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Indiana University Bloomington

Undergraduate Courses


Past Courses (Spring 2015)

200-Level Literature Courses

L203 Introduction to Drama

17612 11:15a-12:05p TR 3 cr.

Acquaints students with characteristics of drama as a type of literature through the study of representative significant plays. Readings will include plays from several ages and countries.

L204 Introduction to Fiction
Christine Farris

17623 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.

The aim of this course is to develop your abilities to read and write about fiction analytically as well as emotionally. We will examine how a selection of 19th – 21st century authors work with various elements of fiction, including plot, conflict, character, point of view, imagery, and intertextuality. We will work on strategies for finding patterns and puzzles in details and pose interesting questions that invite more than one interpretation, lively class discussion, and, finally, your construction of complex claims based on evidence. We will read short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, Flannery O’Connor, and Annie Proulx and novels by Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway), Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye), Paul Auster (City of Glass), and Tim O’Brien (In the Lake of the Woods). There will be short response papers, two longer papers, a midterm, and a final exam.

L204 Introduction to Fiction
Walton Muyumba

35463 11:15a-12:30p MW 3 cr.

We’ll discuss storytelling as a cultural practice and object of academic study. We will read a broad range of American and international literary fiction that spans the time period from the 19th century to the contemporary moment. The selected texts represent a range of forms (micro-story, short story, novella, story collection, graphic novel, and literary novel) and diversity of styles (allegory, realism, experimental, etc.).


One: The course is arranged to help students develop the necessary skills for reading and discussing literary fiction intelligently. Our conversations about the course readings will include examining their formal elements, such as point of view, character development, symbols, setting, theme, plot, and voice, among others.

Second: L204 is an intensive writing course. We will work on refining your writing skills generally, but especially your writing literary criticism. We will discuss matters of style, format, tone, structure, and argumentation.

L204 Introduction to Fiction
Richard Nash

17621 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.

This course is an experimental version of a hybrid realtime/online course.

In this course you will read a fairly wide range of fiction and learn new tools of formalist literary analysis that will enable you to write valuable interpretive essays that deepen your understanding of what you have read. We will be reading roughly fifteen anthologized short stories, in addition to one collection of short stories and one novel. This course has been designed to consist of roughly 30 lessons, with various components, and four graded writing assignments.

While I will provide you with a schedule that you can follow in completing these assignments that more or less corresponds to the schedule one would follow in a standard semester of classroom instruction, I take seriously the proposition that online instruction gives the student much more flexibility and independence in structuring their academic activity. You can complete the entire course in a few weeks, or work in intense periods of study at various points in the semester that best fit your schedule, or evenly distribute your work across the semester. It is very much up to you. There will be certain fixed deadlines that MUST be met, so be aware of those. Required texts for this course are: X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, An Introduction to Fiction; Raymond Carver, Cathedral; and Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

L205 Introduction to Poetry
Robert Fulk

17625 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.

English literature generally took the form of poetry before the rise of the novel in the eighteenth century. If you’ve ever memorized a poem, you may already have ideas about what it is about poetry that made it the form of choice throughout most of the known history of literature in languages across the globe. The special place of poetry within literature is one matter to be explored in this course, which will be devoted to examining poetry in English from a variety of historical periods, from the Middle Ages to the present. Another aim will be to cultivate an informed engagement with poetry as a genre and to develop skills relevant to interpreting and writing about poetic texts. One emphasis of the course will thus be on acquiring the vocabulary to analyze and discuss poetry in a professional mode. Since this course is designed to satisfy the Intensive Writing requirement of the College of Arts and Sciences, students will write at least 5,000 words (about 20 typed pages) over the course of the semester, in a series of graded paper assignments, and they will be required to revise at least one paper during the term. There will be no examinations. The course also satisfies the introductory genre requirement for the English major. Course texts: Shakespeare, Sonnets, and Booth, Hunter, and Mays, The Norton Introduction to Poetry.

L206 Introduction to Prose
Scot Barnett
TOPIC: "The Question of the Animal"

30730 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.

This intensive writing course focuses on representations of the animal in nonfiction prose, with particular emphasis on how we understand, imagine, value, and interact with other animals. We will consider how writers over the past century addressed the human/animal divide that historically contrasts the human speaking subject with the (allegedly) mute animal. As we will see, the question of the animal, particularly as it has been thought in the wake of Darwinism and its blurring of categorical distinctions between human and nonhuman animals, challenges us to confront not only the living animal before us but our own sense of what it means to be human as well. We will read and discuss a range of genres, from essays and memoirs to manifestos and philosophical treatises. Our texts will include Aristotle, The History of Animals; Jeremy Bentham, Principles of Morals and Legislation; Charles Darwin, The Decent of Man; Peter Singer, Animal Liberation or Animal Rights?; J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals; Donna Haraway, The Companion Species Manifesto; Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals; and Mark Doty, Dog Years. Requirements include three essays, a final exam, and class participation.

L208 Topics in English and American Literature and Culture
Bob Bledsoe
TOPIC: "British and American Crime Fiction"

26190 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.

What is it about criminal activity that so captivates our attention? In this course we will focus on 20th & 21st century British and American crime fiction. We will examine the “hard-boiled” and “noir” traditions in short stories and novels, as well as the ways in which contemporary writers of literary fiction have utilized elements of the crime genre for their own purposes. We will look at the comic book, graphic novel, as well as television and film. What are the literary conventions of the crime-writing genre? What questions does this genre pose that other genres do not? Finally, what does the place in which the drama unfolds, the doomed and gloomy city (think Gotham), reveal?

L208 Topics in English and American Literature and Culture
Mark Harrison
TOPIC: "Against Nature: Decadent Writing in the UK"

31423 12:20p-2:00p MWF 3 cr.

In the late nineteenth century, a style of writing that concerned itself with the bizarre, the sickly, the unnatural and the perverse came into full expression. Known as “decadence,” the style not only assumed the form of fiction and poetry but crossed over into the graphic arts and design as well. While this course will focus on decadent writing in the nineteenth century English context, we will also sample works from the German and French decadent writers and earlier works that anticipate the thematic and stylistic concerns of the decadents. In addition to reading the works of the decadents we will also work to tie the themes and style of the writing to the broader cultural sensibilities of the moment from whence decadence emerged—the so-called fin-de-siècle. Writers considered will include Oscar Wilde, Thomas De Quincey, JK Huysmans, Arthur Machen and Algernon Charles Swinburne.

L210 Studies in Popular Literature and Mass Media
Ray Hedin
TOPIC: "Making Meaning Through Stories

26745 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.

We will consider four of the most important media for telling stories – fiction, film, photography, and drama – with emphasis both on the common elements among them and on their differences. What are the characteristic narrative strategies of each medium? What kinds of stories does each medium seem to convey most effectively?

There will be a final essay exam asking the students to pull the material from the course together in a coherent fashion. The exam question will be available a week before the final itself. Students will also write three essays, 4-6 pages. There will be many possibilities for each of these essays, including imaginative/creative options. Students will also post a brief comment or question each week on our Oncourse Forum site.

Fiction includes Spiegelman’s Maus I and Maus II, O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, and Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. Films include The Godfather, Argo, Beauty and the Beast, and Zero Dark Thirty. Photography and drama will also be considered. The list of materials is incomplete and subject to changes as well. Contact me in early December for a final list (

L210 Studies in Popular Culture and Mass Media
Walton Muyumba
TOPIC: "American Narrative(s) in the Age of Terrorism"

31051 1:00p-2:15p MW 3 cr.

What do filmmakers, show runners, and novelists tell us about this contemporary American age of war, economic diminishing, and terrorism? We will watch a set of television shows and movies, and read a group literary novels that represent 21st century American experience. We will study these visual and literary artists, asking whether or not they can influence how we shape our ideas and personal narratives about: the 9/11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, definitions of terrorism, the Mexican borderlands “drug war,” Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, American identity and ethnicity, and the 2007-08 financial collapse.

Can these artists help us understand the consequences of terrorism and war on our imaginations? Do their works offer useful revisions of other popular narratives about 21st century America? Close readings of both the artists’ aesthetic choices and their cultural/political arguments will drive our discussions.

Novels include Egan’s Look At Me, DeLillo’s Falling Man, and Eggers’ Zietoun. We will read Mayer’s nonfiction The Dark Side, and view films including Zero Dark Thirty (2012), 24 -- Season 2 (2001), Inside Job (2010), and The Wire -- Season 1 (2002).

L220 Introduction to Shakespeare

17627 10:10a-11:00a MWF 3 cr.

Rapid reading of at least a dozen of Shakespeare’s major plays and poems. May not be taken concurrently with L313 or L314.

L224 Introduction to World Literatures in English
Mary Favret

28112 2:30p-3:45p MW 3 cr.

Comparing and analyzing works originating in at least two continents, this course introduces students to the complexity of human experience and diversity of global English as represented in literary works from various periods and world cultures.

L230 Introduction to Science Fiction
DeWitt Kilgore
TOPIC: "Finding New Worlds: The Evolution of American Science Fiction"

27479 11:15a-12:30p MW 3 cr.

Over the eighty years of its development American science fiction (SF) has become a rich body of texts dramatizing the interaction of science, technology and society, exploring the connection between physical knowledge, private aspiration and public destiny. The principle aim of this course will be to examine SF as a genre that comments on our present by imagining future alternatives. We will attend to how the genre links developments in science and technology with ongoing social concerns regarding race, gender and our desire to improve humankind. We will explore how the genre's conventions address earthly fears and hopes through themes such as space travel, alien contact, robotics, technological utopianism, and human evolution. Authors will likely include James Blish, Robert A. Heinlein, Joe Haldeman, H. G. Wells, and Octavia E. Butler. Critical readings will supplement our reading, thinking, writing and discussion.

This course requires two papers (3-5 typewritten pages, double-spaced), two exams, one research team project, active and informed classroom participation and attendance.

L241 American Jewish Writers
John Schilb
TOPIC: "Contemporary Jewish Novelists"

32542 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.

This course will study major novels by contemporary Jewish authors. We will focus on how these books creatively depict the losses, wanderings, creative endurance, and new community-building that Jews experienced as they struggled to survive the past century. Our texts will consist of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, Dara Horn’s The World to Come, Allegra Goodman’s Kaaterskill Falls, Nadia Kalman’s The Cosmopolitans, Neal Pollack’s Jewball, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated, and Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love. We will also view the Coen brothers’ film A Serious Man and the movie adaptation of Foer’s novel.

Required writing will entail some brief, informal reflections; a paper analyzing a textual passage (3 pages); and a paper that compares two works (5 pages). There will be a midterm and a final exam.

L260 Introduction to Advanced Study of Literature
Scott Herring
TOPIC: "Town and Country"

31052 1:25p-2:15p MW 3 cr.

Are you a city slicker or bona fide Hoosier? Is your Zip code from inside the Circle City or from the hinterlands of IN? Does your family come from Martinsville or Schaumburg or Owensboro? And why do these questions seem to matter so much? No matter where you live, almost all of us have an opinion on the differences between the country and the city. Usually, it’s not very pretty. This class will tackle this topic—its history from the Romans to Amy Poehler, its stereotypes, and where it may be going in contemporary American culture. The course offers you a further introduction to literary interpretation. We’ll read some novels, a play, a memoir, and a short story. We’ll also listen to few songs and watch a film. To make the large topic of “town and country” manageable, the course is divided into three sections that each addresses a different theme: pastoral, migration, and places left behind. In “Pastoral,” we start with Book Two of Virgil’s Georgics on the uses of olive oil, move to Our Town and My Ántonia, and end with some songs by John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, and Gladys Knight and the Pips. In “Migration,” we’ll cover two classic works in African-American literature, Sula and Their Eyes Were Watching God, then a heartbreaking memoir about Haitian refugees by Edwidge Danticat.

L295 American Film Culture
DeWitt Kilgore

27964 2:30p-3:45p MW 3 cr.

What does it mean to be human in environments defined by high technology? Is science, technology and rationality good or bad? Will the future be a time of efficient, ruthless oppression or of plenty and happiness for all? Should we expect American political and social customs to create the future and define its course? Over the past century science fiction films have addressed these questions, creating a unique and powerful expressive form. In it science is celebrated and condemned. Humanity is defined against its others and sometimes redefined as the other. Audiences are taken to distant places, other times and the ordinary is made strange. At its best cinematic science fiction allows us to escape from the mundane in ways that are both challenging and pleasurable.

In this course we will define science fiction film as a genre, explore the story-telling potentials of special effects and their meaning, and investigate the impact of futurist or exotic design on narrative. Major narrative themes will be the city of the future; space travel, its machines and environments; the monster and first contact with extraterrestrial aliens, the robot and other artificial intelligences. Our primary texts will be those American films that have made science fiction an important genre of narrative film.

We will also cover scholarship relevant to our inquiries. This literature will provide the historical background, explications of technique, and the critical vocabulary necessary to understanding SF as a visual as well as literary mode. Films and sections of films will be screened either in class and/or at regularly scheduled screenings. Several quizzes, two critical papers, two exams, and a research team report are required to complete the course.

Films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); Blade Runner (1991); Forbidden Planet (1956); and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) will be our primary texts.

300-Level Literature Courses

L305 Chaucer
Karma Lochrie

27965 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.

This course is an introduction to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and the culture of the Middle Ages in which he wrote. The readings are in Middle English, so the first part of the course will help you to translate (and talk!) Middle English. Many modern issues are raised in Chaucer’s text having to do with gender, race, religious corruption and debates, sexuality, and the uses of poetry. Requirements for the course include four translation quizzes, two 5-7-page papers, a midterm and final exam.

L309 Elizabethan Poetry
Kathy Smith

28668 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.

This course has two aims: first, to promote an understanding of the major genres that characterize Elizabethan poetry (introduced by Sir Philip Sidney in his Defense of Poesy) together with the historical and cultural contexts that gave rise to them; secondly, to foster an appreciation of the values, conventions, and techniques in the poetry that represents those major genres. To these ends, we will examine a range of poetry produced during this period within each major genre, beginning with examples of pastoral poetry (e.g., Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd”), and extending to examples of Ovidian-mythological poetry (e.g., Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis), complaints (e.g., Jane Shore), lyrics (including some major and minor sonnet cycles by Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare), satires, and concluding with heroic poetry, as exemplified by Book 1 of Spenser’s Faerie Queene.

L310 Literary History 1: Beginnings through the Seventeenth Century
Michael Adams

30736 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.

This course tells the story of the consolidation of English language and literature. It’s thus both full of exciting stuff and a necessary foundation for reading later literature. It will be a literary adventure — even if you’ve read some of the works before, you won’t have read them in the way we will this term. Among these texts, you can count on Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (both in Modern English translations), some of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, lyric poems from Geoffrey Chaucer to Andrew Marvell, the late medieval dramas The Second Shepherd’s Play and Everyman, Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, and selections from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen and John Milton’s Paradise Lost. While reading all of this great literature, you’ll learn to connect specific texts and authors to larger historical and literary-historical narratives; understand how texts, authors, modes, and genres are historically and culturally shaped; and understand how literature is implicated in and constitutive of larger social relations, including matters of history, politics, gender, race, nation, and empire.

Texts: Our texts are The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1 (9/e, ISBN 9780393912470), edited by Stephen Greenblatt and others, or, if you prefer to carry more manageable books, Volumes A: The Middle Ages, B: The Sixteenth Century and Early Seventeenth Century, and C: The Restoration and Eighteenth Century, which can be bought together as “Package 1” (ISBN 9780393913002). Both options are $68.75.

Coursework will include two essays (5-8 pages), two examinations early in the term, and a final examination.

L312 Literary History 2: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Rae Greiner

30739 9:30a-10:45p MW 3 cr.

This course offers a broad overview of the development of British and American literature in the era of empire, industry, and revolution. Readings in poetry, prose, and fiction will draw on themes relating to intelligence, rationality, and/or enlightenment and states that exist in between (the “noble savage”) or in (seeming) opposition, including irrationality, idiocy, madness, delusion, and animality. Longer readings include Alexander Pope, The Dunciad (1728); Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (1722); Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789); Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817); Herman Melville, Benito Cereno (1855); with shorter works by William Wordsworth, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Kate Chopin, Christina Rossetti, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Arthur Conan Doyle. Assignments include weekly quizzes and in-class assignments, a paper (revised), and a cumulative final exam.

L313 Early Plays of Shakespeare
Linda Charnes

17628 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.

This course will examine social and political politics, familial relations, and competing versions of “history” in six of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan plays. We will pay special attention to how social and economic systems organize familial and love relations, how conflicts between individuals and social codes are worked out (or not, depending on one’s viewpoint), through strategies of genre, scapegoating, misrecognition, marriage, death and revenge. We will ground our reading of the plays in Renaissance social and cultural history, looking at the effects of female rule in a patriarchal culture, an emerging capitalist economy, and other factors that strongly influenced gender, family and class relationships. We will read several comedies, history plays, and tragedies; and look at how the choice, structure, and conventions of genre alter, disguise or reveal the debates and crises circulating in early modern England and the theatre.

Plays will include Richard II, 1 Henry IV, Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet. Requirements will be two papers, a midterm, attendance and participation, and a final exam.

L316 Literary History III
Judith Brown
TOPIC: "Nostalgia and the Novel"

30741 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.

You can’t go home again. Or can you? This class thinks about home, loss, and that pleasurably achy feeling of nostalgia from the early twentieth century to the present. Nostalgia was first understood as a kind of mental illness. Now we associate it with a personal or cultural desire for times past. Is nostalgia conservative? Does it have a national or gender politics? Does it tell us anything about the future, or our feelings about our globalizing world? We’ll discuss nostalgia in relation to movements such as modernism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism, and will read a range of novels (and two novel-esque memoirs) including: Rebecca West, Return of the Soldier; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day; Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake; Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Jamaica Kincaid, My Brother; Toni Morrison, Home; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home; Colson Whitehead, Zone One.

Course evaluation will be based on multiple reading quizzes and two papers.

L318 Milton
Penelope Anderson

30744 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.

For a course about a poet who loved controversies, we'll start with something controversial: John Milton wrote the best poetry in the English language. This semester, we will read most of his poetry and a bit of his prose, in order not only to understand why someone might claim him as the best, but also to discover how his poetry has shaped our sense of what great literature is and how poetry itself works. Along the way, we will delve into other controversies and contradictions: Milton evokes the pleasures of love in Eden while shading them with misogyny; he represents God's authority by paralleling it to the king he wanted executed; he gives us one of literature’s most attractive heroes in the rebellious Satan.

Milton's poetry is difficult, and we will accordingly read it slowly and carefully, with class discussion and writing assignments designed to give you tools for working with it. We will begin with some of his shorter poems, his fantastical masque "Comus," and his prose polemic advocating free speech, Areopagitica, before spending the bulk of the semester on his great biblical epic, Paradise Lost. We will conclude with Samson Agonistes, a drama that has been at the center of recent controversies about religious violence. You will also have some brief additional readings, both contextual and critical, to give you a sense of Milton's time and his afterlife as a lightning rod for critical debate.

Assignments will include some short writing pieces designed to help you work with Milton's language as well as a short paper, a long research paper, and a final exam. You will also have the option to submit an extra credit assignment.

L335 Victorian Literature
Andrew Miller

26604 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.

In this course we will study some of the most important, and most enjoyable, works of prose and poetry written in the Victorian period. Our focus will be on the ways that these texts construct “modernity,” a term that has been of continuing use in trying to understand ourselves and our society. We won’t drive that term into the ground, I hope, but we will let it organize many of our readings and discussions. Readings will include what many think of as the greatest English novel—Middlemarch—as well as poetry by both Brownings, and both Rossettis, Tennyson, and Hopkins. Non-fiction prose readings will include works by Mill, Darwin, Arnold, and Wilde. Assignments are likely to include two tests and two papers.

L348 Nineteenth-Century British Fiction
Rae Greiner

21858 2:30p-3:45p MW 3 cr.

This course offers an overview of fiction written in Romantic and Victorian era Britain and its colonies. Readings will draw on themes relating to irrationality (including imbecility, lunacy, delusion, criminality, and animal or non-human states). Longer novels include Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817); Sir Walter Scott, The Bride of Lammermoor (1819); Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1859); Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1860); and Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Readings supplemented by short fiction and non-fiction. Assignments include three close readings, 2 papers, and weekly quizzes and in-class assignments.

L354 American Literature Survey
Joshua Kates

30746 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.

This course surveys 20th-century American literature, including poetry and drama, as well as fiction. We will hit many of the “biggies,” starting with poetic modernism (T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound) in order to sensitize ourselves to issues of literary form. The course as whole moves between realism and modernism: in its first half it treats texts by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and such Harlem Renaissance writers as Zora Neale Hurston and Nella Larsen, and finally turns to William Faulkner. We will end by studying poets and novelists from the second half of the century up until the present who have pushed the limits of these traditions: fiction writers such as Toni Morrison and Jennifer Egan, and the poets John Ashbery and Jorie Graham. Grades depend on discussion, midterm and final papers and exams, and some short assignments.

L357 Twentieth-Century American Poetry
Nikki Skillman

27588 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.

Exploring how poetic language, structures, and devices grow and change over the course of “the American century,” in this course we will study some of the most memorable, rapturous, iconoclastic, difficult, innovative poets and poems in the history of English. We will examine the kinds of pleasure and rigor and freshness to which the verse of this era aspires, always striving to “make it new,” and trace the shifting notions of authority and authenticity poets invoke in the face of profound upheavals of value and historical consciousness. Though our focus will always be on poems as individual works of art, we will also consider how they reflect and pronounce upon the social world; we will situate the poems we read within broad aesthetic movements, within the long history of the genre in English, and within the oeuvres of their makers. Poets will include Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, Charles Bernstein, Bernadette Mayer, Harryette Mullen, and Tan Lin, among others. Evaluation will be based on two essays (the latter of which may take the form of a review of a recent book of poetry), two exams, and class participation.

L358 American Literature, 1914-1960
Scott Herring
TOPIC: "Modernism and Masculinities"

30748 11:15a-12:30p MW 3 cr.

What did—and does—it take to make or unmake a “man” in modern U.S. literatures and cultures? It’s a deceptively simple question that will guide our readings as we map competing representations of “masculinities” across the first third of the twentieth-century and beyond. In so doing, we too will use evolving frameworks of “masculinity” to revisit key controversies such as:

  • The rise of hetero/homsexual identities
  • Masculinity and racialization
  • New Women vs. New Men
  • Manliness, nativism, and primitivism
  • Sheiks and bohemian life
  • Interracial male friendship
  • Female masculinities
  • Class instabilities
  • Postmodern carry-overs

L363 American Drama
Shane Vogel
TOPIC: "Performing America: The Invention of Modern US Drama"

30750 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.

In this course we will explore how theater and performance shaped and responded to transformations in American culture between 1830 and 1950. While our emphasis will be on the emergence of modern drama in the twentieth century, we will begin the course with theater and performance of the nineteenth century to better understand the historical development of the US stage. In addition to studying dramatic texts and attending to the world of the theatre, we will look closely at cultural performances that take place off the stage as well. We will read plays by T. D. Rice, Anna Cora Mowatt, George Aiken, Angelina Weld Grimké, Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, Sophie Treadwell, Lynn Riggs, Tennessee Williams, and Elmer Rice, as well as additional primary and secondary materials about American performance culture. Students will be expected to attend class regularly and participate actively in readings and discussions throughout the semester, as well as complete one short essay, one longer research paper, and a number of formal response papers.

L369 Studies in British and American Authors
Rebekah Sheldon
TOPIC: "Margaret Atwood: Women, Bodies, Worlds"

32545 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.

In The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood’s 1969 novel about love, sex, and food, the protagonist Marian McAlpin wonders as she takes her vitamin pill “what they grind up to put into these things” (246). In Oryx and Crake, Atwood’s 2003 novel about a genetically-engineered apocalypse, the big-pharma corporation HelthWyzer uses its vitamin pills as disease vectors in order to produce a steady demand for the costly medicines it also makes. These two novels are separated by more than forty years, yet their central concerns with gender construction, economics, environmental hazard, and sexuality and reproduction remain remarkably consistent. In this course we will use the lens of Atwood’s incisive, witty and often uncomfortable prose to chart how the earlier moments give rise to our contemporary world. In our readings and discussions, we will ask what changes we see and what differences these changes make or don't make in the lives, bodies, and worlds of our female protagonists and narrators. Possible readings include: Edible Woman (1969), Surfacing (1972), Lady Oracle (1976), Handmaid’s Tale (1985), Cat’s Eye (1988), Wilderness Tips (short fiction, 1991), Robber Bride (1993), The Blind Assassin (2000), Oryx and Crake (2003), and The Penelopiad (2005).

L371 Critical Approaches
Joshua Kates

23460 2:30p-3:20p TR 3 cr.

The aim of this course is to familiarize students with some of the leading problems and debates comprising the field of literary theory. We will study, in particular, two issues. The first will be literary or artistic value: are some works to be judged better than others, and, if so, how, by what criterion or standard? What is the “standard of taste,” as the Scottish philosopher, David Hume put it? Secondly, how does one understand or interpret literature; what should a reader do with literature and what is he or she actually interpreting—the author’s intention, the words on the page as defined by a dictionary, or something else? Here we will touch on debates that include legal interpretation (Judge Antonin Scalia’s textual views) as well as theories of poetics and language (those of the so-called New Critics, Speech Acts, some Structuralism and Post-Structuralism). Students are expected to complete the readings for the classes for which they are assigned, and grade will depend on midterm and final papers and exams, in addition to weekly assignments and discussion in sections.

L373 Interdisciplinary Approaches to English and American Literature
Patricia Ingham
TOPIC: "Arthurian Literature and its Modern Descendants"

30007 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.

Beginning with Thomas Malory's 15th c. compendium of stories of King Arthur, this course will survey the Arthurian traditions in later English and American Literature. Texts to be studied include T.H. White's The Once and Future King; Tennyson's epic poem, The Idylls of the King, Mark Twain's, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; Arthur Phillips' recent, The Tragedy of Arthur, among others. Select films will be included in our study.

L381 Recent Writing
Ray Hedin
TOPIC: "Contemporary Fiction: Loss and Longing"

21502 1:00p-2:15p MW 3 cr.

This course will focus on fiction writers of the last twenty years whose works have addressed the culturally pervasive, interrelated themes of loss and longing. Although our emphasis will be on close examination of these themes in fiction, we will also consider larger cultural issues raised by these texts, such as: why are so many contemporary writers focused on these themes? What constitutes significant loss and longing in our culture? In what ways are these themes compatible with a stance of possibility and/or hope? We will also consider a film or two to suggest how these themes are conveyed in a different medium.

Course evaluation will be based on two essays, midterm and final exams, in-class participation and forum posts. Readings will include: Lightman, “Images;” Millhauser, “The Knife Thrower;” “Claire de Lune;” Spiegelman, Maus I and Maus II; O’Brien, The Things They Carried; Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies; McCarthy, The Road; Strout, Amy and Isabel; Tilghman, “In a Father’s Place;” Biguenet, “Lunch with My Daughter;” Toibin, “The Song;” Price, Bloodbrothers; Schlink, The Reader; Nordan, The Sharpshooter Blues’; Groff, Arcadia; Puchner, “Essay #3: Leda and the Swan,” “Fear of Invisible Tribes"; Bloom, “Hold Tight;” and Quatro, I Want to Show You More, selections. There may be slight adjustments to this reading list. Feel free to contact me in early December for a final list (

L383 Studies in British or Commonwealth Culture
Purnima Bose
TOPIC: "The Post-Colonial Novel"

30013 2:30p-3:45p MW 3 cr.

Joint-listed with INTL-I423

This course will focus on the post-colonial novel, as it has been elaborated in South Asia. We will read English-language novels from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. While these countries shared the experience of being part of the British Empire, they developed very different political systems. In addition to considering the aesthetic features of this fiction, we will explore the aftermath of British imperialism on the subcontinent, including the legacy of Partition and communalism, ethno-nationalism, conceptions of citizenship, and the status of civil society. In the final unit of the course, we will consider the US intervention in Afghanistan, along with its impact on Pakistan. My goals for the course are threefold: to learn about the development of the novel in South Asia, to become familiar with country-specific debates regarding the polity, and to gain an appreciation of the historical and ongoing interconnections between these countries. A tentative list of readings includes: Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines (India/Bangladesh), Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Pakistan), Mohammed Hanif’s The Case of Exploding Mangoes (Pakistan), Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed (Afghanistan), Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things (India), and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (India). Students should expect to participate actively in class discussions, to take three exams and to write one 7-8 page paper.

L391 Literature for Young Adults
Rebekah Sheldon
TOPIC: "Freak Out! Moral Panics and Young Adult Fiction"

27632 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.

The first teenager was born sometime in the late spring of 1941--or so the publishing history tells us. While the idea of the “generation gap” had been around in various guises throughout the 20th-century, the teenager was a child of World War II who came of age (along with atomic warfare, the mass production of plastic, color television, and the space race) in the hothouse climate of the American post-War boom. Like the period itself, the teenager developed through patterned contrasts: independence and surveillance, access and restriction, luxury and privation, rebellion and conformity made up the character of the age and the circumstances of the teenager. And so it is no surprise that the teen was caught from its inception in panics that sought to pin it down, discover its truth, and make it act right. Indeed, moral panics are nearly definitionally concerned with children and teens and the two reciprocally shape each other. Whether stranger danger, satanic brainwashing, or rainbow parties (to take some notable examples), these panics illuminate the subterranean features of our collective construction of youth, showing us what we think teenagers might (really) be by insisting on what they most emphatically are not.

In this course, we will investigate young adult fiction (another product of the post-World War II period) to see how adult authored texts instructed teenagers in how to be a teen (a category still actively under construction) and in the process how they framed, circulated, and contested the new discourses of delinquency, rebellion, consumption, and “experimentation.” Our semester will be divided into three major sections: on the creation of the juvenile delinquency systems; on teen sexual expression; and on sexting, social media, and the Internet. We will read novels, graphic novels, fan fiction and nonfiction and watch several films over the course of the semester. In addition to course reading, students will be responsible for independent research.

Possible readings: J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (1951); S. E. Hinton, The Outsiders (1967); Anonymous, Go Ask Alice (1971); Judy Blume, Forever (1975); Lionel Davidson, Under Plum Lake (1980); Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle (1983); Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass (1995); Sapphire, Push (1997); M.T. Anderson, Feed (2003); Cory Doctorow, Little Brother (2008); Helen Schulman, This Beautiful Life (2012).

Possible films: Heathers (1988); Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995); KIDS (1995); Fat Girl (2001); L.I.E. (2001); Spring Breakers (2012).

L395 British and American Film Studies
Ranu Samantrai

Second Eight Weeks Course
33666 12:20-2:50p MW 3 cr.

British film between 1945 and 2000 mirrors a period of rapid and volatile change. We’ll organize our study around four themes: the new localism and realism of post-war cinema; imperial nostalgia and the rise of the heritage industry; the angry children of Thatcher; and the multicultural nation. We’ll likely include films by Hugh Hudson, Gurinder Chadha, John Akomfrah, Stephen Frears, and Mike Leigh, as well as looking at studio productions from the Ealing comedies to the Black Arts collectives.

Our primary texts will be the films themselves; we’ll screen one every week. Brief secondary readings will provide historical and institutional context. In addition to participating enthusiastically in class conversation, students may expect brief weekly writing, a research presentation, and a final examination.

L396 Studies in African American Literature
Stephanie Li
TOPIC: "The Radical Narratives of Toni Morrison"

30021 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.

“Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created.” – Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison has emerged as one of the most influential writers and critics in contemporary American culture. This course will examine her diverse literary and critical work from a variety of perspectives, including black feminist thought, trauma theory, Biblical exegesis, and critical race theory. Special attention will be paid to Morrison’s contributions to African American literature and theory, in particular how she conceives of Black art and the responsibilities of its practitioners. In our study of her novels, we will explore such issues as the importance of history and myth in the creation of personal identity, constructions of race and gender, the dynamic nature of love, the role of the community in social life, and the pressures related to the development of adolescent girls. We will also examine the changing nature of Morrison’s reception by critics and academics, and consider how and why she has achieved such widespread acclaim and influence.

400-Level Literature and Language Courses

G405 Studies in the English Language
Michael Adams
TOPIC: "English and the Culture of Correctness"

27450 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.

This is fundamentally a course about language attitudes, and it focuses on one especially persistent attitude and reactions to it. People talk about speaking and writing English “correctly,” but — with regard to a language — what is “correct”? Correctness has not always been a concern among speakers and writers of English, which leads one to the questions, “When did it become so?” and “Why?” And then, “Who determines what is correct?” And, finally, “Do notions of correctness affect our practice — are they all talk, or do they make some difference in the world?” In order to answer such questions, the course is divided into three roughly equal parts: (1) we will look into the very modern history of the correctness doctrine, which, among other things, shows how correctness is ideological, not a matter of linguistic fact; (2) we will study the rhetorics of correctness, how people talk about it — for and against — not only those professionals especially concerned with language structure and language use (teachers, editors, linguists, lexicographers, pundits, and the like), but also everybody else, the public that negotiates English and attitudes about it every day; and (3) we will look for evidence of how correctness and talk about it affects the way we write, how correctness influences rhetoric.

Texts: Deborah Cameron, Verbal Hygiene (Routledge, 2012); $49.95; ISBN 978-0415696005.

Coursework: Two oral presentations; a 20 page (or so) essay, developed through three drafts; regular contributions to an annotated bibliography compiled collaboratively by the class.

L450 Seminar: British and American Authors
Patricia Ingham
TOPIC: "Art and Feeling"

30028 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.

This class will explore the question of how the work of art (literary primarily, but also visual) moves us, motivates us, irritates us, or otherwise makes us feel. Works to be read include excerpts from a few theories of affect, and of psychology. Literature to be read will include poetry as well as prose. A good portion of the semester will be spent on a careful reading of Donna Tartt's 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Goldfinch.

L460 Seminar: Literary Form, Mode, and Theme
Lara Kriegel
TOPIC: "Dear Diary: A History of the Form from Pepys to Blogs"

28665 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.

In the year 1660 Samuel Pepys, a Naval Administrator, began to keep a diary. There, he wrote of events of personal and national significance over the course of ten years. Pepys wrote the Diary in shorthand and later bound it into six volumes, with the sense that it might be of interest to subsequent generations of readers. In the year 1994 Claudio Pinhanez published the first online diary through the MIT Media Lab website. While there are others who claim the title, Pinhanez , who posted his “Open Diary” between 1994 and 1996, is thought to be the first Blogger. This course will investigate the history and form of the diary over a long sweep of history, from Pepys to Blogs. We will read a range of texts, well known and little known, that were published across centuries and continents. In the process, we will consider technologies of writing, notions of the self, and intentions for publicity that shaped the conditions for diary writing and that inform our expectations in diary reading. Through the course of the semester, students will be asked to keep a diary in a form of their own choosing, as a way of reflecting upon and incorporating the concerns of the course. In this seminar-style class, students will be responsible for responding to readings through short assignments and class leadership throughout the semester. For a final project, students will write a fifteen-page “authoritative introduction” to a diary of their own choosing. Texts to be assigned may include The Diary of Samuel Pepys (selections), The Diary of Emily Pepys, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Princess Diaries.

L460 Seminar: Literary Form, Mode, and Theme
Nick Williams
TOPIC: "Dystopic Thought and Literature"

26224 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.

Every week seems to bring new dystopian books or movies, particularly in Young Adult literature. This course considers why we're so fascinated by dystopian visions and what the function of dystopias might be. In addition to the blockbuster The Hunger Games, we'll read the classic dystopias Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, as well as Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, P.D James' The Children of Men, and the graphic novel V for Vendetta. Students will have the chance to work on a longer critical paper, as well as a group project on the concept of dystopias with a creative element.

L470 Seminar: Literature and teh Interdisciplinary Studies
Justin Hodgson
TOPIC: "Technology and Transformation: Invention, Memory, and the Human Condition"

31424 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.

This course will consider how changes in technologies influence, reflect, and/or drive changes in the human condition. It will explicitly explore technological impacts on our invention and memory practices—touching on the oral to literate to digital shifts in human culture. To do this, students in the course will critically engage printed works, films, and digital texts that expand and expound on considerations of the human condition and its relationship to our mediating technologies.

Course artifacts will include selections from the popular fictions of Philip K. Dick, Jorge Luis Borges, and William Gibson, scholarly writings (ranging from Plato and Aristotle to Walter J. Ong and Marshal McLuhan, from N. Kathrine Hayles and Gregory L. Ulmer [among others]), select films (ranging from Memento and The Pillow Book to Inception and The Five Obstructions), and key digital “texts” ranging from the works of Mark Amerika to Erik Loyer.

Assignments will include (4) 1-2 page Critical Engagement and Application Papers, (1) major essay, and (1) major project.

L480 Seminar in Literary History
Nikki Skillman
TOPIC: "The Raw and the Cooked: Lyric and Society in the 1960's"

30034 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.

In 1957, Theodor Adorno described the reputation of lyric poetry as a sphere of expression marked by a “pathos of detachment” from the social world. Meanwhile, the iconoclastic poetic factions that would define the landscape of American poetry in the 1960’s—the tormented “confessional” poets, the countercultural Beats, the avant-garde Black Mountain School, the incendiary Black Arts Movement, the artsy, sometimes surrealist New York School—were taking shape, acknowledging the socializing forces of family, race, gender, politics and artistic coteries within the putatively cloistered domain of the introspective lyric. In this course, we will approach the relationship between lyric and society, a central crux in the critical history of the genre, through close analysis of the poetry of Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Allen Ginsberg, George Oppen, Robert Creeley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, John Ashbery, and others, many of whom abandoned “cooked” (extravagantly crafted, formally closed) poetic styles in favor of “raw” (apparently improvised, formally open) ones during this pivotal decade, scrawling the political upheaval of the time across the surfaces of literary form. Students will be encouraged to theorize the lyric in their own terms and to engage with recent arguments that lyric is a mode of reception rather than a genre of writing. Theoretical readings may include Gerard Genette, Northrop Frye, Theodor Adorno, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Jonathan Culler, and Virginia Jackson; critical readings may include Marjorie Perloff, Mutlu Blasing, Christopher Nealon, Nathaniel Mackey, and Timothy Yu. We will supplement our readings of primary, theoretical, and critical texts with archival and manuscript sources, including the Sylvia Plath papers at the Lilly Library.

As a capstone course, this class will draw on the full range of analytical skills you have developed as an English major, and will culminate in a sustained, individual research project of your own devising. The formal assignments for the course reflect this primary focus on original research. Requirements include an annotated bibliography and a preliminary, 8-10 page essay upon which your longer, final essay will build, in addition to individual conferences to guide your independent research and writing over the course of the semester.

Creative Writing Courses

W203 Creative Writing

various sections

Exploratory course in the writing of poetry and/or fiction. Does not satisfy the English composition requirement. May be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of six credit hours.

W301 Writing Fiction
Bob Bledsoe

26492 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.

Enrollment is limited. Permission of instructor is required. To obtain permission, first submit the form at For priority consideration, submit the form well before your actual registration date.

W301 is a workshop course in fiction writing, which focuses, necessarily, on the art of the short story. We will read a selection of fiction from writers considered masters of the form. We will analyze, critique and discuss this work, as well as the work of fellow writers. Along the way we will consider the creative process, our working habits, and revision, arguably the most important element in the production of completed stories.

W301 Writing Fiction
Jacinda Townsend

29155 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.

Enrollment is limited. Permission of instructor is required. To obtain permission, first submit the form at For priority consideration, submit the form well before your actual registration date.

This course will help you get your creative feet wet and become more comfortable in your writing skin. Peer critique is a large part of this course, but we will also visit with texts from published authors, with an eye towards acquainting ourselves with all the elements of craft. We will place special emphasis on the elements of character development, plot structuring, and the creation of setting. Students will turn in 30-40 pages of original work and a revision of one short piece.

W303 Writing Poetry
Richard Cecil

24663 2:30p-3:45p MW 3 cr.

Enrollment is limited. Permission of instructor is required. To obtain permission, first submit the form at For priority consideration, submit the form well before your actual registration date.

This course is a workshop in writing poetry. Students will turn in a poem a week, which will be discussed in class. The poems will be exercises based on readings in contemporary poetry. In addition to students' poems, the class will discuss and report on recent published poetry selected from the course reading list. No tests. No auditors. Students will distribute photocopies of their work to all members of the class. Texts: 5 books of contemporary poetry, to be announced.

W303 Writing Poetry
Ross Gay

26606 1:00p-2:15p MW 3 cr.

Enrollment is limited. Permission of instructor is required. To obtain permission, first submit the form at For priority consideration, submit the form well before your actual registration date.

In this class we will approach making poems from a number of angles--not all of them involving a pen and paper (or computer or whatever you use!). We will be reading a number of contemporary poets, including Ruth Ellen Kocher, Natalie Diaz, Crystal Williams, Stacey Lynn Brown and Romayne Rubinas Dorsey, but we will also study dance and performance and music in order to better understand not only how poems get made, but how beautiful and compelling and important things are made, more generally. And then, more specifically: your poems!

W381 The Craft of Fiction
Samrat Upadhyay

25715 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.

PREREQUISITE: Completion of W203, W303 or permission of instructor. To obtain permission, first submit the form at

In this course we will examine elements of fiction—point of view, character, setting etc.—to figure out how stories are made. We will do close readings of accomplished pieces of fiction and learn how they’re put together. We’ll do writing exercises to hone our craft. The goal of this course is to help us become a better craftsperson of fiction so that we are able, eventually, to write complete stories (or novels) with an eye towards publication. We will read one or two work of fiction, an anthology, and also a book on craft.

Reading list: The Art of the Story by Daniel Halpern, Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Among the Missing by Dan Chaon.

If you don’t meet the prerequisite but want to take the course, email with a brief statement about your interest in the course and previous writing courses you have taken. Also attach a writing sample of 10-20 pages.

W383 The Craft of Poetry
Romayne Dorsey

26835 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.

PREREQUISITE: Completion of W203, W303 or permission of instructor. To obtain permission, first submit the form at

This will be a course in poetic form. You will learn how to measure lines of verse, practicing composition of blank verse and syllabic verse before moving on to analysis and some composing of received forms such as the sonnet, the villanelle, the sestina, the ballad, the blues, etc. We will explore various stanza forms, like the ode, the elegy, and renku, as well as more open forms such as free verse and the prose poem. Students can expect weekly writing assignments, two short class presentations based on researched essays (one on the work of a poet and one on an aspect of prosody), as well as two exams. Some memorization will be required. Though this is not a writing workshop, students can expect to share some writing in class.

Possible Text(s): Strong Measures, eds. Philip Dacey & David Jauss; The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, eds. Mark Strand & Eavan Boland; Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms, ed. David Lehman; An Exaltation of Forms, eds. Annie Finch & Katherine Varnes; and Handbook of Poetic Forms, Ron Padgett.

W401 Advanced Fiction Writing
Elizabeth Eslami

17784 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.

Enrollment is limited. Permission of instructor is required. To obtain permission, first submit the form at For priority consideration, submit the form well before your actual registration date.

In this course you will aim to build writerly muscle, developing the strengths you already have and tackling those weak spots you’ve become so adept at concealing. You will read and critique as a writer, rigorously and deeply, and analyze novels, story collections, and several craft essays that will form the basis of our weekly discussion. Because a considerable amount of this course will be dedicated to workshop, you will also have the opportunity to begin (or continue) your own novel or short story collection. Emphasis is on the early generation of a project that will evolve substantially beyond this course. You will be expected to generate new work on a weekly basis, share your work-in-progress, and receive feedback from the group. This is a process class. It is assumed that the work we are doing is early stage work. However, for the final project, we will create a substantially revised opening excerpt that will serve as a solid foundation for the book to come.

W403 Advanced Poetry Writing
Catherine Bowman

17785 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.

Enrollment is limited. Permission of instructor is required. To obtain permission, first submit the form at For priority consideration, submit the form well before your actual registration date.

This course is an advanced undergraduate writing workshop in writing poetry. Students will write and revise twelve poems over the semester as well as complete several readings response papers and experiments with prosody, form and content. Approval of the instructor is required for admission. We will read four collections of poetry, a packet of poems and essays. I will also assign a book on craft and poetry.

W413 Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing
Stacey Brown

30095 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.

Enrollment is limited. Permission of instructor is required. To obtain permission, first submit the form at For priority consideration, submit the form well before your actual registration date.

This class will build upon students’ prerequisite experience and familiarity with the genre of nonfiction to delve deeper into the art and craft of the personal essay, literary journalism, and the lyric essay. In addition to class discussion and assigned writing exercises, students will be asked to construct, workshop, and revise three principal essays of varying lengths: a lyric essay, a personal essay, and a longer piece of (investigative) literary journalism.

Required Texts: Ballenger, Bruce. Crafting Truth: Short Studies in Creative Nonfiction. Strayed, Cheryl, ed. The Best American Essays 2013. Handouts, .PDFs, and supplemental readings as posted on OnCourse.

Public and Professional Writing Courses

W231 Professional Writing Skills

various sections 3 cr.

Designed to develop research and writing skills requisite for most academic and professional activities. Emphasis on methods of research, organization, and writing techniques useful in preparing reviews, critical bibliographies, research and technical reports, proposals, and papers.

W240 Community Service Writing

31425 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.

Integrates service with learning to develop research and writing skills requisite for most academic and professional activities. Students volunteer at a community service agency, write an assignment for public use by the agency, and perform course work culminating in a research paper on a related social issue.

W270 Argumentative Writing

17779 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.

Offers instruction and practice in writing argumentative essays about complicated and controversial issue. Focuses on strategies for identifying issues, assessing claims, locating evidence, deciding on a position, and writing papers with clear assertions and convincing arguments.

W280 Literary Editing & Publishing
John Schilb
TOPIC: "Editing Prose Style"

17780 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.

This course will introduce you to what’s generally involved in editing and publishing texts of a “literary” or “aesthetic” nature, including magazines, anthologies, and books by a single author. But we will focus mainly on the art of editing fiction and creative nonfiction. In particular, we will study and practice techniques for improving the style of such prose works. You will learn multiple strategies for enhancing their language, rhythms, structure, and overall impact. At the same time, you will learn terms for identifying particular stylistic moves. Throughout the course, you will practice revising other people’s prose. In the process, I hope, you will grow more aware of how to enhance your own. Our resources will include Verlyn Klinkenberg’s wonderfully shrewd guide Several Short Sentences About Writing. We also examine selections from The O. Henry Prize Stories 2014, The Best American Essays 2014, and current issues of several journals. Regularly you will engage in short, informal writing exercises. Also required will be a three-page paper about the style of a particular text. For the final assignment, you will construct a personal anthology—a set of already-published short stories and essays whose styles you admire. Then, you will write a six-page preface explaining your selections’ specific strengths.

W321 Advanced Technical Writing
Dana Anderson
TOPIC: "Professional Writing and Document Design"

24547 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.

How does the design of a document—the material and visual shaping of text on a page—contribute to its effectiveness in achieving its purposes? Likewise, how do poor design choices prevent documents from accomplishing their aims? How are design elements such as page layout, font, spacing, size, proximity, color, and contrast central to our visual literacy—our ability to interpret, understand, and make use of information based on how it is physically structured for our reading?

These are the questions we’ll be exploring as we look at a range of different documents, especially (but certainly not limiting ourselves to) those that we would call “professional writing”—reports, proposals, process and procedure descriptions, brochures, announcements, online documents such as web pages, and the like. In addition to essential concepts and theories of document design, we will learn how design choices have very real, specific consequences for how persuasive texts are in the purposes they seek to accomplish. This working knowledge of document design you’ll develop is increasingly expected of people who write in their various workplaces. To that end, your work will provide you with a portfolio of various texts that you’ve created to help you demonstrate your abilities as both a writer and a designer of professional documents.

We’ll be completing various short writing and design assignments, as well as a semester project, which will be the writing and design of a longer document needed by one of our many community service organizations.

This course is designated as fulfilling credit toward the Public and Professional Writing concentration within the English major and is highly recommended for those pursuing this concentration. (Please note, however, that interested students from any major are welcome.)

W350 Advance Expository Writing

various sections

Advanced Writing course focuses on the interconnected activities of writing and reading, especially the kinds of responding, analyzing, and evaluating that characterize work in many fields in the university. Topics vary from semester to semester.