English 100: Academic Writing [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 TheySay/I Say, Harris’ Rewriting: How to do things with Texts, and Richard Lanham’s Revising ProsePrerequisite:  FYS.  Enrollment is restricted to first-year and sophomore students.

English 100-01:  Writing enhancement in academic settings.

This section is open only to students whose first language is not English.  Prerequisite(s): First Year Seminar and permission of the instructor.

Professor Kang  TR 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. 

English 100-03:  Academic Writing

Professor Uzendoski  TR  1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.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 135-01:  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 135-02:   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. Playwrights include Fugard, Williams, Greenberg, Herzog, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chakrabarti.

Professor I. Smith   TR 1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.


English 135-03: The Rise of Individualism  

This course offers an introduction to English Literature from the late 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 represent the rise of individualism and subjectivity.

            Professor Cefalu   MWF  10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

English 136: Irish Writers & the Struggle for Political Independence  [GM2, H]

This course focuses on Irish writers of the period 1880-1925, a time when Ireland fought for political independence from England and underwent a civil war that led to the partitioning of the island into the modern-day Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We’ll examine how the literature of this era, which has come to be known as “The Irish Literary Renaissance,” reflects, responds to, and helped shape the political, socio-economic, and religious events and debates of the times.  Readings will include fiction by James Joyce and James Stephen; the poetry of William Butler Yeats; and plays by John Millington Synge, Lady Augusta Gregory, and Sean O’Casey.  Most likely, there will be a community engagement project; working in groups, you’ll share some of what you’ve learned about Irish culture, history, and literature with 5th graders at Paxinosa Elementary School.  No prerequisites.  (GM2, H)

Professor Byrd   TR 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  


English 151: 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. Corequisite: First Year or Sophomore Standing.

Professor Awake   MW 1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

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 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  11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

English 202-02:  

            Professor Gill-Sadler   MWF  9:00 a.m. – 9:50 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 1:10 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

English 202-04: Writing for the Ear

StoryCorps. The Moth. Serial. Code Switch. The Daily. Dirty John. S Town. Staying in with Emily and Kumail. The Last Archive.  These are all examples of podcasts that are heralding a resurgence in audio storytelling, an ancient tradition that creates an intimate experience for the narrator and audience. But writing for broadcast is different than producing content for the eye. In Writing for the Ear, we’ll focus on producing stories designed to be read out loud using a more concise and conversation style than writing for print, but with the same emphasis on clarity, authentic voice, and powerful word usage. You will learn to find stories, conduct interviews, write and rewrite scripts, and produce compelling audio stories that resonate with listeners. In addition to writing your own stories, you will also listen to diverse audio stories to discern how sound and effective storytelling techniques can enhance your own work.

            Professor Parrish   TR 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

English 205: Seminar in Textual Practices [H]

 In this course, we’ll be exploring some of the methodologies, concepts and questions central to the discipline of English Studies. What is a text?  What are some of the ways in which a given text can be read (interpreted)–and what features of a text does a particular reading strategy urge us to pay attention to…or ignore? What is an author, and should we even care about who wrote a particular text? Does it matter who is doing the reading, or who a text might be written for? Is it useful or harmful to make distinctions between analytical and creative reading/writing?  What are some of the core concepts and vocabulary in the discipline of English Studies? As we ponder these and related questions, you’ll be asked to identify your own assumptions about reading and writing and will have many (and varied) opportunities to generate compelling readings of a diverse array of texts. Particular attention will be paid to the ways race, class, gender and sexuality can influence the interrelated processes of reading and writing.   Required of all English majors and minorsPrerequisite: Any introductory English Department course (101-199) or AP credit, or permission of instructor.    [H]

            Professor Byrd            Sec. 01   TR  11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Professor Wadiak        Sec. 02   MWF   9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.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 100-level English course (101-199), or AP credit, or permission of instructor.

English 206-01:

This course explores the emergence, development and legacy of the Black Arts Movement and the theorization of the “Black Aesthetic” over the larger portion of the twentieth century to answer the following questions:  What is literary history?  Who determines the “beginning” and/or “ending of a literary movement? What is the process by which a literary canon and/or movement is formed?  What do we gain by studying literary history?  In exploring the Black Arts Movement—which was largely a literary movement—the course will analyze the conditions that made such an aesthetic shift possible and the movement’s major figures and debates.  Moreover, we will consider the Black Arts Movement’s critiques of the “Western” aesthetic and its often tenuous relationship to other Black literary movements and aesthetics preceding and following it—i.e. the “New Negro Movement” and the “New Black/Post-Black Aesthetic,” respectively.  In so doing, students will critically question the logics that create divisions between “Western” and “Black” aesthetics, “old,” “new,” and “post blackness” and who does and does not belong in a particular period of literary history or literary movement.  Students will pursue these issue through closes readings and listening to poetry, plays, essays and music by figure like Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Saanches, James Brown, Larry Neal, Carolyn Rodgers and Aretha Franklin.

                        Professor Gill-Sadler   MWF 2:10 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

  English 206-02: Literary History: Theorizing Early Modernism    

This semester we will focus on texts that were originally written during the Early Modern period (16th through 17th centuries) and then radically re-written or re-interpreted according to romantic, modern and postmodern sensibilities.  Our primary texts will be supplemented by critical essays on the question of periodization and the origins of terms like “classical, “ “Renaissance,” “Reformation,” “Early Modern,” “Restoration,” “Romanticism” “Modernism,” and “Postmodernism.”  One of our goals will be to determine the range of choices made by readers, publishers, critics, authors that contribute to the construction of literary history.  Primary texts will include Beowulf, Gardner’s Grendel, More’s Utopia, Huxley’s Brave New World, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Coetzee’s Foe, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest in relation to postcolonial reimaginings of Shakespearean romance.  This course satisfies the literary history requirement for the English major.

                        Professor Cefalu   MWF  11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.


English 231:  Journalistic Writing    [W]

This course introduces the fundamentals of journalism through its most basic form: news reporting. You 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 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

English 246: Black Writers  [GM1]

This course explores the transnational contours of Black literature and literary theory in the twentieth and twenty-first 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 AP credit or permission of instructor.

Professor Gill-Sadler   MWF  10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. 

English 247:  Nature Writing [H, GM1, W]

This critical-creative writing workshop might be better titled, “(De) Nature Writing” as its fundamental question is to ask students to destabilize romantic notions of “Nature.” Positioned within critical race and feminist thought, the course challenges students to not simply consider the subject of “Nature” as that which is preoccupied with trees, lakes, pastoral landscapes, and humankind’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 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   MW  1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

English 250-03 Creative nonfiction [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.

            Professor Awake         MW  10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

English / FAMS 252:  Writing for Television [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.  We will discuss scene design, the structure of both half-hour comedic 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 will also examine the shifting landscape of the industry as it relates to cable and internet distribution.  Writing assignments will build from short loglines to developed scripts.  Particular emphasis will be placed on drafting and revision. CCS W.   Prerequisite:  FYS.

            Professor Awake   F 1:10 p.m. – 4:00 p.m


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 and dissecting the work of exceptional humor writers and stand-up comedians. You will learn techniques to invigorate and enliven your 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. You will compile two humor writing portfolios inclusive but not limited to essays, how-to columns, greeting cards, tweets, and stand-up routines.  Sharpen your keyboard for in-class writing assignments, collaborative exercises, in-class stand-up comedy performances and a final performance.

            Professor Parrish   TR  1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

English 257:  Intermediate Poetry Workshop [W]

ENGL 257 is an intensive workshop course in poetry writing at the intermediate level. Students will compose poems, study the art and craft of major poets, and participate in revision and editing workshops. Students will strengthen close reading and workshop skills, produce a portfolio of twenty pages of poetry and critical writing, experiment with different writing prompts, and analyze multiple contemporary poetry collections. One of the purposes of a course such as this one is to help students to understand how certain legacies of poetic expression continue to influence our work in the 21st century. .   Prerequisites: English 151 OR English 255 OR English 256 OR permission of instructor.

Professor Fernandes   MW 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

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.  Dance experience is not required.

            Professor Rohman   W 1:10 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


English  276: Literature of the Sea [W, GM1]

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.  Prerequisite: FYS

            Professor Phillips   MWF 1:10 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


English 320: Whose English?  [H,W]

Do Gen-Zers have a distinctive way of talking? Why do people from Pittsburgh stereotypically say “yinz” for “you”? How did English—originally a Germanic language—become what it is today, a hodgepodge of medieval German, Latin, French, Norse, and a bunch of other languages—and how will it evolve in the next century? And how have creative artists working in English—from Shakespeare to Kendrick Lamar—pushed at the boundaries of what English can do, transforming it in the process? We will explore all of these questions and more in a course that asks you to consider the shape of the language we use everyday: what it is, how it got that way, and where it’s headed. In addition, we will ask what’s at stake in deciding who gets to use our language for which purposes, especially as these questions have become central to current debates over online political speech, “neo-pronouns,” English-language education, and more.  Prerequisite:  ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.

Professor Wadiak   MWF  10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

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 or permission of the instructor.

Professor Cefalu   MWF  1:10 p.m. – 2:00 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 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 or permission of the instructor.

            Professor Rohman   TR 1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.


English 350: The Rhetoric of Health and Medicine  [W]

What constitutes health and what it means to occupy a healthy body is by no means certain. In this seminar, we will investigate notions of health from a rhetorical perspective, cataloging the various ways that wellness, illness, disease and disability are structured by text and talk. We will use interdisciplinary approaches from rhetoric, science studies, and medical humanities to explore how competing notions of health are produced and communicated as medical experts and everyday people try to make sense of the body and its proper functions. This course considers the (un)healthy body to be a cultural artifact that is produced through widely circulating 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 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 health activism. 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.  Prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.

            Professor Mitchell   TR 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

English 355: Race Theory [GM1, W]

What is race? This course provides an introduction to theories and representations of race and racism as applied to the analysis of literature and culture. The aim of the course is to trace the protean uses of race in history and to place contemporary debates on race into historical context. Readings focus on a broad range of literary and cultural texts in order to trace the emergence and/or transformation of race in intellectual and social contestation. Most importantly, in the current moment when race and race awareness have been moved to the forefront of our thinking about social justice, citizenship, immigration, the carceral state, labor, civil rights, and the academy Race Theory engages students in ways that matter for their own personal, ethical, and professional development. These and other crucial inquiries will motivate our inquiry into what has turned out to be one of the defining features of modernity: race.  ENG 205 and a literary history course (ENG 206ENG 210ENG 211ENG 212, or ENG 213), or permission of the instructor

Professor I. Smith   TR  9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

English 390: Independent Study

English 495:  Thesis