Undergraduate Course Listings - Spring 2014

Undergraduate Course Listings - Spring 2014

Undergraduate Course Listings - Spring 2014

Courses with multiple sections are only listed once. ENGL 3840: Adolescent Literature
ENGL 2100: Film Interpretation ENGL 4060: Topics in Textual Production - Proposals and Pitches
ENGL 2110: Folklore and Mythology ENGL 4080: Topics in Rhetoric and Writing
ENGL 2230: African-American Literature ENGL 4100: Special Topics in Literature - Holy Road Trips
ENGL 2520: Shakespeare ENGL 4150: Literary Theory and Criticism
ENGL 2660: Writing Fiction and Poetry ENGL 4160: Women in Literature
ENGL 3050: Introduction to Professional Writing ENGL 4400: Studies in Verse
ENGL 3060: Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture ENGL 4420: Studies in Drama
ENGL 3120: Western World Literature ENGL 4440: Studies in the Novel
ENGL 3140: African Literature ENGL 4720: Language Variation in American English
ENGL 3200: American Literature I ENGL 4800: Teaching Literature in Secondary Schools
ENGL 3210: American Literature II ENGL 5220: Faulkner and the Southern Tradition
ENGL 3310: British Literature II ENGL 5550: Dante and Late Medieval Culture
ENGL 3660: Advanced Fiction Writing ENGL 5660: Creative Writing Workshop - Fiction
ENGL 3680: Playwriting ENGL 5670: Creative Writing Workshop - Poetry
ENGL 3700: Writing Creative Non-Fiction ENGL 5770: Advanced Readings in Old Norse
ENGL 3710: Structures of Modern English ENGL 5970: Introduction to Comic Studies
ENGL 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader ENGL 5970: Literary Forms - Fiction

 

English 2100: Film Interpretation

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 2:50; Knaus 3502
Tuesdays and Thursday, 10:00 – 12:20; Brown 1028
Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00 – 12:20; Brown 1028
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 Kane, Election, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Boogie Nights, Grand Illusion, Nosferatu, The Hours, Mildred Pierce, Rear Window, Vertigo, Higher Learning, and Rebel Without a Cause.

 

English 2110: Folklore and Mythology

CRN: 14000
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:40; Brown 4010
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 2230: African-American Literature

CRN: 11698
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:40; Brown 1048
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

CRN: 11697
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00 – 5:40; Dunbar 3203
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: 11700
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:40; Brown 3003
Dr. Grace Tiffany

This class is an introduction to the college-level study of Shakespeare, and is classified as a general education class. In it we will discuss and see portions, on video, of six of Shakespeare’s plays, and read a few of his sonnets. While we will treat the plays as works designed for performance, careful reading of their dialogue will be necessary in order for them to be understood, and so we will go slowly. Some historical background of the age of Shakespeare will be provided throughout to enhance understanding of the plays. In addition to the reading, assignments include six in class short-essay tests (worth 10% each of final grade), a final exam (worth 20% of final grade), and class participation in the form of attendance, attentive listening, and discussion (20%).

The final exam is optional and, if taken, guaranteed either to raise or, at worst, not to hurt your grade. (If it threatens to lower your grade the final exam grade will be dropped.) If students want their grades to be averaged from their class participation and six earlier test grades and to skip the final, that is permissible.

Extra credit (one project) is possible in exchange for a presentation, a memorized speech from Shakespeare, a written review of a Renaissance drama performance, or a dramatic performance done for the class. Students are responsible for designing and proposing such extra-credit projects.

Plays to be read: Much Ado about Nothing, Measure for Measure, Richard II, Julius Caesar, Othello, Pericles. Suggested editions are the Folger editions in the bookstore. Suitable editions, for those who already have the plays: Any modern, print (not on-line) editions that contain line numbers and do not contain paraphrases of the original language in contemporary English.

Please note: no use of laptops, I-pads, or I-phones in this class.

 

English 2520: Shakespeare

CRN: 11600
Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 – 1:40; Brown 4025
Dr. Margaret Dupuis

See course catalog or contact instructor.

 

English 2660: Writing Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry

CRN: 16141
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 - 3:40 p.m.
Professor Richard Katrovas

We will explore the three major genres relative to one another. We will read and discuss masterpieces in each genre, and students will write poems and prose narratives, fictional and nonfictional (and combinations thereof), in response to prompts and detailed assignments. We will critique one another’s efforts in a “workshop” setting. All student work will be regarded as work in progress. Students will become better editor of their own writing and the writing of others.

English 3050: Introduction to Professional Writing

CRN: 11705
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:40; Brown 1045
Dr. Thomas Kent

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 3050: Introduction to Professional Writing

CRN: 11706
Mondays, 5:30 – 8:50; 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 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: 14002
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:30 – 4:45; Brown 1045
Dr. Brian Gogan

Rhetoric is the study of the various signs and symbols that make human communication possible. In this course, we’ll investigate rhetoric’s relationship to communication by practicing several different methods of rhetorical criticism. We’ll use these methods of criticism to see how rhetoric gives significance, meaning, and value to day-to-day practices in consumer, corporate, organizational, and popular culture. We’ll consider what particular methods give rhetoric and, conversely, what rhetoric gives particular methods. In the process, you’ll better understand and appreciate human communication in a way that provides you with knowledge about your own communication practices.

During this course, you will:

  • Define rhetoric in multiple ways, according to multiple critical perspectives
  • Apply methods of rhetorical criticism to a variety of texts, objects, and events
  • Conduct research on rhetoric in a variety of contexts and cultures
  • Synthesize and evaluate your research activities in writing

 

English 3060: Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture

CRN: 14278
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 – 1:45; Brown 1045
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 3120: Western World Literature

CRN: 11707
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:30; Brown 4035
Professor Judith Rypma

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: 15274
Online
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 3140: African Literature

CRN: 13510
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:15; Brown 4045
Dr. Mustafa Mirzeler

In this course, I invite students to enter the imaginary world of the African storytellers to understand their magic, a magic that enables these storytellers to confront pain and suffering. In the desiccated world of these storytellers, what saves society is the myth introduced into everyday lives. To read these stories and novels is to understand our common humanity and deep affinity with people who live in completely different places and speak different languages. In this course we will explore the source of our affinity with the people who live in the disparate parts of Africa. In reading the accounts of their magical worlds and what happens in them, students will experience the magical truth of storytelling as well as the magic of the words. The great storytellers, writers and poets in Africa make good use of the magic that permeates words to contribute to the modern novel by adapting their narrative techniques in a new language. In every age Africa has produced its 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. These storytellers use the magic world and the word to inform and enrich our humanity.

 

English 3200: American Literature I

CRN: 11708
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 – 12:15; Brown 3048
CRN: 13344
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:15; Brown 4037
Dr. Daneen Wardrop

In English 3200, we will encounter a variety of American literatures of different genres.  Our readings will include works such as the Native American tale, Puritan poem, slave narrative, gothic tale, Transcendentalist essay, frontier humor, nurse narrative, and many others.  Some of the authors whose works we investigate will be the following:  Cabeza de Vaca, Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Harriet Jacobs, and Emily Dickinson.  Our objective will be to read American literature from beginnings up to the Civil War, aiming for both coverage and acute comprehension.  Because the course is a survey course our readings will be fast and furious but not, it is to be hoped, without depth.  Requirements include spirited class participation, group presentation, responsible reading, essay writing, mid-term and final examinations.

 

English 3210: American Literature II

CRN: 13001
Fridays, 2:00 – 4:30; Brown 3010
Dr. Scott Slawinski

This course covers the period from the end of the Civil War to the present time. Class participants will be reading such authors as Twain, James, Freeman, Chesnutt, T. S. Eliot, Stevens, Moore, Hemingway, Sexton, Baldwin, Bishop, and others. A substantial portion of the course will include fiction and poetry, but we will also look at other forms of expression such as autobiographies, essays, and perhaps even a play. We will examine the issues these authors addressed in their writings, from racism to stifling social conventions to gender stereotypes, and we will interrogate their aesthetic methods for conveying their conclusions about American life.

At minimum, class assignments will likely include two long essays, a final examination, and frequent reading quizzes.

Text: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, vols C, D, and E (Norton, 8th edition)

 

English 3210: American Literature II

CRN: 14003
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:30; Brown 4037
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.

Texts:

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

 

English 3310: British Literature II

CRN: 13112
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:15; Brown 3037
Dr. Todd Kuchta

This course will survey British literature of the past two centuries. The era can be divided into three distinct periods: Romantic, Victorian, and Modern. Writers of the Romantic period (1790s to 1830s) were inspired by dramatic social change in the American and French revolutions, and sought to revolutionize literature by adopting what poet William Wordsworth called the “language really used by men.” The Victorian era, named for the Queen who ruled Britain from 1837 to 1901, was also revolutionary, even though it has become synonymous with tradition and repression. Advances in science, industry, and trade made Victorian Britain the most powerful nation on earth, but writers and artists also lamented its staggering poverty, declining morals, and increasing sense of uncertainty. This uncertainty came to a head in the twentieth century with a host of changes—the rise of cities, shifts in gender dynamics, the psychological devastation of two world wars, and the steady decline of Britain’s empire. These changes led “modernist” writers to experiment with radical new methods for understanding the world.

As this overview suggests, we will consider how Romantic, Victorian, and Modern writers both reflect and respond to historical and cultural concerns of their particular period. To make these concerns apparent, I will organize readings for each class session around a particular issue. We will explore these issues as they manifest themselves—in terms of both theme and form—in some of the most well-known, influential, and mystifying literary works of the past two hundred years.

Students will likely write regular responses and two essays, as well as take a mid-term and final exam.

 

English 3310: British Literature II

CRN: 11710
Tuesdays, 5:30 – 8:00; Brown 3002
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 3660: Advanced Fiction Writing

CRN: 11712
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 3045
Professor Thisbe Nissen

Immersion in the genre of fiction. Students are challenged to explore multiple avenues of entry into writing prose fiction, and to read widely, extensively, and closely within the genre. This course involves substantial amounts of reading and writing, both critical and creative.

 

English 3680: Playwriting

CRN: 11608
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 – 1:45; Brown 2045
Dr. Steve Feffer

See course catalog or contact instructor.

 

English 3700: Writing Creative Non-Fiction

CRN: 12644
Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:30
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. Assuming that few students will have a store of personal essays and nonfiction narratives, the professor will give assignments.

 

English 3710: Structures of Modern English

CRN: 12543
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 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader

CRN: 11642
Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 – 1:40; Brown 4017
CRN: 13113
Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:40; Brown 4017
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'sEggs, 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 3830: Literature for the Intermediate Reader

CRN: 12833
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 – 3:40; Brown 4035
Ms. Catherine Bailey

Using Carrie Hintz and Eric L. Tribunella's Reading Children's Literature: A Critical Introduction as a guide, we will examine young adult literature designed for grades 4-8 from a variety of angles, taking into account gender, sexuality, race, social class, culture, and more. Examining works both old and new, we will study the ways in which the child is portrayed across fiction, poetry, comics, and film. Primary texts include Anne of Green Gables, A Maze Me, The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen, American Born Chinese, Number the Stars, Un Lun Dun, Boy Meets Boy, and The Giver.

 

English 3840: Adolescent Literature

CRN: 12245
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 – 10:45; Kohrman2256
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 texts.

Students will write a short essay, take a mid-term and a final exam, and engage in discussion of texts, both in class and online. Students will watch documentaries and films, and they will read a number of primary texts.

Here is a copy of the text list:

Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Anderson, Feed
Blume, Forever
Collins, The Hunger Games
Brosgol, Anya’s Ghost
Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Green and Levithan, Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Johnson, The First Part Last
Rosoff, How I live Now
Roth, Divergent
Rowell, Eleanor and Park

 

English 4060: Topics in Textual Production - Proposals and Pitches: Grant Writing for Professionals

CRN: 14018
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:15; Brown 1045
Dr. Brian Gogan

Convincing stakeholders to support you—to accept one of your ideas, to fund one of your projects, or to contribute to your organization—proves an invaluable skill in today’s workplace. Grant proposals and project pitches are two genres that shoulder much of this persuasive work and, in this course, you’ll study and produce both. In particular, you will:

  • Examine the motivation behind giving
  • Practice crafting conventional parts of a grant proposal and a project pitch
  • Identify funding opportunities and stakeholder needs by conducting research
  • Produce a complete grant proposal and project pitch for a community organization

In addition to reading and evaluating actual grant proposals and project pitches, you will also read selections from Aristotle, Andrew Carnegie, Phoebe Hearst, Bill Gates, Serge-Christophe Kolm, and a proposal writing textbook (to be determined). You’ll write a short analytical paper, compose formal evaluations of actual proposals and pitches, complete a case study, and work with a team to produce a grant and pitch for an actual organization.

 

English 4080: Topics in Rhetoric and Writing

CRN: 15473
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 – 12:15; Brown 4025
Dr. Staci Perryman-Clark

This writing intensive course examines the contributions from scholars working in various subfields and specializations in the field of rhetoric and writing studies, with an emphasis on the relationship of composition and/or rhetorical discourse to critical theory. More specifically, this course will draw from the contributions of African American women scholars in the field of rhetoric and writing studies as lenses for investigating the theoretical work that African American women do in the academy. 

 

English 4100: Special Topics in Literature - Holy Road Trips

CRN: 15475
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:40; Brown Kohrman 2248
Dr. Grace Tiffany and Dr. Eve Salisbury

From Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, pilgrimage – the “holy road trip” – has inspired millions of literal and armchair travelers. Pilgrimages have included both imaginary peregrinations and real journeys to sacred places like Compostela, Canterbury, Rome, Jerusalem, Mecca, Native American shrines, and even Elvis’s Graceland. Such trips have been prompted by a mixture of motives, including restlessness, pleasure-seeking, curiosity, greed, and religious obligation. Yet each real or imaginary journey has in some way expressed the spiritual yearning of the traveler. This course looks at many types of pilgrimage, both literal and literary, visual and lyrical, in the Middle Ages, the early modern period, and twentieth- and twenty-first century America. We will explore the ways in which both secular and spiritual impulses define the purpose and meaning of the holy road trip.

Required texts: Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (possibly excerpts),Shakespeare’sPericles, N. Scott Momaday’sThe Way to Rainy Mountain, Jonathan Krakauer’sInto the Wild, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Supplemental literary and other cultural materials will be provided by the instructors.

Assignments: Pilgrim’s journal/project (ongoing – or going on -- 40% ), one 8-10-page paper (30%), class participation (30% -- including film and final class pilgrimage).

 

English 4150: Literary Theory and Criticism

CRN: 11646
Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:40; Brown 4025
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 4160: Women in Literature

CRN: 13511
Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:40; Brown 4025
Dr. Christopher Nagle

See course catalog or contact instructor.

 

English 4400: Studies in Verse

CRN: 11654
Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00 – 11:40; Trimpe 1310
Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn

This course is an intensive study of poetry (narrative and lyric) with an emphasis on formalism. Regular attendance and completion of all reading assignments are expected. Students will take online reading quizzes before each class period. Class time will consist mainly of discussion. Class participation will be self-graded according to goals set by individual students. The main writing project will be a long (20 pp.) analytical paper. Students will work toward this project throughout the semester, with shorter writing exercises contributing to it. The primary texts will be:

Louise Glück, The Wild Iris
George Herbert, The Temple
John Milton, Paradise Lost
Ronald Johnson, RadiOs
Derek Walcott, Omeros
Elizabeth Bishop, Geography III
Anne Carson,  Autobiography of Red
Lyn Hejinian, My Life

Some critical and theoretical essays will also be assigned.

 

English 4420: Studies in Drama

CRN: 13345
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00 – 5:40; Dunbar 3205
Dr. Steve Feffer

See course catalog or contact instructor.

 

English 4440: Studies in the Novel

CRN: 11656
Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 – 1:40; Brown 4030
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, ENGL 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 Thomas Hardy, and 20th and 21st century novels by Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, Italo Calvino, Jhumpa Lahiri, Margaret Atwood, and/or Kazuo Ishiguro.

 

English 4720: Language Variation in American English

CRN: 11672
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 4800: Teaching Literature in Secondary Schools

CRN: 11676
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:40; Brown 3045
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 5220: Studies in American Literature - Faulkner and the Southern Tradition

CRN: 13114
Mondays, 6:30 – 9:00; Brown 2037
Dr. Philip Egan

The course will treat works in the major strands of humor and fiction upon which William Faulkner drew as well as several of his own major works.  Students will do reports, short writing assignments, critical papers, and a major research paper.

 

English 5550: Studies in Major Writers - Dante and Late Medieval Culture

CRN: 15474
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 3030
Dr. Eve Salisbury

In this course we study the development of Dante’s poetic style and form, his innovations in vernacular poetry, and the making of a distinctive and influential poetic corpus. We will look at Dante’s interpretive methodologies, his construction of poetic authority, as well as the social, political, theological, philosophical, and literary traditions informing his work. By beginning with La Vita Nuova, the poet’s theory of interpretation and language use as outlined in his Letter to Can Grande, Convivio, and De Vulgari Eloquentia, and moving through the three canticles comprising the Commedia, we will be brought to an appreciation of Dante’s thought, the relationship of his life to his art, and the cultural forces and creative energy compelling it all. Featured also will be a number of illustrations from the works of William Blake, Sandro Botticelli, Gustav Doré, and others.

 

English 5660: Creative Writing Workshop—Fiction - The Prose Experiment: An Advanced Fiction Writing Class. 

CRN: 12409
Thursdays, 4:00 – 7:30; Brown 2037
Professor Nelly Reifler

In this class, we will explore the use of various structures and constraints to build compelling, surprising works of fiction.  Students will work with writing assignments, play writing games, and do in-class exercises to generate stories.  Each student will also design a writing constraint of his or her own.  Well talk about using lists, footnotes, erasures, numbering, and omissions, as well as playing with verb mood and unexpected points of view, and any other formulae that can help us find our ways into our imaginations. We’ll read published fiction—historical and contemporary--that was created using such techniques, and we’ll discuss some theory around the writing process.

 

English 5670: Creative Writing Workshop—Poetry

CRN: 13514
Mondays, 4:00 – 7:30; Brown 4010
Dr. William Olsen

This class involves extensive criticism of student poems, in a traditional workshop environment.

The workshop will also serve as a forum for discussions of aesthetics. Students may be encouraged to work with models, and the class will involve the reading and discussion of at least three books of contemporary poetry.

 

English 5770: Advanced Readings in Old Norse

CRN: 15342
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:30; Brown 4048
Dr. Jana Schulman

See course catalog or contact instructor.

 

English 5970: Studies in English - Introduction to Comic Studies

CRN: 15341
Tuesdays, 4:00 – 6:20; Brown 4045
Dr. Gwen Tarbox

Currently, we are living through a golden age of comics production, in which works by author-illustrators such as Jeff Smith (Bone) and Ariel Schrag (Potential) adorn museum walls, and independent comics stores are filled with avid readers. The challenge for scholars of traditional prose-based literature involves gaining an understanding of the comics 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 about comics. Assignments will include a series of short papers, a poster presentation, and a final exam. The cost of texts may be greater than they would be in a traditional prose-based course (appx. $190 for all new books). However, some of the additional comics we will read are available online, free of charge, and some critical essays will be read online, as well. Here is a list of required texts for purchase:

Primary Texts:

Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon, Daytripper
Daniel Clowes, Ghost World
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen
Joe Sacco, Journalism
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Vol. I)
Art Spiegelman, Maus I: My Father Bleeds History
Shaun Tan, The Arrival
Gene Luen Yang, Sinners and Saints Boxed Set
Chris Ware, Building Stories (Note: this comic comes in a large box that weighs about 6 lbs) 

Secondary Texts:

Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.

 

English 5970: Studies in English - Literary Forms—Fiction

CRN: 15898
Fridays, 2:00 – 4:30; Brown 3037
Professor Thisbe Nissen

Short-short stories: a course on the form. We’ll read a broad spectrum of flash, micro, sudden, mini, nano, quick and hint fiction, as well as theory of the form. Generative prompts and exercises will be developed into texts for workshop.

 

 

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