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 Prose. Prerequisite: FYS. Enrollment is restricted to first-year and sophomore students.
100-01 This section is open only to students whose first language is not English. Prerequisite(s): First Year Seminar and permission of the instructor. Prerequisite(s): First Year Seminar and permission of the instructor.
Professor Kang TR 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Professor Uzendoski TR 9:30–10:45 a.m.
English 115 Science Fiction [H]
This course focuses on works of literature that ask us to reflect on scientific, technological, and sociological issues by inviting us to enter alternative realities that are both like and unlike the world we live in. Who has control over and benefits from specific scientific and technological developments—and who lacks access and is harmed? When does reliance on technology become overreliance? Do new means of communication foster or thwart effective interactions between individuals? How might works of science fiction help us better understand climate change, imperialism, advances in medicine, or the causes and consequences of systemic racism, sexism and homophobia? These are just a few of the issues we’ll be discussing as we venture into the highly imaginative and thought-provoking texts of both well-known SF writers (Phillip K. Dick, Ursula LeGuin, Isaac Asimov, Octavia Butler, Mary Shelley, Ray Bradbury)…and a host of important but less famous 20th and 21st century writers of science fiction.
Professor Byrd MWF 1:10-2 p.m.
English 119 Literary Women [GM1, H]
This semester, Literary Women will focus on novels, poems and plays that examine the experiences of females living in low-income families and/or communities. We’ll be exploring the psychological as well as physical toll of having limited economic resources, and we’ll examine ways in which girls and women try to cope with and/or escape poverty. In addition to exploring how systems of power and privilege based on gender and class intersect, we’ll also examine how race and sexual identity further complicate the experience of being poor and female. And of course we’ll be discussing how a work of imaginative literature’s meanings are produced through the text’s structure, narrative point of view, dialogue, setting, and metaphorical language. Among the works likely to be assigned are Sula, Bastard Out of Carolina, Rubyfruit Jungle, King of the Yees , and Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.
Professor Byrd MWF 3:10–4 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.
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 9:30–10:45 a.m.
135-02 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 TR 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
135-03 Ten Plays You Need to Read Before You Die! [H, V]
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, and Ibsen.
Professor I. Smith MWF 2:10–3 p.m.
English 151 Intro to Creative Writing [W]
A 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 exploring the detailed processes of composition, meter, and the materiality of language. Our class will be focused on different movements of poetry in the 20th century (Modernism, Black Mountain Poetry, Confessional Poetry, the Black Arts Movement, New York School Poetry), and fiction craft questions around issues of point-of-view, suspension of disbelief, and environmental craft writing. Creative thinking is crucial to a liberal arts education and to a deeper sense of your own self-development. This class will require you to reflect, take walks, eavesdrop, and dig for material from unusual sources.
Professor Fernandes Sec 01 TR 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Professor Fernandes Sec 02 TR 1:15-2:30 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.
202-01 Writing for the Ear
StoryCorps. The Moth. Serial. Code Switch. The Daily. Nice White Parents. S Town. The Last Archive with historian Jill Lepore. 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 from 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 conversational 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 edit scripts, and produce compelling audio stories that resonate with listeners. The final project involves producing your own podcast. Out-of-class assignments include listening and responding to a diverse variety of audio stories and podcasts to discern how sound and effective storytelling techniques can enhance your own work.
Professor Parrish TR 2:45-4 p.m.
202-02 Outbreak: Narratives of Contagion
Infection. Detection. Spread. Containment. Whether encountered in literature, film, television, or our daily news, we are all intimately familiar with the major plot points of what Priscilla Wald has called the “outbreak narrative.” Outbreak narratives provide a familiar structure for understanding overwhelming public health crises. They transform complex biomedical occurrences into mythic struggles between heroic epidemiologists and villainous superspreaders. These myths come to shape how scientists, politicians, and everyday people respond to epidemics. More than anything, outbreak narratives reveal the indivisible relationship between culture and disease. In fact, Wald argues that outbreak narratives are deeply related to anxieties about globalization, social mobility, and purity. As evidenced by both COVID-19’s disproportionate effects on communities of color and the recent amplification of xenophobic rhetoric by powerful social actors, outbreak narratives have real consequences that put real people at risk. In this writing seminar, we will critically examine the outbreak narrative. We will read widely, cataloging the ways that epidemics are talked about in historical, fictional, official, popular, and vernacular texts. We will discuss how epidemics move from being distant threats to overwhelmingly present realities. Historical case studies will allow us to interrogate familiar outbreak tropes and subsequently ask how blame becomes asymmetrically distributed among Othered groups. We will also examine how epidemics change our relationships with the environment and nonhuman animals.
Professor Mitchell MWF 2:10–3 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.
Professor Cefalu TR 9:30–10:45 a.m.
Professor Wadiak TR 1:15–2:30 p.m.
English 206 Literary History
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.
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 MWF 3:10–4 p.m.
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—whether in movies like The Last Duel or in the Arthurian fantasy of the Nobel-prize-winning writer Kazuo Ishiguro—we will end the course by asking what our ideas about the Middle Ages might say about us.
Professor Wadiak TR 9:30–10:15 a.m.
English 240 Introduction to Writing & Rhetoric
What is a writer? What exactly do they do? And what counts as writing anyway? This course is an introduction to the histories, theories, and methods of writing studies and public rhetoric. We will read from a range of texts, interrogating issues pertaining to authorship, genre, non-standard literacies, digital composition, and language ideology. Beyond learning about the type of writing that happens at college, we will examine writing’s role in constructing and maintaining social identities, paying close attention to how our written selves both liberate and constrain us as we engage in various forms of self-expression. While our topics and objects of study will be sweeping, they will be organized around a concern for how symbolic communication is entangled within pervasive social logics that define appropriateness, conventionality, and value. For instance, we will explore the intersecting racial, classed, and gendered forces that propelled (and, indeed, continue to propel) efforts to standardize written English. By attending to rhetorical theories of genre, we will ask how writing disciplines thought and structures our capacity to affect meaningful change. Along the way, we will study the work of influential scholars and critics who use writing to reveal and resist communication’s dominating effects.
Professor Mitchell Sec. 01 MWF 9–9:50 a.m.
Professor Mitchell Sec. 02 MWF 10–10:50 a.m.
English 245 International Literature [H, GM2]
Part of the excitement of being a student in the twenty-first century is seeing a shift in the way we understand the world as a complex mix where cultures one imagined to be so far away have been brought much closer to us through travel, the media, politics—and 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 11–11:50 a.m.
English 246 Black Writers
This course explores the transnational contours of Black literature and literary
theory in the twentieth and twenty-first century. Utilizing theoretical concepts like “the Black Atlantic,”cosmopolitanism, and archipelagic American studies, students will read a variety of genres of writing from Black writers from the United States, the Caribbean, and Canada including Martin Delany, Zora Neale Hurston, Paule Marshall and Marlene Nourbese Philip. 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.
Professor Gill-Sadler TR 2:45–4 p.m.
English 250 Writing Genres: Professional Writing and Communication [W]
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 T 7:00 – 9:50 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 LOL belly-busting or inside-where-it-counts material to employ on dates, job interviews, and tension-filled family gatherings. Assignments include listicles, essays, advice columns, a campus guide as well as a 5-minute comedy routine, which you will perform as your finale assignment. We will also delve into the history of standup comedy, learn what makes something funny, and cheer each other on in a supportive and respectful environment.
Professor Parrish TR 11 a.m.– 12:15 p.m.
English 256 Intermediate Fiction Workshop [W]
This is a revision-focused workshop for students who wish to develop the craft of writing fiction. Students will explore the conventions of prose storytelling—narration, point of view, character development, plot, dialogue, description, etc.—by drafting guided in-class exercises, reading works of published fiction, thinking about their own writing process, and eventually drafting and revising an original piece of short fiction. In addition to writing their own original work, students will also be reading a diverse sampling of fiction and craft essay and interviews to deepen their understanding of how fiction can work. Students will regularly write and discuss reflections on the work of their peers as well as on their own process. Careful and serious listening – to each other and to our own work – is the cornerstone of this course. During workshops, students are expected to engage in constructive discussions with peers and provide well-thought-out feedback that seeks to help their peers develop their own unique perspectives and voices. We will strive, together, towards the shared aspiration of making our voices come alive on the page.
Professor Awake MW 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
English 271 Dancing Cultures [H] [V] [GM2]
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, race, ecology and national identity. Students will consider embodied knowledge practices as they are represented textually in memoirs, essays, films, and graphic novels. The course is for all students interested in movement studies and in the cultural and textual exploration of dance practices. No dance experience is required.
Professor Rohman TR 1:15–2:30 p.m.
English 329 American Decades: Speculative 90s [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, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Karen Tei Yamashita, Ted Chiang, Nalo Hopkinson, Misha Nogha, Connie Willis, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Neal Stephenson.
Professor Uzendoski TR 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
English 332 18th-Century Oceans [H, GM1, W]
Empires. Sugar. Tea. Revolution. Slavery. All these hallmarks of the 18th century happened on, or because of, the sea. In the midst of exploration, empire-building, independence movements, and international trade, writers worked to make meaning out of the rapid expansion of the known world and the new political and aesthetic problems that expansion created. This course will study works from around the English-speaking world, from fiction (Robinson Crusoe) to slave narratives (Olaudah Equiano) to travel writings (Letters of an American Farmer) to poems (Phillis Wheatley). As we’ll see, even the definition of literature was up for grabs in this period, and the ways people thought about the ocean over 200 years ago still influences our world today.
Professor Phillips MWF 10–10:50 a.m.
English 341 Nineteenth-Century British Novel [W]
Cultures of novel reading and writing in Great Britain in the nineteenth century. Through an examination of representative works from the period, we will consider how the novel both reflected and helped to shape public perceptions of some of the major social and psychological problems of the period (e.g., the impact of scientific progress and industrialization on English life and national identity, challenges to a rigid social structure and repressive moral code, attempts to redefine the nature and role of women). Texts may include novels by Austen, Braddon, the Brontes, Collins, Dickens Eliot, Hardy, Shelley, and Wilde; Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor; and other contemporary texts related to the emergence of the novel as a key venue for social and political debate. Prerequisite: ENG 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Falbo MW 1:15–2:30 p.m.
English 350 Studies in Writing and Rhetoric: Reading and Writing in Screen Culture [W]
This class will investigate the relationship of reading and writing practices to the technologies that enable them. It will be a project-based course that allows students to collaborate as we produce original research that aims to answer the question: How do contemporary readers and writers manage their literacy practices and productivity when they are flooded with information, social media, streaming services, video games, and other distractions? To answer this question, we will read historical and contemporary texts about whether or not people read more literature in the good old days, whether the interwebz are destroying our ability to read long books, and how contemporary technologies like search engines influence our writing processes. We will study our own writing processes and the processes of others by producing multiple data sets, analyzing them, and reporting our findings in essays, white papers, and graphics. Counts for Writing Concentration elective Spring 2022 only.
Professor Laquintano TR 9:30–10:45 a.m.
English 352 Special Topics in Black Literature: Ghostwriting [W]
This is an advanced course analyzing the past, present, and possible future of Black collaborative writing as popular practice. We will read texts produced by ghostwriters like Alex Haley and Aliya S. King writing with, for, and through collaborators like Malcolm X and Faith Evans. Working behind the curtain of this growing practice, we’ll compare ghostwritten works — both in book form, audio, and social media — with the unadulterated words of their subjects to unpack the ways in which a collaboratively written text can complicate, compromise, subvert, and expand the intentions of both author and ghost. Students will read translated texts from African storytelling traditions, mainstream first-person autobiography, and contemporary music. For assignments, students will have opportunities to focus on both practice (i.e., producing original ghost-written work with a collaborator subject) and to write analytical essays about the social, cultural, and literary dimensions of the practice of ghostwriting. Counts for Writing Concentration elective Spring 2022 only.
Professor Awake MW 2:45–4 p.m.
English 353 Advanced Journalism [W]
This course takes the fundamental principles of news reporting and writing acquired in English 231 Journalistic Writing to the next level, with the goal of improving your writing skills and sharpening your reporting skills while producing and publishing stories that matter. Serving the public good is an essential tenet of our industry and during this course we will practice solutions-based journalism by involving the community in all steps of the story-building process by using a model developed by the public conversation tool Local Voices Network, a project of the MIT Media Lab, and the community nonprofit Cortico. Both are involved in innovative, experimental work around trust building in communities and are training journalists and journalism students how to reach out to marginalized groups and facilitate public dialogue about inequities. Along with three other colleges and universities in the country this semester, we will test techniques designed to enable citizens to “name” big problems facing their communities as well as offer a “frame” for possible solutions. This class will focus primarily on inequities faced by the LGBTQ and trans communities and we will partner with local news outlet Lehigh Valley Live to produce professional news stories and content with the expectation of publication. It takes open discourse to sway policymakers to banish systemic inequities. In this class, we will carefully question entrenched biases in power structures while considering how our own positionality as a racial, social, political, cultural, and economic being could affect our journalism. The course may result in professional clips and journalism experience that will enhance your resume. Counts for Writing Concentration elective Spring 2022 only.
Professor Parrish M 7– 9:50 p.m.
English 365: Seminar in Literary Criticism [W]
In this course, we will be studying theoretical schools such as feminist and queer theory, critical race theory, poststructuralism, and psychoanalytic theory. “Theory,” like philosophy, is notoriously challenging. At the same time, its intellectual lessons can be incredibly energizing. The texts we look at will be delving into the theoretical frameworks around Pixar films, contemporary hip hop, and our understandings of wildness. Students will be expected to write twenty pages of critical and creative response work to the readings and engage in seminar discussion on a variety of topics. Counts for Writing Concentration elective Spring 2022 only.
Professor Fernandes TR 2:45 – 4:00
English 369 Writers in Focus: Toni Cade Bambara [W]
A self described “cultural worker” and Pan-Africanist, socialist, feminist, Toni Cade Bambara is one of the most impactful figures of Black feminist literature in the twentieth century. This course explores her artistic expression and political postures across various forms and genres including, but not limited to, novels, essays, short stories and film. Through an examination of Bambara’s oeuvre, the course explores the various shifts in Black feminist thought, neoliberalism and Black literary culture and markets in the late twentieth century.
Professor Gill-Sadler TR 11 a.m.– 12:15 p.m.
English 370 Gender, Race and the Classics: Modern Responses to Ancient Greek Texts [H, GM1, W]
The stories told by the ancient Greeks have had a powerful influence on 20th-century playwrights, poets, filmmakers, and fiction writers. This course will begin with readings about ideological constructions of gender, race, class and foreignness in 5th century BCE Athenian society, an imperialistic society that extended citizenship rights and powers only to Athenian-born males. We also will discuss ancient Greek theatrical practices and the role that literature—especially drama—played during Greece’s “classical” period. The majority of the semester will be spent (a) analyzing the structural, imagistic, and thematic features of several ancient Greek tragedies, with special attention to how these texts address issues of race, gender, and imperialism, then (b) juxtaposing those texts to novels, poems, films, and short stories in which 20th and 21st century women writers and writers of color rework the stories of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides to explore issues of their own societies and times What features of a classical tragedy or epic does the modern-day writer imitate, preserve, and/or pay tribute to? Which aspects of the earlier texts are discarded, critiqued, and/or told from a perspective quite different from the original? These are two of the questions we’ll explore as we look at Greek, American, St. Lucian, Brazilian, French, and German stories about Antigone, Medea, Orpheus, and the Trojan War.
Professor Byrd MWF 11–11:50 a.m.
English 390 Independent Study
English 495 Thesis