English 100 [W]
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. Open to First-Year and Sophomore students. Prerequisite: FYS.
Professor Uzendoski Sec. 01 MWF 1:10 – 2:00
Sec. 02 MWF 3:10 – 4:00
English 115: Science Fiction [H]
This course focuses on short stories, novels, and films that explore in imaginative and thought-provoking ways how humans of various times, places, races, and sexual identities have viewed and deployed scientific and technological theories, knowledge, and gadgets. Authors likely to be studied include Philip K. Dick, Ursula LeGuin, Isaac Asimov, Octavia Butler, Mary Shelley, and Ray Bradbury…as well as a host of exciting but lesser known SF writers from the 1960s to the present.
Professor Byrd TR 1:15 – 2:30
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 135-01 Ten Plays you Need to Read Before You Die!
Drama runs the real-life gamut of human interaction and experience (humor, ambition, falling in love, the desire for success, fear of failure) in ways unique in literary study. We watch real people in recognizable human situations, talking, debating, deciding, and figuring stuff out. This course seeks to introduce students to plays that have proven to be substantial, provocative, and illuminating to the degree that they constitute a must read “ten best list.” But precisely because drama seems the closest literary form in its representation of how we live and interact, it makes serious demands on us as an effective mirror that challenges us to look at ourselves closely and examine our values as individuals, family members, neighbors, friends, students, and citizens with a social and political awareness.
Professor I. Smith TR 11:00 – 12:15
English 135-02 Literature and Human Experience
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 2015. 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. We read Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson, William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury, Allen Ginsberg, Howl, Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, and Alexandra Kleeman, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, as well as poetry and short stories.
Professor Belletto TR 1:15 – 2:30
English 135-03 Reading Animals
This course investigates the ways in which non-human animals are situated within literary and cultural discourses. We will seek to understand how various animals are valued and used in our culture, what ideas underlie such distinctions, and how the human/animal relation is represented in literary texts. The course begins with a broad introduction to the ways animals have been theorized within our own (Western) intellectual tradition and then examines representations of the human/animal boundary in twentieth-century and contemporary novels, short stories, and poems.
Professor Rohman TR 11:00 – 12:15
English 151 Sec. 01 and 02: Intro to Creative Writing [W]
An introduction to the fundamentals of creative writing, focusing on the elements of craft. Students will develop 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 modeled by published writers. Students will discover ways to critique the work of their peers and to respond with insight to the imaginative writing of a diverse range of writers and, in so doing, find new and innovative ways to re-see their own work. Closed to juniors and seniors.
Professor Gilmore Sec. 01 MW 11:00 – 12:15
Sec. 02 MW 2:45 – 4:00
English 151 Sec. 03 & 04: Intro to Creative Writing [W]
A French professor in college once told me: “A good poem does what it says.” This means that if the poem is about grief, then it should also instill the sensation of grief in the reader. The same professor later told us about a conversation between the famous Impressionist painter, Degas, and the Symbolist poet, Mallarmé. Degas told Mallarmé that he wanted to write as well as paint. He said that he had some great ideas for poems, but he could not seem to articulate them when he sat down to write. Mallarmé responded: “This is because you don’t write poems with ideas, but with words.” Studying creative writing is not just about understanding different models of storytelling, but actually exploring the detailed processes of composition, meter, and the materiality of language. Think of words as paint. What can you create aesthetically with words? Gertrude Stein said that good writing is the right words in the right order. Thinking about language in this way will help you understand why diction, syntax, stress patterns, and dialogue are so important. This workshop course hopes to sharpen both your critical and creative skills and to help you develop a more dynamic understanding of prose and poetics. Students will be introduced to major poetry movements from the 20th century as well as a variety of narrative fiction writing tropes and techniques.
Professor Fernandes Sec. 03 TR 11:00 – 12:15
Sec. 04 TR 1:15 – 2:30
English 202 Writing Seminar [W]
Writing seminars are courses that make writing and language their explicit subject. While each seminar has a specific focus, all seminars emphasize processes 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 11:00 – 11:50
English 202-04 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 9:00 – 9:50
English 202-5 The Rhetoric of Health and Medicine
What constitutes health and what it means to occupy a healthy body is by no means certain. In this writing seminar, we will investigate notions of health from a rhetorical perspective, cataloging the various ways that matters of wellness, illness, and disability are shaped and limited by text and talk. Moving beyond brute biomedical models of pathology, we will use interdisciplinary approaches to explore how competing notions of health are produced and communicated as medical professionals and everyday people interact around and try to make sense of the body and its proper functions. This course considers the (un)healthy body to be a cultural artifact, as an ideal produced through widely circulated stories, myths, practices, and technologies. From this vantage point, we will track the circulation of intersecting sexed, gendered, classed, racialized, and political forces as they interact to generate ever-shifting expectations of what it means to be healthy. Through class readings, discussion, and writing assignments, we will root health narratives in their cultural contexts, whether those be doctor-patient relationships, health advocacy and policy-making, or even international responses to pandemics. While one purpose of this course is to familiarize you with the work of important authors and theorists, another is to prompt questions and foster creative, critical engagement with real-world health artifacts.
Professor Mitchell MWF 1:10 – 2:00
English 205: Seminar in Textual Practices [H]
Required of all English majors and minors. Prerequisite: Any introductory English literature course (101-150, 152-199) or AP credit, or permission of instructor.
This course provides an introduction to the skills, moves, and approaches central to working with texts as a Lafayette English major or minor. We will read a range of textual genres, with particular attention to the hows, whys, and varieties of “close reading,” as well as exploring a range of major interpretive methods, driven by three core questions: what is a text? What is an author? What does a reader do?
Professor Phillips MWF 3:10 – 4:00
This course introduce students to some of the important questions that one might ask as an English major: How do we read a text? Why are certain texts “literary”? How does literature relate to culture? What is critical theory and why should we care about it? We spend much of our time carefully reading, re-reading, and thinking about complicated but richly rewarding literary texts and examples of critical theory. Students learn to close read these texts, and to view them from a number of different angles. By the end of this course, students are prepared not only to write and speak knowledgably about different literary genres—short stories, novels, poetry, drama—but also to create compelling, well-supported arguments about such texts, and to think flexibly about the different ways one might approach literary and cultural questions. Recent texts include: American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, The Waste Land, Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now, Lolita, A Small Place, and Topdog/Underdog.
Professor Belletto TR 2:45 – 4:00
English 206: Literary History [H]
How is literary history constructed? What is the canon of great works and how is it formed? This course inquiries 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 literature course (101-150, 152-199) or AP credit, or permission of instructor.
English 206-01 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 TR 2:45 – 4:00
English 206-02 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 2:10 – 3:00
English 210: English Literature I [H]
This course offers an introduction to English Literature from the Middle Ages through the seventeenth century. Particular attention will be given to comparing and contrasting different genres of literature, including, epic, romance, sonnet, tragedy, and the novel. We will also discuss the competing ways in which early modern texts construct gender and represent the individual’s relationship to nature and God.
Professor Cefalu TR 9:30 – 10:45
English 231: Journalistic Writing [W]
This course introduces the fundamentals of journalism through its most basic form: news reporting. Students will learn how to write clearly and succinctly, conduct interviews, locate and use accurate 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 W 1:10 – 4:00
English 247: Nature Writing [H, GM1, 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 demands students to not simply consider the subject of “Nature” as that which is preoccupied with trees, lakes, pastoral landscapes, and wo/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. Prerequisite: FYS.
Professor Fernandes M 1:10 – 4:00
English 250 [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. Prerequisite: FYS.
English 250 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, write in an online environment, 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 Sec. 01 TR 8:00 – 9:15
Sec. 02 TR 11:00 – 12:15
English 252: TV Writing [W]
In this class, we will be exploring the craft of writing for television. We will practice how to develop a premise and populate the world of a TV show with intriguing characters and dramatic conflicts. By close-reading scripts and screening episodes, we will discuss scene design, character development, the structure of both half-hour comedy and hour-long dramatic episodes, series-long story arcs, and how to write compressed but believable dialogue. We will develop a critical vocabulary for analyzing TV shows as writers and examine the shifting landscape of the industry. Writing assignments will build from short loglines to developed scripts. Particular emphasis will be placed on drafting and revision. Prerequisite: FYS.
Professor Awake W 1:10 – 4:00
English 254: Humor Writing: [W]
Unleash your inner funny and learn how to write with a side of wit and dollop of snark by studying the work of exceptional humor writers and stand-up comedians. We will then dissect their writing strategies and try to duplicate them as a way to invigorate and enliven our own writing while generating new perspectives through humor. You may even produce some laugh-out-loud or inside-where-it-counts material to employ on dates, family gatherings, or job interviews. Students will compile a final portfolio of humor writing in multiple genres, including essays, short stories, news articles suitable for publication in The Onion, and stand-up comedy routines. Impromptu exercises, collaborative writing, in-class performances. Prerequisite: FYS.
Professor Parrish TR 9:30 – 10:45
English 257: Intermediate Poetry [W]
A intensive workshop course in poetry writing at the intermediate level. Students will compose poems, study the art and craft of a range of poetic voices, and participate in revision and editing workshops. Students will strengthen close reading and workshop skills, produce a polished chapbook of poems, experiment with different writing prompts, and analyze contemporary poetry. Prerequisite: ENG 151 or ENG 255 or ENG 256 or permission of instructor.
Professor Awake R 1:10 – 4:00
English 271: Dancing Cultures [H, V]
What is dance? What constitutes performance? In this course we explore how the body, identity and culture are represented through aesthetic traditions, cultural contexts and texts from many genres in order to create social and cultural meanings. We examine how performance and dance are connected to questions of gender, ecology, and national identity. Students will consider embodied knowledge practices as they are represented textually in memoirs, essays, films, graphic novels, poems, and novels. The course is for all students interested in movement studies and in the cultural and textual exploration of dance practices.
Professor Rohman W 1:10 – 4:00
English 327: The Victorians [H, 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 and a literary history course (ENG 206, ENG 210, ENG 211, ENG 212, or ENG 213), or permission of the instructor.
Professor Armstrong TR 9:30 – 10:45
English 331: American Fiction from 1945 to the Present [H, W]
This course introduces students to the American novel after 1945. Since there are potentially hundreds of excellent novels that we might have read for this course, an organizing theme is necessary to tell a coherent story about the period. For this course, we look at a range of novels exploring the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world to see how and why novelists have been concerned with “globalization.” Since the Second World War, it has become increasingly difficult to think about the United States without thinking about the rest of the world: political developments such as the Cold War meant that the United States felt compelled to intervene around the world in order to check the spread of global Communism. This is how we got the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and why the U.S. had interests in places like Central America or central Africa. During the post-1945 period, the Third World was likewise becoming newly independent from their former colonial masters; and yet, as many of our authors acknowledge, these newly-formed countries were not entirely independent as they relied on foreign capital to sustain their economies, a situation some observers referred to as “neocolonialism.” In exploring the American novel after 1945, then, we find writers interested in many forms of global circulation, from military actions to more subtle kinds of contact or influence. For much of the postwar period, the United States was, with the Soviet Union, one of the two superpowers in the world. But after the end of the Cold War, and especially after 9/11, the United States entered a new phase in its relationship with the rest of the world, and we end the course by looking at a recent novel that depicts this new global situation. In general, we will find our authors imagine very complex relationships both among different countries and among the ordinary citizens in those countries, and we will make sense of these relationships through broad themes such as nationhood, history, personal identity, and cultural imperialism. In recent iterations of this course, we have read Tim O’Brien, Going After Cacciato, Joan Didion, A Book of Common Prayer, Thomas Pynchon, V., Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters, Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange, and Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King. Students are also required to read and present on one other novel written since 2000 that explores the relationship between the U.S. and the world. Prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Belletto W 1:10 – 4:00
English 334: Emotion and Genre in Medieval Literature [H, W]
What if genre, rather than being just a set of conventions, could be viewed in terms of its real effects on us—its direct bodily and emotional consequences? We do this with some genres automatically; think of horror movies, for instance, or of the difference between comedy and tragedy as the difference between laughing and crying. Medieval people thought a great deal about this “affective” dimensions of the stories they told, which they said evoked pity (compassio), wonder (admiratio), “lust, ”drede,” and a host of other emotions. This course introduces you to medieval literature, mostly in English, by asking you to think about the emotional stakes of reading different kinds of medieval stories, including passion plays, humorous tales, saints’ lives, romances, and mystical writing. As we’re exploring the diversity of this literature, we’ll also ask some basic questions about the nature of emotions, what they are exactly, and whether they are “anthropological constants” or to some degree conditioned by historical experience. To that end, we’ll engage with recent arguments for the view that people of different cultures don’t just think and believe but potentially even feel differently. Prerequisite: English 205 or permission of instructor. Prerequisite: ENG 205 permission of the instructor.
Professor Wadiak MWF 11:00 – 11:50
English 337: Milton [H, V, 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 permission of the instructor.
Professor Cefalu TR 11:00 – 12:15
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 investigate these changes in texts by writers such as Joseph Conrad, Djuna Barnes, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and, of course, Virginia Woolf. Prerequisite: ENG 205 permission of the instructor.
Professor Rohman TR 1:15 – 2:30
English 350 Studies in Writing and Rhetoric: Conflict! Argument as Public Deliberation
This semester, ENG 350 offers in-depth exploration into theories of argument and argument’s relationship to writing and rhetoric. While we will survey a variety of argument types, our primary focus will be on the role that discursive conflict plays in knowledge construction, public deliberation, and decision- and policy-making. We will begin by reading landmark treatises on argument’s political and social function, using classical and modern theories to develop robust toolkits for analyzing contemporary examples. Throughout the semester, we will ask some of the following questions: What is argument’s relationship to truth? When is conflict necessary for deliberation and when does it derail it? How do cultural differences influence the way we argue? Work in this course will include the rigorous analysis of diverse argumentative discourses, the production of original arguments about pressing public issues, and a final paper in which you will conduct research into the role that conflict plays (or has played) in matters important to your personal or professional life. Prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Mitchell MWF 3:10 – 4:00
English 353 Advanced Journalism [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 TR 1:15 – 2:30
English 362: Advanced Fiction Writing [W]
In this advanced writing workshop, students will practice and discuss many phases of the writing process–note taking, drafting, revising and offering feedback–to continue to hone the discipline. We will read a variety of published fiction as models but 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 and 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 T 1:10 – 4:00