Courses

Fall 2020 - Undergraduate English Courses

ENG 201-001 INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE
Keri Behre

This course introduces students to a range of Shakespeare's works, emphasizing increasing facility in reading Shakespeare’s language as well as understanding genre, historical context, and the ways in which these texts have taken shape culturally. No prior experience with Shakespeare is expected or needed. We will undertake a close study of one each of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, tragedies, and romances; as well as several sonnets. Since one of the course’s major goals is to help you achieve familiarity, comfort with, and appreciation for Shakespeare’s writing, the reading of plays will constitute a significant portion of our work. This will become less intimidating and more rewarding as we progress in the course. Our text will be The Norton Shakespeare: The Essential Plays / The Sonnets, 3rd Edition as well as several film editions, which I will make available through the library if possible. Course work will include response papers, discussions, a midterm, and a final exam. In the event that PSU determines that remote delivery is safest in fall term, the course will be online/asynchronous, with optional synchronous elements to allow maximum student flexibility.

 

ENG 204-001 SURVEY OF BRITISH LIT I
John Vignaux Smyth

No introduction to early British literature would be complete, of course, without William Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer. We will read—and watch film versions of—two Shakespeare comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado about Nothing (students may also write on Othello, the tragic version of Much Ado), and Chaucer’s equally hilarious The Merchant’s Tale. In connection with the latter (which translates from the same text), we will look at the Biblical love poem The Song of Songs (also known as The Song of Solomon) in its famous King James translation.

We will also read a selection of influential 16th and 17th century short poems, including such poets as Shakespeare (again), Sir Thomas Wyatt, Ben Johnson, Philip Sidney, John Donne, Queen Elizabeth I, Andrew Marvell, and others. Many of these poets have influenced modern writers, and are by no means of merely historical interest.

For a taste of 16th century prose, we will read short excerpts from Sir Thomas More’s Utopia – the book that invented the word “utopia,” and a classic in the history of political thought.

For an introduction to the fledgling 17th century novel, we will read The Fair Jilt by Aphra Behn, about whom Virginia Woolf famously wrote: "All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds."

Primary requirements will be a mid-term and a final essay, plus two short weekly D2L posts in dialogue with other students. There will be no synchronous class meetings.

 

ENG 253-001 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I
Professor Elisabeth Ceppi

This course will survey works of literature written in English from the beginnings of European settler colonialism in the Americas through the Civil War. We will focus on questions of genre and authorship and their relationships to the social, political, and intellectual histories of the geographic terrain that has become the United States. We will ask what, if anything, is distinctive about “American” versions of the themes and aesthetics associated with Protestantism, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism. We will also work to develop habits and skills of reading and writing necessary for critical analysis of literature. 

REQUIRED TEXT 
Norton Anthology of American Literature, 8th Edition (Package 1: Vols. A and B)

 

ENG 300-001 LIT FORM AND ANALYSIS
Josh Epstein

A “core” course for PSU English majors, ENG 300 focuses on skills of literary analysis. Students in this class will learn methods of interpreting the complex relationships between form and content: what a text has to say, and how the text is put together. In studying texts of varying genres (poetry, drama, fiction, and film) and through a range of formal and informal writing exercises, students will gain confidence and ability in asking hard questions of a literary text, exploring its formal and thematic intricacies, and using writing as a tool for developing complex interpretations supported with evidence.

There will be one required book purchase for this course: Toni Morrison's Jazz (ISBN 978-1400076215). Other texts will be made available for free, using D2L or open access editions. I am still wavering about what the other texts will be, but if the course started tomorrow, it would include Federico García Lorca's play The House of Bernarda Alba and Herman Melville's novella Billy Budd. (It's probably just as well that the course does not begin tomorrow. But I'm looking forward to it when the time comes!)

The course will be conducted asynchronously via D2L. There will be no mandatory meeting times.

 

ENG 300-002 LIT FORM AND ANALYSIS
Anoop Mirpuri

This course introduces students to the practice of literary interpretation, otherwise known as close reading. We will examine what, if anything, makes "literature" different from other forms of writing. Likewise, we will focus on what distinguishes literary interpretation from other forms of reading and analysis. We will explore how to apply literary interpretive skills to literary texts (especially the novel) as well as non-literary texts. Finally, we will explore how best to understand the relation between a "text" and the historical context from which it emerged. 

 

ENG 300-003 LIT FORM AND ANALYSIS
Dr. Bill Knight

English 300 introduces students to the practices of the academic study of literature and to the work of the English major. The section I will offer this fall does this first by slowing down our galloping leap towards interpretation and judgments about literary works. Instead of quickly jumping to theoretical conclusions, in English 300 we are granted permission to think carefully and patiently about how literary form enables our interpretations. Provided this luxury, we can turn our attention to some of the unquestioned assumptions we have about reading and about the nature of literary works themselves. What do we do when we read “literarily”? Is there such a thing? And what kinds of knowledges are specific to acts of reading in this way? What skills and practices make up the study of expressive and narrative writing according to the university discipline of English? And in what ways might we put some of the institutional authority, norms, and requirements of the study of English to question? Our course will encourage self-discovery, mindfulness of the processes of reading and interpretation, and an informed critical engagement with the norms and rules of the discipline this course calls home.

In addition to the required texts below (including a number of shorter works in our anthology), we’ll read selected works by Audre Lorde, Derek Attridge, Sylvia Plath, Susan Glaspell, Marjane Satrapi, and August Wilson.

Required texts/editions: 
Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home. Mariner Books, 2007. ISBN: 978-0618871711
Mays, ed. The Norton Introduction to Literature (Portable Twelfth Edition). W.W. Norton, 2016. ISBN: 978-0-393-93893-7
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein: The 1818 Text. Penguin Classics, 2018. ISBN: 978-0143131847

 

ENG 304-001 CRITICAL THEORY OF CINEMA
STAFF

An introduction to critical and historical approaches to the study of cinema, including feminism, structuralism, sociological criticism, and psychoanalysis, with discussion of cinema as art form and cultural commodity. 

 

ENG 305U-001 TOP IN FLM: HITCHCOCK
Michael Clark

Study of film as text, including auteur, formalist, historical, and cultural perspectives. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics. Up to 8 credits of this course number can be applied to the English major. 

 

ENG 305U-003 TOP: CINEMA US/MEXICO BORDER
Anoop Mirpuri

"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” – Donald Trump 

Since the 1980s, U.S. immigration politics has been dominated by the demand for increased border security. Over these same years, the U.S. economy has become increasingly dependent on low cost immigrant labor. At first glance, these two realities appear to contradict one another: (A) growing political demand for border security, and (B) increasing economic dependence on immigrant labor. This course asks you to think about the historical coincidence of (A) and (B) since the 1980s as a structural (rather than contradictory) feature of American capitalism. In other words, it may appear that the demand for stronger border security is a contradiction to our economic dependence on immigrant labor. Yet, it’s more accurate to say that the push to “beef up” border security is a key structural component of our economic dependence on low cost immigrant labor. 

The structural explanation suggests that how we talk about immigration and think about borders is invisibly shaped by capitalism’s need to exploit low cost labor. The structural explanation demands that we ask: how are films about the U.S.-Mexico border invisibly shaped by capitalism’s need to exploit labor?

Thus, this course will examine the relationship between border films, American nationalism, the belief that “we need to secure our borders,” and our economic dependence on the exploitation of immigrant labor. Specifically, we will explore how cinematic representations of the border have expressed, produced, and reinforced anxieties about “safety” and “security” that enabled President Trump to get elected while claiming that Mexicans are rapists and murderers, and that enabled President Obama to deport more people than any other president in U.S. history. How have border films helped shape the widespread belief that immigration is a form of violence against the American “body”? Where do these anxieties come from? What are the racial and gender assumptions that structure this anxiety? In other words, what does the American body look like, and what does its protector look like? What does the immigrant body look like, and how does this change depending on whether that immigrant is seen as “good” or “bad,” “legal” or “illegal”?

If border cinema tends to reflect imaginary anxieties in ways that facilitate the real-world exploitation of immigrant labor, is it possible to make a truly critical border film that disrupts this connection? What are some storytelling strategies that films have used to challenge border cinema’s traditional role in reinforcing American nationalism? In what ways can these strategies be successful, and in what ways might they be in danger of reinforcing the very system they appear to be protesting? 

 

ENG 306U-001 TOP: VIDEOGAMES & E-LITERATURE
Prof. Kathi Inman Berens

Students play and analyze videogames and digital ("electronic") literature, comparing their mechanics, aesthetics and dynamics.  The course treats computational games and literature as new forms of reading, social interaction, and popular entertainment.

 

ENG 306U-002 TOP: J.R.R. TOLKIEN
STAFF

J.R.R. Tolkien has been called “the author of the century” because he is so greatly loved, has been compared to Joyce as a twentieth-century modernist (not always to J.R.R.’s detriment), and has been seen by many as the great innovator in Beowulf studies as well as in fantasy fiction. He is a major writer belatedly entering the canon, one who seeks to give his readers “a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” We will approach his work as literature, not as film, in his words “there and back again,” with emphasis on the interlace of linguistics, medieval literature, history, and mythology. 

In an informal 1958 letter, Tolkien described himself: "I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late (when possible). I do not travel much. I love Wales (what is left of it, when mines, and the even more ghastly sea-side resorts, have done their worst), and especially the Welsh language." In this letter, J.R.R. puts language last, but throughout his life it was central to all his undertakings, evident in his great affection for Old and Middle English, Medieval Welsh, Old Norse, and Finnish linguistics and mythology.

The required texts are all by Tolkien:

     • The Tolkien Reader (Del Ray, 1986)--this collection includes "On Fairy-Stories," "Leaf by Niggle," and Farmer Giles of Ham, all of which we will read    
     • The Hobbit (Houghton Mifflin, 2012)            
     • The Lord of the Rings (Mariner 50th Anniversary Edition, 2005)       
If you have old, dog-eared copies of Tolkien treasured through the years by you or your family, feel free to use them.

 

ENG 309U-001 INDIGENOUS NATIONS LITERATURE
STAFF

Introduction to the literatures and cultures of the indigenous nations of North America, from oral and ceremonial practices to contemporary fiction and poetry. Includes discussion of historical, political, and social contexts as well as relevant issues such as colonialism, sovereignty, stereotyping, and cultural authenticity. 

 

ENG 326-001 LIT, COMMUNITY, DIFFERENCE
Josh Epstein

ENG 326 examines “the formation, practice, and representation of social identities” (PSU Bulletin), and thinks about identity as a form of “cultural production” (we’ll discuss what that means). In short, the course engages with literary texts, films, and critical essays that ask difficult questions about individual and social identity. We shall question how these texts, both formally and narratively, represent encounters within/between the self and the other, and how they make such encounters legible to a public—which, in turn, reads, views, and argues about those texts and encounters. Doing so will allow us to prod the construction of various binaries (self/other, individual/community, public/private, author/reader, text/context). The course aims to help us consider the “cultural work” performed by these texts, the national and global communities to which they speak, and the critical agency that they encourage on the part of readers and spectators. This course fulfills the “Culture, Difference, and Representation” component of the PSU English Major. 

Texts (available through PSU Bookstore or through any vendor of your choosing):

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
J. M. Coetzee, Foe
Samuel Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue
Toni Morrison, Jazz

Films (linked through D2L):

Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers
Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You  

The course will be conducted asynchronously via D2L. There will be no mandatory meeting times.

 

ENG 327-001 CULTURE, IMPER, GLOBALIZATION
Dr. Sarah Lincoln

Though there have been many attempts to identify the start of modern globalization, most agree that its origins lie in the experience of imperial conquest and expansion that began in the fifteenth century. Even now, pundits continue to debate whether to describe today’s world in terms of “globalization” or “neo-imperialism,” whether what defines our planet today is a utopian model of connection, mobility, and opportunity, or a dystopian structure of domination, infection, and exploitation. Partially, this depends on your position within these structures, but our attitudes and opinions are also naturally shaped by the cultural texts that seek to represent this era: the films, novels, tv shows, and other efforts to make sense of the experiences, structures, and modes of thinking that are shaped by, and help shape, our material relations. 

In this class, we will work to consider the intersections of globalization and imperialism, and the continued relevance of “postcolonial” perspectives to our current era. Reading novels, films, and theoretical works from Africa, India, the Caribbean and beyond, we will grapple with topics like: economic dependence and domination; education, language, and culture; the environment, climate change, and slow violence; political conflict and the legacies of violence and war; migration and mobility; and the work of art in our time. 

Required Books:

Adiga, The White Tiger
Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism
Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Norton)
Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions

 

ENG 330U-001 JEWISH & ISRAELI LITERATURE
Michael Weingrad

Introduction to modern Jewish literature in its diasporic and national contexts. Emphasis on the transition from sacred to secular literature; reflection of historical and social realities; development of literatures in Europe and the Middle East.

 

ENG 331U-001 INTRO RHETORIC & COMP
Daniel DeWeese

Introduction to contemporary issues in rhetoric and composition studies by way of the rhetorical tradition of Greece, the rise of composition in the modern North American university, and their relation to the process-oriented approach to composition which has dominated composition instruction since the 1960's. Focuses are on such perennial issues as the relationship between writing and the self, the link between writing and "content," the relationship of writing to speech and reading, the political dimensions of writing, and the role of the audience in composing. 

 

ENG 332U-001 HST CINEMA & NARRATIVE MEDIA I
STAFF

Surveys the history of cinema and narrative media from the late nineteenth-century moving image to the Second World War. 

 

ENG 335U-001 TOP: LITERATURE & FILM
Michael Clark

Study of the interplay between films and literary texts, focusing on aesthetic qualities, cultural contexts, practices of adaptation, and modes of reading and spectatorship. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics. Up to 8 credits of this course number can be applied to the English major.

 

ENG 340U-001 MEDIEVAL LITERATURE
STAFF

Study of medieval literature, including literary genres and themes, historical and cultural contexts, and major authors and movements.

 

ENG 343U-001 ROMANTICISM
Alastair Hunt

The decades between the 1780s and the 1830s have long been recognized as a high point in the history of British literature. In a relatively short amount of time, the canonical poets such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Byron, Keats, and Shelley invented a new literary aesthetic that explored distinctly modern concerns with the powers of imagination, the depths of the self, and the natural world and our relation with it. However, Romanticism is more than just six white male poets sitting in the dark writing introspective opium-fueled poems about nightingales. Indeed, the writers of the period were surprisingly diverse, worked in a variety of genres (essay, novel, memoir, pamphlet), and wrote in the context of major social events: the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the abolition of slavery in the British empire. Our tour of Romantic literature will, then, take in a capacious range of their accomplishments. Our goal will be to see how Romantic literary texts, as literary texts, make claims on us to think—and re-think—our common-sense explanations and expectations of the world. By the end of the course, you will not only have read some pretty cool poems; you will also be estranged from the obviousness of the present. In the dark times in which we live, this is far from insignificant.


Required Texts

Peter Manning and Susan Wolfson, eds. The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol 2A:         
The Romantics and Their Contemporaries. 5th ed. New York: Pearson, 2012. (ISBN 9780205223169)
Mary Shelley. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. Ed. Susan Wolfson. 2nd ed. Longman 
        Cultural Edition.
 New York: Pearson, 2007. (ISBN 9780321399533)

 


ENG 360U-001 AMERICAN LIT AND CULTURE I
Professor Elisabeth Ceppi

This course surveys major genres and writers of the Anglo-American tradition, from settler colonialism in New England through the antebellum period. Our authors and texts provide diverse perspectives from which to examine how the literary history of the period intersects with the histories of race, gender, class, religion, and nationalism. We will focus on close and careful readings of a variety of genres to illuminate the central role of narrative, literature, and publication in constructing and contesting the meanings of American ideals of freedom, democracy, justice, social mobility, and self-making. By considering how the writers on our syllabus both represent and dramatize their own historical moment and actively engage with and critique the texts and events of the past, the course will help students develop their own skills at reading the past and understanding the social, ethical, and aesthetic implications of the ways our present is shaped by and responds to it.  This course fills the Historical Literacy requirement for the BA/BS in English (and the pre-1800 [Group C] requirement under the old major) and the American Identities cluster requirement for non-majors. 

 

ENG 367U-001 TOP: CANADIAN LITERATURE
Susan Reese

I love sharing Canadian Literature, and this term we’re going to have a great time reading texts in which we will consider myth, magical realism, and survival, with strong applications of humor, among other things.  Canada covers a great expanse of the North American Continent, and that lends itself to great variety in terms of story. It is difficult to narrow the selection, but I have chosen a few favorites, four by First Nations writers, that I predict you will find engaging, and often really funny, in our pursuit of both pleasure and knowledge. Online or in person, please join me!

Our texts are: What the Crow Says by Robert Kroetsch, Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson, Invention of the World by Jack Hodgins, Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubegeshig Rice, and The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King.

 

ENG 371-001 THE NOVEL
John Vignaux Smyth

Texts will include Balzac’s “Sarrasine,” Stendhal’s The Red and The Black, Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, and Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman. Theoretical commentary will include Roland Barthes’ S/Z and René Girard’s Deceit, Desire, and the Novel. Primary requirements for this remote all-online class will be two essays and two weekly D2L posts of 200 words each. Using works by French, Russian, and Irish writers, we will study how theorists make claims for their exceptional importance in understanding the modern world. The main focus of the class is the novelistic treatment of desire.

 

ENG 372U-001 TOP: LIT, GENDER & SEXUALITY
John Vignaux Smyth

Texts will include Sappho’s “Ode to Aphrodite, Aristophanes’ Women at the Assembly, Plato's Symposium, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado about Nothing, Balzac’s “Sarrasine,” and Isak Dinesen’s “The Blank Page” and Ehrengard. Films will include Neil Jordan's The Crying Game and Céline Sciamma's Tomboy. Theoretical commentary will include Roland Barthes on Balzac, René Girard on Shakespeare, and Susan Gubar, Marianne Stecher-Hansen, and Hannah Arendt on Dinesen. Primary requirements for this remote all-online class will be two essays and two weekly D2L posts of 200 words each. Beginning in classical Greece and ending in the 21st century, we study both classic and modern texts and films that highlight the subject(s).

 

ENG 372U-002 TOP: LESBIAN &WOMXN IDENTITIES
Sally McWilliams

Study of representations of gender and sexuality in literature and related cultural forms. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics. Up to 8 credits of this course number can be applied to the English major. This is the same course as WS 372U.

 

ENG 373U-001 TOP: LIT, RACE, ETHNICITY
STAFF

Study of representations of race and ethnicity in literature and related cultural forms. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics. Up to 8 credits of this course number can be applied to the English major. 

 

ENG 413-001 TEACHING & TUTORING WRITING
Hildy Miller

Are you planning on teaching writing at either the college or secondary level?  Most English grads who teach actually spend the majority of their time teaching writing.  This course introduces you to the theory and practice of teaching and tutoring writing.  We’ll focus on writing processes (invention, revision, editing, formal and informal writing, and writing groups); teaching strategies (responding to writing, developing your teaching ethos, working with ESL students, handling plagiarism, teaching critical reading, and developing a teaching  philosophy); and look at specific issues (how tutorial sessions work, what writing in the disciplines means, how to create such teaching staples as a syllabus, a writing assignment, a unit plan, and a lesson plan).  And you’ll get actual teaching experience by spending at least 3 hours a week in a tutoring or teaching practicum of your choice beginning the about the third week.  So, in short, this won’t be your average lecture class.  Instead, you’ll be reading and researching materials, working in small groups, doing practice teaching and tutoring sessions, producing formal and informal writing, and applying all you’re learning to your practicum.  At the end of the course you should possess both the tools and the confidence to teach writing in any context.  
Required for students applying to the GTEP program; recommended for anyone entering other Masters of Education/Teaching programs.
Questions?  Contact Hildy Miller at milleh@pdx.edu.

 

ENG 426-001 ADV TOP: MEDIEVAL LITERATURE
Sharon Rhodes

Although English is now a world language and English classics like Shakespeare are translated into many languages and renowned around the globe, in the Middle Ages, England was a marginal language and much of its literature is owed to the work of translators. During the period of our focus, Celtic, Latin, French, and Nordic languages existed alongside Old and Middle English. Consequently, these languages—as well as the stories and cultures embedded in these languages—played an important role in the evolution of English and the culture of medieval England. We will explore these various linguistic and cultural elements through medieval translations and translation theory by writers and thinkers like Alfred the Great, Aelfric of Eynsham, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Wycliffe, and others. Our discussions will be guided by questions such as: What power structures influenced, created, and censored medieval translations? How did medieval translators conceive of their work? Why were translations made and for whom? You will leave this class with a broad understanding of the different linguistic elements of medieval England, a sense of the complex relationship between language and power, and an appreciation for the work of medieval English translators.

We will have regular zoom meetings (Thursdays from 11am to 12pm) and two one-on-one conferences over the course of the term. I will also be available for virtual office hours. However, the regular zoom meetings will not impact your grade and conferences can be conducted via either phone or zoom. To fulfill the requirements of the course you’ll need only the assigned books, email access, and some sort of word processor in order to complete quizzes, write response papers, write your final research paper, and complete your open-note final exam. 

ASSIGNED BOOKS*:
Old and Middle English c.890-c.1450: An Anthology, ISBN 978-1405181204
Troilus and Criseyde, ISBN 978-0140424218
A Book of Middle English, ISBN 978-1405117098
Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Literature, ISBN 978-0521602587
PDFs provided by instructor and online resources

*Be sure to match the ISBNs so that you’ll have the same translation as the rest of the class.

 

ENG 467-001 ADV TOP: SLAVERY'S GHOSTS
Dr. M. Hines

This version of Advanced Topics in American Literature will focus on literary manifestations of what Saidiya Hartman has called “the afterlife of slavery.” Our texts will span the past 200 years in multiple genres (among them the Southern Gothic, YA lit, poetry, and memoir). Student interest will guide the class as we focus on literary engagement with temporality, childhood, and Gothic sensibilities, reflecting slavery’s legacy in personal and cultural registers. Students will be responsible for active learning, weekly reading assignments, and formal and informal writing assignments.

Potential reading list:
Poe, “The Black Cat
Melville, Benito Cereno
Crane, The Monster 
Welty, “The Burning
O’Connor, “The Artificial N**ger
Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust
Poetry by Hughes, Cullen, Hayden, Wright, and Horne
Crews, from Childhood
Butler, Fledgling
Ward, Salvage the Bones
Morrison, God Help the Child
Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation
Coates, from Between the World and Me
Rhodes, Ghost Boys

 

ENG 469-001 ADV TOP: ASIAN AMER LIT/CULTR
STAFF

Study of selected aspects of Asian American literature and culture. Topics are unified by theme and may cover multiple historical periods. Topics may include: Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies; comparative and critical ethnic studies; eco-criticism and sustainability; immigration and settler colonialism. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics. Up to 8 credits of this course number can be applied to the English major. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Eng 569.. Prerequisite: Eng 300 and Wr 301.. 

 

ENG 491-001 HST OF LITERARY CRIT & THRY I
Bishupal Limbu

Historical and thematic survey of significant works in the Western critical and philosophical tradition from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, with a focus on fundamental questions about literary composition, aesthetic judgment, and the nature and function of literature. What is literature and what is its purpose? What are its effects? How does one construct a good story? Are judgments of taste subjective or objective? In considering these questions, we will begin in the usual way with the ancient Greeks and skip variously across centuries to study works by, among others, Horace, Sidney, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Fanon. The aim is not only to learn about literary criticism as a field of knowledge and discourse, but also to develop a better sense of the aesthetic, moral, educational, and political dimensions of humanistic study.

You will need one book: Classical Literary Criticism edited and translated by Penelope Murray and T. S. Dorsch in the Penguin Classics edition (ISBN 9780140446517; $13 and available for cheaper online). Please get this particular edition because we will use the editorial apparatus. All other texts will be available as PDF documents or online.

This course can be used for the Historical Literacy requirement of the English major (or the pre-1800 requirement in the old major). Students who register for this course should have already taken ENG 300. Students who have not yet taken WR 301 should also enroll in WR 301 at the same time as this course.

 

ENG 497-001 COMICS HISTORY
Douglas Wolk

This class is an overview of the bizarre, delightful history of American periodical comic books, in the context of the cultural and aesthetic currents that have shaped the form. We'll read and discuss a wide variety of comics spanning the past 80 years or so, from their newsprint origins to the "ten-cent plague" of the mid-20th century, the mainstream, underground and art-comics movements that warily circled each other for decades, and the spectacular creative boom of recent years. We'll also look at how comics' commercial and artistic histories have intertwined, and learn from each other's research into specific topics. 

 

Fall 2020 - Graduate English Courses

ENG 500-001 PROBLEMS & MTHDS LIT STUDY
Alastair Hunt

The objective of this course is to help new graduate students cultivate the fundamental knowledge and skills employed by every scholar in the broad field of English. We will work on your mastery of the practice that, on the far side of the recent disciplinary transformations, somehow remains central to the study of literature and culture: close reading. We will spend time learning about scholarly methods of critical archival research. We will work on your ability to produce literary critical essays that marshal textual, historical, and theoretical evidence to argue a thesis. And we will briefly survey some advanced theoretical sources developed by critics over the last 50 years. This is a lot to cover in just ten weeks, and our course of study will necessarily be selective, but by the end of the quarter you will not just understand in a conceptual way what the critical study of literature and culture involves; you will also be better at doing it. In fact, this course gives you the chance to spend considerable time doing what scholarly critics themselves do: participating in focused discussions of literary and theoretical texts, delivering prepared presentations of your research, and writing literary critical research essays.

Culler, Jonathan. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. ISBN: 
        0199691347.
Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook. 8th ed. New York: Modern Language 
        Association of America, 2016. ISBN: 9781603292627.

 

ENG 500-002 PROBLEMS & MTHDS LIT STUDY
Alastair Hunt

The objective of this course is to help new graduate students cultivate the fundamental knowledge and skills employed by every scholar in the broad field of English. We will work on your mastery of the practice that, on the far side of the recent disciplinary transformations, somehow remains central to the study of literature and culture: close reading. We will spend time learning about scholarly methods of critical archival research. We will work on your ability to produce literary critical essays that marshal textual, historical, and theoretical evidence to argue a thesis. And we will briefly survey some advanced theoretical sources developed by critics over the last 50 years. This is a lot to cover in just ten weeks, and our course of study will necessarily be selective, but by the end of the quarter you will not just understand in a conceptual way what the critical study of literature and culture involves; you will also be better at doing it. In fact, this course gives you the chance to spend considerable time doing what scholarly critics themselves do: participating in focused discussions of literary and theoretical texts, delivering prepared presentations of your research, and writing literary critical research essays.

Culler, Jonathan. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. ISBN: 
        0199691347.
Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook. 8th ed. New York: Modern Language 
        Association of America, 2016. ISBN: 9781603292627.

 

ENG 507-001 SEM: GOTHIC CHILDHOOD
M. Hines

Leslie Fiedler has famously claimed that our national literature is “almost essentially a gothic one,” referencing the originary sins of chattel slavery and genocide against indigenous peoples; in the same text he proclaimed “the great works of American fiction” to be “notoriously at home in the children’s section of the library.” This seminar will examine the intersections of childhood, the Gothic, temporality, and the haunting persistence of our racist legacies. While we will read one novel and a few short stories and poems together, the majority of shared readings will be largely critical and theoretical, gleaned from temporality studies, Gothic studies, critical race theory, and critical childhood studies. Students will choose for themselves the primary texts on which to train the critical strategies and theoretical concepts we’ll explore together in the class. 

Sample readings:
Goddu, Gothic America
Gordon, Ghostly Matters
Sharpe, In the Wake
Duane, The Children’s Table
Molesworth, “Gothic Time, Sacred Time
Wright, Becoming Black
Wright, Queer Temporalities
Luciano, Arranging Grief
Hartman, Lose Your Mother

 

ENG 507-002 SEM: THE SUBLIME
Dr. Bill Knight

The sublime remains an essential category of aesthetic experience, but its meaning has changed significantly in the past 350 years. It has veered wildly between associations with grandeur, ecstasy, divinity, vastness, power, fear, trauma, spectacle, transcendence, and the unrepresentable, always preserving a kernel of concern for the very nature of the aesthetic encounter: what is truly at stake when we come into contact with the forces and intensities of literature, art, or music—or the forces and intensities of experience itself? Even further, what is at stake when we find ourselves confronted by the values and qualities of the sublime in experiences and representations of politics, sexuality, environmentalism, or ethics? This seminar proposes that the significance of the sublime itself remains yet undetermined and vital—  and that the question of the significance of culture today remains intimately linked to the shifting status of the sublime. Together we’ll embark on a survey of various meanings, functions, and contexts of the sublime, tracing the concept across literary, artistic, philosophical, ethical, and political works. Though we can only begin to uncover its many modes, we’ll consider the sublime through the following topics, though these will lead us to others— our aim will be to survey the sublime expansively.

1. The sublime and the judgment of moral grandeur
2. The Longinian sublime, the rhetorical sublime, and the special power of landscape
3. The sublime and the beautiful: aesthetics and power
4. Kant, the romantics, and the autonomy of aesthetic judgment
5. Critiques of the romantic sublime
6. Gender, esteem, dignity, and the sublime
7. Abolitionism, humanist sublimity, and modernity
8. The aesthetics of democracy: crowds, masses, and multitudes
9. The (ecological) wild and the human

We’ll continually refer ourselves back to our contemporary moment, asking how each of the modes we consider still persists and works to create value and meaning in aesthetic experiences as we know them today (particularly in relation to our current crisis, but also in terms of what we might identify as new social, political, and economic configurations and new technologies). We’ll also look outward to other modes and examples of the sublime, and the final project for the course will ask students to write about (outside) work(s) of their choice in conversation with the ideas we’ll develop through our readings over the course of the term.

The course's readings will include works by Aphra Behn, Longinus, John Dennis, Joseph Addison, Martinus Scriblerus, Edmund Burke, Henry Fielding, Immanuel Kant, William Wordsworth, Mary and Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Barbara Freeman, Joanna Zylinska, Frederick Douglass, Ian Baucom, Paul Gilroy, Elias Canetti, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Jean Baudrillard, Amitav Ghosh, William Cronon, and Christopher Hitt, among others. Each week we'll examine both literary and theoretical works. Students will offer one presentation and will write a seminar paper.

 

ENG 518-001 TEACHING COLLEGE COMPOSITION
Kate Comer

Introduces and develops the theoretical and practical expertise of the graduate teaching assistant in the area of college composition teaching. May be taken up to three times for credit. Prerequisite: appointment to teaching assistantship in English Department..

 

ENG 519-001 ADV TEACHING COLLEGE COMP
Kate Comer

Continues the development of the theoretical and practical expertise of the graduate teaching assistant in advanced areas of college composition teaching. May be repeated up to three times for credit. Required prerequisite: appointment to 2nd year teaching assistantship in English Department.

 

ENG 531-001 TOP: THE FIELD OF ENGLISH
Josh Epstein

This is a one-credit course designed for first-year M.A. in English students. We’ll begin discussing methods for approaching your M.A. coursework successfully and planning the overall arc of your degree. 

This course is designed to support the M.A. in English. If you’re in a different program, please contact me (or your program director) before enrolling in the course.

Students in or beyond their second year in the program should enroll instead in ENG 531-002. 

 

ENG 531-002 COLLOQUIUM
Josh Epstein

This is a one-credit course designed for M.A. in English students in or beyond their second year in the program. We’ll continue discussing your progress in the program, including your plans for the “culminating experience” of your degree. The course will consist of D2L postings and short presentations on your research areas.

This course is designed specifically to support the M.A. in English. If you’re in a different program, I encourage you to contact me (or your program director) to discuss whether the course is right for you.

Students in their first year in the program should enroll instead in ENG 531-001. 

 

Fall 2020 - Undergraduate Writing Courses

WR 115-001/002 INTRO TO COLLEGE WRITING
STAFF

A writing course for first-year students to help prepare them for Freshman Inquiry or Wr 121. Introduces college-level writing and reading, along with general study skills. Provides practice at formal and informal writing, responding to a variety of readings, learning textual conventions, and building confidence. 

 

WR 121-001/002/003/004/005 COLLEGE WRITING
STAFF

A writing course for lower-division students, in which they develop critical thinking abilities by reading and writing, increase their rhetorical strategies, practice writing processes, and learn textual conventions. Includes formal and informal writing, responding to a variety of readings, sharing writing with other students, and revising individual pieces for a final portfolio of work

 

WR 200-001 WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE
STAFF

Introduction to various approaches for writing about literature. Focuses on ways of responding to literature, ways of explicating literature, ways of analyzing literature through writing, and ways of integrating formal research into a written analysis of literature. Special attention will be paid to the writing process, including multiple drafting and revision. 

 

WR 212-001/002/003 INTRO FICTION WRITING
STAFF

Introduces the beginning fiction writer to basic techniques of developing character, point of view, plot, and story idea in fiction. Includes discussion of student work. May be repeated for a total of 8 credits. Expected preparation: Freshman Inquiry.

 

WR 212-004 INTRO FICTION WRITING
Janice Lee

In this class we will explore the practice of writing fiction as an experience that not only includes putting words to page and telling stories, but also listening, observing, giving attention, feeling, moving, walking, meditating, and sensing. The course will work as a creative laboratory, giving the students the opportunity to experiment and investigate within the realm of fiction. Our work will be guided by writing exercises, readings by diverse contemporary authors, and discussions of core craft elements. There will also be some discussion of student work. Throughout, we will explore what it means to articulate via language, to be challenged by language, to recreate intimacy with language, and to see differently because of language. 

 

WR 213-001/002 INTRO POETRY WRITING
STAFF

Introduces the beginning writer of poetry to basic techniques for developing a sense of language, meter, sound, imagery, and structure. Includes discussion of professional examples and student work. May be repeated for a total of 8 credits. Expected preparation: Freshman Inquiry.

 

WR 214-001 INTRO NONFICTION WRITING
STAFF

An introduction to writing with the major forms and techniques of literary nonfiction. Beginning with exercises in foundational skills such as description, reportage and the crafting of personal narrative, students will write and respond to short works of creative nonfiction. May be repeated for a total of 8 credits. Expected preparation: Freshman Inquiry or equivalent.

 

WR 222-001/002/003/004 WRITING RESEARCH PAPERS
STAFF

An elective course. The techniques for compiling and writing research papers. Attention to available reference materials, use of library, taking notes, critical evaluation of evidence, and conventions for documenting academic papers. Practice in organizing and writing a long expository essay based on use of library resources. Recommended: Wr 121 or Freshman Inquiry. May not be used to fulfill English major requirements.

 

WR 227-002 INTRO TO TECHNICAL WRITING
Garret Romaine

WR227 introduces you to the world of technical communication, which is a different style and voice from other writing. You will progress through a wide variety of typical technical writing projects, such as emails, reports, presentations, proposals, and procedures. The goal is to keep building around the course project, a technical proposal, that you can include in your portfolio. By the end of the term, you will develop the ability to summarize key points, learn some tips and tricks built into your word processor to make technical information easier to understand, and you will gain insight into the organization of information. 

 

WR 227-001/002/003/004 INTRO TO TECHNICAL WRITING
STAFF

Practical experience in forms of technical communication, emphasizing basic organization and presentation of technical information. Focuses on strategies for analyzing the audience and its information needs. Recommended: Wr 121 or Freshman Inquiry.

 

WR 228-001 MEDIA WRITING
STAFF

An introductory course in media reporting and writing. Focus on identifying newsworthiness, writing leads, constructing news stories, interviewing, and attributing quotes. Students learn to gather local news,writing some stories in a computer lab on deadline. Expected preparation: Wr 121 or Freshman Inquiry. May be repeated once for a total of 8 credits. 

 

WR 301-001 WIC: CRITICAL WRITING ENGLISH
Keri Behre

This writing-intensive course extends the skills developed in Eng 300 by studying some selected theoretical and disciplinary approaches to literary and other texts (including literary and rhetorical theory), and by introducing students to research methods as a way of entering scholarly conversations. 

 

WR 301-002 WIC: CRITICAL WRITING ENGLISH
Kate Comer

Consider WR 301 your formal introduction to English Studies. While you no doubt have a variety of experiences studying “English”—and your enrollment in this class demonstrates your interest in that subject—the odds are that you’re relatively new to the disciplinary conversation. In this class, we will hone your critical writing skills while considering these questions: What is English Studies?

What do we do? How do we do it? and, of course, Why? Class readings and projects reflect the diversity of our discipline(s); they will help you enrich your textual analysis through contextual research. This process will foster your ability to read carefully, think creatively, and write well within and beyond English Studies.

*This course requires some synchronous online participation

 

WR 301-003 WIC: CRITICAL WRITING ENGLISH
Dr. Sarah Lincoln

There is no document of culture that is not at the same time a document of barbarism
    —Walter Benjamin, 1940

The course provides a rigorous introduction to the methods, approaches and questions necessary for advanced scholarly work in English, including close reading, historicism, research and argument: consider it boot camp for English majors! This is not a survey of theoretical perspectives, though we will read and discuss some important examples of literary theory along the way. Rather, the class prepares you for upper-division scholarship by asking what it is that we “do” as readers and critics—what English is “for,” why literature matters, and how encounters with the strangeness of literary language reflect and model other sorts of strange encounters.
 
A careful reading of J.M. Coetzee’s 1980 novel Waiting for the Barbarians serves as a basis for our broader consideration of the ethical and political significance of reading, interpretation, and translation; we will also put the novel in dialogue with other works of literature, including Camus’s “The Guest”; Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden; Kafka’s In the Penal Colony; DH Lawrence, “Snake”; and Cavafy’s “Waiting for the Barbarians"; along with theoretical perspectives from Derek Attridge, Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault and others. 

As a Writing Intensive Class (WIC), the course will also focus on the strategies, conventions and techniques of scholarly writing. Reading and responding to other students’ work; drafting, revising and polishing written assignments in response to feedback; and improving grammar, style, clarity and argument will all form part of your work in the class. 

Required Books:

Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians (Penguin Ink)
Dorfman, Death and the Maiden (Penguin)
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed.
Graff & Birkenstein, They Say/I Say (4th ed.)

 

WR 312-001 INTERMEDIATE FICTION WRITING
Laura Lampton Scott

In this class, you will read and reread. With this careful reading, along with thoughtful discussion of stories, we’ll try to identify some of the mysterious materials that make for writing we love. We will closely read the work of American short story writers, particularly work that raises questions about the American ideal, including the work of Danielle Evans, Kelly Link, ZZ Packer, James Baldwin, Randall Kenan, Yiyun Li, Louise Erdrich, Ross Gay, and more. 

And we will write. Your goal will be to generate material. Some of it will work and some of it won't. It can take five pages to get to a gem: an image, a sentence, a character, or even an exciting word choice. In peer workshop, we’ll consider original work by you and your classmates. As a respectful and rigorous group, we’ll help one another identify the magic and possibility in newly forming works of fiction.

 

WR 312-002 INTERMEDIATE FICTION WRITING
Gabriel Urza

This class will primarily be dedicated to the writing and improvement of one original work of fiction—a completed short story. We will consider these manuscripts in the workshop format, which means that we will spend much of our in-class time talking about what’s working in a story, identifying the author’s goals, and making suggestions for revision or expansion. This can be a bit nerve-wracking, but I find that the process of discussing a draft in depth can lead to new ways of understanding our own writing and its effect on our readers. And in my experience, learning to be close, attentive readers helps us become better writers. 

In addition to workshop, we will also be reading the published work of established writers and excerpts from books on the craft of writing, with the goal of better understanding craft terminology and decision-making. Finally, we will also be responding to brief writing prompts throughout the term.

 

WR 313-001 INTERMEDIATE POETRY WRITING
STAFF

Continues the study of poetry writing techniques introduced in Wr 213. Includes additional instruction in poetic forms, variations on traditional forms, and experimental forms. Emphasizes discussion of student work. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: B or above in Wr 213 or consent of instructor based on a writing sample.. 

 

WR 323-001/003/004/005/006/008/009 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY
STAFF

A writing course for upper-division students, which offers sophisticated approaches to writing and reading. Students enhance critical thinking abilities by reading and writing challenging material, refine their rhetorical strategies, practice writing processes with special attention to revision and style, and write and read in a variety of genres. Includes formal and informal writing, sharing writing with other students, and preparing a final portfolio of work. Recommended: satisfactory completion of Wr 121 or Freshman Inquiry. 

 

WR 323-002/010 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY
Keri Behre

In this course, we will practice critical inquiry in personal, academic, and professional writing. This is a process-oriented class, which means we will be studying and practicing writing techniques to develop insight into how we function best as writers. We will develop skills in critical reading, thinking and writing. Students will be given reign to choose their own topics within the assignment structures, so our work can encompass personal writing goals. There is no required textbook; all readings will be provided. Course work will constitute multiple drafts of three essays, peer-review workshops, weekly low-stakes writing assignments, and participation in class discussions. 

 

WR 323-007 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY
Amy Harper Russell

Though there have been many attempts to identify the start of modern globalization, most agree that its origins lie in the experience of imperial conquest and expansion that began in the fifteenth century. Even now, pundits continue to debate whether to describe today’s world in terms of “globalization” or “neo-imperialism,” whether what defines our planet today is a utopian model of connection, mobility, and opportunity, or a dystopian structure of domination, infection, and exploitation. Partially, this depends on your position within these structures, but our attitudes and opinions are also naturally shaped by the cultural texts that seek to represent this era: the films, novels, tv shows, and other efforts to make sense of the experiences, structures, and modes of thinking that are shaped by, and help shape, our material relations. 

In this class, we will work to consider the intersections of globalization and imperialism, and the continued relevance of “postcolonial” perspectives to our current era. Reading novels, films, and theoretical works from Africa, India, the Caribbean and beyond, we will grapple with topics like: economic dependence and domination; education, language, and culture; the environment, climate change, and slow violence; political conflict and the legacies of violence and war; migration and mobility; and the work of art in our time. 

Required Books:

Adiga, The White Tiger
Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism
Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Norton)
Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions

 

WR 323-011 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY
Hildy Miller

In this online upper division writing course we will focus on developing a more sophisticated understanding of our own writing processes, reflect on the concept of how to reach consensus rather than strictly to argue, and explore how, as you leave the university, the writing tasks that lie ahead will require other conventions.  Includes formal writing, responding to a variety of readings, sharing writing with other students, and reflecting on writing. Our class will run as a workshop in which you’ll be collaborating with other students throughout phases of both your and their writing processes.

Questions?  Contact Hildy Miller at milleh@pdx.edu

 

WR 327-001 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING
Professor W. Tracy Dillon

This course prepares students for writing as professionals in engineering, scientific and other technical disciplines. Topics covered include technical and workplace genres of writing, such as proposals and reports, oral presentation, writing about and with data, effective language practices, writing collaboratively and ethics. 

 

WR 327-002 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING
STAFF

Strategies for presenting technical information from the technician, management, and lay person's perspectives; rhetorical theory and techniques for adapting technical prose to nontechnical audiences; and techniques for emphasizing and de-emphasizing information. Recommended: Wr 323. 

 

WR 327-003 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING
STAFF

Strategies for presenting technical information from the technician, management, and lay person's perspectives; rhetorical theory and techniques for adapting technical prose to nontechnical audiences; and techniques for emphasizing and de-emphasizing information. Recommended: Wr 323. 

 

WR 331-001 BOOK PUBLISHING FOR WRITERS
STAFF

Provides an overview of the book publishing process, organized around the division of labor typically found in publishing houses. Through readings, discussion, and participation in mock publishing companies, students learn about editorial, design, production, marketing, distribution, and sales.

 

WR 333-001 ADVANCED ESSAY WRITING
STAFF

Essay writing with particular attention to student's area of specialization. Advanced practice in essay writing. Recommended: Freshman Inquiry or two writing courses

 

WR 398-001 TOP: WRITING COMICS
Shannon Wheeler

The graphic novel features the unique marriage of words and pictures that has seeped into every facet of popular culture. This course will focus on composing graphic narratives, exploring all the storytelling elements that create this unique visual medium. Comics as long form graphic novels, single-page, strips, and single panel comics will be touched on. 

 

WR 410-004 TOP: LITERARY MAGAZINES
Thea Prieto

This course introduces students to the local and national world of literary magazines. By analyzing common submission, editing, and publishing processes, this class will promote critical thinking and ethical insight regarding the practices of literary magazines. Students will also gain industry experience by reading and discussing Portland Review’s annual fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and mixed-genre submissions, and we will write reviews and essays with the goal of publication.

Portland Review has been publishing exceptional prose, poetry, and art since 1956. The journal is produced by the graduate students in Portland State University’s Department of English, and for over sixty years Portland Review has promoted the works of emerging writers and artists alongside the works of well-established authors, such as Ursula K. Le Guin, William Stafford, Brian Turner, and Lidia Yuknavitch. To learn more about the journal, please visit http://portlandreview.org.

 

WR 410-001 TOP: BESTSELLERS IN US BOOKS
STAFF

Few readers have heard of Maria Cummins, Susan Warner, Eden Southworth, Laura Jean Libbey, Timothy Shay Arthur, George Lippard, Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, or Harold Bell Wright. But just a century ago, their works were beloved, debated, and popular. We know modern publishing houses such as Random House, Little Brown, and Simon and Schuster, but what of the publishers that once populated the booksellers’ shelves, such as Matthew Carey, Street and Smith, and Porter and Coates? Most American literature survey courses introduce students to the great literature from our past, yet many of the great writers were not popular in their lifetime. In this class, the student will be challenged to unlearn all they have been taught about “great literature” and explore books often ignored by scholars, but devoured by American readers, and to investigate the factors that determine the likelihood of a book being a bestseller. While designed for those wishing to pursue a career in acquisitions editing, the course will also prove interesting to students of popular culture and the history of the book in America.

This course will provide you with an essential base of knowledge of American popular writers. You will also get experience with developmental editing and theory. You will gain insights into what kinds of books Americans love to read.  While there are few tests and assignments, considerable reading is required for class discussion.

 

WR 410-003 TOP: HST OF BUSIN & PRO WRITING
Professor W. Tracy Dillon

In the workplace, be it academic, white collar, or blue collar, we are met with texts whose functions are unfamiliar in the realm of polite letters or the library. Yet these texts have almost certainly had as great an impact on our modern culture and concepts of reality as the literary canon…The discourse of social transactions is typically functional, material, and purposive. Yet, it still exploits all the underlying rhetorical resources of language. Its dynamics are the dynamics of all texts. Textual analysis thus yields us important new avenues into this social realm, and we see text constructing versions of reality.
—Bazerman and Paradis

Bazerman and Paradis, along with aficionados of Studies in the History of Technical and Business Writing, ultimately defend the charge that “technical writing” is not worthy of critical study in the same way that “literature” demands. The Studies movement has changed that view, recognizing that the prevalence of technical and business writing in our daily lives has had “as great an impact on our modern culture and concepts of reality as the literary canon.” The Studies movement invites theoretical applications of rhetorical and literary methods, including the New Historicism, which asserts that literary and non-literary texts “circulate inseparably” as reflections of ontology and culture.

So, let’s do some Studies in the History of Technical and Business Writing this term. 
 
Activities & Assignments

Activities and assignments may include but are not limited to the following: 

Your Case Study is the course coup de grace and should be fun because you will base your study on an example of your own choosing that inspires you. Let’s say, for example, that you are interested in the environmental effects caused by uranium mining on the Laguna Pueblo Native American Reservation in New Mexico. You might combine readings of technical documents—particularly, publications by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and records from mining companies that worked the Jack Pile Uranium Mine—along with narratives such as Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead (1991) and Ceremony (1997). Combining the fruits of other course activities (see below), your case study would then present a discourse analysis of works that explore the ethical implications of this “history” via technical, business, and other documents.

You can expect to execute your own case study in the history of technical and business writing using your own example paired with a critical approach relevant to your own interests including (but not limited to): Climate Change/ Climate Justice, The Anthropocene, Critical Race Theory, Race Formation Theory (Winant and Omi), Critical Indigenous Tribal Race Theory, Intersectionality (Patricia Hill Collins), Medical discourse, Pedagogy, the New Historicism, or whatever approach inspires you most! We’ll talk.

In the example offered above, your case study might explore the ethics of uranium mining using critical approaches to Climate Justice, Critical Race Theory, and Critical Indigenous Tribal Race Theory. The end game is a robust case study that considers issues of ethics, cultural studies, and rhetorical techniques.

Your case study engages you in primary research, and that’s what makes it fun. We have a potential problem, though. The case study is fun because you get to do detective work, digging through archival material like an archaeologist looking for bones. (Let’s assume that archaeologists think digging for bones is fun.) Possible sources of study material follow, but our potential problem is one of access. At the time that THE PROFESSOR is penning this course description, we do not know whether the COVID-19 pandemic will continue preventing access to locations in Fall 2020. We will do our best as we see how things develop. Nevertheless, excellent locations for case study research include, for example, Oregon Historical Society Research Library, Portland State University Special Collection and University Archives, Regional (particularly rural) Historical Societies, Oregon Heritage: State Historical Preservation Office.

The case study is the culmination of warm-up activities including, but not limited to, the following:

Discourse and Textual Analysis of a significant extant historical work of technical or business writing—e.g., Ezekiel (?-569/570 BCE), “The Book of Ezekiel,” Tanakh, Ezekiel 40:1-42; Xenophon (430/31-354 BCE), On Horsemanship (circa 350); Aristotle (384–322 BCE). Corpus Aristotelicum; Geoffrey Chaucer (1343–1400), A Treatise on the Astrolabe; Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), “The Vitruvian Man” (circa 1490), Codex on the Flight of Birds (1505); Izaak Walton (1593-1683), The Compleat Angler Part II, Being instructions how to angle for a trout or grayling in a clear stream (1653); Isaac Newton (1642–1727), Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687); Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires (1904); Joseph Chapline (1920-2011). BINAC Computer Manual (1949). You are encouraged to discover your own examples, based on your own interests.

Review of a significant practitioner’s body of work—e.g., Elizabeth Tebeaux.

Or…

A Book Review of a book relevant to your interests. See the non-required e-books listed below for an idea of possibilities. Many more book-length sources exist (especially if you want to cough up the cash) but these examples are available online through our library.

Analysis of examples of technical writing that appear in literary works—e.g., Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851); Jack London, “To Build a Fire” (1902/1908); Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October and other works; John Steinbeck, Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team (1942), The Grapes of Wrath (1939); Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974); Jean Auel, Clan of the Cave Bear (1980); Michael Crichton, The Hot Zone (1994), The Andromeda Strain (1969), Jurassic Park (1990). You are encouraged to discover your own examples, based on your own interests.

Textbooks

In an effort to keep costs down for students, no textbook is required. THE PROFESSOR will provide online reading resources as appropriate, including articles and e-books on our cross-disciplinary topics, including discourse analysis, the history of technical writing, ethics in technical writing, and more. The following list of e-books provides a quick glimpse of possibilities.

Gee, James Paul. An introduction to discourse analysis: theory and method. 3rd ed. Routledge, 2011. E-book Online Access Link.

Ward, Mark. Deadly Documents Technical Communication, Organizational Discourse, and the Holocaust: Lessons from the Rhetorical Work of Everyday Texts.  Amityville : Baywood Publishing Company, Inc., 2014. E-book Online Access.

Tebeaux, Elizabeth. The flowering of a tradition: Technical writing in England, 1641-1700. Routledge, 2017. E-book Online Access.

Gross, Alan G. Communicating science: The scientific article from the 17th century to the present. Oxford University Press, 2002. E-book online access.

Gunnarsson, Britt-Louise, ed. Languages of science in the eighteenth century. De Gruyter Mouton, 2011. E-book Online Access.

Csiszar, Alex. The scientific journal: Authorship and the politics of knowledge in the nineteenth century. The University of Chicago Press, 2019. E-book Online Access.

Willerton, Russell. Plain language and ethical action: A dialogic approach to technical content in the twenty-first century. Routledge, 2015. E-book Online Access. 

And there you have it: a quick overview of what to expect in WR 410/510: The History of Technical and Business Writing. 

Questions? Ask THE PROFESSOR. dillont@pdx.edu

 

WR 411-001/002/003/004 INTERNSHIP
Susan Reese

This fall we are offering the WR 411/511 Internship course, so if you have an internship lined up or want to do an internship (go online to Career Services and Internships if you need help locating an internship, as they can provide that), please join me. We will meet in D2L and have discussions and share work as you participate in your internship. 

You can sign up as an undergrad (411) or grad (511) and for 1, 2, 3, or 4 credits. Please contact me with questions and for my approval to join the class!

Fall is a great time to accomplish the extra work of an internship, and there are online internships out there. I know Sarah Read, Director of Tech Writing; Rachel Noorda, Director of Publishing, and Susan Kirtley Director of Writing and Comics Studies help connect students with internships regularly, as do other of my colleagues.

Remember: Please let me know what your internship will be. You must have one already agreed upon with a specific company or concern, as the class doesn’t provide that. Then I absolutely give you permission to register. It must be related to Writing or Publishing. When you sign up, you have the option for WR 411-001 (one credit), WR 400-002(2 credits), WR 411-003(3 credits), or WR 411-004 (4 credits). The same options are available for the WR 511 course.

 

WR 412-001 ADVANCED FICTION WRITING
Gabriel Urza

This course will use the writing of new fiction to engage with our current moment and to learn a bit about publishing as well; with this in mind, we’ll begin by discussing and selecting a theme for our course (as if it were a themed magazine issue or anthology). We’ll create a call for submissions and select sample published works, and then we will write a new short story around this theme to submit to our workshop. 

After we have completed our drafts (due at the end of Week 3), we will be discussing your stories in a modified workshop setting (Weeks 4-8). Our last two weeks will be aimed at revision, with an eye towards creating an anthology of our class work. We’ll work together to create an introduction to the anthology, to select graphics, and to create contributors notes. It’s my hope that we’ll leave the quarter with a completed document of your work that commemorates—even if indirectly—this strange yet creative time.

 

WR 413-001 ADVANCED POETRY WRITING
Michele Glazer

In this advanced poetry workshop our emphasis will be on process. Students will be expected to write, revise, and critically discuss student poems; respond to brief generative craft-focused prompts; read the assigned texts; contribute to a common Folder of poems based on the reading students do on their own; and, contribute to a collective class project, the creation of an anthology of student poems, replete with a brief introduction.

To take advantage of this moment of remote learning, we will combine synchronous with asynchronous learning. Workshop will meet at its scheduled time (synchronous). Students can also expect to meet occasionally in small groups outside of our regular meeting time (asynchronous), including in the creation of the student anthology. How sophisticated the anthology will be will depend in part on the knowledge and experience that students bring.

About workshop: The discussion and development of student work is at the heart of the workshop. The aim is not to “fix” poems, but rather to read closely and sympathetically; to learn to articulate what the poem seems to be doing and where it is more, or less, successful; and to identify places in the poem where the writer can revise for greater depth and more risk. We’ll spend about 2.5 to 3 hours/week in workshop.

You may be asked in 25 years, what it was like to live in the moment we’re in. Of the infinite variety of responses, I expect that the most vivid ones will have in common that the writers were attentive to the world, and to the subtleties in language. This workshop will be shaped in part by those values.

Course may be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: “B” or higher in WR 313, or consent of instructor based on a writing sample.

 

WR 416-001 SCREENWRITING
STAFF

Students will be introduced to the process of conceiving, structuring, writing, rewriting, and marketing a screenplay for the contemporary American marketplace. "Screenplay paradigms" will be discussed, and a variety of movies will be analyzed. May be repeated for credit. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 516. 

 

WR 420-001 WRITING PROCESS & RESPONSE
Tony Wolk

Provides opportunities for students to write in various genres. Includes language attitudes, writing process, and reader response. Expected preparation: one upper-division writing course. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 520.

 

WR 425-001 ADVANCED TECHNICAL WRITING
Dr. Sarah Read

Theme: Solving Problems in Technical Writing

This course is designed to build a foundation in technical writing for students considering or planning to pursue a job or a career as a technical communicator in a variety of industries. This course is shaped by an understanding of technical communication as primarily a problem-solving activity, rather than as a discrete set of technical skills. During this course, students will be introduced to fundamental areas of problem solving in technical communication, such as audience analysis, collaborative work, project management, writing and designing for users, usability testing, doing research and building a career. In addition to the textbook material, students will work in teams to develop a document solution for a client using an agile project management approach. This multi-week project is an opportunity to put into practice the problem-solving heuristics presented in the textbook. Students will also research and write a wiki article about a topic of their choice related to technical communication and edit Wikipedia as an SME. By the end of the course, students should feel confident in approaching a technical communication project in an organization across multiple industries.    

*This course requires some synchronous online participation

 

WR 431-001 ADV TOP TECH WRITING TECHNOLOGY
STAFF

Once upon a time content providers could rely on good writing skills, decent word processor skills, and domain knowledge of the subject they were documenting. These things are still needed. But now a content provider must additionally know content strategy, how visitors will be driven to the content, how the content’s relevance and success will be measured, the part of the customer journey the content will influence, the content’s role in the user experience, how the content will play in social media, and so much more. In short, content providers must know how to navigate the digital marketing universe.

Regarding the approach to this class, this is a high-level class – with ample opportunity for support and guidance. The instructor is from professional industry. The class will prepare the student for professional industry, and is conducted from a professional industry perspective, more than from an academic perspective. Students will leverage “stepping outside comfort zones” as a strategy/habit for learning new technologies.

 

WR 456-001 FORMS OF NONFICTION
Justin Hocking

This course will explore various forms of nonfiction, including personal essays, lyric essays, memoir, graphic narrative, literary journalism, and oral history, with practice writing in each. We will also investigate the permeable boundaries between these and other literary forms, with a focus on the braiding of the personal and the political, the creative and the critical. Individual classes will contain discourse and writing experiments designed to deepen students' critical understanding of various nonfiction forms, and to enhance their creative repertoires with a wide variety of nonfiction techniques and craft elements. 

Tentative Reading List:

In Waves: A Graphic Memoir by A.J. Dungo
Expecting Something Else by A.M. O'Malley
Angels With Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison and Redemption by Walidah Imarisha
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado
Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction (Third Edition) by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola

*This course requires some synchronous online participation

 

WR 459-001 MEMOIR WRITING
STAFF

Concentrates on elements necessary for writing successful personal narrative, including structure, tone/voice, dialogue, characterization, tense, and point of-view. Memoirs will be read and discussed, and students will turn in several pieces over the course of the term for workshop discussion. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 559 and may be taken only once for credit. . Prerequisite: Wr 214 or Wr 228. Instructor approval required.

 

WR 460-001 INTRO TO BOOK PUBLISHING
STAFF

Provides a detailed overview of the publishing process, organized around the division of labor, including introductions to contemporary American publishing, issues of intellectual commerce, copyright law, publishing contracts, book editing, book design and production, book marketing and distribution, and bookselling. Based on work in mock publishing companies, students prepare portfolios of written documents, i.e., book proposals, editorial guidelines, design and production standards, and marketing plans. Guest speakers from the publishing industry and field trips provide exposure to the industry. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 560 and may be taken only once for credit. . Prerequisite: Wr 300 or Wr 312 or Wr 313 or Wr 323 or Wr 324 or Wr 327 or Wr 328 or Wr 330 or Wr 331 or Wr 333 or Wr 394 or Wr 399.

 

WR 460-002 INTRO TO BOOK PUBLISHING
Rachel Noorda

Provides a detailed overview of the publishing process, organized around the division of labor, including introductions to contemporary American publishing, issues of intellectual commerce, copyright law, publishing contracts, book editing, book design and production, book marketing and distribution, and bookselling. Based on work in mock publishing companies, students prepare portfolios of written documents, i.e., book proposals, editorial guidelines, design and production standards, and marketing plans. Guest speakers from the publishing industry and field trips provide exposure to the industry. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 560 and may be taken only once for credit. . Prerequisite: Wr 300 or Wr 312 or Wr 313 or Wr 323 or Wr 324 or Wr 327 or Wr 328 or Wr 330 or Wr 331 or Wr 333 or Wr 394 or Wr 399.

 

WR 461-001 BOOK EDITING
Sarah Currin

"Editing can, and should be, not only a life-enhancing profession but also a liberal education in itself, for it gives you the privilege of working with the most creative people of your time: authors and educators, world-movers and world-shakers. For taking a lifetime course for which you would be willing to pay tuition, you are paid, not merely with dollars, but with intellectual and spiritual satisfactions immeasurable." —Max Schuster
 
WR 461/561 provides a comprehensive course in professional book editing, including editorial management, acquisitions editing, substantive/developmental editing, and copyediting. Issues specific to both fiction and nonfiction books will be covered. After learning about the many roles an editor plays, students will gain hands-on experience analyzing and editing current authors' works in progress, ultimately performing a developmental edit of a full novel.

 

WR 462-001 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE
STAFF

Comprehensive course in professional book design and production. Issues specific to the design of fiction and nonfiction books in a variety of genres and markets will be covered, including the applications of both old and new technologies in design and production. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 562 and may be taken only once for credit. . Prerequisite: Wr 300 or Wr 312 or Wr 313 or Wr 323 or Wr 324 or Wr 327 or Wr 328 or Wr 330 or Wr 331 or Wr 333 or Wr 394 or Wr 399. 

 

WR 463-001 BOOK MARKETING
Corinne Gould

This is a comprehensive course in professional book marketing. Strategies and tactics for a variety of genres and markets will be covered. Students will develop marketing plans, write marketing and publicity copy, conduct market research, and build a book marketing portfolio.

 

WR 464-001 BUSINESS OF BOOK PUBLISHING
STAFF

Comprehensive course in the business of book publishing. Topics covered include publications management, accounting, book production, distribution, and bookselling. Students learn how a variety of agents, including publishers, publishing services companies, distributors, wholesalers, bookstores, etc., are organized. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 564 and may be taken only once for credit. . Prerequisite: Wr 460.

 

WR 474-001 PUBLISHING STUDIO
STAFF

Perform the work of a real publishing house, from acquiring manuscripts to selling books. Gain publishing experience by participating in the various departments of a student-staffed publishing house, Ooligan Press. Departments include Acquisitions, Editing, Design and Sustainable Production, Marketing, External Promotions, Sales, Digital Content, Social Media, and Project Management and Operations. Course may be repeated multiple times. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 574. . Prerequisite: Wr 475.

 

WR 475-001 PUBLISHING LAB
STAFF

Perform the work of a real publishing house, from acquiring manuscripts to selling books. Gain publishing experience by participating in the various departments of a student-staffed publishing house, Ooligan Press. Departments include Acquisitions, Editorial, Design, Marketing and Sales, Digital, and Social Media. Course may be taken multiple times for credit. Also offered for graduate-level credit as Wr 575.. Prerequisite: Wr 300 or Wr 312 or Wr 313 or Wr 323 or Wr 324 or Wr 327 or Wr 328 or Wr 330 or Wr 331 or Wr 333 or Wr 394 or Wr 399.

 

Fall 2020 - Graduate Writing Courses

WR 507-003 SEM: FICTION
Leni Zumas

This seminar explores the structure and design of long-form fiction. We will read novels and novellas as generative models for students’ own works in progress, paying close attention not only to plot and character but to patterns of recursion, accretion, digression, and refrain. Assigned texts (TBA) will represent a wide range of formal and stylistic strategies. Writing assignments include critical responses, creative exercises, and a final project. The seminar is geared to MFA students from all strands, who will receive priority in registering. Other English Department graduate students are welcome to enroll with instructor approval.

 

WR 507-001 SEM: NONFICTION
Diana Abu-Jaber

Tell me what you eat, said Brillat-Savarin, and I shall tell you what you are. Lives are filled with stories and plots but none is juicier than the one told with food. Culinary writing is wildly popular, taking contemporary readers beyond memory into the senses—especially the deep pleasures of the appetite.  Food sharpens the focus, introduces universal themes, and endows writing with imaginative, emotional, and physical layers of complexity.

This class will consider ways to write through the culinary lens: we’ll be looking at food writing with a special emphasis on the culinary memoir.  There will be weekly writing prompts, exercises, outside reading and discussions, and projects. Bring your curiosity, a sense of play and a sense of humor. 

Required Reading

Memoirs:

Tender At the Bone by Ruth Reichl

Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

My Life in France by Alex Prud’homme

Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan

Novel:

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Long-form Journalism:

“Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace:

 

WR 510-001 TOP: BESTSELLERS IN US BOOKS
STAFF

Few readers have heard of Maria Cummins, Susan Warner, Eden Southworth, Laura Jean Libbey, Timothy Shay Arthur, George Lippard, Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, or Harold Bell Wright. But just a century ago, their works were beloved, debated, and popular. We know modern publishing houses such as Random House, Little Brown, and Simon and Schuster, but what of the publishers that once populated the booksellers’ shelves, such as Matthew Carey, Street and Smith, and Porter and Coates? Most American literature survey courses introduce students to the great literature from our past, yet many of the great writers were not popular in their lifetime. In this class, the student will be challenged to unlearn all they have been taught about “great literature” and explore books often ignored by scholars, but devoured by American readers, and to investigate the factors that determine the likelihood of a book being a bestseller. While designed for those wishing to pursue a career in acquisitions editing, the course will also prove interesting to students of popular culture and the history of the book in America.

This course will provide you with an essential base of knowledge of American popular writers. You will also get experience with developmental editing and theory. You will gain insights into what kinds of books Americans love to read.  While there are few tests and assignments, considerable reading is required for class discussion.

 

WR 510-002 TOP: LITERARY AGENTS & ACQUISI
STAFF

An in-depth examination of how a book gets selected for publication by those in the traditional role of gatekeeper: literary agents and acquisitions editors. Also examines the labor performed by literary agents and acquisitions editors after they acquire a manuscript, as well as the act of commissioning a book.

 

WR 510-003 TOP: HST OF BUSIN & PRO WRITING
Professor W. Tracy Dillon

In the workplace, be it academic, white collar, or blue collar, we are met with texts whose functions are unfamiliar in the realm of polite letters or the library. Yet these texts have almost certainly had as great an impact on our modern culture and concepts of reality as the literary canon…The discourse of social transactions is typically functional, material, and purposive. Yet, it still exploits all the underlying rhetorical resources of language. Its dynamics are the dynamics of all texts. Textual analysis thus yields us important new avenues into this social realm, and we see text constructing versions of reality.
—Bazerman and Paradis

Bazerman and Paradis, along with aficionados of Studies in the History of Technical and Business Writing, ultimately defend the charge that “technical writing” is not worthy of critical study in the same way that “literature” demands. The Studies movement has changed that view, recognizing that the prevalence of technical and business writing in our daily lives has had “as great an impact on our modern culture and concepts of reality as the literary canon.” The Studies movement invites theoretical applications of rhetorical and literary methods, including the New Historicism, which asserts that literary and non-literary texts “circulate inseparably” as reflections of ontology and culture.

So, let’s do some Studies in the History of Technical and Business Writing this term. 
 
Activities & Assignments

Activities and assignments may include but are not limited to the following: 

Your Case Study is the course coup de grace and should be fun because you will base your study on an example of your own choosing that inspires you. Let’s say, for example, that you are interested in the environmental effects caused by uranium mining on the Laguna Pueblo Native American Reservation in New Mexico. You might combine readings of technical documents—particularly, publications by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and records from mining companies that worked the Jack Pile Uranium Mine—along with narratives such as Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead (1991) and Ceremony (1997). Combining the fruits of other course activities (see below), your case study would then present a discourse analysis of works that explore the ethical implications of this “history” via technical, business, and other documents.

You can expect to execute your own case study in the history of technical and business writing using your own example paired with a critical approach relevant to your own interests including (but not limited to): Climate Change/ Climate Justice, The Anthropocene, Critical Race Theory, Race Formation Theory (Winant and Omi), Critical Indigenous Tribal Race Theory, Intersectionality (Patricia Hill Collins), Medical discourse, Pedagogy, the New Historicism, or whatever approach inspires you most! We’ll talk.

In the example offered above, your case study might explore the ethics of uranium mining using critical approaches to Climate Justice, Critical Race Theory, and Critical Indigenous Tribal Race Theory. The end game is a robust case study that considers issues of ethics, cultural studies, and rhetorical techniques.

Your case study engages you in primary research, and that’s what makes it fun. We have a potential problem, though. The case study is fun because you get to do detective work, digging through archival material like an archaeologist looking for bones. (Let’s assume that archaeologists think digging for bones is fun.) Possible sources of study material follow, but our potential problem is one of access. At the time that THE PROFESSOR is penning this course description, we do not know whether the COVID-19 pandemic will continue preventing access to locations in Fall 2020. We will do our best as we see how things develop. Nevertheless, excellent locations for case study research include, for example, Oregon Historical Society Research Library, Portland State University Special Collection and University Archives, Regional (particularly rural) Historical Societies, Oregon Heritage: State Historical Preservation Office.

The case study is the culmination of warm-up activities including, but not limited to, the following:

Discourse and Textual Analysis of a significant extant historical work of technical or business writing—e.g., Ezekiel (?-569/570 BCE), “The Book of Ezekiel,” Tanakh, Ezekiel 40:1-42; Xenophon (430/31-354 BCE), On Horsemanship (circa 350); Aristotle (384–322 BCE). Corpus Aristotelicum; Geoffrey Chaucer (1343–1400), A Treatise on the Astrolabe; Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), “The Vitruvian Man” (circa 1490), Codex on the Flight of Birds (1505); Izaak Walton (1593-1683), The Compleat Angler Part II, Being instructions how to angle for a trout or grayling in a clear stream (1653); Isaac Newton (1642–1727), Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687); Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires (1904); Joseph Chapline (1920-2011). BINAC Computer Manual (1949). You are encouraged to discover your own examples, based on your own interests.

Review of a significant practitioner’s body of work—e.g., Elizabeth Tebeaux.

Or…

A Book Review of a book relevant to your interests. See the non-required e-books listed below for an idea of possibilities. Many more book-length sources exist (especially if you want to cough up the cash) but these examples are available online through our library.

Analysis of examples of technical writing that appear in literary works—e.g., Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851); Jack London, “To Build a Fire” (1902/1908); Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October and other works; John Steinbeck, Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team (1942), The Grapes of Wrath (1939); Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974); Jean Auel, Clan of the Cave Bear (1980); Michael Crichton, The Hot Zone (1994), The Andromeda Strain (1969), Jurassic Park (1990). You are encouraged to discover your own examples, based on your own interests.

Textbooks

In an effort to keep costs down for students, no textbook is required. THE PROFESSOR will provide online reading resources as appropriate, including articles and e-books on our cross-disciplinary topics, including discourse analysis, the history of technical writing, ethics in technical writing, and more. The following list of e-books provides a quick glimpse of possibilities.

Gee, James Paul. An introduction to discourse analysis: theory and method. 3rd ed. Routledge, 2011. E-book Online Access Link.

Ward, Mark. Deadly Documents Technical Communication, Organizational Discourse, and the Holocaust: Lessons from the Rhetorical Work of Everyday Texts.  Amityville : Baywood Publishing Company, Inc., 2014. E-book Online Access.

Tebeaux, Elizabeth. The flowering of a tradition: Technical writing in England, 1641-1700. Routledge, 2017. E-book Online Access.

Gross, Alan G. Communicating science: The scientific article from the 17th century to the present. Oxford University Press, 2002. E-book online access.

Gunnarsson, Britt-Louise, ed. Languages of science in the eighteenth century. De Gruyter Mouton, 2011. E-book Online Access.

Csiszar, Alex. The scientific journal: Authorship and the politics of knowledge in the nineteenth century. The University of Chicago Press, 2019. E-book Online Access.

Willerton, Russell. Plain language and ethical action: A dialogic approach to technical content in the twenty-first century. Routledge, 2015. E-book Online Access. 

And there you have it: a quick overview of what to expect in WR 410/510: The History of Technical and Business Writing. 

Questions? Ask THE PROFESSOR. dillont@pdx.edu

 

WR 511-001/002/003/004 INTERNSHIP
Susan Reese

This fall we are offering the WR 411/511 Internship course, so if you have an internship lined up or want to do an internship (go online to Career Services and Internships if you need help locating an internship, as they can provide that), please join me. We will meet in D2L and have discussions and share work as you participate in your internship. 

You can sign up as an undergrad (411) or grad (511) and for 1, 2, 3, or 4 credits. Please contact me with questions and for my approval to join the class!

Fall is a great time to accomplish the extra work of an internship, and there are online internships out there. I know Sarah Read, Director of Tech Writing; Rachel Noorda, Director of Publishing, and Susan Kirtley Director of Writing and Comics Studies help connect students with internships regularly, as do other of my colleagues.

Remember: Please let me know what your internship will be. You must have one already agreed upon with a specific company or concern, as the class doesn’t provide that. Then I absolutely give you permission to register. It must be related to Writing or Publishing. When you sign up, you have the option for WR 411-001 (one credit), WR 400-002(2 credits), WR 411-003(3 credits), or WR 411-004 (4 credits). The same options are available for the WR 511 course.

 

WR 520-001 WRITING PROCESS & RESPONSE
Tony Wolk

Provides opportunities for students to write in various genres. Includes language attitudes, writing process, and reader response. Expected preparation: one upper-division writing course. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. Also offered for undergraduate level credit as Wr 420.

 

WR 521-001 MFA CORE WORKSHOP FICTION
Janice Lee

In this workshop we will examine the entire spectrum of the writing process, and use revision as a way to rewrite, rebuild, and “re-see” a work of fiction. We will read various essays on craft, writing, language, and ways of engaging with the world, and also work on our own definitions & reconceptions of major craft terms. Students will apply a variety of revision procedures to their work and work on re-envisioning the structural frameworks that shape not only their individual stories and chapters, but also their collections or novels as a whole, think more critically about writing as a unique process of becoming, and engage in critical analyses and discussions of their peers’ work.

 

WR 522-001 MFA CORE WORKSHOP POETRY
Michele Glazer

The MFA Core Workshop in Poetry focuses on the writing, revision, and critical discussion of student poems. Students' verbal and written critical analyses of their peers' work are informed by their reading of published poems representing a range of formal strategies and historical and cultural contexts, and by their reading in prosody and poetics. May be taken up to six times for credit. This course is restricted to graduate students admitted to the Writing Program (Poetry). 

 

WR 523-001 MFA CORE WORKSHOP NONFICTION
Justin Hocking

Though this course will unfold much like a standard workshop (and is appropriate for any level MFA student), we will place a significant focus on generating, compiling, organizing, and polishing work for your final graduate thesis project. We'll discuss the global choices writers make for sequencing essays in a collection, and/or the chapters of a memoir. In advance of guest visits from PSU MFA alumni, we'll read excerpts from their now-archived thesis projects and published works. In turn, we will workshop outlines & excerpts from each other's thesis projects-in-progress, with an eye toward recurring thematics and cohesiveness across various pieces. Students will begin to compile a simple bibliography of outside texts that inspire their creative work or contribute to the research process. As the course culminates, we'll also explore the process of eventually transforming your thesis project into a book-length work, as well as tips and best practices for navigating small-press and commercial publishing landscapes.

 

WR 525-001 ADVANCED TECHNICAL WRITING
Dr. Sarah Read

Theme: Solving Problems in Technical Writing

This course is designed to build a foundation in technical writing for students considering or planning to pursue a job or a career as a technical communicator in a variety of industries. This course is shaped by an understanding of technical communication as primarily a problem-solving activity, rather than as a discrete set of technical skills. During this course, students will be introduced to fundamental areas of problem solving in technical communication, such as audience analysis, collaborative work, project management, writing and designing for users, usability testing, doing research and building a career. In addition to the textbook material, students will work in teams to develop a document solution for a client using an agile project management approach. This multi-week project is an opportunity to put into practice the problem-solving heuristics presented in the textbook. Students will also research and write a wiki article about a topic of their choice related to technical communication and edit Wikipedia as an SME. By the end of the course, students should feel confident in approaching a technical communication project in an organization across multiple industries.    

*This course requires some synchronous online participation

 

WR 531-001 ADV TOP TECH WRITING TECHNOLOGY    
STAFF

An introduction to contemporary technology used by writers in industry. Students will produce a portfolio project to demonstrate proficiency in the technology. Students will also learn general strategies for learning new technologies as part of a professional practice. Also offered for undergraduate level credit as Wr 431.. 

 

WR 560-001 INTRO TO BOOK PUBLISHING
STAFF

Provides a detailed overview of the publishing process, organized around the division of labor, including introductions to contemporary American publishing, issues of intellectual commerce, copyright law, publishing contracts, book editing, book design and production, book marketing and distribution, and bookselling. Based on work in mock publishing companies, students prepare portfolios of written documents, i.e., book proposals, editorial guidelines, design and production standards, and marketing plans. Guest speakers from the publishing industry and field trips provide exposure to the industry. Also offered for undergraduate level credit as Wr 460 and may be taken only once for credit. 

 

WR 560-002 INTRO TO BOOK PUBLISHING
Rachel Noorda

Provides a detailed overview of the publishing process, organized around the division of labor, including introductions to contemporary American publishing, issues of intellectual commerce, copyright law, publishing contracts, book editing, book design and production, book marketing and distribution, and bookselling. Based on work in mock publishing companies, students prepare portfolios of written documents, i.e., book proposals, editorial guidelines, design and production standards, and marketing plans. Guest speakers from the publishing industry and field trips provide exposure to the industry.

 

WR 561-001 BOOK EDITING
Rachel Noorda

Provides a comprehensive course in professional book editing, including editorial management, acquisitions editing, substantive/developmental editing, and copyediting. Issues specific to both fiction and nonfiction books will be covered. 

 

WR 562-001 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE
STAFF

Provides a strong foundation in design software used in the book publishing industry, focusing on Adobe InDesign. Also explores Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat, as well as XHTML and e-book design. The class considers audience expectations through a range of hands-on design projects.

 

WR 563-001 BOOK MARKETING
Corinne Gould

This is a comprehensive course in professional book marketing. Strategies and tactics for a variety of genres and markets will be covered. Students will develop marketing plans, write marketing and publicity copy, conduct market research, and build a book marketing portfolio.

 

WR 564-001 BUSINESS OF BOOK PUBLISHING
STAFF

Comprehensive course in the business of book publishing. Topics covered include publications management, accounting, book production, distribution, and bookselling. Students learn how a variety of agents, including publishers, publishing services companies, distributors, wholesalers, bookstores, etc., are organized and function in the marketplace. Also offered for undergraduate level credit as Wr 464 and may be taken only once for credit.

 

WR 574-001 PUBLISHING STUDIO
STAFF

Perform the work of a real publishing house, from acquiring manuscripts to selling books. Gain publishing experience by participating in the various departments of a student-staffed publishing house, Ooligan Press. May be taken multiple times for credit.

 

WR 575-001 PUBLISHING LAB
STAFF

Perform the work of a real publishing house, from acquiring manuscripts to selling books. Gain publishing experience by participating in the various departments of a student-staffed publishing house, Ooligan Press. May be taken multiple times for credit.

 

WR 579-001 RESEARCHING BOOK PUBLISHING
Prof. Kathi Inman Berens

Students will learn about qualitative and quantitative book publishing research methods and work through stages of their final research paper for the Book Publishing Master’s Program. Students will emerge from the course with a measurable, right-sized research question, methodology plan, and draft of the research paper.