English 100 [W]
Focuses on rhetorical awareness. In this course, students will explore the reading and writing practices of the academic community. Through primary and secondary research, and through guided writing practice, students will critically examine what these practices mean and consider how students’ own reading and writing practices fit into those of “the Academy.” While additional texts may be assigned, writing produced by students in the class will serve as the principal texts of the course. Additional texts may include Graff & Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say, Harris’ Rewriting: How to do things with Texts, and Richard Lanham’s Revising Prose. Prerequisite: FYS. Enrollment is restricted to first-year and sophomore students.
English 100-01: Introduction to Academic Writing
Writing enhancement in academic settings for non-native speakers of English. Includes reading and analysis of published essays, practice in research, and production of a research paper. Writing skills are designed to build fundamental skills step by step through exploration of rigorous academic content. Critical thinking skills move from skill building to application of the skills that require critical thinking.
Professor Tingting Kang TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
English 100-02: Introduction to Academic Writing
In this course, students will explore the reading and writing practices of the academic community. Through primary and secondary research, and through guided writing practice, students will critically examine what these practices mean and consider how students’ own reading and writing practices fit into those of “the Academy.” While additional texts will be assigned, writing produced by students in the class will serve as the principal texts for the course. This class will be of particular interest to students who have had limited experience with academic writing. Prerequisite: First Year Seminar.
Professor Uzendowski TR 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
English 116: Film & Literature [H]
This course examines several intersections of African American literature and film from the early twentieth century to the present. We will explore various genres of African American film as well as African American literary figures’ frequent engagement with cinema and the film industry. What was it about the Negro Federal Theatre that drew Harlem Renaissance luminaries like Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes to its productions in the 1930s? Why did James Baldwin find film criticism essential to his overall critique of racial politics in America in The Devil Finds Work (1976)? How did director and novelist Julie Dash inspire Beyonce’s Lemonade (2016)? This course will consider these questions as well as the potential and limitations of film and literature, both as cultural “texts”, to achieve the artistic and political ends of African American cultural producers and critics.
Professor Gill-Sadler TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
English 135: Literature and Human Experience [H, V]
An examination of a significant social or cultural problem as reflected in literary texts. Topics vary from semester to semester and will be announced during the registration period. May be taken more than once with different content.
English 135-02: Misfits, Outcasts, & Outsiders
What is normal, and who gets to decide? These are simple questions that are actually hard to answer. Although “normal” seems to describe what most people think or do, once you stop to ponder these questions, you might start to wonder if the very idea of normality is connected to social or political regulation—after all, to be labeled “not normal” is to be placed on the margins of some (usually imaginary) group or society that calls itself normal. In this course, we will read literature concerned with misfits, outcasts, and loners in order to understand how writers have challenged the very idea of normality as it relates to a variety of human experiences. Given that many well-known writers have been interested in the broad question of normality versus abnormality, we will have the opportunity to read literature ranging from the 19th Century up to the 2010s. Along the way, we will study some of the most significant works of literature written in the last 150 years, as well as lesser known—though no less powerful—work. Our method will be to combine close attention to the language of the text with explorations of the social, cultural, political, and intellectual contexts that help these works come alive. Throughout the course, we will explore also what is distinctive about literature and literary inquiry and ask why so many people across so many different times and places have thought literature vital to better understanding themselves and their relationship to wider culture.
Professor Belletto TR 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
English 151- Sec 01&02: Introduction to Creative Writing [W]
An introduction to the fundamentals of creative writing, focusing on strategies for generating, developing, revising, and editing in the genres of poetry and fiction. Through intensive reading, writing, and discussion, students will explore ways to enhance their own creative processes as they identify and seek to duplicate techniques employed by imaginative writers. In turn, students will discover ways to critique the creative work of their peers and to respond with insight to the imaginative writing of a diverse range of writers. Open to first-year students & sophomores. (W)
Professor Upton Sec 01 – TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Sec 02 – TR 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
Professor Awake Sec 03 – WF 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
English 202: Writing Seminar [W]
Writing seminars are courses that make writing and language their explicit subject. Examples include seminars in writing genres (memoir and travel writing), in rhetoric and argument, or in the way language and discourse constitute particular cultural constructions (“the animal” or “race”). While each seminar has a specific focus (to be announced in its subtitle), all seminars emphasize the process of academic reading and writing and use student writing as a primary text. Prerequisite: FYS.
English 202-01: Spiritual Writing
This course explores a range of forms and practices involved in writing that takes as its subject the spiritual dimension of human experience. Readings and techniques will incorporate several world spiritual traditions. Major emphases include contemplation and revision as ways of knowing, writing as self-discovery, and using writing to move from the self to the community. No religious or spiritual background is necessary for this course. This class requires at least one field trip.
Professor Phillips MWF 8:00 – 8:50 a.m.
English 202-03 I’m Nobody! Who Are You?
What if Zen philosophers and contemporary neuroscientists—and Emily Dickinson, quoted in this course’s title—are all right? What if we really are nobody? In this course, we’ll read and write about the question of selfhood from a variety of perspectives, including autobiography, literature, neuroscience, religion, and philosophy. Is the self just a story we tell about who we are? Can it be identified with the “default mode network” of the brain (and, if so, can it be turned off)? Are reported accounts of “boundary-dissolving” (in meditation, psychedelic experience, etc.) any kind of evidence for the self’s non-existence (anattā, in the vocabulary of Buddhism)? Or was the seventeenth-century philosopher René Descartes right all along when he argued that the self is the one thing we cannot do without: the prerequisite of thought itself? It’s often said that writing is a good way to make up your mind. This course will ask you to consider whether that mind is really yours.
Professor Wadiak MWF 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
English 202-04: Personal Essay
The personal essay is often mistaken as the genre of indulgent confession and catharsis. Beginning in 2008, the boom of personal essay writing has been argued to have occurred due to changes in social media trends, the proliferation of personal story-telling podcasts, and the need for clickbait worthy headlines. We have probably all read this content that seems at best, vulnerable, and at worst, voyeuristic or cringe-worthy. And yet, despite its critics, some of our most esteemed essayists writing today wield the intimacy of the personal essay to impart knowledge about a new era, share experiences of social and political conflicts, or examine what our inter-personal relationships tell us about our culture. In this workshop course, students will read contemporary and historical personal essays, write twenty pages worth of revised essay writing from a variety of prompts, and learn how to give constructive feedback necessary for writing workshops. We will also expand the “personal” of the personal essay genre by examining more philosophical, theoretical, and journalistic texts that thread the anecdotal with larger social arguments about the world. Sample of authors read: Alexander Chee, Jia Tolentino, Mira Jacob, Sara Ahmed, Joyce Carol Oates, Audre Lorde, Virginia Woolf, bell hooks, Dean Spade.
Professor Fernandes MW 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
English 205: Seminar in Textual Practices [H]
This course provides students with an introduction to the theory and methodology of literary study by focusing on three questions: What is a literary text? How do we read a literary text? How do we write about a literary text? By considering the rhetorical, aesthetic, and ideological issues that determine literary value, students examine their assumptions about literature. Required of all English majors and minors. Prerequisite: Any introductory English Department course (101-199) or AP credit.
In this course we will address some fundamental questions raised by the practice of literary interpretation: What is a literary text? What critical tools and vocabularies might one use in order to analyze literature? How has the field of literary criticism changed over the last fifty years or so? How should we theorize the relationship between the author and reader of a literary text? In raising and attempting to answer these questions we will discuss literary methodologies and forms of literary criticism, including reader-response, psychoanalytic, feminist, Marxist, and deconstructive interpretive strategies. To this end, our primary texts– Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Henry James’s The Turn of The Screw, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper and Art Spiegelman’s Maus — will be supplemented with secondary essays that exemplify various schools of critical interpretation. The general aim of the course is to provide you with an appreciation of critical pluralism and the historically contingent status of any literary work of art.
Professor Cefalu TR 8:00 – 9:15 a.m.
This course introduces students to some of the questions they should be asking as English majors: what is a text? Why are some texts considered literary? How do professors and scholars think about texts, and why should we care? Such questions are centered around short stories by O’Connor, Salinger, Gilman, Hawthorne, poetry from a range of writers, The Waste Land, Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now, Lolita, A Small Place, and True West. These primary texts will be supplemented by numerous critical readings.
Professor Belletto TR 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
English 206: Literary History [H]
How is literary history constructed? What is the canon of great works and how is it formed? This course inquires into the specific cultural practices that construct literature and engages students in an exploration of canon formation, marginalization, intertextuality, and influence. Readings are chosen from British, American, and Anglophone literatures and from various genres; texts from at least three literary periods are studied in depth. Prerequisite: Any introductory English Department course (101-199) or AP credit.
English 206-01: Literary History: Medievalish—The Idea of the Middle Ages
The problem with defining the Middle Ages, as one scholar drily notes, is that everyone sees in them what they want: “The Renaissance invented the Middle Ages in order to define itself; the Enlightenment perpetuated them in order to admire itself; and the Romantics revived them in order to escape themselves.” The upside of this problem of definition is that one can learn a lot about how a given period saw itself by looking at its idea of the Middle Ages. This course takes some foundational medieval and early-modern texts—Beowulf, Hamlet, and tales of King Arthur—and asks how later periods made these stories their own. We’ll find that Hamlet, for instance, draws on much earlier medieval ghost stories even as Shakespeare’s play itself continues to haunt the Gothic imagination centuries later. Our goal will be to explore how the idea of the Middle Ages helped give rise to the very notion of a literary tradition in English. And since we are still imagining the Middle Ages now—from Game of Thrones to the fantasy writing of Kazuo Ishiguro—we will end the course by asking what our ideas of the Middle Ages might say about us.
Professor Wadiak MWF 11:00 – 11:50 a.m.
English 206-02: Literary History: English Renaissance, Harlem Renaissance
This course brings together distinctive, important periods that are typically not studied together, raising the immediate question: why? The answers to this radical concept lead us to rethink the processes by which we arrive at “great works,” and, at the same time, tell a revealing story of genre, gender, authorship, race and sexuality that culminates in the twentieth century during the Harlem Renaissance. Does literature have a history? More than mere chronology, “Literary History” asks that as shrewd readers we master the politics of canon formation.
Professor I. Smith MWF 3:10 – 4:00 p.m.
English 231: Journalistic Writing [W]
This course introduces the fundamentals of journalism through its most basic form: news reporting. Students will learning how to write clearly and succinctly, conduct interviews, locate and use accurate and relevant information, think analytically, recognize a good story, and work on deadline. The course also examines the changing media landscape as it pertains to digital media and the role of the journalist in a democratic society. Prerequisite: FYS.
Professor Parrish T 7:00 – 9:50 p.m.
English 245: International Literature
“International literature” calls for an expansion of the traditional canon of British and American texts that has long been the staple of English studies. Over the last few decades especially, several highly regarded world authors have emerged whose presence has dramatically altered the literary scene. This course introduces us to a variety of these authors who broaden the scope of our literary education and both challenge and enrich our perception of the world. Literature, then, serves as a critical tool enabling us to encounter a changing world that invites us to look beyond the comfort of our usual literary horizons.
Professor I. Smith MWF 11:00 – 11:50 a.m.
English 246: Black Writers [GM1]
This course explores the transnational contours of Black literature and literary theory in the twentieth century. Using Paul Gilroy’s concept of the “Black Atlantic,” students will read a variety of genres from Black writers from the United States, the Caribbean and Europe. In doing so, the course encourages students to consider the permeability of nation-based literary canons and how literary tropes, aesthetics and theories circulate across transnational routes, complicating and extending our understandings of Blackness and literature along the way. Prerequisite: Any introductory English Department course (101-199) or permission of instructor.
Professor Gil-Sadler TR 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
English 247: Nature Writing [W]
This writing workshop might be better titled, “(De) Nature Writing” as its fundamental question is to ask students to destabilize romantic notions of “Nature.” The course asks students to not simply consider the subject of “Nature” as that which is preoccupied with trees, lakes, pastoral landscapes, and man’s corresponding interior meditative reflection, but more expansively, to ask ourselves, what is the nature of the Human? If we decide certain behaviors are natural, then what behaviors are unnatural? How do we think about the food industry within the context of Nature? How do we consider issues of contagion and toxicity within such parameters? How do different “natural” disasters reveal our own social and political commitments? In her seminal book, Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, Donna Haraway even critiques the romanticism of the “natural” as dangerous for women, people of color, and first nations communities. She suggests that our understanding of “nature” and the “natural” is too biologically deterministic and seeks to marginalize vulnerable populations from positions of access, representation, and power. In this course, students will be expected to read a variety of texts related to the concept of “Nature” and write twenty pages of revised creative and critical work on the subject.
Professor Fernandes MW 1:15 – 12:30 p.m.
English 250 Writing Genres [W]
Writing Genres introduces students to the expectations and purposes of a particular written genre and offers them intensive practice composing texts that function within the conventions and boundaries of this genre. Students will compose multiple texts in drafts, participate in workshops and discussions, and produce critical analyses and reviews. Sample genres include the essay, autobiography, hypertext and electronic media, travel writing, and science writing.
English 250 Sec. 01& 02 Writing Genres: Professional Writing and Communication
In this workshop course, we will define, examine, analyze, and practice professional writing and communication through the rhetorical concepts of audience, purpose, and context. We will develop and strengthen the ability to think critically, understand visual design principles, deliver presentations, communicate effectively as part of a team, and understand the written and presentation conventions of several different subgenres of professional writing and communication. Work for this course includes multiple individual and team-written documents and several individual and team presentations.
Professor Clayton Section-01: TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Section-02: TR 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
English 250-03 Writing Genres: Crime Fiction
Professor Awake Section-03: WF 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
English 251: Screen Writing [H, W]
This course will introduce students to feature film screenwriting. Students will examine various narrative tools and methods of screenwriting including story structure, character development, use of conflict, scene writing and dialogue. Students will analyze films and their accompanying shooting scripts to discover what works and what is less successful at the script level. These formal investigations will then be applied to students’ own original material in a workshop environment where student scripts will be critiqued. Permission of the instructor required.
Professor Gilmore MW 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
English 254: Humor Writing [W]
A seminar in which we closely examine the work of exceptional humor writers and try to write a whole lot better than they ever did or could possibly do if they were granted multiple lifetimes. No, seriously: a seminar in which we study selected strategies of writers such as David Sedaris, Steve Martin, Bernie Mac, and Jenny Lawson to determine how such strategies might inspire and enliven our own writing and allow us to generate new perspectives through humor. Supportive atmosphere in which we destroy one another’s will to live. No, seriously: supportive atmosphere. Students will compile a final portfolio of humor writing in multiple genres, including essays, flash fiction, and scripts. Impromptu exercises and collaborative writing. Required: a great big (or even middling) sense of humor, tolerance. Professor Upton
Professor Upton T 1:10 – 4:00 p.m.
English 257: Poetry Workshop [W]
ENGL 257 is an intensive workshop course in poetry writing at the intermediate level. Students will compose poems and participate in revision and editing workshops. Students will strengthen close reading and workshop skills, produce a polished portfolio of twenty pages of poetry and critical writing, experiment with different writing prompts, and analyze three contemporary poetry collections. One of the purposes of ENGL 257 is to help students move from old poetic forms to new ones while emphasizing the ways in which certain legacies of poetic expression continue to influence our work in the 21st century. For this reason, we will be exploring closed and open forms, practicing with a variety of experimental poetic practices, and contemplating how digital and new media technologies have shaped contemporary poetry. Prerequisites: English 151 OR English 255 OR English 256 OR permission of instructor.
Professor Fernandes R 1:10 – 4:00 p.m.
English 276: Literature of the Sea [H, GM1, W]
The sea is the great barrier, and the great meeting place, of the world’s nations. This course will explore a range of literature dealing with the oceanic environment from several world traditions, from 1800 to the present (the period of time when the word “environment” in English has referred to the natural world). While we will take brief looks at earlier literary treatments of this largest of terrestrial subjects, the focus of the course will be to track ideas, images, and stories across space and time, as we use new angles of vision to explore a world that takes up 70% of our planet, and yet still resists being known. This class requires a Saturday, Sept. 7 field trip. Prerequisite: Any introductory English Department course (101-199) or permission of instructor.
Professor Phillips MWF 9:00 – 9:50 a.m.
English 301: Shakespeare
Often regarded as sitting at the pinnacle of English literary studies, Shakespeare is not an unreachable figure but one whose texts resonate dynamically with issues of a writer embedded in and responsive to his society, especially questions of race, gender, and sexuality. Working in the public commercial theater of his time, he was subject to the derision, criticism, and marginalization that accompanied bias and condemnation. What kind of Shakespeare emerges from such a pressure-filled social context: the elite playwright and poet that most students invariably encounter, or a writer and thinker fully committed to the politics of language and art? As a working writer, Shakespeare uses drama and poetry as vehicles to reflect on the role and function of the playhouse in a society that regarded the theater as a potentially marginal and subversive institution. Prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor I. Smith MWF 1:10 – 2:00 p.m.
English 327: The Victorians [W]
The Industrial Revolution! The “Woman Question”! The rise of the middle class! Faith vs. Science! The Victorian era (~1840-1900) marks the rise of the modern, capitalist, urban age. Its literature—energetic, challenging, and extraordinarily creative—reflects a society awash in a host of profound and rapid changes. ENG 327 engages with the key poets, essayists and fiction writers of the period, including Tennyson, Dickens, Rossetti, assorted Brownings and Brontës, and John Henry Newman, foremost theorist of the liberal arts education. Prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Armstrong TR 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
English 329: American Decades: Speculative 90’s [W]
The 1990s was a transformative decade for science fiction in the United States. Writers across the country responded to the end of the Cold War by creating innovative science fiction that addressed new themes and appealed to diverse audiences. The decade is especially significant for science fiction studies due the emergence of new perspectives and voices: an unprecedented number of Indigenous and ethnic American authors published speculative texts during the 1990s, forever changing the literary genre. In this course, students will study landmark texts in American science fiction written at the end of the twentieth century. We will consider the development of key genres and concepts including climate fiction, Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurisms, feminist science fiction, cyberpunk, and Latinx speculative fiction. Throughout the semester, students will pay close to attention to the historical context of the 1990s: we will analyze how these writers responded to a series of political events including the fall of the Soviet Union, the Gulf War, the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas, the signing of NAFTA, and the balkanization of Yugoslavia. Authors we will discuss include Octavia Butler, Ernest Hogan, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Karen Tei Yamashita, Gerald Vizenor, Nalo Hopkinson, Sherman Alexie, Misha Nogha, Connie Willis, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Neal Stephenson. Prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Uzendoski TR 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
English 337: Milton [W]
“I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary.” These famous lines from Areopagitica (1644) were written by John Milton, not only one of England’s greatest national poets, but also a profoundly influential theologian, philosopher and revolutionary apologist for the execution of England’s King, Charles I, in 1649. In this course we will read Paradise Lost in its entirety and selections from Milton’s prose and other poetry, focusing not only on literary themes, style and genre, but also on the place of Milton’s writings in the history of religious and political thought. We will devote considerable attention to Milton’s radicalism, including both his theological “heresies” and left-leaning political sympathies. With regard to Paradise Lost, we will consider Milton’s unique conception of the creation narrative and the “characters” of Adam and Eve, Christ, God, and arguably Milton’s most magnificent creation, Satan. Was Milton, as William Blake provocatively asserted, “of the devil’s party without knowing it?” Why does Milton depict Adam and Eve as hard laborers in so-called Paradise? In raising and attempting to answer these questions, we will spend considerable time reading secondary criticism on Milton’s theological and philosophical viewpoints. Prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Cefalu TR 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
English 342: Modern British Literature [W]
In her 1924 essay, “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,” Virginia Woolf famously wrote that “about December 1910, human character changed.” “All human relations have shifted,” she continued, and “when human relations change there is at the same time a change in religion, conduct, politics, and literature.” Woolf’s passage describes the profound upheavals and experimentation with all things artistic in the period between 1890 and 1940. What came to be known as modernism was—in literature and elsewhere—an approach that was obsessed with innovation, avant-garde thinking, radical change and rejection of tradition. “Make it new” became the battle cry for revising almost everything in aesthetics—and what we call literature has never been the same. This course immerses us in the intense literary innovations of the British modernist period. Among our considerations will be how science and technology, evolutionary theory, the New Woman, race and colonialism upend traditional notions of what it means to be human at the turn of the twentieth century. We will investigate these changes in texts by writers such as Joseph Conrad, E. M. Forster, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and, of course, Virginia Woolf.
Prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Rohman TR 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
English 353: Advanced Journalistic Writing (W)
This course takes the basic principles of news writing and reporting acquired in English 231: Journalistic Writing to the next level by allowing students to explore an array of social issues confronting American society. There will be a progressive emphasis on research, interviewing, writing, and editing as well as the strategic use of data as a reporting tool. Students will also read an analyze works of literary journalism, including books, magazines, and long-form newspaper articles. Prerequisite: English 231: Journalistic Writing.
Professor Parrish R 7:00 – 9:50 p.m.
English 362: Advanced Creative Writing—Fiction [W]
Students will practice and discuss many phases of the writing process–note taking, drafting, revising and offering feedback–to continue to hone the discipline. Student writing will be the primary texts in intensive workshops where student writing will be critiqued. This course involves intense study of craft and the analysis of contemporary fiction as well as a variety of advanced exercises the completion of at least two works of short fiction. Prerequisites: English 250, or English 251, or English 256, or English 257, or permission of the instructor.
Professor Gilmore W 1:10 – 4:00 p.m.
English 375: Making English [W]
Note: counts toward either concentration in English major
Have you ever wondered how the texts you read in English classes got that way? A huge range of things can happen to a text between a moment of authorial inspiration and a reader’s encounter with printed (or digital) text. This course explores such textual mysteries through making a digital edition of a literary work from Lafayette’s Special Collections. As we’ll see in producing the edition, this kind of text-making provides a perfect occasion for thinking in new ways about literary theory and history, and about our own work as writers and readers. After collaboratively making the edition, students will develop individual projects that relate their own special interests in English studies to our edition. The course thus promises two big takeaways: a literary resource to serve the public for years to come and a new understanding of what excites you about English that can last a lifetime. Prerequisite: ENG 205 or 206 and 1, 300 level course or permission from the professor.
Professor Phillips WF 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.