Upcoming Classes

Winter 2023

Download a copy of the English Course Grid (PDF)

ENGL 2020-01 Encountering American Literature

MWF 12:30-1:55 p.m.

Hilary Hawley

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Langston Hughes, “Let America Be America Again” (1936)

This course is built on two premises: first, that the idea of wilderness and the frontier, the land itself, has been a shaping force in American literature and American identity. Yet even the slightest interrogation of an “American identity” reveals that it has more often been exclusive than inclusive. This leads us to our second premise: that privileges of race, class, and gender have played determining roles in shaping national narratives that in turn shape our social, economic, and political realities.

"Encountering American Literature" examines American literary history, with an emphasis on the close reading of texts that illustrate distinct literary periods. The course focuses on a range of American voices and expressions, while also acknowledging the role the canon plays in literary history. Because it is impossible to fit all American literature into ten short weeks, we will focus on writers of the later 19th century, the Modern period (with particular attention paid to the Harlem Renaissance), and contemporary writers of the late 20th/early 21st century. As you’ll see once we get going, such literary boundaries are permeable, with conversations echoing and re-emerging in different eras. The novels, short stories, poems, autobiographies, memoir, and songs we’ll read are paired thematically, but the chronology is often more slippery. What happens, for instance, when we pair Huckleberry Finn, written in the late 19th century but set 20-30 years before the end of slavery in the United States, with Beloved, written in the late 20th century, set during Reconstruction but populated by characters haunted by their memories of being enslaved? Through reading, discussion, and writing, you will develop your interpretive skills, get a taste of the ongoing complexity and richness of American literature, and further your growth as a student of literary studies.

ENGL 2030-01 Encountering INT: The Feminist Epic

TTH 3:45-5:50 p.m.

Serena Chopra

In this course we will read modern and contemporary epics written by women alongside feminist theory, exploring how women and woman-identified writers have disrupted and reimagined the epic tradition in order to establish a countertradition of anti-state, antipatriarchal feminist epic. Using a critical and poetics lens, we will examine how feminism has reshaped and reinvented epic motifs and tropes, as well as genre and form. Finally, we will discover the ways that the feminist imagination has created forms of resistance and intervention into the capital-patriarchal complex, offering instead subversive multivalent and embodied sociopolitical gestures.

ENGL 2050-01 Encountering Creative Writing

TTH 10:15 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

Juan Reyes

Art has always inspired other art. Whether we go back to the ancient epics or to as recently as the last two decades, literature, especially, has found its inspiration in music, painting, and film, among other artistic expressions, not to mention how much literature has inspired other forms of art. From The Tea Party to Invisible Man to the works of Jane Austen and the Harry Potter book series, we will explore fictions, creative nonfiction, poetry, movies, paintings, photography, and video games that have not only inspired other forms of art but have also taken inspiration from them. We will analyze literatures across genres, form, and mode to explore the differences of expression and story, and we will create our literatures and art inspired by the work of others.

ENGL 2135-01 Grammar & Punctuation

MW 10:55-11:45 a.m.

Wingate Packard

2 credits, WRST

We use both grammar and punctuation every day the way we use oxygen: automatically.  We rarely look directly at grammar and punctuation; but they are essential and instrumental for us when we

  • apply for jobs and program opportunities (graduate school, scholarships, grants, internships)
  • work to meet deadlines
  • communicate professionally
  • make requests
  • seek to avoid misunderstanding

Lawsuits have been lost for want of the right punctuation.  In this course, we will slow down and examine how grammar and punctuation function as tools for effective communication.

This course aims to give you confidence in managing your writing at the sentence level, to increase the clarity of your written work, and to give you tools for editing and proofreading other people’s work – skills that colleagues often use on collaborative, professional projects. Class assignments include regular readings, practice in a workbook, and preparation for weekly quizzes.

ENGL 3040-01 Advanced Writing: Argument and Collaborative Rhetoric-Listening, Collaborating, Arguing

TTH 3:45-5:50 p.m.

June Johnson


Rhetorical Focus:  English 3040 focuses on the rhetorical negotiation of conflict, emphasizes listening skills, and explores two different approaches to communication in rhetorical situations involving clashing views and values. The first is the time-honored tradition of classical argumentation with its logical structures and classical appeals tailored to win assent from targeted audiences. The second is an alternative to argument—collaborative rhetoric—grounded in principles of listening to learn and intended to promote understanding, ongoing dialogue, and a foundation for problem solving.  In our study of these types of communication—one persuasive and the other exploratory and open-ended—we will examine verbal and visual arguments and collaborative exchanges.  Writing both argumentatively and collaboratively will give you extensive rhetorical experience.

Thematic Focus:  Our readings will be arguments over climate change:  How can we overcome fear and despair? What actions can and should we take?  We will think rhetorically about the effectiveness of messaging, for example, these differences. Young activist Greta Thunberg vehemently rebukes international leaders: “You just haven’t listened.” American environmentalist and activist Paul Hawken reframes alienating “climate speak,” replacing war and sports metaphors and “othering” climate change (“combatting, conquering it”) with language of engagement and healing.  Our readings will also draw on the current perspectives of science, technology, policy, psychology, and education as well as Indigenous worldviews valuing relationship with and care for the environment. This course, through readings and writing projects, will explore the language-perception-action connection and will pursue ethical, responsible, productive communication.

Books: Ramage, Bean, and Johnson’s Writing Arguments, 11th Edition, Concise Edition; Stone, Patton, and Heen’s Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most: and Paul Hawken’s Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation.

This Writing Studies course welcomes all majors, especially pre-law, education, leadership, environmental studies, business, and English.

ENGL 3910-01 Podcasts: Sound of Self and Story

TTH 1:30-3:35 p.m.

Juan Reyes

CWF, Hybrid

The podcast is an innovative art form that reflects the tastes of its creator and is a vehicle for different forms of content: interviews, journalism, fiction and creative non-fiction, among others. We'll determine how the art of the podcast differs from tradition printed storytelling. We will craft creative prose pieces for audio recording (in singular and serial format) and distinguish the storytelling needs of audio vs the storytelling needs of text. We’ll work individually and in groups to practice the technology behind the art, and in the process, we will be generous with our learning as we teach and motivate each other to create a podcast show.

ENGL 3910-03 Twice Told Tales

MWF 2:05-3:30 p.m.

Mary-Antoinette Smith

1800-Present, INT

Spring-boarding from nineteenth century literary works, this course reaches forward in time to pair (and compare) canonical texts with contemporary twentieth and twenty-first century metafiction retellings which probe, promote, and problematize intersectional issues associated with race, class, gender, sexuality/sexual orientation, and more, as follows:

  • Pride and Prejudice , Jane Austen , Nineteenth Century Novel 
  • Pride: A P&P Remix , Ibi Zoboi , Contemporary Afrocentric Retelling of P&P
  • Frankenstein  , Mary Shelley , Nineteenth Century Novel 
  • Frankisstein: A Love Story , Jeanette Winterston , Contemporary Queer Retelling of FRANK.
  • Wuthering Heights , Emily Brontë , Nineteenth Century Novel 
  • The Lost Child , Caryll Phillips , Contemporary Afrocentric Retelling of WH
  • Jane Eyre , Charlotte Brontë , Nineteenth Century Novel 
  • Wide Sargasso Sea , Jean Rhys , Postcolonial Prequel to Jane Eyre 
  • Oliver Twist , Charles Dickens , Nineteenth Century Novel 
  • Fagin & Me , Cyril Dabydeen , South Asian Poem drawn from OT
  • Fagin, The Jew , Will Eisner , Graphic novel drawn from OT
  • Solacers, An Iranian Oliver Twist Story, Arion Golmakani , Contemporary Iranian Retelling of OT
  • Boy Called Twist , Tim Greene (Dir.) , South African Film drawn from OT
  • The Yellow Wallpaper/Kehinde Wiley Paintings, Perkins Gilman/Wiley, Feminist Short Story/Contemporary Afrocentric Art

NOTE: The written and visual texts noted above in bold print will be required reading/viewing for the course and will be supplemented with summaries of related and complementary non-bold texts, as well as select secondary readings.

ENGL 3910-04 Queer Experience & Poetic Memoir

TTH 6-8:05 p.m.

Serena Chopra

CWP, CWNF, Hybrid, INT

In this course we will read poetic memoirs written by queer and minoritarian authors alongside a gentle introduction to contemporary queer theory in order to observe the poetic memoir genre and discover its possibilities. We will create our own poetic memoir projects using creative writing exercises geared at exploring how to listen to and perform the complexity of our own personal narratives. Through encountering a variety of lyric, memoir, interdisciplinary and hybrid modes and experiments, we will articulate, explore and engage the unique possibilities that poetic memoir offers to queer and minoritarian bodies, narratives, experiences and imaginations.

ENGL 3910-05 Extinctions, Futures, and Race

TTH 1:30-3:35 p.m.

Charles Tung


In this course, we’ll explore together contemporary fiction’s urgent treatment of the future at different scales—short-, medium-, and extremely long-term—in the face of environmental collapse, biological and informational viruses, surveillance capitalism, and what one scholar calls “the Americocene … the apocalypse of settler colonialism.”  We’ll think together about how the history of race and processes of racialization shape cultural fantasies of the future, and how contemporary literature imagines the future of race and racial discourse itself.  We’ll encounter and wrestle with a number of theoretical terms and aesthetic strategies that diagnose the different presents we inhabit and that extrapolate a range of futures on the horizon.  Some of those terms and strategies include:  the Anthropocene, eco-horror, zombie capitalism, memetics, biopolitics, Afrofuturism, survivance.  Texts are still being decided, but there’s a high likelihood that you’ll get to think about these cultural objects if you join this class:  Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation, Ling Ma’s Severance, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, Sun Ra’s Space is the Place and Janelle Monae’s album Dirty Computer, Cherie Dimaline’s Marrow Thieves, and Danis Goulet’s film Night Raiders.


ENGL 4510-01 Indigenous American Literature

MWF 10:55 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

Christina Roberts

1800-Present, INT

In this course, we will study Indigenous oral and written expressions of North America and examine the literary and cultural complexity of Indigenous literatures. Readings and course materials will include oral literatures, poetry, film, and prose from the past and present. The course will focus on how tribal sovereignty, gender roles, cultural traditions, and Indigenous ideologies are expressed in literature and film, but it will also examine a literary (and film) history that often prioritizes colonial fantasies over Indigenous expressions. The course title, "Indigenous American Literature," raises numerous questions about the literature that will be studied in this course, and we will discuss some of the following questions: What is meant by the term “Indigenous”? How are cultural values and beliefs expressed in Indigenous literatures and what is politically significant about creating contemporary Indigenous coalitions? In what ways is gender expressed in Indigenous texts? Why are Indigenous women subjected to greater oppression than other women in North America? What literary methodologies are appropriate to use when reading Indigenous literature?

ENGL 4900-01 Senior Synthesis Capstone: Cultural Amnesia, Literary Studies, and the Humanities

MW 3:40-5:45 p.m.

Allison Machlis Meyer

Graduation is looming; you’re nearing the end of your college career. What are you going to do with an English major?  What good is a degree in the humanities? Why does literature matter? This capstone course is a reflective journey that will ask us all to think deeply about how and why thoroughly historicized literary study matters. This course will feature theoretical and interdisciplinary accounts of literature and the humanities, research, and guest speakers on a range of topics. Throughout the course and through the study of selected theoretical and literary texts that consider how literature makes sense of cultural traumas and resists cultural amnesia, we will take up questions about the foundations, hopes, and stakes of art. As a culmination of your study in both the core curriculum and English, Senior Synthesis offers an important space to rigorously reexamination that journey through summative, reflective, and speculative approaches and to imagine ways forward. It is intended to help conceptualize answers to the above questions through attention to professional development, vocational discernment, and consideration of both the possibilities and the responsibilities of the humanities in our world today.