Chair, 2013-14: Mary Titus, American literature, American studies
Faculty, 2013-14: Mark Allister, American literature, environmental literature, American studies; Karen Cherewatuk, Anglo Saxon, medieval literature; Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, creative writing; Carlos Gallego, 20th-century American literature, Chicano/Chicana literature; Joan Hepburn, African American literature, drama (on leave Interim and spring); Jan C. Hill, writing, journalism; Carol Holly, American literature; Karen Marsalek, medieval literature and linguistics, Renaissance drama; Joseph Mbele, post-Colonial literature; Jonathan Naito, 20th-century British and Post-colonial literature; Juliet Patterson, creative writing; Benjamin Percy, creative writing; Thomas Pope, screenwriting; Diana Postlethwaite, 19th-century British literature, literature and film; Rebecca Richards, writing, rhetoric, composition, and the teaching of English; Kaethe Schwehn, creative writing; Sarah Stein, writing, literature and gender; Mary Trull, 16th- and 17th-century literature; Rob Vork, writing; Colin Wells, 18th-century British and American literature
Literature is one of the most compelling ways in which humans have recorded and reflected on their lives, imagined different worlds, and communicated one with another. It offers the pleasures of artistic expression combined with the rewards of empathy and insight, knowledge and inspiration.
Drawing on 1500 years of literature from Geoffrey Chaucer and John Milton to Emily Dickinson, Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison, the English major encourages students to dig deeply and to range widely, crossing borders and exploring diversity both in content (authors, literary genres, and historical periods) and in form (critical and creative approaches).
Students are exposed to a variety of conceptual approaches to literary study. The traditional methodologies of literary history and genre studies remain. But students also learn the cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural methods that are redefining literary canons and strongly influencing scholarship as we move into the 21st century.
As they discuss and write about what they have read, students develop an informed understanding of the force of literary language and improve their powers of communication, analysis, and persuasion. In the department's creative writing courses, students can nourish their own verbal creativity while working with literary forms from the inside.
The English major is easily and frequently combined with other majors, and is compatible with off-campus study. Most courses taken elsewhere can count toward the major as electives.
Some English majors may be headed for graduate programs in literature; some plan to teach; some are creative writers. Others may be preparing for careers in fields such as publishing, law, business, or community service that reward strong communication skills. Within a framework requiring them to experience multiple approaches to literature, students have flexibility in shaping their course of study to their individual interests and aspirations.
OVERVIEW OF THE MAJOR
Organized around four categories (literary history, cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary, and genre), the English major requires ten courses: English 185, three level II courses in specified categories, and six electives, two of which must be from level III. Among the level II courses, one must be in literature before 1800, and one in literature after 1800.
Many English courses carry general education credit in ALS-L, ORC, and WRI. Some carry HWC, MCG, MCD, or EIN credit.
FYW is a prerequisite for all other courses in the department except specified level I courses. While a few courses have additional prerequisites, most level I and level II courses are open to all — majors and non-majors alike — after FYW. Level III courses (numbered 300 or higher) are primarily for English majors and ordinarily build upon prior work. All level III courses require as a prerequisite English 185 and at least one level II course in an area of relevant background as confirmed by the instructor or the department.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJORS
Requirements for the Graduation Major
Level I: English 185 (Literary Studies)
Level II: 3 courses: one from cross-cultural studies, one from literary history, and one from either cross-disciplinary studies or genre.
1800 requirement: Among all courses taken at level II (category-specific and elective), one must be in literature before 1800; one must be in literature after 1800.
Six electives, two of which must be at level III. At least one level III course must be a literature course.
Requirements for the Graduation Major Plus Communication Arts/Literature (CAL) Teaching Licensure
Eight English courses: English 150, 185, 205, 242, 250, 256, one literary history course, one cross-disciplinary or genre course, and one level III literature elective. Additional requirements: FYW, Theater 100, Theater 120, Media Studies 160. Further courses required in Education Department.
Requirements for the Communication Arts/Literature (CAL) Teaching Licensure
English 150, 185, 205, 242, 250, 256, and one English literature elective. Additional requirements: FYW, Theater 100, Theater 120, Media Studies 160. Further courses required in Education Department.
The English Department awards distinction on the basis of a student’s overall record in the department and on the quality of a written project – critical or creative – submitted by the candidate in his or her senior year. To be a candidate for departmental distinction, a student must have completed a minimum of seven graded courses in the major, six of which must have been taught by St. Olaf College faculty. The combined GPA of all graded courses in the major taught by St. Olaf faculty must be 3.5 or higher. Such students may apply in the fall semester of their senior year. Students interested in distinction should obtain guidelines from the Department Distinction Coordinator and find a supervisor in the English Department before applying.
Special programs include semester and full-year study in England at Oxford, Lancaster, and East Anglia; study in Scotland at Aberdeen; semester and full-year study in Ireland at Trinity College, University College Dublin and University College Galway; Interim study in the Caribbean; semester and Interim study at the Newberry Library in Chicago; Urban Teaching semester in Chicago; Interim theater study in London; internships in writing. (See INTERNATIONAL AND OFF-CAMPUS STUDIES for further information.)
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDY
Students planning on graduate study in English should take the graduation major and additional courses for a total not to exceed 14. Specific programs should be planned with the student’s academic advisor. At least two foreign languages should be included, one of which should be French or German. In recent years, English majors have been accepted for graduate study in literature (at Berkeley, Chicago, Princeton, Toronto, Minnesota, Washington, and Wisconsin) and in writing (at Boston University, George Mason, Iowa, and New School University).
Most level II courses (numbered in the 200s) are open to all students (with some class-year limits) without prerequisite beyond FYW. Level III courses (numbered in the 300s) are primarily confined to the major, demand control of methods and of basic factual and theoretical knowledge appropriate to English studies, require more advanced work, assume more preparation, and pursue subjects in greater depth than do Level II courses. Level III courses are open to students with the stated prerequisites.
Courses in writing provide the opportunity for students, whether beginning or experienced writers, to develop their own work in a variety of modes including poetry, journalism, creative nonfiction, drama, and fiction for both beginning and experienced writers.
Students examine various heroic and trickster figures as manifested in post-colonial literature from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, both oral and written, and seek to understand what basic human needs and realities these figures express and fulfill. Counts toward race and ethnic studies major and concentration and Africa and the Americas concentration.
This course introduces students to poetry from a range of perspectives including, but not limited to the poet's life; the application of categories of analysis such as race, gender, and nationality; poetry as literary craft; and the aesthetic appreciation of poems. To experience the literary medium of poetry in the fullest sense, students are required to write about, memorize, orally interpret/recite, and compose their own poetry.
This course introduces students to literary analysis through dramatic texts and performances. Activities may include trips to see local productions, student in-class performances, staged readings, and viewing filmed productions. Plays are drawn from varied genres, two or more historical periods, and both traditional and experimental approaches.
As they read a variety of mostly contemporary literature from English-speaking countries around the world, students learn strategies of critical analysis and interpretation. They also practice and develop skills in writing and oral communication. This course is required of those beginning the English major. It is not recommended for general education students. Prerequisite: FYW.
Focusing on global literatures in English and/or multicultural literatures within a single nation, this topics course examines literature as a human expression that embraces both commonality and difference within and across cultures. This course also employs critical approaches specifically designed to address cross-cultural literary issues. It may be repeated if topics are different. Prerequisite: FYW. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
This course considers Anglophone writing from Africa and the Caribbean. Linked by the slave trade and colonization, the drive for national independence, and the challenges of globalization, African and Caribbean writers have long been in dialogue. In order to provide a historical understanding of transatlantic Anglophone literature and an appreciation for its ongoing transformation, readings encompass influential works by established writers and contemporary works by emerging voices. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered in alternate years.
This course explores representations of racial identity as portrayed in twentieth-century American literature. Students use Enlightenment and modern theories of subjectivity (i.e., a person's sense of agency and/or "self") to explore the ways in which racial identity functions as both a social construction that can be mobilized for various purposes, as well as a material reality with lived consequences. Balancing well-known with less familiar literary texts, students examine different theories of subjectivity and how they are challenged or reinforced when addressed through the interpretive lens of race. Although the readings in this course focus specifically on twentieth-century American literature, the theoretical texts are comparative and include non-American authors. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years.
Since the 19th century, immigrants from Asia and the Pacific Islands have formed communities whose writing has expressed their shifting role as Asian Americans in the culture and economy of the United States. This course provides a multi-genre overview of Asian-American literary traditions in socio-historical context and pays attention to current concerns such as diasporic displacement, gender, intergenerational conflicts, sexuality, transnationalism, and U.S. militarism. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years.
Exciting writing in English is coming from South Asia: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. An area once shaped by British colonization, South Asia is changing rapidly now with globalization. Students explore this area's history, culture, and religion by reading literature that tells compelling stories about individuals and groups that seem far different and far away from 21st-century Minnesota. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years.
Students explore the histories, cultural patterns, religious practices, key institutions, gender issues, narrative styles, and significant contributions to our nation of an array of racial and multicultural groups. Such diverse writers as Leslie Silko, Chaim Potok, Amy Tan, and Toni Morrison raise questions about voice and identity, both individual and collective. Prerequisite: FYW. Counts toward race and ethnic studies major and concentration, American studies major, and Africa and the Americas concentration.
Students explore African literature as it has evolved from oral traditions like folktales and epics into fiction, poetry, and drama in written form. Topics studied might include literature of particular geographical areas, such as East Africa, a genre such as poetry, or the influence of western literature on that of Africa. Authors studied may include Chinua Achebe, J. M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Arthur Nortje, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and Alex La Guma. Prerequisite: FYW.
This course examines the life cycle of black women in Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, and the United States. Romance, marriage, family, interracial relations, mothers and daughters, urban environments, gender politics and sexual violence, relations among females, intergenerational depictions, historical experiences, public expression and private reflections, individual and communal identities, class considerations--all of these and more images and themes arise in the selection of fictional readings required for this course. Students read such writers as Mariama Ba, Gordimer, Hurston, and Naylor. Ticket/transportation fee required. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered occasionally in Interim.
After the Second World War, Britain experienced a surge in immigration from the Caribbean, South Asia, and Africa, a crucial step in the transformation of Britain into a multiracial, multicultural nation. Over the past several decades, these immigrants and their descendants have crafted distinct bodies of work in literature, film, music, and visual art. This course is a broad, multi-genre introduction to their work with particular emphasis on its historical and cultural context. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years.
Students encounter literature from former British colonies and from other countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Primary attention is given to literatures in English, but the readings may include some translations. The course examines diverse cultural expressions and the historical and cultural contexts of the works read, including the relationship between oral and written literature and between indigenous and foreign elements. Prerequisite: FYW. Counts towards Africa & the Americas concentration.
Students explore a little known dimension of Hemingway--his life-long fascination with Africa--by traveling where he traveled and reading his writings about those places. Readings include Hemingway's Green Hills of Africa, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," and Under Kilimanjaro. Through folklore and additional readings by western and East African authors, students experience and learn about the cultures Hemingway encountered and wrote about. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years during Interim.
Students study selected writers of the Eastern Caribbean islands of Barbados, Trinidad, Saint Lucia and others. The study of literature is supplemented by guest lectures and speakers, as well as field trips to sites of cultural and environmental interest. Accommodation includes stays in private homes. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered in alternate years during Interim.
These courses trace the process of literary change during a selected period of approximately one hundred years, providing an experience of chronological breadth and textual variety. Students examine the development of styles, conventions, and forms within a particular national literature or across two or more national literatures. Examples of possible topics include Declarations of Independence in American Literature; Literature of the Atlantic Triangle, 1650-1800, 20th-Century British and Irish Modernism. May be repeated if topics are different. Prerequisite: FYW. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
Students explore poetry and prose from the earliest periods in the development of the English language and literature -- by Caedmon, the Beowulf poet, Chaucer, Julian of Norwich, Malory, Spenser, Shakespeare, Lady Mary Wroth, Donne, Milton -- and investigate how literary conventions and social history interact. From sermons to sonnets, students examine 1000 years of literary history and ultimately follow the voyage of English from Britain to the Americas. Prerequisite: FYW.
Students study literary developments from the mid-17th to the mid-19th centuries. Topics examined include the influence of the Puritan Revolution on literature; satiric modes practiced by Dryden, Pope and Swift; the rise of the novel; the Romantic movement; Transcendentalism; and the development of American identity as seen in writers such as Franklin, Fuller, and Douglass. Prerequisite: FYW.
Two themes persist in early British literature: the role of fate (Old English wyrd) versus free will and the power of wonders--from the miraculous to the magical. These themes are traced in the Old English period in sermons, charms and riddles, biblical epics and Christian texts, and the heroic epic Beowulf. Readings from the Middle English period include lyric and ballad, romance from the Arthurian and non-Arthurian traditions, drama, allegory, mystical treatises, and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years.
This course examines the process of literary development in English during two consecutive and contrasting movements: the Neoclassical (1660-1780) and Romantic (1780-1840) periods. Students read the works of representative and important writers from both periods, including Pope, Swift, Austen, Wordsworth, Blake, Shelley, Emerson, Douglass, and others, and examine the development of styles, conventions, and forms in English, Irish, and American literatures. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered periodically.
This course is an introduction to English literature from 1500-1700, including a range of genres: lyric poetry, epic poetry, prose fiction, essays, and drama. Students learn about characteristic literary forms and styles of this period as well as historical contexts for literature. Authors include William Shakespeare, John Donne, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas More, John Milton, Edmund Spenser, and Queen Elizabeth, as well as lesser-known figures. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered annually.
This course explores British literature of three eras, from Wordsworth to Woolf. Students begin with the romantic revolution of late 18th century, traverse the wide 19th-century span of Queen Victoria's reign, and cross into the modernist era following the cataclysm of World War I. Within each era, students examine a literary manifesto, a revolutionary event, an epic poem, a novel, and the aesthetics of the period. The course emphasizes conversations across eras and striking moments of "making it new." Prerequisite: FYW. Offered periodically.
The 20th century was a period of great achievement in British and Irish literature, as demonstrated by the work of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and Samuel Beckett. This course examines the famously innovative work of poets, playwrights, and novelists active during the first half of the century. It then considers postwar writing and the challenges that this literature offered to the ideas and practices associated with modernism. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered annually.
A study of the Arthurian legend, from its Celtic origins through the classic medieval romances of Chrétien and Malory, to the Victorian adaptations of Tennyson and the Pre-Raphaëlites, to contemporary novels and film. The course focuses on the myth's characteristic forms and ideas: the errant knight's adventures, the grail quest, and triangulating desire and adulterous love. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered periodically. Counts towards medieval studies major.
Students read and discuss children's literature from a variety of cultures and time periods. Beginning with world folklore and children's classics as background, students explore an array of picture books, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that exemplifies the best in fantasy, science fiction, and realism for children and young adults. Special emphasis is given to two relatively new subgenres: multicultural literature and the contemporary problem novel. Prerequisite: FYW. Counts toward women's and gender studies major and concentration.
Students study individual texts as well as the development of women's literary tradition(s). How do women writers conform to and/or challenge the dominant paradigm for female identity, women's social roles, and women's literary practice? Topics may include women's autobiographies, women writers and the land, contemporary women's fiction, and major women writers. Prerequisite: FYW. Counts toward women's and gender studies major and concentration.
Students learn about and analyze the English language, beginning with the building blocks of language: morphology, syntax, semantics, and phonetics/phonology. Students also explore the ways humans acquire language, social and geographical influences on English, and major changes during the history of the English language. The course serves as an introduction to the linguistics concentration, and fulfills the linguistics requirement of the Communication Arts and Literature license. Prerequisite: FYW.
Chicano/a identity is perhaps one of the most misunderstood racial/ethnic identities in the United States. It encompasses many possible identities--such as Latino, Hispanic, and Mexican-American--while remaining politically and culturally distinct in its intended meaning. Students explore the history behind constructions of Chicano/a identity as expressed through Civil Rights Movement (post-1964) literature and politics, with the intention of demystifying the contentious sterotypes surrounding this community. Students read works by 3-4 major Chicano/a authors. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years. Counts toward race and ethnic studies and Latin American studies concentrations.
Students explore the works of major authors writing in English from around the globe, as well as their historical, social, and geographic contexts. Prerequisite: FYW. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
This course introduces students to canonical texts (for example, the epics of Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Dante, and medieval romance) and explores their influence on various authors writing in English (for example, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Aphra Behn, T.S. Eliot, H.D., William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Sam Selvon). Rather than study classic works as isolated masterpieces, students explore how and why later writers and artists use these texts to shape their vision of the human experience. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years. Course not open to students who are taking or have completed the Great Conversation.
Students examine a limited number of plays (eight or nine) in order to concentrate on how to read the plays well and how to respond fully to both text and performance. Students attend live performances when possible and view productions on video. The course, designed especially for non-majors, includes some consideration of historical context and background as well as practice in how to write about the plays. Prerequisite: FYW.
This course focuses on verbal folklore: narratives, songs, and shorter forms such as proverbs. It explores their intrinsic qualities as literary creations and also the ways in which they operate together in combination or in dialogue. The folktale and the epic, for example, incorporate a variety of these forms, such as the proverb, the song, or the riddle, to form a complex whole. Prerequisite: FYW.
Interdisciplinary 258 Theater in London (Abroad)
Students study drama and theater through the reading of dramatic criticism and plays, attendance at approximately 20 performances, group discussions, guest lectures, and tours. London, the theatrical center of the English-speaking world, enables students to experience a wide variety of theatrical performances ranging from traditional to modern. Excursions to Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, and Canterbury offer additional perspectives. Offered during Interim.
In addition to the traditional practices of literary study, cross-disciplinary courses include materials from at least one other academic discipline, requiring students to compare and combine disciplinary perspectives in literary analysis. Examples of courses taught under this heading might include Literature and Politics; Religion and the Novel; Philosophical Approaches to Literature. May be repeated if topics are different. Prerequisite: FYW. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
This course examines the Beat movement in American literature and culture from its emergence in the 1950s to its various literary, musical, and social outgrowths in the 1960s and after. Students read works by Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Snyder, DiPrima, and others; trace connections between the literature and such topics as the Cold War and gay rights; and examine the influence of the Beats on popular music, visual art, and film. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered periodically.
Students examine literary works, forms, and movements as part of a larger cultural history. Each offering of this course emphasizes a different historical issue or period. Students consider the extent to which literary texts are produced by common cultural and historical conditions and how literature shapes the historical accounts we inherit. Recent offerings include "Romanticism," "'50s Beat Literature," and "Writing America: 1620-1800." Prerequisite: FYW. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
In this course, students consider the intersections of art and politics in their dynamic historical frameworks, testing the positions of various artists and cultural commentators who claim that art accomplishes nothing in the "real world" or that politics ruin art. The course is interdisciplinary, comparing literature to other artistic forms such as music or film. Representative texts may include Ellison's Invisible Man, Dylan's songs, and Van Sant's film Milk. Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. Offered periodically
This course investigates how literature--broadly writ--represents both gender diversity and conformity, and the issues associated with gender, such as family, power dynamics, oppression, activism, domesticity, hierarchies, and inequalities. The texts focus on a diversity of gendered identities by complicating the gender binary of "man" and "woman." A consideration of gender separated from other identities is limiting; therefore, this course examines how gender intersects with race, class, ability, sexual orientation, technology, religion, and/or nationality. May be repeated if topics are different. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
British Romantic and American Transcendentalist literatures emphasize youth, celebrate the body and energy, and extol intuition, creativity, and individuality. Rock music has been derided by some commentators as extreme Romanticism. Students in the course examine this artistic line of influence and debate its merits. Writers and musicians may include Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Emerson, Whitman, Springsteen, Cloud Cult, and Arcade Fire. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years.
This course is centered around three 19th-century British novels: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, R. L. Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Bram Stoker's Dracula. Students explore the influence of these texts on mythical monsters from the 20th to 21st centuries in the form of classic black and white films of the 1930s,as well as more recent fictional and filmic incarnations. What do monsters tell readers about themselves? Assignments include both critical and creative writing. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered occasionally during Interim.
This course introduces students to the complicated relationship between philosophy and literature from any period between the 16th-century to the present day. Students learn about the intersection of ideas that fall under the general category of "modernity" and explore how selected philosophical views influence American and/or English literary works from the Renaissance to the contemporary period. Students gain an understanding of modern philosophies by learning how to incorporate interdisciplinary theories when engaging in literary analysis. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years.
Students explore the complex relationships between literature and film. How do we translate the verbal into the visual? What can novels do that films cannot and vice versa? Subject matter includes both classic and contemporary fiction and film. Prerequisite: FYW. Counts toward film studies concentration.
Through nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, students explore the complex relations between humans and the "natural" world. Students consider questions such as the following: What does it mean to be connected to a landscape? What is a sense of place? Students also reflect on how they and the writers they read put landscape into language. Prerequisite: FYW. Counts toward American studies major and environmental studies major (all tracks) and concentration.
These courses emphasize the study of literature united by specific formal elements rather than by theme, topic, historical period, or national origin. The genre studied may be broad, such as narrative fiction, or narrowly defined, such as the elegy. The course focuses on the study of literature through a critical exploration of form. May be repeated if topics are different. Prerequisite: FYW. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
Students explore what it means to be literate in an age of new media by reading critical scholarship and comparing the ways they read, interpret, and learn from digital texts, such as fan fiction websites, social media, and video games, to ways they read, interpret, and learn from printed media (e.g., books, poems, or plays). In their final, digital project, students critically examine the use of new media to make humanities scholarship more "public." Prerequisite: FYW. Offered alternate years. Counts toward media studies concentration.
This course gives students a hands-on opportunity to develop their use of writing strategies and technologies appropriate to workplaces. Course themes include workplace practices, professional ethics, technology resources, promotional resources, and writing on behalf of an organization. Students create individual and collaborative projects including employment documents, proposals, brochures, memos, and other professional genres. Through case studies, readings, and/or client-based projects, students analyze writing practices in a range of professional settings. Course fee for document production. Prerequisite: FYW. Offered annually.
Students explore specific periods in British literature and examine the relationship between literary texts and movements and their particular cultural, political, and historical contexts. Each offering of this course examines a different literary era and emphasizes specific literary and historical issues. Prerequisites: English 185 plus at least two English courses at level II, or permission of the instructor. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
Students explore specific periods in American literature and examine the relationship between literary texts and movements and their particular cultural, political, and historical contexts. Each offering of this course examines a different literary era and emphasizes specific literary and historical issues. Prerequisites: English 185 plus at least two English courses at level II, or permission of the instructor. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term. Counts toward American studies major.
This course focuses on important issues, images, authors, and modes in an intensive study of racial and multicultural literature in the U.S. The scope of the course can include racial portraiture, sexual politics, field and factory experience, color and class status, and church and family institutions. Authors include such writers as Frederick Douglass and Maxine Hong Kingston. Prerequisites: English 185 plus at least two English courses at level II, or permission of the instructor. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term. Counts toward race and ethnic studies and American studies majors and race and ethnic studies concentration.
Students study individuals or groups of authors, looking at themes such as the individual as cultural hybrid, the place of politics in literature, ethnocentrism and imperialism. They examine the formation of literature from the clashes of culture, and the relationship between non- traditional literary forms and traditional European aesthetics. Prerequisites: English 185 plus at least two English courses at level II, or permission of the instructor. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
This class focuses on defining, classifying, analyzing, interpreting, evaluating, and understanding literature. Students study both practical criticism (discussion of particular works or writers) and theoretical criticism (principles and criteria appropriate to literature generally). The course introduces a broad range of critical theories and provides an historical overview of the subject. Prerequisites: English 185 plus at least two English courses at level II, or permission of the instructor.
Students consider in depth some of Shakespeare's most popular plays and also explore some of the less-frequently studied classics. Students examine a wide range of genres and types of plays, view recorded productions, and attend performances when available. Prerequisites: English 185 plus at least two English courses at level II, or permission of the instructor.
Students examine the work of a major British author. Through attention to life experiences, cultural contexts, and the impact of history, the course offers students a complex understanding of a major author's literary achievement. Recent authors have included Milton, Dickens, George Eliot, Joyce, and Woolf. Because such study is intensive and requires background, students should have prior exposure to the author studied. May be repeated if topics are different. Prerequisites: English 185 plus at least two English courses at level II, or permission of the instructor. Click on course title in the class and lab for more information about the course for that term.
In the first part of this seminar, students examine, on the basis of common readings, some broad literary topic. In the second, they undertake individual research projects, share and respond to each other's work-in-progress, and present their completed project to the seminar. May be repeated if topics are different. Prerequisites: English 185 plus at least two English courses at level II, or permission of the instructor. Click on course title in the class and lab for information about the course for that term. Counts toward American studies major.
Students analyze from a broadly cultural view the political, religious, and intellectual debates of Chaucer's day as reflected in his greatest work, the Canterbury Tales. Students examine the Canterbury Tales through the lens of ethics, using readings in ethical theory to better understand moral questions, Chaucer's poetry, and ourselves -- as interpreters of literature and moral agents. Prerequisites: English 185 plus at least two English courses at level II; completion of BTS-T; or permission of the instructor. Counts toward medieval studies major.
In this seminar, students learn about a range of methods for literary research by exploring literature in the context of critical, theoretical, cultural, or historical materials. For each student, the centerpiece of the course is the research and writing of a long essay that represents his or her individual research interests. Students share and respond to each other's work-in-progress and present their completed projects to the seminar. May be repeated if topics are different. Prerequisites: Open to rising juniors and seniors who have completed English 185 and at least two level II English courses or by permission of the instructor.
How do we create poetry, fiction and nonfiction that engages the reader and effectively communicates deeper meaning? In this course students develop a broad foundation of strategies underlying good creative writing. Risk taking and experimentation are encouraged. Students practice "the practice" of creative writing through extensive exercises. Students also read examples of contemporary poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Prerequisite: prior or concurrent enrollment in FYW.
The personal essay may contain rumination, memoir, anecdote, diatribe, scholarship, fantasy, and moral philosophy. Students read and write about the personal essay from its origins to the present day as well as craft their own personal essays. Readings range from founding father Montaigne to classic practitioners Charles Lamb and Virginia Woolf; students also explore international essayists such as Wole Soyinka and American voices from Thoreau to Annie Dillard. Prerequisites: FYW and at least sophomore status. Offered during Interim.
Students critically examine a variety of national, metro, and local media. Students then learn to write their own news copy, including hard news, features, editorials, arts and entertainment reviews, sports, business, and travel stories. Students also learn UPI/AP style copy editing and proofreading, important skills for students applying for internships and print media jobs. Prerequisites: FYW and at least sophomore status.
From the intimate personal essay to more externally driven literary journalism, creative nonfiction covers a range of forms. Students learn to combine fictional techniques, personal recollections, and direct exposition in assignments that might include memoir, personal essay, cultural criticism, nature writing, book and film reviewing, and "new journalism." Contemporary nonfiction writers such as Annie Dillard, Scott Russell Sanders, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and John McPhee provide models and inspiration for writing in the course. Prerequisites: FYW and at least sophomore status.
In this course students read and write contemporary poetry intensively and explore the writer's craft. Students peer-edit each others' writing. Prerequisites: FYW and at least sophomore status.
In this course students read and write contemporary fiction intensively and explore the writer's craft. Students peer-edit each others' writing. Prerequisites: FYW and at least sophomore status.
Students learn the techniques of screenwriting, including how to write a treatment, to create backstories, and to break down scenes. Each student produces and revises a narrative screenplay. Prerequisites: FYW and at least sophomore status. Counts toward film studies concentration.
Students focus on poetry, deepening their understanding of the form and completing a substantial portfolio of polished work. Class sessions include discussion of models in contemporary poetry, exploration of various options within the form, and workshopping of student writing. Prerequisites: English 292 or permission of the instructor.
Students develop and complete individual projects in fiction, deepening and polishing their work. Class sessions are devoted to discussion of craft, examination of literary models, and workshopping of student writing. Prerequisites: Completion of English 293 or permission of the instructor.
Students deepen and strengthen their work in creative nonfiction. Class sessions are devoted to development of writing strategies and analysis of professional and student writing. Prerequisites: English 291 or permission of the instructor.
298 Independent Study
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Prerequisites: Determined by individual instructor. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
398 Independent Research