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Fall 2014

Dear Students,

Verify course selections in YES to see the complete selection of course dates and times.

You will need to meet with you adviser IN PERSON before your registration appointment window at which time your adviser will release an electronic academic hold on your account so that you can register. Please email your adviser for an appointment. The name of your adviser as well as the time of your registration appointment window is listed on your YES landing page.

Instructors, sections, and topics for 100-level writing courses are subject to change after Course Request Period, depending on enrollments.

Admittance to Honors sections and 200-level Creative Writing workshops are subject to instructor approval.
See individual course listings for specific instructions.

Note: The descriptions that appear below for Fall 2014 are grouped by course. If you do not find your section number, it means that that instructor has not yet provided a description.  The webmaster will make every effort to continually update this page, so please check back often.    


If you are making selections to fulfill requirements for the old major 

These courses meet the pre-eighteen hundred literature major and minor requirement: 
These courses meet the ethnic/non-western       literature major and minor requirement:
ENGL 208A.01 ENGL 242w.01
ENGL 208A.02 ENGL 263.01
ENGL 210.01 ENGL 263.02
ENGL 214a.01 ENGL 271.01
ENGL 219.01 ENGL 275.01
ENGL 220.01 ENGL 279.01
ENGL 236W.01 ENGL 288.01
ENGL 250.01  
ENGL 252A  

  If you are making selections to fulfill requirements for the new major  (for which you will be able to declare in fall 2014)

These courses meet the history literature major and minor requirement:                
These courses meet the diverse perspectives literature major and minor requirement:
ENGL 208A.01 ENGL 242w.01
ENGL 208A.02 ENGL 263.01
ENGL 210.01 ENGL 263.02
ENGL 214a.01 ENGL 271.01
ENGL 219.01 ENGL 275.01
ENGL 220.01 ENGL 279.01
ENGL 236W.01 ENGL 288.01
ENGL 250.01  
ENGL 252A  
These courses meet the approaches major and minor requirement:                                                                                              
ENGL 214a.01  
ENGL 242w.01  
ENGL 243  
ENGL 245  
ENGL 259  
ENGL 268  


Fall 2014 100-level English Courses:


ENGL 100: Composition

.01 MWF 910-1000 A. Castro

.02 MWF 1210-100L. Mensah

.03 MWF 110-200 R. Boutelle

.04 MWF 110-200 P. Samuel

.05 MWF 210-300 J. Bagneris

.06 TR 230-350


102W: Literature and Analytical Thinking

.01 MWF 910-1000 J. Jordan

A IS FOR AFRICA!: This course is guided by two central questions: first, how can we critically study representations of Africa in various genres of cultural production? Second, how do we explain the relationship between representations of Africa, by Africans and non-Africans, and lived realities? To address these questions, we will familiarize ourselves with African histories as well as theories of representation. Through an exploration of selected themes that include—but are not limited to-decolonization, language, health, politics, sexuality, religion and genocide, we will attend to a host of ideas and images that seem to “stick” to Africa, as well as unpack a variety of discourses about “the African.”

Our primary sites of inquiry and comparison will be the novel, the film and the play, in tandem with the newspaper. Some fictive works include Ama Ata Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy, Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs, Wole Soyinka’s Selected Poems and Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy. In addition, we shall consult African newspapers like Ghana’s The Chronicle, South Africa’s Mail & Guardian, and Kenya’s Daily Nation; some non-African newspapers include England’s The Guardian and America’s The New York Times.

.02 MWF 910-1000 A. Lehr

 Literatures of Madness:How do we know “madness” when we see it? What makes a character or an author appear mad? In this course, we will explore how different genres, including fiction, film, and music, represent unusual minds and mental illness across the centuries. Texts range from John Webster’s eerie revenge tragedy The Duchess of Malfi to the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe to Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to the 2007 film Lars and the Real Girl. Through our readings and writing projects, we will trouble easy definitions of madness and examine the thin lines between genius and pathology, and between sanity and insanity.

.03 MWF 10:10-11:00 K. Mendoza

Resistance and Power of the Will : How do you conform to societal expectations while maintaining your individuality? Is it possible to resist without showing an outright defiance? Through a global comparative study spanning four hundred years, we will examine the intersections of race, class, and gender as constructed tools used to perpetuate systems of power. These same tools, such as the education system of which you are a part, have dual histories of subjugating others while also being harnessed by the marginalized to form coalitions across difference, to mobilize, and to resist. In our readings and discussions, we will critically analyze how the media portrays resistance and how various intellectuals and artists frame their struggles through the human body. By the end of the semester, students will achieve an introductory insight into the ways social movements cohere, succeed, and fall apart.  Readings will include novels such as The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, plays by William Shakespeare and  Aimé Césaire , poetry, films, documentaries, and various theoretical works.

.04 MWF 1010-1100 J. Phelan

Reading in an Age of Attention Deficit: The deep integration of the Internet with the everyday has changed the habits of mind we bring to reading literature. Divided attention is the default setting for our rewired brains, and we've learned to thrive on distraction. We're everywhere at once, our minds are always wandering, and our ability to make it work for us is a kind of superpower. But attending to something that seems to demand total concentration—a complicated problem, say, or a difficult poem—can feel like biking uphill, into the wind. We've never had less stamina for it.

In this course, we will consider how habits of attention affect the ways we live and read. We will study poetry, fiction, essays, movies, comics, websites, and media art; think about the demands different genres and particular works make on our attention; see what literature from several periods might have to tell us about our present state of distraction; and experiment with different methods of reading and looking.

.05 MWF 910-1000 S. Strong

.06 MWF 1010-1100 W. Smeele

Beyond the Laboratory: Experimental Science and Medicine in Literature: What happens when our experiments leave the laboratory? How does literature’s treatment of science and medicine reimagine the category of the “human”? How are medical and scientific advances incorporated into the cultural consciousness? This course will consider how literature manages scientific and medical experimentation within and beyond the space of the laboratory. By coupling non-literary texts and critical articles with fiction, we will trace the dialogue between science and medicine, and literature. This course will be structured by topics such as the ethics of medical experimentation, especially through vivisection and human experimentation during the Third Reich, cultural constructions of “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” bodies, and the category of the human as it becomes complicated by technologies. Through our readings, we will consider the implications of the merging of the humanities and the sciences, and work towards an understanding of what constitutes an “appropriate” space for experimentation. Readings will include Frankenstein, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Oryx and Crake, short works of fiction by Poe and Hawthorne, poetry, theory, and various historical texts.

.07 MWF 1100-1200 K. Navarro

.08 MWF 1210-100 

.09 MWF 1210-100

The Way I See It: Subjective Narratives: Some of the most compelling literature is told through very subjective voices.  These speakers and narrators see the events of the story and the world around them in a very particular way, and sometimes their accounts are not to be trusted.  In this course, we will examine works of literature that employ hyper-subjective or “unreliable” speakers and narrators, including works by Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Denis Johnson, Louise Erdrich and Tim O’Brien. We will discuss how the authors’ narrative choices shape the story, and what these works have to say about language, subjectivity, memory, history, and the act of storytelling in a larger sense.

Through close reading and analysis of select poems, short stories, essays and novels, we will learn to think critically and creatively about literature in order to generate thoughtful discussions.  This course will focus on building your critical thinking skills and your writing skills.  During the course of the semester, you will write three essays that demonstrate your ability to form meaningful and persuasive arguments using text evidence while synthesizing ideas you find most compelling.  

.10 TR 810-925 D. Armstrong

Borrowed Time and Stolen Moments: In the course of our busy day-to-day lives, we often hear talk about “managing our time,” or “buying a little bit more time.” Such common figures of speech suggest that “time is money,” as Benjamin Franklin so famously said, and that it can be exchanged, made equivalent, and traded in the marketplace. This course will look to literary figures who live according to the tick of a different watch, so to speak: characters who steal time, for instance, or ignore it, or accelerate it, or hoard it.  Drawing from various genres and reaching across different historical periods—from Renaissance sonnets and drama to postmodern novels—we will explore how literature can give us different, if not new, ways to think and talk about our own time.

The course will teach close reading as a method of analysis and encourage students to extend this method beyond literary study to other disciplines, asking them to think carefully about how language creates or contributes to certain experiences of and attitudes toward time in their own fields of interest. Discussion of texts and of student writing on course blogs will occupy most of our class sessions, but we will also devote some time in class to the formulation of literary arguments and the writing and revision of literary analysis papers. Outside of class, students will work toward writing goals by crafting three literary analysis papers, and in-class sessions will include peer review and several one-on-one paper conferences with the instructor.

.11 TR 810-925 R. Averin

Neoliberal Economies, the Myth of Post-Raciality, and Apocalyptic Thinking.This course will challenge you to link the genre of apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction with recent scholarly and activist discourse confronting neoliberal capitalism and the fallacy of post-race. Beyond extensive discussion regarding the meaning and various available interpretations of these terms, we will discuss how neoliberalism, apocalypse, and post-racial discourse converge in a number of fictional texts as we read a number of scholarly texts for historical context and commentary on the development of neoliberalism alongside contemporary racial inequality. Some of the questions upon which we will meditate over the course of the semester are: To what extent does neoliberal capitalism necessitate the fallacy of post-race to justify chosen means and chosen ends? Why do so many authors imagine violent, wholesale, apocalyptic ends to the negative aspects of neoliberalism, racism, sexism, and other oppressions? Does apocalypse do away with racism, unearthing a truly post-racial world, or do authors describing apocalyptic situations and their aftermaths intend to signify the magnification rather than the obliteration of oppression after the end? We will be reading (and watching) work by artists and scholars such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Kurt Vonnegut, Stanley Kubrick, Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Margaret Atwood, and Benh Zeitlin, among others.

   During this course you will: be prompted to make connections between literary analysis and the world around you by reading fiction and non-fiction side-by-side; critically think while close-reading in order to deepen analyses and challenge preconceptions; think outside the proverbial box; learn to formulate a strong thesis statement in support of your assertions, whether in response papers, in class, or in your formal papers.

.12 TR 935-1050 S. Johnson

Inquiry into Crime and Criminality in Modernity:This course uses space as an organizing principle for investigating the ways in which criminals and crime are imagined, narrated, and represented in modern cultures. The texts examined will range between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, and will be primarily engaged with the problem of composing narratives of the past through the structures of truth, evidence, judicial procedure, and verdicts. The three “locations” of investigation will engage with the spaces where crime and criminality appear to be grafted into the conceptions of daily living and experience. The first unit will explore two emblematic locations of alienation, incarceration, and crime: the U.S. prison-system and a First Nations reservation, and we will explore how circumscribed geographies frame the movements of bodies – particularly racialized and gendered bodies – through accounts of crime. Our second unit will move from accounts of crime in carceral settings to accounts of crime in urban spaces. We will investigate the particular significance of the city in contributing to a modern conception of crime and criminal spaces. In our final unit, we will move from accounts of crime to accounts of truth – and how “truth” is framed within certain religious discourses, legal registers, and instantiated within court scenes. Through our readings, we will question the production of “truth” within these bewildering, uncanny discursive geographies.

.13 TR 930-1050 C. Land

Matters of Life and Death: Crisis of Being in Speculative Fiction: What exactly is “a matter of life or death?” Usually the phrase describes a situation with dire consequences or importance for which the result is irrevocable and the possibilities dichotomous. (Like the impending doom of one’s entire social life forever.) This could mean the continuation or end of one or many biological lives, but it can also apply to other kinds of crises in which disaster (of any size) teeters on the brink of a fundamental decision. In this course, we will explore this type of crisis, ranging from the annihilation of the human race to one man’s crusade to get back his girlfriend or die trying. Also to be considered: what do we mean by “life” and “death” as broad categories, and what are some of the ways that those states of being take on non-literal meanings? Or, to put it another way, what are we really worried about when we say that something is “a matter of life or death?”

We will explore these questions and others over the course of the semester using works of literature in the following categories: novels, film, TV, comics, short stories, and poetry. Using these works and the constellation of themes surrounding our topic, we will develop skills in critical reading and writing by practicing textual analysis, close-reading, critical thinking, coherent argument based on textual evidence, and revision, producing at least three essays over the course of the semester. Some possible works include: Octavia Butler’s Dawn, Neil Gaiman’s Preludes and NocturnesLittle Miss Sunshine, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s GameThe Great GatsbyThe Matrix, and Atwood's Oryx and Crake.

.14 MWF 1110-1200 J. Krause

.15 TR 810-925 T. McInnis
Behind Bars: The US Prison Industrial Complex:What purpose do prisons serve? For whom? Can we imagine the US without the prison-industrial complex? Why or why not?
The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, but more than 25% of the world’s prisoners (New York Times, April 23, 2008). We have both the largest number of prisoners, and the highest rate of incarceration, of any country in the world. In this course, we will consider the social, political, economic and legal reasons for mass incarceration in the US. We will explore the specific contributions of philosophical, sociological, historical, and anthropological analysis to develop a vocabulary through which we can analyze representations of prisons in literature, television and film. We will focus primarily on 20th and 21st century texts written by insiders, former insiders, authors, musicians and scholars that represent, explain and/or interrogate the US criminal justice and prison systems as racist structures of state-sanctioned violence and population control.

.16 MWF 1010-1100 S. Straub

Unspeakable Things : What cannot be represented in literature? Or, perhaps a better question would be: what has historically been considered unrepresentable? What speech is repressed? And whose speechis repressed? This class will explore certain limits of representation—the obscene, the blasphemous, the taboo, and the repressed—and will investigate the ways in which existing cultural norms dictate both what can be said and who has the right to speak. Rather than reading explicit or graphic texts, we will primarily examine texts that represent repressed discourses through conspicuous absences—students will be encouraged to close read texts, paying particular attention to what remains unsaid. We will further attempt to situate repressed discourses historically and socially and will consider how an individual author’s subject position contributes to the reception (or repression) of his or her work. Texts will include The History of Mary Prince, Lolita, Trainspotting, and selections from The History of Sexuality; film screenings may include Funny Games and Orange is the New Black.

Trigger warning: some texts read in this class will include discussions of sexual violence.

.17 MWF 1100-1200     R. Spivey


ENGL 104W: Prose and Fiction: Forms and Techniques

.01 MWF 810-900 E. August

.02 MWF 410-500 J. Quarry

In this course, we will explore portrayals of various monsters—both realistic and fantastic—in fictions ranging from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries and analyze the elements of fiction (such as, but not limited to, characterization, point of view, setting, plot, symbol, and imagery) used to illuminate them and in turn the societal anxieties and desires in the midst of which they appear. Over our months together, we will attempt to define, and redefine, what, or who, exactly, a “monster” is and what makes such a creature simultaneously horrifying and fascinating, and we will proceed to examine novels, graphic novels, and short stories in order to determine the terms by which so-called monsters are understood and described, and what beyond the norm these creatures represent, both literally and metaphorically, in each encounter.

Moreover, the aim of this course is to teach you to think critically about literature, and so we also will devote a significant amount of time to focusing on the writing process by way of close reading, discussion, and writing assignments. Throughout the semester, you will practice analyzing and critiquing our selected literary works in three essays as well as several reading responses and in-class writing assignments, each intended to help you more clearly and more persuasively present your arguments by basing them on textual evidence.

.03 MWF 110-200 J. Quarry

In this course, we will explore portrayals of various monsters—both realistic and fantastic—in fictions ranging from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries and analyze the elements of fiction (such as, but not limited to, characterization, point of view, setting, plot, symbol, and imagery) used to illuminate them and in turn the societal anxieties and desires in the midst of which they appear. Over our months together, we will attempt to define, and redefine, what, or who, exactly, a “monster” is and what makes such a creature simultaneously horrifying and fascinating, and we will proceed to examine novels, graphic novels, and short stories in order to determine the terms by which so-called monsters are understood and described, and what beyond the norm these creatures represent, both literally and metaphorically, in each encounter.

Moreover, the aim of this course is to teach you to think critically about literature, and so we also will devote a significant amount of time to focusing on the writing process by way of close reading, discussion, and writing assignments. Throughout the semester, you will practice analyzing and critiquing our selected literary works in three essays as well as several reading responses and in-class writing assignments, each intended to help you more clearly and more persuasively present your arguments by basing them on textual evidence.

.04 MWF 310-400 J. Quarry

In this course, we will explore portrayals of various monsters—both realistic and fantastic—in fictions ranging from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries and analyze the elements of fiction (such as, but not limited to, characterization, point of view, setting, plot, symbol, and imagery) used to illuminate them and in turn the societal anxieties and desires in the midst of which they appear. Over our months together, we will attempt to define, and redefine, what, or who, exactly, a “monster” is and what makes such a creature simultaneously horrifying and fascinating, and we will proceed to examine novels, graphic novels, and short stories in order to determine the terms by which so-called monsters are understood and described, and what beyond the norm these creatures represent, both literally and metaphorically, in each encounter.

Moreover, the aim of this course is to teach you to think critically about literature, and so we also will devote a significant amount of time to focusing on the writing process by way of close reading, discussion, and writing assignments. Throughout the semester, you will practice analyzing and critiquing our selected literary works in three essays as well as several reading responses and in-class writing assignments, each intended to help you more clearly and more persuasively present your arguments by basing them on textual evidence.

.05 MWF 310-400 J. Klass

.06 MWF 110-300 J. Klass


ENGL 105W: Drama: Forms and Techniques

.01 MWF 310-400 C. Woods

Shakespeare and Sex:"Shakespeare’s plays depict many forms of human sexual desire.  Plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Othello address sexuality in explicit detail, and many of Shakespeare's other plays involve complex reflections on this area of human culture.  This course will explore Shakespeare's dramatizations of sexual desire and will consider the ways that sexuality is situated in relation to the state and the family.  We will address the ways humor and violence are often used to minimize or heighten the kinky bits of discourse in the plays, and we will discuss the contemporary and historical staging of sexually charged situations."


ENGL 115F: First Year Writing Seminar

.07 TR 935-1050 B. Bachmann

Women Poets in America. In this seminar, we will trace the development of American women's poetic voices and study the work of several poets, beginning with Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) and ending with Adrienne Rich (b. 1933). Poets include Gertrude Stein, H. D., Marianne Moore, Louise Bogan, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Elizabeth Bishop, Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath. Contemporary poets will be studied in portfolio, and we will pay particular attention to the plethora of multicultural expression since 1980. Students will be required to keep journals of reading responses, to meet regularly in small groups outside of class, and to attend the literary readings (two or three) sponsored by the Department of English during the semester. There will be one significant writing project, biographical in nature, and two or three shorter pieces (topic and style to be chosen by students after consultation with instructor).

. 25 MWF 1310-1400 Bradley

From Frost to Dove: Storytelling in American Verse. There is a great tradition of storytelling verse in American poetry that extends from the 19th into the 20th century. In the 20th century Modernism had a profound effect on this tradition, as it did on all art forms, but narrative poetry continued to be vital for some important American poets. Edwin Arlington Robinson, Robert Frost, and Robinson Jeffers in the early 20th century and Robert Penn Warren, Gwendolyn Brooks and Rita Dove in the later 20th century all made use of narrative in their poetry in innovative ways. Plot, character development, setting, and narration, all elements of prose fiction, are elements in the poems of these poets, along with form, rhythm, and imagery. The central events of modern American history are also reflected in their poems, from the Great Depression, World Wars I and II, migrations west and north, and the Civil Rights Movement. Reading their poems we will not only become familiar with some great stories in poetic form, but we will watch the development of modern American society and personal identity.

.27 TR 1100-1215 J. Lamb

.30 TR 935-1050 I. Nwankwo

WHAT IS AMERICA TO ME? : IMMIGRATION AND U.S. IDENTITY Over the course of the semester, we will explore personal stories, films, and literature about migration to the U.S. from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa, learning about and from these immigrant communities’ cultures, histories, identities, and perspectives on the American Dream. We will consider questions such as: What are the push and pull factors that lead these immigrants to the U.S? What are their experiences when they get here? What impact have they had on American society? How have they been represented and represented themselves in literature, media, and film?

We will begin by learning about the history of immigration in the U.S by delving into literature and films. In particular, through the stories of Irish and other European immigrants who came to the U.S. in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and responses to their arrival we will expand our understanding of the foundations of the United States of America as we know it.

Next, we will move on to talking about immigration from the Caribbean. Novels, autobiographies, and oral history interviews about immigrants’ experiences will figure prominently in this section, alongside films that reveal other nuances of the experiences of these immigrants.

The third major section will focus on African immigrants.  Films will help to round out students’ knowledge about the identity challenges faced and posed by these “other African Americans.”

Throughout the semester we will connect the new information we are learning through our readings and films to current-day issues and happenings.

Tailored training in recognized and innovative research methods will be a core element of this course. Students will learn how to formulate research questions; use library resources to help identify and critically engage pertinent primary, secondary, and tertiary sources; cite sources using accepted formats (MLA); conduct and analyze oral history interviews; take research notes; and compile bibliographies on the path to producing a final paper on an aspect our course topic, all with individualized guidance from the professor.

.34 MWF 1610-1800 L. Marcus

In Search of Gandhi Mahatma Gandhi is such a towering historical figure that it is hard to realize that he was very controversial in his own time. We will study key works in English from South Asia associated with the life and career of India’s most famous twentieth-century figure, starting with a survey of Gandhi’s career through the recent film Gandhi (1982) and Gandhi’s autobiography, Experiments with Truth (first published in English in 1957). One of Gandhi’s central projects was the attenuation of the Hindu caste system, particularly improvement in the lives of Untouchables. We will read Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable (1935), which introduces Gandhi as would-be savior of the novel’s hero. Another key element of Gandhi’s political role was his use of non-violence to bring about India’s independence from Great Britain, which receives an interestingly equivocal critique in R. K. Narayan’s short, brilliant novel Waiting for the Mahatma (1955). One of the roles for which Gandhi was most criticized in his own time was his acceptance of the fateful 1947 Partition of India into modern India and Pakistan, which caused rioting and slaughter on both sides of the new border and brought about the deaths of millions of South Asians. This episode came at the very end of Gandhi’s life and is not treated except embryonically in his autobiography, but it overshadowed Gandhi’s reputation in South Asia for decades to come. We will consider the Partition of India as portrayed in a novel by the Pakistani Parsi novelist Bapsi Sidhwa, Cracking India (1991) and a film version of the novel by Deepa Mehta titled 1947 or Earth (1998).Throughout the seminar, we will be making complex connections among literature, film, and their South Asian cultural contexts.

Readings: as detailed in course description above. The Gandhi autobiography is available online at There are also searchable versions, but make sure that we are all reading Desai’s translation. Anand and Narayan’s novels are theoretically at the bookstore; they are also available via and as e-books. Sidhwa’s book is not yet an e-book and is out of print. Stay tuned for how to access this novel.

Writing Assignments: English 115F is specifically a writing course designed to jump-start your writing skills in ways that will be useful across a wide range of disciplines. There will be two 4-5 page papers and one 7-10 page research paper. All papers will be submitted in revised form before the final grade is given. The writing assignments are designed to teach specific writing skills, as follows.

Essay 1: generate a statement that is neither fully true nor fully false and write an essay that qualifies it successfully by explicating the ways it is true and the ways it is false. (20% of the course grade)

Essay 2: find a printed statement by a reputable scholar that in your view is neither fully true nor fully false. Write an essay critiquing it and pointing out its chief strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of this essay is to help you gain confidence in thinking critically about printed scholarship. (20% of course grade)

Essay 3 (research paper): ask a controversial question that needs research to answer it and write a paper showing how your research allows you to answer the question persuasively. (30% of course grade)

.36 MWF 810-900 R. Gottfried

Foundational Stories of the Western Tradition. This course examines a variety of narratives that have formed the basis of Western literature and
culture. Readings include the Old Testament, Acts of the Apostles, Greek tragedy, Aesop, Ovid,
Medieval Arthurian romances, The Arabian Nights, and Grimm's fairy tales. No credit for students
who have completed HONS 181 section 53.

.38 TR 110-225 V. Bell

Representations of War Novels, memoirs, films, poems, and historical writings will serve as examples of how war in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been represented, both in under-view and over-view. The time span covered begins with World War I and ends with the war in Afghanistan. Historical issues will be a main focus. As in all such historical events and their representations, there are always conflicting “truths” to be sorted out and, where possible, reconciled. This process will be the guiding principle of our project. Faculty from other disciplines will be brought in to guide us, but we will mainly be on our own where all points of view will be expected to thrive.

.39 TR 1100-1215 G. Briggs

Decades before the heralded "American Renaissance" in literature that included Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, and Poe, a coterie of American authors created works that shaped America's literary landscape, challenged conventional wisdom, and helped us to imagine alternative literary histories in the United States. This course will examine how early American authors challenged conceptions of national identity in the burgeoning Republic and engaged historical moments of crisis, such as the Indian Removal and slavery. The novels will cut across several literary genres, including American Gothic and Historical Romance, and feature writers such as Lydia Maria Child and Charles Brockden Brown.


ENGL 116W: Introduction to Poetry

.01 MWF 910-1000 N. Roche

.02 MWF 1010-1100 C. Cosner

.03 MWF 1100-1200 A. Kinard

.04 MWF 110-200 E. August

.05 MWF 210-300 C. Cosner

.06MWF 210-300 E. August

.07 TR 810-925 A. Johnson

.08 TR 235-350 L. Dordal

.09 TR 400-515 A. Johnson

.10 TR 400-515 L. Dordal

.11 MWF 310-400

.12 TR 1100-1215


ENGL 117W; Introduction to Literary Criticism

.01 MWF 1110-1200 A. Miller

.02 MWF 1210-100 C. Cosner

.03 MWF 210-300 A. Miller


ENGL 118W: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis

.01 MWF 110-200 A. Miller

.02 MWF 1210-100

.03 MWF 9:10-10:00 – M. Milazzo

Movement, Migration, and Displacement:

    “My America includes different peoples, cities, borders, and nations.”
                 — Guillermo Gómez-Peña, The New World Border

In this course, we will examine American narratives of movement, migration, and displacement, and the realities of exclusion, inequality, and survival that shape them. Through the study of fiction, memoir, autobiography, essay and other genres, we will engage migration as a human right and displacement as a human rights violation. In the process, we will denaturalize the entanglement between race and place, and interrogate the relationship between literature and social justice. To enrich our analyses, alongside our books we will also critically examine music, video, animation, documentary and news media. Students will be introduced to modes of critical analysis that question how people make meaning through writing and creative expression and will learn to engage literature from an interdisciplinary perspective, making use of ideas and theories developed in critical race, gender, and sexuality studies.

Required Books
Mary Crow Dog, Lakota Woman (1990)
Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)
Julie Otsuka, When the Emperor was Divine (2003)
Adriana Páramo, Looking for Esperanza: The Story of a Mother, a Child Lost, and Why They Matter to Us (2012) 
Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (2011)

.04 MWF 310-400 M. Minarich

.05 MWF 210-300 R. Spivey

.06 MWF 210-300 M. Minarich

.07 TR 400-515 L. Enterline

Epic Discontent: Epic was for centuries the preeminent genre of nations – narratives about the rise and fall of cities, states, and empires – but epic poets often signal considerable skepticism about the costs of imperial ambition and its ever-vanishing promise of “eternal peace.” For example, an important book about Virgil’s Aeneid bore the title, Darkness Visible. Because of time constraints, we will read only selected moments from an array of epics while progressing from the ancient world to the 19th century. The class will acquaint students with some of the most influential narratives in European literature – this is a self-referential tradition keenly aware of its crucial place in literary history – while asking what the epic tradition and the “translation of empire” can tell us about what Freud once called Civilization and its Discontents. Beginning with Freud’s text, we will read selections from among the following: Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Beowulf, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Milton’s Paradise Lost. Alongside self-proclaimed epics, we will also read texts that take epic discontent into different forms: Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece; Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage; Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Topics may include: teleology and resistance; personal and national identity; representation and violence; poetry and education; epic theories of language; border creatures and monstrosity;  the epistemology and temporality of “visionary” poetics; allegory, ideology, and hegemony; analogies between nations and families; epitaphs and death-songs; the tension between social contracts, gender, and the world of desire.

.08 TR110-225 S. Passino

The Company Town: What do you get after a hard day’s work? “Another day older and deeper in debt,” the old song about company towns tells us. What do company towns have to do with us today? With you, the “debt generation”? With understanding our cities in today's global market? Asking how stories about company towns shape and are shaped by our public lives, we will use critical theory and social geography to help chart these questions. Reading across genre and across the last century in the Americas, we will pay particular attention to the ways that people have resisted the often brutal forces of capital in these spaces to build lives of dignity and joy. We will consider whether this resistance is merely absorbed in to the “company” model or if there are struggles that count. The song ends, “St. Peter don’t you call me, cause I can’t go/I owe my soul to the company store,” and to the melancholy it sounds melancholy, but what does it sound like to you? This course has a community engagement component and students should be available for some Thursday evenings. Readings might include: Sinclair, Steinbeck, Octavia Butler, All God’s Dangers, Eula Biss, Galleano, Morales, Neruda, Michelle Cliff.

.09 TR 935-1050 C. Amich

Literatures of Globalization:In this course we will approach the complex topic of globalization through the study of literature and art. While the term ‘globalization’ is closely linked to the fluctuations of the world economic system, the abstract language of markets and financial flows obscures the impact of globalization in our daily lives. For a more visceral sense of what it feels like to like in a globalized world, we turn to films and novels, poems and plays, performance art and music. Examining a variety of literary and cultural texts, we will work to formulate a common definition of this dynamic phenomenon through sustained discussion and intensive writing exercises.  

.10 TR 935-1100 N. Roche

Pacific Culture and Literature: This course explores a wide variety of Oceanic or Pasifika literature and film, focusing on texts by writers and directors from Samoa, Tonga, Hawai’I and Aotearoa/New Zealand. We read the works in the contexts of indigenous culture, the historical experiences of colonialism and articulations of postcolonial nationhood. Authors include Albert Wendt, Epeli Hau’ofa, Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, Hone Tuwhare and Sia Figiel, with films directed by Lee Tamahori and Niki Caro.

.11 TR 1435-1550 Girgus

Shakespeare on Film: The course investigates film as temporal space in which ideology, psychology, and history intersect for the study of cultural expression and action. It will emphasize Shakespeare on film, examining how film contributes to the meaning of the plays in terms of the psychological construction of character through the look of the camera, the use of cinetext and scene for historical reenactment, and the search for transcendent meaning. Other forms of film as expressions of modern culture also will be included in the course.

.12 TR 1310-1425 N. Roche

In his poem, The Second Coming, W. B. Yeats states: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”  Written in the aftermath of WWI, Yeats was disillusioned with war and its effect upon society.  This course is predicated upon the idea that literature is influenced by and mirrors the climate of its creation.  The twentieth century saw the rise of two world wars, protest movements and political revolutions, social upheaval, changes in manners and mores, the dissolution of empires, and the technology necessary for globalization.  Furthermore, this time frame produced two major literary eras: Modernism and Postmodernism.  In this course we will look at texts that herald and reflect major social change and examine the cultural and historical context of their construction.  We will consider various genres and a diverse collection of writers from this period, including: James Joyce, Joan Didion, William Faulkner, Sylvia Plath, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Thomas Pynchon.

.13 MWF 1010-1100

.14 MWF 1210-1300 R. Spivey

.15 MWF 1510-1600 Klein

.16 MWF 1510-1600 Klein


ENGL 120W: Intermediate Composition

.02 TR 235-350 A. Johnson


ENGL 122: Beginning Fiction Workshop

.01 MWF 1010-1100 S. Han

.02 MWF 1100-1200 L. Birdsall

.03 MWF 1010-1100 L. Conell


ENGL 123: Beginning Poetry Workshop

.01 MWF 910-1000 A. Carlson-Wee

.02 MWF 1010-1100 S. Wolff


English 199: Foundations of Literary Study

This course cultivates skills that are central to literary studies, and invites students to experiment with diverse approaches. The course focuses on a range of strategies and practices, from close reading and analytic writing to academic research and creative expression. We will consider the study of literature through various questions about method, purpose, and effect: How might we understand texts in relation to their social and intellectual histories? What relationships can we uncover between overarching themes and the specific subtleties of representation? How do we develop productive engagements with theoretical concepts? What do we learn when we not only analyze, but also produce, forms of creative thought?

English 199 does count as an elective for the old major.

.01 MWF 1010-1100 H. Shin

Visions, Dreams, and Nightmares: Tales and Thoughts of the American Dream:“  “Foundations of Literary Study” aims to enrich the experience of reading, writing and reflecting on literature. Engaging in academic dialogues in virtual as well as in-class environments, students will hone close-reading and analytic writing skills to further appreciate the textures of (written, spoken, and visual) language and acquire historical contexts that help us understand tales of old as not only past records or imaginary tales but also living, breathing matters that affect our present world. This class will pursue these objectives by exploring stories and thoughts on the concept of the “American dream,” which has played a central role in shaping the political, economic, cultural, and literary landscapes of this nation. What kinds of “dreams” have we seen throughout history, and what do they tell us about the values that govern our lives? Thinking about ethnic, racial, gender and class dynamics, we may also ask, who dreams, and of what do they dream? Can we see various iterations of the American dream as wish-fulfillment or masking mechanisms, (at times illusory) ideals, structures of social governance, and/or motivational discourses? What is the difference between visions and dreams? Where do they diverge and intersect, and when/why do they turn into nightmares? How does literature portray, expand, and invoke the American dreamscapes and nightmares? Class materials will include short stories (William Faulkner, Raymond Chandler, and Toni Morrison); graphic narratives (Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, Alan Moore’s Watchmen); a novel (The Circle); animation (Pocahontas), and contemporary super-hero noir film (The Dark Night). The primary readings will be accompanied by The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, as well as other critical and theoretical concepts.

Required Texts:
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen 
Lan Samantha Chang, Hunger
Dave Eggers, The Circle
The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms

.02 MWF 1110-1200 M. Jarman

.03 TR 935-1050 M. Wollaeger


Fall 2014 200-level English Courses:

English 200: Intermediate Nonfiction Writing

.01 M 310-600 S. Solomon

Advocacy Writing: To make your case in business and politics, you must write with precision and economy: your audience usually consists of busy people with many other issues to consider so your argument has to be clear and concise, the evidence compelling. Over the course of the semester, students will choose a variety of public policy issues on which to write. The class will practice and discuss such forms as the one-page lobbying document or letter, the speech, the radio script, testimony, and the op ed piece. In each instance, students will advocate a course of action: "we should/we should not do X"; they will learn to muster research to support their arguments and to attack opposing arguments. Students will then consider each other's written assignments in a series of workshops.

Students who register for this class will join a waiting list at first.  They should write a 250-word essay about a public policy issue (or excerpt a section of a paper written for another class about a public policy issue) and then email that account to Solomon by August 5 with the subject heading, “English 200 Advocacy Writing Sample.”  The writing sample need not advocate a course of action; it may just describe or analyze a law or federal, state or local policy. Then, in the week before the semester starts, Solomon will select class participants and email all people on the waiting list to tell them whether they have gained admission.

.02 310-600 W S. Solomon

Life writing: memoirs about people, places, historical times: Of all the forms of creative nonfiction, memoir is arguably the most popular.  Why so?  Writers of good memoirs transform the raw material of their lives into a story that a reader can recognize as instructive, insightful, and true to life.  As memoirists consider what really happened, they often create in the reader a sense of discovery that parallels their own. They inevitably evaluate the past from the perspective of the present and in so doing they may weigh what they know now against what they knew then to create a complex understanding of what happened and why.  Their medium is time; managing the reader’s understanding of time becomes one of their foremost concerns.

Many common topics for memoir—overcoming hardship or illness, coping with substance abuse or tragedy, achieving celebrity, to name a few—do not readily lend themselves to student creative writing assignments.  This course will concentrate instead on three kinds of experiences that offer interesting subject matter for most people: other people, places, and historical times.  We will read memoirs of all three kinds, and then students will write memoirs that look through these lenses.   The course will emphasize not just the writing, but also revision, the re-vision necessary to rework a draft. As they revise, students will be asked to imbue their narratives with more punch, to render the world in more depth, and to give their writing more clarity and interest.  These concerns inform good writing in all genres.

Students who register for this class will join a waiting list at first.  They should write a 250-word memoir about one family member—someone about whom they can offer a complex portrait—and then email that account to Solomon by August 5 with the subject heading, “English 200 Memoir Writing Sample.”   Then, in the week before the semester starts, Solomon will select class participants and email all people on the waiting list to tell them whether they have gained admission.

.03 310-600 W A. Little

The Art of Blogging: Learning How to Write and Think In The Age of Self-Publishing: This course focuses on techniques and strategies for successful blogging and exciting non-fiction writing. Today, just fifteen years after the first blog was published, there are more than 150 million public blogs on the internet, some of which have larger audiences and more influence than the most esteemed print publications.

Blogs can empower anyone who has something to say, and the ability to say it in an interesting way. Yet very few blogs are well-written and authoritative, or manage to reach a broad audience. In this course we will track and analyze the most influential blogs in the categories of technology, literature, politics, technology, and activism – among them, blogs at,,,, and Students in previous semesters have met and talked with professional bloggers including Nick Denton, founder of, Amy Davidson, blogger and editor of The New, and Howard Fineman blogger and editor of We will look to the past, examining the historic roots of self-published manifestoes that date back to 17th-century, and to the future, exploring multimedia blogging formats and the “micro-blogging” phenomenon of Twitter.

At a time when virtually every public figure from Bill Gates to Beyonce has entered the blogosphere, students will come to understand how blogs are revolutionizing the media, powering politics, and shaping culture, and how they are changing the way we write. Students will create and regularly update their own blogs for this course. We will discuss your posts in class and I will critique your writing in private conferences.


ENGL 202 Literature and Craft of Writing

.01 TR 400-515 R. Hilles


ENGL 204: Intermediate Fiction Workshop

.01 M 310-600 L. Moore

.02 T 310-600 N. Reisman

This Intermediate Workshop is designed to help emerging fiction writers to expand their understanding of fiction’s possibilities, to deepen their knowledge of craft and technique, and to collectively create a writing community. We'll focus on character-driven literary fiction and on the development of your own original stories and the refinement of your creative goals.   Throughout the semester, we’ll read published work by a variety of contemporary writers, study craft, and explore aspects of the creative process. We’ll investigate story structure and narrative strategies, point of view/perception, characterization, movements in time, uses of place, voice, image, and other elements. The course involves regular reading of and response to the work of other writers and requires both generosity in those endeavors and receptivity to feedback on one’s own work-in-progress. Previous creative writing workshop experience highly recommended. Instructor permission required. After course selection, I’ll be in touch with interested students to request a brief writing sample; the sample submission deadline will be one week before classes begin in August.


ENGL 205 Advanced Fiction Workshop

.01 W 310-600 L. Moore


ENGL 206: Intermediate Poetry Workshop

.01 T 210-500 M. Jarman

This class is a workshop in which we study the craft of poetry writing. As such, this semester we will concentrate on traditional elements of poetry--meter, rhyme, and form. In other words, this will be a class in verse as much as poetry. Each week, using our texts, we will discuss an aspect of what is called prosody: metrical feet, rhyme schemes, stanzas, and forms like the sonnet, the villanelle, and the sestina. You will discover there is a wide latitude within the limitations of form, which is not surprising considering that most poetry in English is formal verse rather than free verse, the latter being a relatively young and largely American innovation. But we will talk about free verse, too, and if you are oppressed by the mere notion of writing in rhyme and meter, you will have the opportunity to write one poem without those restraints.


ENGL 208 A: Representative British Writers

.01 TR 935-1050 R. Chapman

Love and other Symptoms: How have ideas about love and conquest changed between the Old English epic poem Beowulf or the Middle English romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , on the one hand, and more contemporary texts like 1995’s The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right or 2010’s Play or be Played, on the other? This course will s urvey British literature from its origins in the Anglo-Saxon epic through Milton, with attention to the historical, intellectual, and social contexts of the period, in order to explore how representative British writers during this time depict the condition of love and its attendant symptoms (desire, duty, passion, suffering). Readings will include texts by Marie de France, Chaucer, Margery Kempe, Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Elizabeth Carey, Donne, Katherine Philips, and Milton.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major and minor 

Satisfies history requirement for major and minor


.02 TR 110-225 A. Hearn

This course will introduce students to the foundations of English literature in its first thousand years of development: from Beowulf to Paradise Lost, we will read representative works covering major (and many minor) writers, movements, genres, and techniques. We will pay particular attention to the relationship of our readings to their specific moments—their political, social, economic, religious, and cultural contexts. This is a thrilling span of English history: from Viking raids, the Norman Conquest, and the Hundred Years War; from Agincourt, the Wars of the Roses, and the defeat of the Spanish Armada; to the Pilgrims at Plymouth, the Civil Wars, the Restoration, and the Great Fire of London. The literature is correspondingly various and exciting, moving from epics through romances, dramas, and sonnet sequences, and back to epics again. Major readings (in whole or in part) will include Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Morte d’Arthur, one of Shakespeare’s history plays, and Paradise Lost. In addition to vigorous class discussion, students should plan on regular quizzes, two exams, two essays, and a group dramatic presentation.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major and minor

Satisfies history requirement for major and minor


ENGL 210 Shakespeare: Representative Selections

.01 MWF 1010-1100 P. Aulakh

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major  and minor

Satisfies history requirement for major and minor


ENGL 211: Representative American Writers

.01 TR 235-350 D. Nelson

Where and what is "America"? What is "literature"? Who is an “American”? Who decides? And what is the role of literature in forming American identity? This course will explore such questions through study of American colonial and U.S. literatures to 1861, including Native American oral literatures, Spanish, French and British colonial literatures, Puritan and southern colonial writings, literature of the American Revolution and a variety of antebellum writings, including fiction and non-fiction. This course will give you a broad background in major literary developments and authors, and a variety of literary movements and influential minor authors in the early United States. It will teach you to think carefully and critically about aesthetic, social and political developments that contribute to the formation of American literature.


ENGL 214a  Literature and Intellectual History

.01 TR 110-225 J. Lamb

Intellectual History: Property and Things:We shall begin with reading a memoir of the travails of a collection of miniature Japanese carvings called netsuke, Edmund de Waal's The Hare with the Amber Eyes. Then there will be a brief review of ideas of property inherited from Roman Law, Common Law and Feudal Tenure, and a short survey of how they were strengthened and variegated according to the theories of civil society proposed by Hobbes, Locke, Pufendorf and Grotius before being enshrined in the 1689 Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Then the road is open to consider how real estate and personal property figure in Enlightenment practice of the law and in literature, where it is evident that personal property assumes increasing importance, along with personal identity. How this is reflected in prose fiction, drama, fable and poetry will be the next phase of the enquiry, where we shall examine how persons and estates are conserved and wasted, and what happens to property when it becomes detached from owners, and what happens to humans when they are turned into chattels. Examples will be taken from histories of theft, disease, war and slavery. The course will conclude with a close reading of Henry James's The Spoils of Poynton.

Specimen Texts:
Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Common Law
John Locke, Two Treatises of Government
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
John Gay, Fables and The Beggar's Opera
Henry Fielding, The History of Jonathan Wild
Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year
Edmund Blunden, Undertones of War
Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative

Please note this is an Honors Seminar and hence requires a 3.4 GPA for admission.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major and minor

Satisfies history requirement for major and minor

Satisfies approaches requirement for major and minor


ENGL 219 Anglo-Saxon Language and Literature

.01 MWF 1110-1200 J. Plummer

Anglo-Saxon Language and Literature: We will study the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) language, culture, history, and of course literature: excerpts from chronicles, sermons, biblical paraphrases, and poetry, including selections from Beowulf. Our textbook will be Bruce Mitchel’s An Invitation to Old English and Anglo-Saxon England, which also includes material on archeology, place names, arts and crafts, and warfare.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major and minor

Satisfies history requirement for major and minor


ENGL 220: Chaucer

.01 MWF 910-1000 J. Plummer

We will read a selection of The Canterbury Tales, and Troilus and Criseyde, contextualizing them against the backdrop of both learned and popular literary, artistic, and religious practices of the late middle ages. Instruction will include some background lectures, class discussion, library work, and the use of internet resources. Graded work will include a few quizzes, class participation, two exams, and a paper.

 Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major  and minor

Satisfies history requirement for major and minor


ENGL 233 The Modern British Novel

.01 MWF 210-400 E. Covington


ENGL 236W: World Literature, Classical

.01 TR 400-515 J. Fesmire

This course is an opportunity to become familiar with some of the most powerful texts of our literary tradition. The texts I have chosen for this class will, I hope, provide an opportunity for us to learn something about how literature has developed and changed from classical antiquity through the Renaissance. We will focus on concepts of heroism and courage, paying particular attention to the hero's reaction to change, instability, adversity, and death. How do these texts portray the task of the hero? How does his quest affect relations between mortals and immortals? Within the models offered by our texts, is it possible for women to be heroic? How do fear and grief become avenues for challenging the social and order, and how do these emotions contribute towards the hero's education? Texts include: Gilgamesh; The Iliad; Medea; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; The Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam; Don Quixote.

 Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major and minor

Satisfies history requirement for major and minor


ENGL 237 : World Literature, Modern

.01 MWF 210-300


ENGL 242W: Science Fiction                                                                                                             

.01 TR 400-515 V. Kutzinski   

Science Fiction: African American Speculative Fiction: Marginalized in literary scholarship, Speculative Fiction—or simply SF—can be characterized as a literary laboratory for examining closely theories and practices of cultural difference. In this laboratory, differences between humans and non-humans, as well as among non-humans, become meditations on the ways in which certain cultural differences in our societies—race, gender, and sexuality foremost among them—have resulted, and continue to result, in socio-economic hierarchies, physical violence, and political strife. In this seminar we focus on speculative fiction by African American writers and explore how the otherworldly scenarios they construct in their novels and shorter fiction take on issues of violence, oppression, and exploitation—issues that are acquiring new urgency in the twenty-first century. Each of these writers creates plots, characters, and settings to imagine the possibilities and limits of living respectfully with so-called others—with very different results. Readings include novels by Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Jewelle Gomez, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, George Schuyler, and others. Written Requirements: weekly 500-word papers and one longer essay (2000 words) with a mandatory revision at midterm. This is a writing-intensive course in which the students received weekly feedback on their essays and have the option of revising the longer midterm paper. Time will be devoted to paper conferences and to discussing specific writing strategies for literary studies essays.

Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement

Satisfies diverse perspectives literature major and minor requirement

Satisfies approaches requirement for major and minor


ENGL 243. Literature, Science, and Technology

.01 MWF 9:10-10:00 H. Shin

Are We for Real? Technology and Fiction as the Reality Machine

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.”

Philip K. Dick

Science is the inquiry into the nature and workings of our reality; technology brings forth the unreal into the realm of the real. But what is the real and how can we know what is real, when films like The Matrix tells us that the world we live in could be a mere fantasy fed into a brain in a vat? Are experiences with avatars in cyberspace platforms such as Second Life or World of Warcraft genuine parts of our lives? In an age when phantasmal projections on the computer and smart phone screens rule our daily lives and disembodied fragments of our audio-visual/textual representations fly around the globe, the long-standing philosophical question of reality weighs us down with an ever-pressing urgency. This course will explore literary representations of technologies that create and channel different modes of reality, such as the simulated, consensus, virtual, augmented, and dream. The class will see how works of fiction as that which is inherently “fictive” and therefore “unreal” provide us with an insight into the concepts and fabrics of the real, by not only representing but also reflecting on and inspiring reality. Texts for the course will include novels and short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, Ted Chiang, Stanislaw Lem, Philip K. Dick, Richard Morgan, and Greg Egan; Films (Open Your Eyes, The Matrix, and Inception); and theoretical/critical reflections by authors including René Descartes, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre, Walter Benjamin, Jean Baudrillard, and Vernor Vinge.

Required Texts (at Bookstore)
Stanislaw Lem, Solaris
Philip K. Dick, Ubik
Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon
Greg Egan, Permutation City (not available at the bookstore – buy copies online)

Satisfies approaches requirement for major and minor


ENGL 245 Literature and the Environment

.01 TR 1100-1215 D. Nelson

American Environmental Writing Since Cooper: This course will survey environmental literature—fiction and non-fiction—from the early nineteenth-century into our own day. We will consider writers as diverse as James Fenimore Cooper, Sarah Orne Jewett, Farley Mowatt, Wendell Berry, Octavia Butler, Michael Pollan, and Barbara Kingsolver. How have American writers understood the relationship between human and non-human nature? How has environmental literature changed over time? What makes for effective environmental literature—effective both in the sense of excellent and galvanizing writing? Counts toward the minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.

  Satisfies approaches requirement for major and minor


ENGL 250 Renaissance: Drama

.01 MWF 1210-1300 P. Aulakh

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major and minor

Satisfies history requirement for major and minor


ENGL 252A: Restoration and the Eighteenth Century

.01 TR 1100-1215 B. Orr

Stage and Page in the long Eighteenth-Century: In traditional literary history, the big event of eighteenth century literature was the Rise of the Novel. Eighteenth-century drama – some comedies by Sheridan and Goldsmith aside – has been dismissed as unimportant. Recently however, scholars have come to recognize not only that the theatre continued to be the culturally dominant institution through this period but that drama’s relationship with print culture was not subordinate. Both the new forms associated with print (novels, newspapers, prints and periodicals) and theatrical production innovated in tandem. Aside from the numerous writers who wrote both plays and novels (Behn, Fielding, Burney, Inchbald), literary modes were shared (the heroic, sentimental, Gothic and manners) and the appetite for celebrity saw texts and personalities recirculated from one context to another. Beginning with works by Restoration playwright and novelist Aphra Behn, we shall explore the development of new machines for pleasure on stage and on the page.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major and minor

Satisfies history requirement for major and minor


ENGL 255 The Victorian Period

.01 TR 400-515 R. Teukolsky

The Victorians and their Poetry: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”-- Victorian poets penned some of the most memorable lines in English literature. Beyond their quotability, these poems are remarkable for their complexity, confusion, and melancholy, as Victorian writers confronted the massive social upheavals resulting from the rise of industrialism, the disintegration of the old class system, the “Woman Question,” and challenges to Christianity wrought by scientific discovery. Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” whose title character utters the confident words above, is an old man preparing for a last journey to death, making his final claim both ironic and poignant. This course will introduce the Victorian world through its poetry, in all of its diverse voices. Poets will include such luminaries as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Christina Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Oscar Wilde. We will also look to broader categories such as working-class poetry, aesthetic and decadent poetry, and religious poetry. Victorian poets were great innovators in genre; we will consider the sonnet sequence, the epic, and the dramatic monologue, among others. Finally, if these poets are notable for their lyrics of doubt, they are also distinctive for a poetics of pleasure—in the body, in visual arts, in sexuality. As poets challenged Victorian proprieties, we will examine the resulting scandals, controversies, and innovations, looking to the poetic experiments that would point the way toward modernism.


 ENGL 258 Poetry Since World War II

.01 TR 110-225 R. Hilles

We’ll be reading and closely examining British and American poetry by focusing on six major figures who wrote (or are still writing) between World War II to the present time. We’ll begin with W. H. Auden (born in England, he became a U.S. citizen after World War II); he is, arguably, the last poet writing in English to have known ‘an international influence’ in his lifetime. In acknowledgment of his preeminent influence on modern and contemporary poetry, this course was once called “Auden and After.” The other English poet we’ll be studying is Philip Larkin, considered by many in the U.S. and in the U.K. to be the preeminent poet in English when he died 25 years ago. We’ll also read 1995 Nobel Laureate in Literature, Seamus Heaney (born a British subject in Northern Ireland), whose poetry directly addresses the conflict in Ireland and the U.K. The three American poets we’ll be reading are: Robert Lowell, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Sylvia Plath. Lowell is part of the 20th century’s most famous generation of American poets who introduced to poetry highly personal subject matter. From a famous New England family (including poets Amy and James Russell Lowell), Lowell positioned himself as a national voice, frequently confronting political issues in his poetry. Gwendolyn Brooks, whose poetry is set mostly in the African American community on the south side of Chicago, also represents a national voice. Sylvia Plath, perhaps most famous for the legend that has sprung up around her short life and how it affects the way we read her poetry, offers us poignant representations of women and female artists still relevant to modern feminists. Though all of these poets represent distinctly individual voices, they share a strong sense of singular style and vision with which they have constructed (or, in several cases, continue to construct) a uniquely memorable sense of self. In some cases this self reaches mythic proportions; in others it is deliberately modest. In every case, these poets, contending with a modern world that continues to be fragmented and chaotic, write toward some kind of coherence, unity, order. (Even if, at times, that coherence is achieved by holding a mirror up to the chaotic moment of his or her time.) We will also examine how each poet creates a self by harnessing his or her voice (in various tonal registers found in the language) and fastening that marriage of sense and sensibility to the page.


ENGL 259: Digital Media

.01 TR 935-1050 J. Clayton

Topic: Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative: This course explores the impact of new media on narrative and communication through a focus on online games. Beginning with a massively multiplayer role playing game (MMO) and some examples from the indie gaming world, the course introduces students to the literary and artistic challenges of constructing narratives in a virtual world and the implications of digital media for communication in our daily lives as students, professionals, and members of global communities.

The course has four components:

  • Games. Students will play a selection of indie games and join the free-to-play MMO, The Lord of the Rings Online. They will also do collaborative reports on selected console games—chosen from among candidates such as Assassin’s Creed, BioShock Infinite, Skyrim, Star Wars: The Old Repubic, Final Fantasy, or others of their choice.
  • Readings.Texts will include literature in the romance tradition that inspired fantasy gaming from Spenser, Keats, Tennyson, Browning to Tolkien, and media and game theory such as Bolter and Grusin’s Remediation: Understanding New Media, Jesper Juul’s Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds, and McKenzie Wark’s Gamer Theory.
  • MOOC. As part of our exploration of online experience, students will sample a few of the resources developed for an online class taught in Vanderbilt’s Massive Open Online Course program on the same topic: The MOOC will not substitute for classroom meetings, but videos will sometimes serve as preparation for seminar meetings in lieu of other homework.
  • Digital projects. Students will create a blog and use digital tools such as Google Earth, Neatline, Twitter, and other social media to learn how to convey complex arguments in visual, spatial, and audio formats. The final project will be a contribution to a collaborative game design module.

No background in gaming or digital technology is required. Students will learn the theory and practice of new media through demonstrations and hands-on workshops. Students will need a laptop with a mouse that is capable of running LOTRO (see system requirements at Mac users will need to have Bootcamp or another Windows emulation program installed on their computer before the first class meeting.

Satisfies approaches requirement for major and minor


ENGL 263 African American Literature

.01 TR 235-350 G. Briggs

This course is a survey of African-American Literature that begins with Slave Narratives and ends with Contemporary Thought. The seminar will provide students with an overview of the prominent periods in African-American Literature, and it will introduce students to contemporary theoretical and critical models that have been instrumental in revising African-American literary history (e.g. critical race theory). Among the authors we will read are Harriet Wilson, Sutton Griggs, Richard Wright, and Toni Morrison.

  Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement

Satisfies diverse perspectives literature major and minor requirement

.02 TR 1100-1210 H. Baker

 Introduction to Afro-American Literature, 1789 to the Present: A Survey

This course is designed and will be taught as an enjoyable and wide-ranging introduction to the world and works of Afro-American Literature. It commences with the fascinating narrative of an eighteenth-century African kidnapped from his village and cast into the worlds of Atlantic shipping, New World slavery, and Evangelical Religion. Its endpoint is the stunning and varied work of writers such as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Nikky Finney, and Percival Everett.

 Along our chronological way, we shall read and discuss Afro-American folklore and nineteenth-century men¹s and women¹s slave narratives. We shall spend significant time on the glorious Harlem Renaissance of the roaring 1920s when, as Langston Hughes stated it: ³Harlem was in vogue.² Social protest works like Richard Wright¹s astonishing novel Native Son and James Baldwin¹s famous attack on protest novels titled ³Everybody¹s Protest Novel² will provide energetic moments of discussion. The 1960s and 1970s Black Arts and Black Nationalist Movements of revolution in the streets and rebellion on the page will come alive for us in the works of authors such as Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Haiki Madhubuti, and Malcolm X.

 Readings will be quite reasonable in size and scope, and there will be many in-class moments that feature a perfect combination of lecture by the professor and animated discussion by students. Written assignments will also be reasonable. The connection between Vanderbilt, Nashville, and our class will be an enjoyable project as we discover connections between the Afro-American creativity of our own university and city and the written works we will be studying.

  Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement

Satisfies diverse perspectives literature major and minor requirement


ENGL 268A: America on Film: Art and Ideology

.01 MW 235-350 S. Girgus

The course studies American culture and character on film.  It will consider film as a modern art form, a system of cultural production, and an expression of the diversity of the American experience. Beginning with a discussion of the structure and composition of film as an art form, the course also will consider the relationship of film to American studies, ethical philosophy, and culture. Thus, it will relate visual images and cinetext to cultural and philosophical contexts. We will examine how films treat basic American themes such as the individual and community; frontier and urban violence; race, ethnicity, and minorities; the representation and role of women; visual desire and sexual exploitation; the family and authority.  We will study classic Hollywood directors, including Frank Capra, John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Elia Kazan as well as current filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, and Clint Eastwood.

Students will be required to view one film/week outside of class either Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 PM, Wednesdays 6:00-8:30 PM, or Sunday 8:30-11:00 PM.

Satisfies approaches requirement for major and minor


ENG 271 Caribbean Literature

. 01 TR 110-225 I. Nwankwo

Life, Literature, and Music in the Caribbean Diaspora: This course brings together texts produced out of Caribbean communities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Panama that have their roots in a variety of Caribbean sites including Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic.  Our objective is to gain an understanding of the challenges faced by Caribbean migrants as well as of the ways in which Caribbean descended writers, filmmakers, musicians and everyday people balance their connections to the Caribbean and to their nations of residence.

We will explore questions such as: How is home defined? As a place in the Caribbean? As the nation of residence? As an imagined site between the two? Is that site created through memories? Through decisions about language? Through return visits? What impact have these groups had on their nations of residence, particularly in the arenas of literature and culture? We will also consider what differences their nation of residence makes in their definitions of home and community and what powers or forces at home, in the Caribbean, or abroad, affect this self-definition. Additional topics covered will include the similarities and differences between the approaches to self-definition taken by individuals from disparate generations, and the impact of those similarities and differences on intergenerational relations.         

The reading/viewing/listening list includes short stories, novels, oral history interviews, poetry, songs, and autobiographies. Short films and scholarly readings in each unit will introduce you to the key terms, concepts, issues, and methods that will help you to interpret these Caribbean Diaspora texts and experiences. Visits by guest speakers will also supplement our readings. Assignments to include: Periodic close readings; Presentation/Discussion Leading; Midterm Project/Paper; Final Project/Paper

Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement

Satisfies diverse perspectives literature major and minor requirement


 ENGL 272 Movements in Literature

.01 MWF 1210-1300 R. Barsky

From Romantics to the Beat Generation: This course will explore the influence that Romantic poets, notably Byron, Coleridge, Keats,  Shelley and Wordsworth, had upon Beat Generation poets and writers. We will begin by  discussing some of the seminal works in Romantic poetry, as well as Keats’s and Wordsworth’s descriptions of their poetic ambitions and projects, and then turn to some of the characteristics of the literature and politics of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and a range of women writers of the Beat Generation including Diane DiPrima and Anne Waldman. We will undertake our reading under the assumption that there was something profoundly liberating in such works as the “Lyrical Ballads” and, moreover, in Byron’s comical and irreverent masterpiece “Don Juan,” which served as impetuses for the kinds of work we found in post-war American Beats. This course will offer students the opportunity to study but also to create their own literary work, if they so desire, as a means of exploring first hand the imaginative process inspired through the genius and the generosity of these writers.


ENGL 274 Major Figures in Literature

.01 MWF 1010-1100 R. Gottfried

  Joyce’s novel Ulysses is considered the prime example of Modernism. It is, by turns, a highly elaborated work and yet a simple human story; it is artfully crafted and yet highly realistic; it is recondite and dense, and yet direct and funny.

            The course will be a detailed and close reading of the novel.   Because Joyce’s work is a compendium of twentieth-century modes of thought, reading it should best be a collective and collaborative endeavor. To this end, the course will be an interactive seminar, where each student will bring his or her personal interests and interpretations to discussion.

            In addition to active participation, there will be two papers (the first five and the second ten to twelve pages) and a brief book  report on secondary material.


.02 TR 235-350 S. Juengel

Jane Austen

 .03 M 210-500 C. Dayan

Honors seminar: MELVILLE

Gems and jewels let them heap—

                                                            Wax sumptuous as the Sophi:

                                                            For me, to grapple from Art’s deep

                                                                        One dripping trophy!

                                                                       Melville, “In a Garret”

This seminar is an intensive reading in the prose and poetry of Herman Melville, especially Moby Dick (1851); Pierre, or the Ambiguities (1852); Israel Potter (1855); The Piazza Tales (1856); The Confidence Man (1857); Billy Budd, Sailor (1924); Battle Pieces and Aspects of War (1866)—and, if we dare--Clarel: A Poem and A Pilgrimage (1856).

In exhuming what was truly harrowing about humans—and human sociality—Melville returns, again and again, to nature and the categorizing rituals visited upon it by naturalists, philosophers, and lawyers. This exhumation has nothing to do with doctrinal purity or maximum comfort with minimum inconvenience. Instead, Melville crafts a prose that discriminates, takes apart, compounds, and re-enacts the savage doings of the antebellum America he knew so well.

The burden of this seminar will lie in our close readings and contextualization of Melville’s writings, which will demand some familiarity with the history of slavery, the nature of religious belief, and the legal fictions that mattered most in antebellum America.

Requirements: An oral presentation and a final essay (12-15 pages). Writing is key. Weekly responses to the readings posted on OAK will be both inspiration and prompt for our meetings.

Please note this is an Honors Seminar and hence requires a 3.4 GPA for admission.


English 275: Latina/o Literature

.01 MWF 110-200 L. Lopez

Latina/o literature is American literature produced by writers inculcated with the U.S. experience, self-identifying as Latinos, and writing in English. This course will examine this enduring and dynamic literature that crosses and re-crosses borders resulting from geographic, linguistic, class, race, and gender difference. To this end, we will read, discuss, present on, and write about prose and poetry by contemporary U.S. authors of Latin American heritage, including Helena Maria Viramontes, Sandra Cisneros, Joy Castro, Justin Torres, and Junot Diaz. The course is designed to accommodate a range of voices in an historical progression to fill in this vital but often overlooked component of our national discourse.

Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement  

Satisfies diverse perspectives literature major and minor requirement


ENGL 279 - Ethnic American Literature

.01 MWF 11:10-12:00 – M. Milazzo

American Landscapes: Race, Place, and Representation:

“Relations between races are relations between places.”

— George Lipsitz, How Racism Takes Place

Toni Morrison writes in Playing in the Dark that “deep within the word ‘American’ is its association with race.” Engaging this contention, our course will explore the entanglement between race and place in works by African American, Chicana/o, European American and Native American authors, as well as assess its significance for literary representation. As racial relations are spatial relations, this course will take us to key settings of U.S. history and contemporary reality, from the plantation to the frontier, from the reservation to the barrio, from the border to the prison. In the process, through the study of fiction, drama, autobiography, film and other genres, we will critically interrogate the very term “Ethnic American” and make visible its own relationship to race, place, and representation. To enrich our analyses, in class we will also examine film (Fruitvale Station), animation (Peter Pan), documentary, music, video and news media. Alongside our books, we will read George Aiken’s once extremely popular stage adaptationof Uncle Tom’s Cabin and short pieces by Sherman Alexie, Angela Davis, Ernest Hemingway, Juan Felipe Herrera and others (available on OAK). Students are required to attend one film screening outside of regular class time.

Required Books

Mumia Abu-Jamal, Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience (1996)
Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (1984)
Mary Crow Dog, Lakota Woman (1990)
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)
Graciela Limón, Erased Faces (2001)
Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992)
Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (2011)

Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement.

Satisfies diverse perspectives literature major and minor requirement


English 288: Special Topics

.01 TR 1100-1215 H. Garcia

British Female Travelers in the Muslim World, 1720-1840: This course examines the writings of British female travelers who basked in the pleasures and freedom of the Muslim world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Among the female writers students will study, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Elizabeth Craven, Fanny Parkes, and Mrs. Meer Hassan Ali (the English wife of a Muslim teacher who lived in India) preferred the privacy of an Ottoman women’s harem, the anonymity of Muslim veiling, the public spaces of Indian gardens, the luxuries of eastern fashions, food, and clothing, and the company of Turkish, Persian, and Indian men and women to what they perceived as a boring and confined lifestyle in patriarchal Britain. Hence, these unique travel accounts will allow students to explore alternative feminist responses to Orientalism, a discourse of colonial power and domination that casts the Muslim East as inferior, stagnant, and backward in contrast to a subjugating, progressive Western civilization. Such a critical focus reveals how ideas of gender, class, and race helped constitute yet critically question the permeable national borders between metropolitan culture and its imperial peripheries. Our primary readings will compare female travel writers to male ones, complimented with critical readings on postcolonial, feminist, and ethnic studies. This course fulfills the Ethnic/non-Western requirement in English and counts for credit in Women and Gender studies and the Islamic Studies minor.

This course is designed to give you a firm training in effectively using multi-media and blogs to communicate online with a “real” public audience. Toward that end, you are expected to think, write, create, and imagine wildly. Attendance and participation, in and out of class, are not just mandatory but essential to your success.

Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement

Satisfies diverse perspectives literature major and minor requirement


English 290-1: Honors Colloquium

.01 T 235-350 H. Garcia

This colloquium is designed to prepare students to write an honors thesis/project next semester: students will be developing, collaboratively and individually, the projects that will form the basis for next semester’s work, the Honors Thesis. (Thesis hereafter refers to both critical and creative projects.) To that end, students will explore critical approaches to literature, problems or issues worth exploring, and methods of exploration in ways designed to help both creative writers and critic-scholars. Experience shows that the hardest part of this process is finding a productive focus, and so the fall semester will include a series of checkpoints and tasks intended both to promote new kinds of thinking and to require choices that will help delimit the increasingly wide vista of research possibilities. This process will involve readings in and about literary theory and literary technique. This focus will help bridge the different aims of creative and critical writers, showing how creative and critical thinking develop in tandem.


FILM 288: Amateur Media and the Art of Impertinence
Professor Jennifer Fay
Monday/ Wednesday 10:10- 11:25

(Note, there is no prerequisite for this class).

“Amateur” calls to mind the unprofessional, untrained beginner whose art exists outside of respected venues and/or offends refined tastes. This is to say, amateur art is often regarded as having little aesthetic pertinence. But, of course, the amateur is also the exalted outsider who creates art not for monetary gain, but out of personal need and love, and who energizes the established arts with new forms and unexpected, sometimes shocking, techniques and content. Amateur art may be valued because it is impertinent.

This course considers amateur film and video practices (including the use of amateur grade technologies) as a mode of avant-garde experimentation, home-movie making, personal archiving, and compulsive publicity. We’ll explore the social uses and aesthetics of old technologies and viewing platforms (film, video, underground cinemas, television) as they give way to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine.

Among the questions we'll address:
- What is the relationship between amateur technology and avant-garde practice?
- What are the different attentional modes as we shift from “old” and “long” media to instant, short, and “new”?
- How does the private home movie anticipate the public sharing in our contemporary moment?
- What are the aesthetics of outsider art, and how might art for personal use find a larger therapeutic purpose?
- What are the politics of underground media in relationship to censorship laws and changing norms of privacy and publicity?
- How may we theorize a practice of social media as a mode of social responsibility?


WGS 254 Rory Dicker
TR 935


This course explores feminist narratives published from the mid nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. We will examine historical context, genre, style, and other issues in order to think about what has shaped the concerns of feminism over the last two centuries, and how these concerns have been expressed in narrative form. Texts we study may include Kate Chopin¹s The Awakening, Virginia Woolf¹s A Room of One¹s Own, Ntozake Shange¹s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Alice Walker¹s The Color Purple, and Margaret Atwood¹s The Handmaid¹s Tale.