlotte Bronte, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and/or Robert Louis Stevenson, and 20th and 21st century novels by H.G. Wells, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, Italo Calvino, Jhumpa Lahiri, Margaret Atwood, and/or Kazuo Ishiguro


English 4520: Shakespeare Seminar

Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00 – 11:50;
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 and, if possible, see a Chicago Shakespeare Repertory production of a Shakespeasre play at Navy Pier. 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: The Taming of the ShrewRomeo and JulietTwelfth NightKing JohnKing Lear,PericlesThe Tempest.

Texts: Folger editions, and the Evans edition of The Tempest, have been ordered and are recommended. However, any modern editions which contain line numbers are acceptable.


English 4620: Advanced Writing

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:50; Brown 1045
Dr. Thomas Kent

Catalog Description: Practice in writing articles, essays, biographical and critical prose, with emphasis on development of the student‘s individual style and elimination of obstacles to clear and vital expression.


English 4640: Professional Writing

Wednesdays, 4:00 – 7:20; Brown 1045
Dr. Charlotte Thralls

WMU Catalogue Description: Professional Writing provides practice in developing the forms and techniques of writing, editing, and researching required in business, industry, and government. Students should take this course as their capstone experience in practical writing.

Prerequisite: two writing courses. English 3050 (Practical Writing) recommended.

About the Course: As a capstone to your classes (and experiences) in practical writing, this course is designed to help you move to the next level: either a career as a professional writer or a career that requires a high level of communication competence. The course thus focuses on some of the knowledge and skills you'll need to make this transition.

Through course projects, for example, you will have an opportunity to

1) Develop Professional Quality Projects that Demonstrate Your Communication Experience and Expertise. Here, you will gain experience with communication strategies (for example, adapting information to readers, using print and digital technologies, designing pages and documents, creating visual evidence and displays), important in workplaces and the professions.

2) Learn What It is Like to Do a Writing Project for a Client. Here you'll move beyond writing just for your teachers and get invaluable experience in creating documents for actual organizations.

3) Develop Techniques for Effective Presentation of Your Writing Experience and Competence. Here, you'll learn how to create a professional portfolio--in either digital or print form--that synthesizes and articulates your knowledge and skills as a writer. Students typically report that the portfolio is an invaluable tool in their job searches and applications to graduate or professional schools.


English 4720: Language Variation in American English

Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00 – 11:50; Brown 3037
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

Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 – 1:50; Brown 3045
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

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:50; Brown 3045
Dr. Jonathan Bush

Catalog Description: Focuses on the continued development of student writers in grades 7 to 12, and on ways one can encourage and respond to student writing, assess writing growth, and use writing as a means of learning. Fosters a theoretical understanding of the writing process, in part by writing in varied genres and forms. Emphasizes writing as an integral component of the entire curriculum. For more information, contactJonathan.Bush@wmich.edu.


English 4790: Writing in the Secondary School

Wednesdays, 5:00 – 8:30; Brown 3037
Dr. Ellen Brinkley

Too often in the past, teachers taught writing just as they themselves had been taught. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. English 4790 takes the guess work out of teaching writing and provides a wealth of teaching methods that are grounded in research—integrating writing and literature, linking writing and local communities, writing academic essays, playing with grammar and sentence structure, supporting reluctant writers and diverse learners, composing multigenre and multimedia “texts,” working with student poets, and more. Class requirements include individual research and working collaboratively with classmates to teach key concepts and strategies from a selected text. The final Professional Teaching/Writing Portfolio includes a position paper, a writing-based curricular plan, and a brief individual class presentation. For more information, contact Dr. Ellen Brinkley (387-2581, ellen.brinkley@wmich.edu).


English 4800: Teaching Literature in Secondary Schools

Mondays, 5:00 – 8:20; Brown 3037
Dr. Allen Webb

This section of English 4800 will ground students in traditional approaches to literature pedagogy while simultaneously focusing on reform movements in literature instruction including reader response, cultural studies, and the digital literacy. After the first part of the course led by the instructor, students will take significant responsibility for course leadership as we explore approaches to teaching literature.

For over a generation the reader response movement has generated reform in secondary English teaching. Yet, in confronting a wide range of students, content questions, and social and cultural issues, reader response approaches fall short. Potential answers and new directions for English teaching have emerged under the umbrella of "cultural studies." This course contends that the starting point for curriculum and teaching methodology for teaching literature is addressing what literary works are about, what literary works mean, as well as how they mean, in historical, cultural, political and social contexts including those of the student and the world we live in today.

By focusing on difficult and potentially controversial cultural studies curricular themes during the student-led portion of the course, future teachers will gain understanding of issues involved in teaching literature at the secondary level, see Course Goals. You may also want to review the WMU teacher education Program Goals, which are the basis for the evaluation of intern teaching.

Changes in information technology are offering to extend and reshape the teaching of literature. The inherited cultural archive is now available in digital format on-line and with complementary resources that far exceed what is available in textbooks. A wide range of digital tools and resources for reading, writing, and thinking about literature are now available.

Class will be held in a new, wireless, laptop classroom in Brown Hall specifically designed for English education courses. This room will allow us to integrate technology into literature teaching in a "classroom of the future." Our class will be organized by our on-line syllabus that also serves as an electronic, hyperlinked, textbook.

All students will develop and publish their own teaching website, both a portfolio of work and a real-world working site for future teaching.

A significant portion of the class will be student-led, as we explore the development of response-based, cultural studies literature teaching within the context of NCTE and the State of Michigan standards, content expectations, and model curriculums.
As the capstone experience for English Education majors, this course entails an exciting variety of professional activities and responsibilities. Students are expected to attend a professional English teacher's conference, for example the MCTE sponsored "Bright Ideas Conference" in Lansing on Saturday April 10 or the Michigan Reading Association Conference, in Detroit March 20-22. You should also join NCTE, MCTE, and/or MRA and read regularly the English Journal or Voices from the Middle. The English Companion Ning is a remarkable resource with over 17,000 members.

For further information consult allenwebb.net.


English 4840: Writing in the Secondary School

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00 – 5:50;
Dr. Elizabeth Amidon

Course Description: This course focuses on developing an understanding of American cultural diversity through multicultural oral and written literature for young people. Attention will be paid to developing criteria for selecting and evaluating literature which reflects our multi-cultural heritage, provides positive vicarious experiences, and explores universal values, and to achieving balance in selecting such literature for elementary and middle school classrooms and libraries.

This course fulfills a General Education requirement in Distribution Area III - The United States: Cultures and Issues.

Required Texts: Because this course covers a wide variety of materials that have not been brought together in any one textbook, you are expected to raid area bookstores and libraries for your weekly readings. There is no required text book for this class; we will create our own text.

There will be additional novels required for this class. You will get a specific list as each assignment is given.

Assessment: There will be a series of Short Papers (or homework assignments) to be handed in on the various topics presented during the course of the semester. There will be a major project and a group report. You will have a wide variety of topics and formats for presentation to choose from for these assignments.
Major Project (your choice of a research paper, annotated bibliography, or thematic unit/lesson plans) should be approximately 10-12 pages. You will be encouraged to choose and investigate a topic that appeals to you. The format for presenting your research may be varied.


English 5300: Medieval Literature - The Matter of Troy

Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:20;
Dr. Richard Utz

Few stories in the history of western civilization have engendered as many retellings as the Matter of Troy. In the Middle Ages, creative reference to the narrative elements and characters as well as fully-fledged augmentation of "eye-witness accounts" reached a first peak as poets, historiographers, letter writers, and theologians latched on to the narrative as a perfect venue for their specific rhetorical objectives.

In this course, we will read a selection of texts meant to exemplify the transformation and translation of the Matter of Troy to understand more about medieval authorship, intertextuality, genres, and discourses. Sample texts will come from diverse linguistic traditions, including several French, German, Italian, and Latin selections (all provided in translation). All Medieval English texts will be read in their Middle English versions, and thus some basic knowledge of Middle English is essential. Because the tradition of the Troy story begins in pre-medieval traditions (e.g., Iliad, Aeneid), a considerable amount of non-medieval reading will be expected. Reading assignments for each class meeting will also include selections from literary criticism and theory. In addition to shorter written assignments, the central requirement in this class will be a research paper of at least 15 pages for undergraduates and at least 25 pages for graduate students. Regular and active participation in class discussions as well as well-researched and -presented reports will also contribute to our learning experience.

The majority of texts will be made accessible via E-Learning and the internet. The following paperback books should be purchased and brought to our first class meeting (please do not purchase any other editions of these texts since they will not be acceptable):

[Homer], The Iliad, trans. by Robert Fagles (Penguin, 1998) [Penguin Classics]
Virgil, The Aeneid, trans. by Robert Fitzgerald (Vintage, 1990) [revised edition]
R. K. Gordon, The Story of Troilus (U of Toronto P, 1978) [Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching]
Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, ed. R. A. Shoaf (Colleagues P/Michigan State UP, 2000)
John Lydgate, Troy Book - Selections, ed. R. R. Edwards (Medieval Institute Publications) [TEAMS]
Robert Henryson, The Testament of Cresseid, ed. D. J. Parkinson (Medieval Institute Publications) [TEAMS]


English 5380: Modern Literature

Thursdays, 4:00 – 6:20;
Dr. Todd Kuchta

Literature of the early twentieth century is usually dubbed "modern," a term that has come to mean experimental, self-reflexive, and complex in form and style. Modern writers were long viewed as espousing art for art‘s sake, but they were also deeply engaged with the past, with popular culture, and with the social and political status of their work. This course will examine the range of stylistic innovations heralded by modern writers. We‘ll consider how their literature both reflects and responds to the dramatic cultural and historical changes of the early twentieth century, a period when urban society—with its new media, modes of communication, and forms of transportation—created an increasingly unified and interconnected globe. Such technologies made time speed up and distances shrink, profoundly altering how people perceived and experienced the world around them. This condition is also typically described as "modern," and it inspired new artistic forms and styles that could come to grips with these exciting and sometimes overwhelming changes.

Modern literature is a product of exiles, émigrés, and travelers. While we will focus primarily on writers from the British canon, they represent a broad range of national and international contexts. As critic Terry Eagleton once put it, "the seven most significant writers of twentieth-century English literature have been a Pole, three Americans, two Irishmen and an Englishman." We‘ll focus on most of these authors—Polish-born Joseph Conrad, American expat T.S. Eliot, Irishmen James Joyce and W. B. Yeats, and Englishman D. H. Lawrence. We‘ll also consider works by Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett.

Students will write regular responses, choose between two short essays or one seminar paper, take a final exam, and be expected to participate regularly in discussion. For questions contact Dr. Todd Kuchta at todd.kuchta@wmich.edu.


English 5660: Creative Writing Workshop, Fiction

Tuesdays, 4:00 – 7:30;
Professor Thisbe Nissen

This is a fiction workshop. It‘s about writing fiction. But it‘s also about reading fiction, and learning how to be close and attentive readers and editors—readers who can write and speak thoughtfully and artfully about what they read, and effectively articulate their ideas and critiques.

In the course of the semester students will turn in 2 original pieces of prose fiction for workshop—work they have taken as far as they can on their own, work they‘ve edited and polished as cleanly as possible and on which they are ready to receive feedback. No first drafts. This is an advanced writing class; we‘re not here to correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

This course will involve substantial amounts of reading and writing, both critical and creative. Aside from two workshop stories, one substantial revision is also required. Stories are graded. Peer critiques—line notes and end notes to classmates—are collected weekly and also graded. Class participation is required; we can‘t have an effective workshop without everyone‘s active involvement. In addition to weekly reading assignments of published stories, each student will have to read, on their own, three collections of short stories by three different authors and write a response paper for each book. This is a course for serious, dedicated, hardworking writers and readers.


English 5670: Creative Writing Workshop, Poetry

Mondays, 6:00 – 9:30;
Dr. Nancy Eimers

English 5660 is an upper-level poetry workshop. Something the poet Marvin Bell wrote describes pretty accurately what we‘ll be up to: "Learning to write is a simple process: read something, then write something; read something else, then write something else. And show in your writing what you have read." We‘ll read and discuss 3 volumes of contemporary poetry and look at various poetic models, and every week we‘ll discuss student poems included on a worksheet. An original poem will be due each week, and at least two or three poems during the semester will be written "under the influence" of one of the poets whose work we‘ve been reading.


English 5680: Creative Writing Workshop, Playwriting

Tuesdays, 6:00 – 9:30;
Dr. Steve Feffer

Catalog Description: A workshop and conference course in playwriting, with emphasis on refinement of the individual student’s style and skills. 


English 5970: Studies in English - Truth and Lies: Prose Genres

Mondays, 4:00 – 6:20;
Professor Richard Katrovas

The seminar will explore the philosophical, ethical and stylistic fault lines between prose fiction and prose nonfiction. We will discuss masterpieces in both genres, and generate our own prose texts that will be in response to prompts.


English 5970: Studies in English - Polyamorous Literature

Mondays, 4:00 – 6:20;
Dr. Christopher MacLean-Nagle

The organizing theme for this new course, Polyamorous Literature, is one that will not be familiar to most of us.

Throughout the semester we will leave open the possibilities for coming to terms with – defining, refining, revising – what this broad conceptualization might mean for the study of literature and literary and cultural history, so that the term is elastic enough to provide freedom to imagine new ways to read, while grounding it with some very specific material reading practices and existing critical frameworks. To begin, though, we might describe it briefly as a category of literary works (broadly defined) that attempt both to imagine and to accommodate multiple erotic and affective relations between individuals—polyamorous, rather than simply polygamous. At their most interesting, such works represent these non-monogamous bonds of attachment both in and between characters while exploring the broader implications of such forms of attachment on the world around them. We might call these connections "networked relations," or simply non-binary, or—to follow the famous literary theorist Roland Barthes, who had more than passing interest in the art of cruising—we might see them as embracing the mode of "the amorous plural," a curious formulation we will explore in class. And since monogamy itself, in the compelling analysis of psychologist and essayist Adam Phillips, might be seen as "a kind of moral nexus, a keyhole through which we can spy on our preoccupations" as a culture—and in his estimation, "the only serious philosophical question" ("Preface," Monogamy)—we will have good reason to think about it as a kind of intellectual problem that haunts much of the literary landscape in a wide variety of national traditions and generic contexts.

More simply, we might ask (as our literary and critical works will do): what happens when a person develops multiple attachments of love and desire, especially if they occur simultaneously?

Obvious practical complications are likely to follow, but we will be more interested in what is not obvious. For example, if we do not take for granted that marriage, monogamy, and what some critics call a "starvation economy" (belief that a finite quantity of love is available for everyone, and you‘re in competition for your share) are "natural" states of existence for human beings in all times and places, what else might be out there for us to imagine? Is it possible to imagine an alternate economy of abundance flourishing in its place? Or to create relationships that are structured according to different expectations—of friendship, kinship, or nonromantic partnership? How different might literature—and life, for that matter—look if we consider other, alternate configurations of people, of their bodies and psyches, of their needs and desires, of their material activities in everyday life? What would be the consequences of taking such imagined (and lived) relations seriously, perhaps even as alternative models for society? And to return to the terrain of literary history: what happens to traditional narratives about "the rise of the novel" or "the anxiety of [poetic] influence" when we explore the shifting dynamics of polyamorous relations within and between texts? If we think of promiscuity in very broad terms as "a synonym for creativity" (Dean, Unlimited Intimacy), then what might be made newly visible by promiscuous readings? These will be some of the Big Questions that will hover over our close-reading of the formal and stylistic elements—as well as the themes and historical contexts—of our literary texts.

Students in this class will be expected to come with open, curious, adventuresome, and very hungry minds; to come prepared to contribute something specific to every class meeting; to post regular (weekly or bi-weekly) online responses to our readings; to collaborate with at least one other student on one or two presentations (depending on the size of our class); to write two medium-length essays informed by some additional reading and research exploration of materials not assigned for class; and if time and institutional resources permit, to collaborate with everyone in the class in constructing an online resource for the study of polyamorous literature.

Texts will be diverse, likely drawing from British, French, German, and American traditions, ranging across all the major genres and including visual media as well. Authors/works may include many of the following: (primary texts) Behn, Pope, Davys, Richardson, Cleland, Sterne, Laclos, Sade, Kleist, Austen, Owenson, Shelley, Goethe, Stoker, Barnes, Sartre, Delaney, Miller; (criticism and theory) Easton & Hardy‘s Ethical Slut, Barash & Lipton‘s Myth of Monogamy, Anapol‘s Polyamory in the 21st Century, Phillips‘ Monogamy, and Kipnis‘ Against Love, with possible essays and excerpts by Barthes, Bataille, Beauvoir, Berlant, Bersani, Braunschneider, Craft, Dean, Foucault, Frappier-Mazur, Freeman, Gallop, Halberstam, Klossowski, Roulston, Rubin, Warner, Wennerstrom, and your instructor; (film/TV) Fanny Hill, Dangerous Liaisons, Cruel Intentions, Gothic, Mansfield Park, Elective Affinities, Contempt, Crash, Short Bus, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The L Word, Big Love, True Blood. When possible, we will also coordinate visits (either physical or virtual) of a few guest speakers to illuminate some of the key elements of our course topic.

*Note: please feel free to contact Prof. Nagle with any questions or concerns, and for recent updates to the course as it is under development: christopher.nagle@wmich.edu.


English 5970: Studies in English - Scarlet Letters: Puritanism and Anglo-American Literary Culture

Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:20;
Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn and Dr. Scott Slawinski

This course offers graduate and advanced undergraduate students an opportunity to interrogate and challenge one of the most entrenched institutional boundaries in the discipline of English Studies: the division between British and American national literatures. We will read alongside each other texts that are traditionally taught in separate courses: the travel narratives, poetry, sermons, novels, autobiographies and other kinds of writing that Puritans on both side of the Atlantic produced. The course will be team-taught by specialists in both British and American seventeenth-century literature, and will focus on questions such as: What new and emerging genres were available to and developed by the Puritans? To what extent did they see themselves as participating in a literary tradition? What was the shared spiritual experience of English and early American Puritans? How did their practices and institutions differ? How did these experiences inform their writing? How did America‘s status as a colony affect its literary culture? In what ways did literary influence pass in both directions across the Atlantic? How was the rise of female literacy and authorship in the seventeenth century linked with the Puritan cause?

This course will be engaging not only to students of translatlantic culture but also to those interested in religion and literature, travel literature, lyric and narrative poetry, origins of the novel, gender studies, and postcolonial studies. Primary texts will include (but are not limited to) the captivity narratives of Mary Rowlandson and others; Robinson CrusoeParadise Lost, the devotional lyrics of Edward Taylor, and sermons and spiritual autobiographies from both sides of the Atlantic. In addition, we will look at some literary responses to the Puritans by their contemporaries. We will also engage with critical literature on Puritan texts and traditions, with the aim of familiarizing students with professional scholarly research and academic writing conventions. Course requirements will include a researched seminar paper (10-15 pages for undergraduate students, 20-30 for graduate students), shorter pieces of writing, an in-class presentation (10-minute presentation on a critical topic for undergraduates, 30 minutes leading class discussion on a critical topic for graduate students), and regular and substantive participation in class discussions.


English 5970: Studies in English - Style, Identification, and Persona in Professional Writing

Mondays, 4:00-6:20; Brown 1045
Dr. Brian Gogan

When you design documents and interfaces, you are making rhetorical decisions. Put simply, design impacts the effectiveness of a given text. This course considers design decisions in terms of the rhetorical concepts of style, identification, and persona. We will develop our own understandings of these three rhetorical concepts by reading across rhetorical studies scholarship, trade handbooks, and corporate manuals. We will also conduct empirical research on style, identification, and persona in professional settings. Finally, we will address a situated need (either your own need or a community partner’s need) by composing a professional persona profile, an identity package, and a style guide.

During this course, you will:

  • Apply theories of rhetoric, writing, and design to professional communication
  • Compose a style guide, identity package, and professional persona profile to meet a situated need
  • Assess the effectiveness of your compositions through user research



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