Spring 2021 Courses

Undergraduate English Courses
Graduate English Courses
Undergraduate Writing Courses
Graduate Writing Courses

Course descriptions subject to change based on instructor submissions. If the instructor has not submitted a course description, please refer to the PSU Bulletin for more information.

Spring 2021 - Undergraduate English Courses

ENG 204 001 SURVEY OF BRITISH LIT I

Instructor: Karen Grossweiner
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Survey of British Lit I will cover material from the Anglo-Saxon period through the 17th century.  We will begin with the epic masterpiece Beowulf, read a judicious selection of tales from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, then proceed to the Anglo-Norman Breton lay Lanval and the great Middle English Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

While much of our focus will be on close reading, we will also discuss more general issues specific to reading medieval texts. Medieval poetry is oftentimes both extremely conventional and very sophisticated rhetorically; hence, we will explore the processes of composition and adaptation, and how composing rhetorically transforms ideas about originality. Moreover, we will look at such issues as transmission and dissemination in a manuscript culture, how genre operates in the middle ages, and what extensive scribal interventions and interpolations suggest about the sacrosanct concept of authorial privilege. Finally, we will encounter a wide variety of women (including Grendel’s notorious mother, the earthy Alisoun, the audacious Wife of Bathe, the loathly hag, and the enigmatic Bercilak’s wife) and will explore the different ways women were represented in the middle ages.

As we proceed to the Early Modern period (the Renaissance), we will consider many of these same issues in the context of different ideologies. We will begin with selections from Book One of Edmund Spenser’s The Fairie Queene, proceed to a wide variety of sixteenth and seventeenth poetry including sonnets by Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Thomas Wyatt and John Donne; and assorted poems by Andrew Marvell, Robert Herrick, George Herbert, Lady Mary Wroth, and Margaret Cavendish. We will conclude our study of the early modern period with selections from John Milton’s great epic Paradise Lost. We will explore such issues as power and authority, language and identity, gender and desire, and print versus performance and will both consider how these texts are the product of early modern English culture and strive for a modern appreciation of the texts. 

ENG 254 001 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT II

Instructor: Susan Reese
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

We enter and share these American texts, stretching from the Civil War to the present, in a particularly trying time for our nation, which is a bit of an understatement. My underlying intent throughout them all is to look for what they illustrate of human ingenuity, integrity, resilience, happiness, and hope; these writers and characters face myriad challenges; many survive, and too many do not. What can we learn from their examples in terms of getting through difficult days and helping change the world in positive ways? We will consider the Civil War poems of Walt Whitman, the lives of slaves through the eyes of Hurston and Morrison, the magnificent language of James Baldwin, and Louise Erdrich, with many more stories added to the mix. The latter will be posted on D2L for you to read.

Humans have survived wars, plagues, and every imaginable horror, some at the hands of nature, more at the hands of one another. They have left lessons in their wake, in their words. I want you to remember that in literature, words are always alive. You never write or say “Walt Whitman said,” but “Walt Whitman says;” the writer may have died, but the words live on. When we speak about them, write about them, we join in conversation with them, adding our own well considered thoughts to that conversation. In that continuity, we stand stronger, together, through the sharing of story. Please join me in this enjoyable endeavor.

Texts:

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich

ENG 300 001 LITERARY FORM AND ANALYSIS

Instructor: Dr. Michael Clark
Instructional Method: Online

English 300 is designed to introduce you to the wide variety of interpretive and critical approaches used in evaluating and understanding of works of literature. Our initial task will be to enhance our appreciation and understanding of all kinds of literary works—poetry, drama, short stories, the novel, and more. As we work through the materials, each of you develop your own critical theories of literature—that is, you will develop your own understandings of works of literature (and all art, for that matter) that emphasize their central importance to culture and human experience writ large.

We will ask questions that cut to the heart of what literature is: Why do we "do" literature? What dangers does is expose us to? On what subconscious levels does it affect us? What is its relation to madness? To excess? To social class, gender, sexuality, and the sublime? We will ask the question, "Why literature?" For pleasure? Entertainment? To challenge our everyday beliefs? To provide an opportunity for utopian daydreaming? What can we learn from a literary work? And we will ask, "Is literature dangerous?" (as Plato suggested it was). We will look at literature as a form of criticism of the "existing order"—as a way of challenging everyday cultural norms and practices.

This list could go on and on, but I hope you can see that we'll be asking what are truly important questions about literature and art, not the simple (and commercial) ones of what books we ought to read on the beach this summer. (There’s nothing wrong with a good page-turner, but that’s not high “literary” art.) Many of the approaches we will study are intuitive, even commonsensical. We will investigate the historical origins and arguments behind positions you may already embrace. Other approaches we study will seem obscure, even willfully so. And some approaches will plumb the depths of human consciousness and human experience. Ultimately, we will attempt to develop our capacity for generating and expressing sound, rigorous, interesting and sometimes dangerous (we hope!) critical insights. That will be the practical part of the course: When we're all done, we'll be better at writing critical analyses of literature.

NOTE: We will be discussing Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping throughout the term. You should begin reading these novels immediately and be prepared to discuss them at all times. 

ENG 300 002 LITERARY FORM AND ANALYSIS

Instructor: Dr. Michael Clark
Instructional Method: Online

English 300 is designed to introduce you to the wide variety of interpretive and critical approaches used in evaluating and understanding of works of literature. Our initial task will be to enhance our appreciation and understanding of all kinds of literary works—poetry, drama, short stories, the novel, and more. As we work through the materials, each of you develop your own critical theories of literature—that is, you will develop your own understandings of works of literature (and all art, for that matter) that emphasize their central importance to culture and human experience writ large.

We will ask questions that cut to the heart of what literature is: Why do we "do" literature? What dangers does is expose us to? On what subconscious levels does it affect us? What is its relation to madness? To excess? To social class, gender, sexuality, and the sublime? We will ask the question, "Why literature?" For pleasure? Entertainment? To challenge our everyday beliefs? To provide an opportunity for utopian daydreaming? What can we learn from a literary work? And we will ask, "Is literature dangerous?" (as Plato suggested it was). We will look at literature as a form of criticism of the "existing order"—as a way of challenging everyday cultural norms and practices.

This list could go on and on, but I hope you can see that we'll be asking what are truly important questions about literature and art, not the simple (and commercial) ones of what books we ought to read on the beach this summer. (There’s nothing wrong with a good page-turner, but that’s not high “literary” art.) Many of the approaches we will study are intuitive, even commonsensical. We will investigate the historical origins and arguments behind positions you may already embrace. Other approaches we study will seem obscure, even willfully so. And some approaches will plumb the depths of human consciousness and human experience. Ultimately, we will attempt to develop our capacity for generating and expressing sound, rigorous, interesting and sometimes dangerous (we hope!) critical insights. That will be the practical part of the course: When we're all done, we'll be better at writing critical analyses of literature.

NOTE: We will be discussing Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping throughout the term. You should begin reading these novels immediately and be prepared to discuss them at all times. 

ENG 301U 001 TOP: SHAKESPEARE & TRAGICOMEDY

Instructor: Jessie Herrada Nance
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

ENG 304 001 CRITICAL THEORY OF CINEMA

Instructor: Wendy Collins
Instructional Method: Online

ENG 305U 001 TOP: CLASSICS OF GOTHIC FILM

Instructor: Hildy Miller
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

American Studies Cluster credit

Gothic film, like Gothic literature, is a genre positioned right on the boundaries between reason and madness, mind and spirit, self and Other, natural and supernatural. Always, it reflects what haunts us in some way and, always, it is transgressive. Often it deals with subject matter that is dramatic, eerie, dark, and gloomy. Something is always haunting America, with the anxieties of a particular era reflected in our Gothic imagination. In this course we will watch classics of American Gothic film starting with the great silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and tracking through the 20th and 21st centuries with films such as Dracula, Rebecca, The Night of the Hunter, The Bad Seed, Psycho, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Rosemary's Baby, Don't Look Now, and The Others. Through both films and critical examinations of the Gothic, we will explore its conventions and try to arrive at a sense of why this genre endures—and even flourishes—though always responding to changes in prevailing styles of film over time. 

Films: Eight of the nine films are available through Amazon Video—total cost to rent them and have a couple of months’ membership runs around $32-$40. (Of course, the films are available elsewhere too if you want to search.) The ninth film is free through PSU. Since the class is remote, you’ll view the films at home (most take about two hours) and we’ll meet once a week for discussion.

ENG 305U 002 TOP: LYNCH AND NOIR

Instructor: Dr. Michael Clark
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

This course will analyze the noir film series, discussing its historical evolution, themes, and permutations in the criticism of the past 70 years. We will start with classic noir films like Double Indemnity and Out of the Past, after which we will move on to some contemporary neo-noir classics, like Pulp Fiction and Red Rock West. But we’re pursuing this study with a significant twist: During the last 2/3 of the term, we’ll be focusing on the singular, haunting, and surreal adaptations of many noir tendencies by the brilliant and quirky filmmaker David Lynch. We will emphasize  psychoanalytic approaches to film; that is, we’ll ask about the underlying motives, drives, and obsessions that characterize both noir and Lynch. We will begin by acquainting ourselves with some fundamental features of noir, and then we will investigate the ways in which Lynch takes on and transforms these motifs in his singular fashion. 

ENG 306U 001 TOP: FANTASY LITERATURE

Instructor: Michael Weingrad
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

This course looks at the Jew in the British literary imagination during the long nineteenth century, from creepy gothic works like Melmoth the Wanderer, to British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli’s messianic romance The Wondrous Tale of Alroy, to George Eliot’s novel of Jewish national revival Daniel Deronda, to the late Victorian “weird” writers such as Rider Haggard, M. P. Shiel, James Buchan, and Algernon Blackwood, and a look ahead to twentieth-century fantasy in the form of C. S. Lewis and Charles Williams.

Reading List:

  • Hope Mirrlees, Lud-in-the-Mist
  • G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday
  • C. S. Lewis, Perelandra
  • Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
  • Diana Wynne Jones, Fire and Hemlock

ENG 306U 002 TOP: LATINX COMICS

Instructor: Marcel Brousseau
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

ENG 315 001 POETRY AND FORM

Instructor: Tom Fisher
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In this course we will conduct a wide study of poetic forms, from the sonnet to free verse, as well as genres, including lyric, epic and dramatic poetry, across historical periods and cultures. Primary text will be Introduction to Poetry, 13th Ed. By X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

ENG 327 001 CULTURE, IMPERIALISM, GLOBAL

Instructor: Bishupal Limbu
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of literature from places and perspectives that lie outside the Western world while at the same time interrogating the self-evidence of labels such as “East” and “West” (or “North” and “South”). We will situate the texts we read in relation to the history and politics of imperialism and globalization while investigating the meanings that get attached to these two terms. If, in one sense, globalization implies a world of greater connection, what forms do these increasing connections take and how are they represented in the cultural texts of formerly colonized areas? How can fiction and theory help us understand the effects of domination and the possibilities for resistance? How do we read cultural difference or otherness without anthropologizing, exoticizing, or domesticating? How do we navigate the complex constellations of power and privilege—including that of the capitalist world system—in which we are irretrievably entangled? We will consider these and other questions by studying works by writers from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.

ENG 342U 001 EIGHTEENTH CENTURY LITERATURE

Instructor: Bill Knight
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Eighteenth-century British literature is a remarkable crucible for new combinations in genre, new ideas about subjectivity, morality, and politics, new representations of what it means to be *modern* and of how we might imagine a critical or interpretive stance occasioned by that modernity. The British eighteenth century was but a brief period; in it, however, the modern ideologies of capitalism, cosmopolitanism, and universalism were brewing. In the midst of these new “modern” ways of being, the role of writing and print blossomed or exploded, an unruly outpouring of a diverse multiplicity of efforts to make sense of and to define the shifting values and the broad transformations that were beginning to make themselves felt at every level of the social hierarchy. 
 
This course will outline the ways in which—intimately related to these broader developments—aspects of the modern notion of the individual self emerged in 18th-century writing, with particular emphasis on developments in autonomy, responsibility, sympathy & empathy, psychology, sexuality, political rights, and the sublime. We’ll trace the features of selves across their expression in gendered and raced bodies, and we’ll work to articulate the values of selfhood within the wider context of literary history, politics, and social change across the period. 
 
The course will be conducted online, asynchronously, with no set meeting times.

Required Texts:

  • Aravamudan, ed. Obi: or, The History of Three-Fingered Jack. ISBN: 978-1551116693
  • Behn. Oroonoko. ISBN: 978-0140439885
  • Defoe. Roxana. ISBN: 978-0199536740
  • Equiano, The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings. ISBN 9780142437162
  • Winkfield, The Female American. ISBN: 978-1554810963
  • Swift. Gulliver's Travels. ISBN: 978-0553212327
  • Wordsworth and Coleridge. Lyrical Ballads. ISBN: 978-0140424621

These longer works will be supplemented by a range of shorter works by a diverse array of authors.

ENG 345U 001 MODERN BRITISH LIT

Instructor: Prof. Josh Epstein
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

“I say, Am I not perhaps a little unhinged already?”  – Samuel Beckett, Play
 
This course examines twentieth-century British(ish) poems, novels, and plays in which identity and selfhood are unsettled by modernity: technology, urbanization, and migration; new theories of mind and psyche, time and space; evolving categories of gender and sexuality, nation and race; and legacies of the British Empire. ENG 345U contributes to the Global Perspectives cluster, which “explor[es] the interplay between political, economic, environmental, and cultural systems, past and present.” Indeed, modernist and postmodern texts speak to the experiences of alienation, fatigue, isolation, loss, and fragmentation that have come to seem all too familiar during quarantine—while, at the same time, connecting those experiences to aesthetic traditions, communication technologies, and marketplaces that can offer both conflict and solidarity, locally and globally. Thus while our texts challenge their readers with fragmented forms and bracing techniques, we’ll find them reimagining (and “unhinging”) the persistent questions of literature: Who am I? Why am I here? Is my voice my own? Is anyone listening to it? As “Britain” changes, do I change too? Do I dare disturb the universe? 

The course will be run asynchronously, with optional synchronous discussions (one or two a week) as a supplement.

Required Texts:

  • T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems (Broadview; 978-1551119687). 
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Broadview; 978-1551117232)
  • Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight (Norton; 978-0393303940) 
  • Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners (Penguin; 978-0141188416). 
  • Sarah Kane, Crave (Methuen; 978-0413728807) 

You will likely need to order the Selvon novel from an online vendor (the bookstore has ordered only a few copies).

ENG 351U 001 AFRICAN AMERICAN LIT I

Instructor: Anoop Mirpuri
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

“Now to talk to me about black studies as if it’s something that concerned black people is utter denial. This is the history of Western Civilization. I can’t see it otherwise.” – C.L.R. James

“It does not follow that if the Negro were better known, he would be better liked or better treated.” – Alain Locke 

This course is the first part of a three-course survey of African American literature. Whereas parts two and three cover the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this course covers the emergence of the black literary tradition in the context of the transatlantic slave trade, plantation slavery, and the conquest and colonization of the so-called “New World.” We will read a selection of writing by, and about, people of African descent during the period of slavery and abolition. Our specific focus will be the genre of the slave narrative. 

It’s tempting to read slave narratives as “testimony” to the experience of enslavement. While it’s true that slave narratives provide valuable testimony, in this class we will examine the slave narrative as a genre—a form of writing—that was shaped by the historical context in which it emerged. In other words, we will read slave narratives as complex cultural products shaped by a variety of social and economic factors, rather than as “authentic” expressions of black “voices” or transparent representations of a “black experience.” We will explore the following questions: What were the sociopolitical and economic conditions that gave rise to the slave narrative as a form of writing? What were the intentions of the writers and editors that produced these narratives? Who were they writing for? What were the assumptions and expectations of their audience, and how did authors navigate their audiences’ assumptions and expectations in the act of writing? In other words, how did audience expectations and assumptions shape what it was possible to write and the form in which it was possible to write it? Were slave narratives successful in accomplishing their intended goals? Why did the slave narrative become the paradigmatic form of abolitionist expression in the nineteenth century? 

This course challenges the common sense belief—shared by conservatives and liberals alike—that the study of “African American literature” is the study of a specific people, race, culture, or history. Following the claim made by C.L.R. James in the epigraph to this syllabus, this course approaches the study of the slave narrative as the study of western civilization itself. 

ENG 369U 001 ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE

Instructor: Marie Lo
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In this introductory course, we explore central themes and issues in Asian American literary studies. We analyze Asian American fiction, poetry, autobiography, and graphic novels from an interdisciplinary perspective—one that situates the representational strategies of Asian American writers in the context of Asian American history and the politics of representation. Against the backdrop of anti-Asian exclusion, discrimination and dispossession, we examine how these writers articulate the multiple dimensions of identity and the complex conditions of belonging. In foregrounding the intersections of race, class, nation, gender, and sexuality, we ultimately challenge “Asian American” as a stable category of identity and move away from narratives of immigration and assimilation to examine imperialism and settler colonialism and the different yet overlapping histories and experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 
 
This course is a part of the Gender and Sexualities Studies Cluster and the American Identities Cluster. 
 
Required Texts:

  • Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart 
  • Mine Okubo, Citizen 13660 
  • Jade Snow Wong, Fifth Chinese Daughter
  • Andrew Pham, Catfish and Mandala 
  • Sia Figiel, Where We Once Belonged
  • Craig Santo Perez, from Unincorporated Territories [Hacha] 
  • Mira Jacob, Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

Additional readings on D2L.

ENG 372U 001 TOP: BODIES, POWER & PLACES

Instructor: Sally McWilliams
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

ENG 373U 001 TOP: RACE AND ANIMALITY

Instructor: Liz Curry
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Animal studies has a whiteness problem. Though the field is relatively young, having emerged most forcefully in literary and cultural studies with Jacques Derrida’s inquiries into animal experience in 1997, writers have been grappling with the “animal question” for centuries. Yet literary animal studies as a field is only beginning to acknowledge how race is tied to representations of animality, and vice versa. Centuries of colonization and racialization that aimed to dehumanize people of color through discursive correlations with nonhuman animals require us now to untangle rhetorics of subjugation, paternalization, and othering that accompany common discourses around both race and animals. Importantly, by moving aside modes of animality governed by whiteness and Eurocentric humanism, this course will trace how animal depictions open upon a greater understanding of nonhuman others when racializing rubrics are rejected.

In this course, we will study how race intersects with animal representation in modern literary texts—from the early twentieth century to the present. We will read contemporary theoretical examinations of this intersection, as well as viewing a few films. Our focus will include a consideration of how race influences our perception of animal worlds, noting how writers conceive of what it means to be other-than-human and how literature depicts that otherness. In weekly discussions, we will examine how race influences experiences of kinship and living together with animals, as we also assess themes of labor, violence, silence, relocation, and species sci-fi as they relate to racialized existence in America.

ENG 385U 001 CONTEMPORARY LIT

Instructor: Susan Reese
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

One of my primary loves of the study of literature is seeing how everything is connected, past to present to future, and I’ve been shocked at times to meet those who see no merit in knowing what has happened before, who might say such wonderful works are available now, why bother with the ‘old ones’.  But part off the fun of studying literature, of life, is recognizing styles, voices, words, events, and more that are recognizable from a former work or time. It feels brilliant to recognize Shakespeare, Homer, Cervantes, Dante, WEB DuBois, James Baldwin, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, the crash of the Hindenburg, the coronation of the Queen, the marches of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, and so on through all literary works, paintings, musical compositions, and life experiences. 

It should come as no surprise that I have chosen contemporary writers (my definition this time is writers currently living and writing) who agree with me. As we read, we will travel from Native American history, through that of Turkey (more specifically, a coup in Armenia), to Japan as Murakami’s novel investigates what happens if atrocities of the past go undealt with, and then to the Dominican Republic and Trujillo. These are books constructed in recent years, in response to past atrocities, and I have to admit that they come to mind each time something similar to what they represent takes place in the here and now. They are postcolonial retrospectives on colonialism, and provide insights and lessons that will always be useful, as is true of fine literature. These are tales of land theft, coups, isolation, haunting, racism, and dictatorship. 

What of colonialism now? Does it ever end? Does it never end? Native American writer Leslie Marmon Silko writes in Yellow Woman and a Beauty of Spirit (and I paraphrase, as her book is so wonderful that I’ve loaned it to my neighbor) that “we are our stories, and our stories are us, the good and the bad. They show us who we are.” 

Is anything owed the past, those who have suffered in the past? If yes, what? If no, why not? What do these particular texts tell us off who we are as a people, globally and locally? Come prepared to discuss the past as “the elephant in the room” every room, everywhere. Is Irish Poet Seamus correct that through poetry, writing, redress of wrongs may occur? Is that ever enough? 

Texts:

  • Tracks by Louise Erdrich
  • Snow by Orhan Pamuk
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

ENG 399 001 SPST: COMICS MEMOIR

Instructor: Diana Schutz
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Comics are a rich form of artistic and narrative expression, a modern exemplar of the picture story whose history dates as far back as the Lascaux and Chauvet cave paintings in France. Boldly combining images and text, today’s comics fearlessly go where even Superman himself would not have dared: into stories of war, trauma, sexuality, spirituality, and self. In an effort to isolate that elusive element known as artistic style, especially in its relationship to the presentation of self, this course will focus on the rapidly growing genre of Comics Memoir. How do our lives become stories? When we read autobiographical works, we explore the intimate, dynamic connection between self and story—drawn story, in the case of comics. Students will explore the diversity of Comics Memoir by investigating the distinctive qualities of each work, its origins and precedent, its relationship both to the author and to a specific cultural moment, and its capacity to inspire and influence future comics art. Through intensive reading of a great variety of (primarily North American) autobiographical texts, we will seek to understand the unique visual grammar of the comics medium and its potential for personal storytelling in the autobiographical mode.

To help keep student expenses at a minimum, many of the readings will be available on our D2L site. Otherwise, we’ll also read these four comics texts, available at the PSU Bookstore or through most of our local comics specialty shops. Students are encouraged to seek out affordably priced copies; to that end, any edition or format—including secondhand, digital, or library versions—will be acceptable as long as students can readily access each text throughout the term:

  • Backderf, Derf: My Friend Dahmer
  • Eisner, Will: The Dreamer
  • Flowers, Ebony: Hot Comb
  • McCloud, Scott: Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

ENG 413 001 TEACHING & TUTORING WR

Instructor: Dan DeWeese
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

ENG 428 001 CANONS AND CANONICITY

Instructor: Prof. Elisabeth Ceppi
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

This course examines the historical, institutional, and ideological contexts in which traditions of “great works” have been established, contested, and creatively appropriated. It focuses on questions of literary value and its relation to national identity, cultural encounter, and power. It also investigates how categories of social difference such as gender, race, and class have shaped the criteria by which works and authors have been included and excluded from dominant traditions. We will explore these issues by taking Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter as a case study of “classic” American literature, tracing its critical and cultural history. We will read it alongside Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, a work with similar themes published a decade after Hawthorne’s novel, which has become a critical text in multiple “revisionist” canons. We will consider the afterlives of both of these texts, and the effects of canonicity on artistic creation and cultural reception, in three contemporary works: Suzan-Lori Parks’ play Fucking A, the film Easy A, and Darcie Little Badger’s recently-published YA novel, Elatsoe. Pre-requisite: ENG 300; Co-Requisite: WR 301. This course fills the Culture, Difference, and Representation requirement for the BA/BS in English.

Required Books (available at PSU Bookstore):

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (Norton Critical Edition)
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover) 
  • Darcie Little Badger, Elatsoe (Levine Querido)

ENG 441 001 ADV TOP: RENAISSNCE WOMENS LIT

Instructor: Keri Behre
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf evokes a character – “Shakespeare’s sister” – to illustrate the myriad ways that women writers have historically been rendered invisible. In this class, we will use reading, writing, early modern journaling practices, and historical recipe preparation to delve into the complexity of Renaissance women’s literature in English. We will seek to answer the question of what constitutes a literary text, addressing issues of authorship, authority, and self-construction.  

We will begin our class by working with Mary Baumfylde’s medicinal and culinary recipe book (1626, 1702-1758), which is housed at the Folger Shakespeare Library, V.a. 456 and available fully online. In order to access manuscripts that are not readily available in edited form, we first need to learn to read them using paleography: the study, deciphering, and dating of historical writing and manuscripts. No prior paleographic experience is necessary – this research skill will be a central part of our study for the first several weeks of class. 

After getting our footing in the Baumfylde manuscript, we will continue our transcription and textual editing work while also discussing poetry, drama, and prose by other early modern women writers. Throughout the term, we will also seek to ground ourselves in an understanding of the material culture of daily life for Renaissance women.

Required Texts: 

  • Elizabeth I: Collected Works, ed. Leah S. Marcus et al. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2002. 978-0226504650.
  • The Tragedy of Miriam, by Elizabeth Cary, ed. Karen Britland. New York: New Mermaids, 2010. 978-0713688764. 
  • Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney, and Aemilia Lanyer: Renaissance Women Poets, ed. Danielle Clarke. New York: Penguin, 2001. 978-0140424096. 
  • How to be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life, by Ruth Goodman. London: Liveright/Norton, 2015. 978-1631492532

Access to the Baumfylde Manuscript, paleography tools, and other supplemental readings will be provided electronically. Coursework will include a collaborative edited edition of selected recipes from the Baumfylde Manuscript, active participation in discussions, a “commonplace book” journaling project mirroring early modern manuscript practices, and a final essay. This course will have required, synchronous once-weekly meetings on Zoom on Thursdays, supplemented with materials and assignments in Canvas LMS (as part of the OAI Canvas Pilot Project).

ENG 475 001 ADV TOP: JEWS & VICTORIANISM

Instructor: Michael Weingrad
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

ENG 488 001 CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN POETRY

Instructor: Joel Bettridge
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

ENG 494 001 TOP: THEORY OF THE EVENT

Instructor: Bill Knight
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The theory of the event is the most vital and pressing of theoretical questions, the kind of inquiry that determines how we proceed with literary analysis, historical interpretation, encounters with the other, and political engagements. It marks how we ourselves understand the temporal categories of past, present, and future, just as it marks how we understand the divisions between individual selves and the worldly abstractions that surround them. What is an event, that kind of occurrence that inspires narration, the type of eruption into life that acts on us in irreversible ways? Is an event in narrative merely an outgrowth or function of genre, each genre staking claim to its own type of event? Or are there modes of the event that exceed or transcend genre? Do events have subjects? Or do they create subjects? What is the relation between events and time? How do events relate to historiography and to the operations of history? Can or in what cases or genres do events gesture towards a future? Do events make knowledge possible, or do they offer an abyss into which our gaze and our desire for control disappear, reflecting back to us only mute uncertainty? What is the relation between fact and event? Is there a difference between mental and physical events? What, above all, can we begin to say about the nature of narrative’s various complex and diverse relations to events?
 
In this class, we’ll examine how various theoretical traditions have asked and responded to questions of the event, tracing the trends and allegiances in this history of debate. Above all we will consider how the question of the nature of the event has been at the center of literary debates about the function and effects of narration: what kinds of events serve as the basis for literary narrative? What kinds of knowledges about the eruption of events do literary genres and modes allow us to produce? What has literature understood as its special relation to the event, distinct from other approaches to these persistent questions of theory?
 
The class will operate as a survey, covering a number of historical highlights in the theory of the event across five main modes: the event of subjectivity, the event of the sublime, the event of trauma, the event as simulation, and the event as the fundamental basis for genre. 

The course will be conducted asynchronously, online, with class discussions taking place on D2L. 

Major Texts: (we’ll also look at a number of theoretical excerpts)

  • Badiou, Alain. Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. London; New York: Verso, 2012. ISBN: 978-1781680186
  • DeLillo, Don. White Noise. New York: Penguin Books, 2009. Print. ISBN: 978-0143105985
  • Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Vintage Books, 2004. ISBN: 978-1400033416
  • Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Group, 1998. ISBN: 978-0451526922
  • Sinha, Indra. Animal’s People. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2009. ISBN: 978-1416578796

 


Spring 2021 - Graduate English Courses

ENG 507 001 SEM: NARRATIVE THEORY

Instructor: Kate Comer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Welcome to the “narrative turn,” a cross-disciplinary fascination with the power of storytelling in its myriad forms. From psychology to rhetoric to medicine to education, narrative has become central to analysis, inquiry, and practice—and therefore something of a unifying thread among too-often disparate conversations.

This course offers an introduction to narrative theory within English Studies, with potential for exploration further afield according to your interests. Using the core concepts of narrative theory (e.g., narration, focalization, progression), we’ll explore narrative designs in various genres and media. This shared vocabulary transfers well across fields of study and domains of practice, and all are definitely welcome!

Our collective primary texts will be Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, and Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Gathering Moss. We’ll also be using Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates (Herman, et al., 2012), which is available in print or electronically through the PSU library.

We’ll meet on zoom for a full class discussion on Tuesdays, with Thursdays as a shared studio time for working on and/or workshopping your own narrative-related projects. In between, there will be asynchronous writing practices and independent research on Canvas.

ENG 507 002 SEM: PROB OF RACE IN LIT STUD

Instructor: Anoop Mirpuri
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

“Some may find it implausible that the experience of looking at a work of art can be linked with the social process of racialization. I believe it is only implausible if we fail to consider the implications of the question, What makes ‘black art’ black? What functions have to be performed successfully in order to secure that identification? What legitimates that identification as a positive one? And, What other kinds of work does the positive racial identification of an artwork permit one to do?” – Darby English, How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness

What is the importance of race in the study of literature? What does it mean to think about literature as a function of racial classification? How have these questions been engaged in the study of African-American literature, and in the study of American literature more broadly? To what extent have identitarian approaches to the study of literature that we associate with multiculturalism been a departure from the dominant modes of knowing that they have sought to challenge? How should we understand the historical convergence between anti-racist commitments in literary studies and the deepening of economic inequality and precarity across the broad sphere of civil society? We will examine these questions through a close study of a small but carefully curated selection of theory and criticism as well as a few canonical primary texts.

Required Texts:

  • Henry Louis Gates, ed., The Classic Slave Narratives
  • James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
  • Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories
  • Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
  • Kenneth Warren, What Was African-American Literature?

ENG 507 003 SEM: RENAISSANCE WOMEN'S LIT

Instructor: Keri Behre
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf evokes a character – “Shakespeare’s sister” – to illustrate the myriad ways that women writers have historically been rendered invisible. Aided by the theoretical approach of the “hidden transcript,” we will spend the term using reading, writing, early modern journaling practices, and historical recipe preparation to delve into the complexity of Renaissance women’s literature in English. We will seek to answer the question of what constitutes a literary text, addressing issues of authorship, authority, and self-construction.  

We will begin our class by working with Mary Baumfylde’s medicinal and culinary recipe book (1626, 1702-1758), which is housed at the Folger Shakespeare Library, V.a. 456 and available fully online. In order to access manuscripts that are not readily available in edited form, we first need to learn to read them using paleography: the study, deciphering, and dating of historical writing and manuscripts. No prior paleographic experience is necessary – this research skill will be a central part of our study for the first several weeks of class. After this term, you may choose to carry forth the skills you’ve developed into a wide range of future research applications, including assisting libraries in making important manuscripts such as women’s writing and anti-slavery documents publicly searchable, for example, or participating in other collaborative digital humanities projects. 

After getting our footing in the Baumfylde manuscript, we will continue our transcription and textual editing work while also discussing poetry, drama, and prose by other early modern women writers. Throughout the term, we will also seek to ground ourselves in an understanding of the material culture of daily life for Renaissance women.

Required Texts: 

  • Elizabeth I: Collected Works, ed. Leah S. Marcus et al. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2002. 978-0226504650.
  • The Tragedy of Miriam, by Elizabeth Cary, ed. Karen Britland. New York: New Mermaids, 2010. 978-0713688764. 
  • Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney, and Aemilia Lanyer: Renaissance Women Poets, ed. Danielle Clarke. New York: Penguin, 2001. 978-0140424096. 
  • How to be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life, by Ruth Goodman. London: Liveright/Norton, 2015. 978-1631492532

Access to the Baumfylde Manuscript, paleography tools, and other supplemental and theoretical readings will be provided electronically. Coursework will include a collaborative edited edition of selected recipes from the Baumfylde Manuscript, active participation in discussions, a “commonplace book” journaling project mirroring early modern manuscript practices, and a seminar paper. This course will have required, synchronous once-weekly meetings on Zoom on Thursdays, supplemented with materials and assignments in Canvas LMS (as part of the OAI Canvas Pilot Project). This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for the M.A. in English. 

ENG 518 001 COLLEGE COMP TEACHING

Instructor: Kate Comer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

ENG 519 001 ADV COLLEGE COMP TEACHING

Instructor: Kate Comer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

ENG 531 001 TOP: COLLOQUIUM

Instructor: Prof. Josh Epstein
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

 


Spring 2021 - Undergraduate Writing Courses

WR 115 001 INTRO TO COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Adam McDonald
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Study and practice of college-level writing and reading, with focus on developing strategies for academic writing. Designed for students wanting preparation for WR 121 or Freshman Inquiry.

WR 121 001 COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Anna Diehl
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Study and practice of critical writing, with focus on analyzing and adapting to different contexts. Designed as a foundation for college-level writing.

WR 121 002 COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Ruben Gil-Herrera
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Study and practice of critical writing, with focus on analyzing and adapting to different contexts. Designed as a foundation for college-level writing.

WR 121 003 COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Jason Stieber
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Study and practice of critical writing, with focus on analyzing and adapting to different contexts. Designed as a foundation for college-level writing.

WR 121 004 COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Katie Mitchell
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Study and practice of critical writing, with focus on analyzing and adapting to different contexts. Designed as a foundation for college-level writing.

WR 212 001 INTRO FICTION WRITING

Instructor: Ari Rosales
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

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 212 002 INTRO FICTION WRITING

Instructor: Josef Ginsberg
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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 213 001 INTRO POETRY WRITING

Instructor: Anton Jones
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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 213 002 INTRO POETRY WRITING

Instructor: Michele Glazer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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

Instructor: Lee Ware
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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 WRITING RESEARCH PAPERS

Instructor: Elizabeth Miossec-Backer
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Introduction to academic inquiry, with focus on evaluating and engaging with secondary research and on conventions for documentation.

WR 222 002 WRITING RESEARCH PAPERS

Instructor: Travis Willmore
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Writing Research Papers is a class that takes a close look at each step of the process in creating a successful research paper. We'll discuss finding a topic and narrowing or expanding it based on what kind of information is out there. We'll talk about the easiest ways to find relevant sources and the easiest ways to tell whether they're crap or not. We'll test-drive different drafting strategies and ways to integrate cited material into a paper. Students in this class get credit for each step of the researching and writing process, instead of the grade being all tied up in one final product.

WR 227 001 INTRO TECHNICAL WRTG

Instructor: Garret Romaine
Instructional Method: Online

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 227 002 INTRO TECHNICAL WRTG

Instructor: Mary Sylwester
Instructional Method: Online

This class introduces technical and professional communication. Students compose, design, revise, and edit effective letters, memos, reports, descriptions, instructions, and employment documents. The course emphasizes precise use of language and graphics to communicate complex technical and procedural information safely, legally and ethically.

WR 227 003 INTRO TECHNICAL WRTG

Instructor: Dustin Prisley
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

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 227 004 INTRO TECHNICAL WRTG

Instructor: Rowan Reed
Instructional Method: Online

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 300 001 TOP: VISUAL STORYTELLING

Instructor: STAFF
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Study of how ideas, information and narratives are uniquely conveyed when described with text, with images, and with text and images together. Examples will be explored from fiction and non-fiction writing, art history and a wide variety of comics. The emphasis will be on the artist’s intent and how that intent can remain consistent when expressed through different mediums.

WR 301 001 WIC: CRITICAL WRTING ENGLISH

Instructor: Prof. Elisabeth Ceppi
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

This course is designed to develop advanced skills for writing clear, compelling, and sophisticated interpretations of literary texts. We will focus on strategies, conventions, and techniques for conducting research within the text (gathering evidence through the method of “close reading”) and outside the text, using a variety of secondary sources to develop ideas and insights and to explain why those ideas matter. During the term, students will learn and practice a variety of methods for becoming more astute readers and critics of literature and scholarly writing. They will also learn to become better readers and critics of their own scholarly writing through the process of drafting, peer review, and revision. 

Course Objectives:

The course will improve students’ ability to:

  • Use close reading skills to develop interpretations of literary texts and to communicate those interpretations clearly and persuasively in their scholarly writing. 
  • Locate and cite works of scholarship and engage with them effectively to frame complex arguments about texts.
  • Grasp the importance of drafting and revision to intellectual growth and successful college writing.

Required Book:

  • Toni Morrison, A Mercy (Vintage)

WR 301 002 WIC: CRITICAL WRTING ENGLISH

Instructor: Hildy Miller
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

As English majors, you're probably already familiar with much of what we do in our courses. This class is designed to stretch that knowledge further and prepare you to succeed in upper division work. We'll consider strategies for writing and conducting secondary research. And we'll practice reading and interpreting texts through the lenses of varied critical theories. Includes formal and informal 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. If all goes as promised, you should emerge from the course with a renewed sense of how to produce knowledge in English Studies.

Texts are all available electronically.

WR 312 001 INTERMED FICTION WR

Instructor: Kathleen Levitt
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

WR 312 002 INTERMED FICTION WR

Instructor: Gabriel Urza
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This class will primarily be dedicated to the writing and improvement of one original work of fiction—a completed short story. For the first four weeks, we’ll be using directed craft readings and writing prompts to develop these new stories. In the second half of the quarter, we will consider your 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

Instructor: John Beer
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

WR 323 001 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Jarrod Dunham
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

WR 323 002 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Jarrod Dunham
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

WR 323 003 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Amy Harper Russell
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

In this class we will learn what it is to be a writer. We will explore genres of writing, draft work, reflect upon work, and have the opportunity to peer-review work. Please save all notes, blog entries, journaling, drafts, source materials, peer reviews, and papers to include in a portfolio. The end result should be a complete portfolio of work to share.

WR 323 004 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Alexander Dannemiller
Instructional Method: Online

WR 323 005 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Kirsten Rian
Instructional Method: Online

WR 323 006 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Caroline Hayes
Instructional Method: Online

In this class we will be performing critical inquiry through writing. In other words, we will be using writing to explore our own thinking and beliefs and the thinking and beliefs of those around us.

In order to practice critical thinking through writing, this term we will explore a theme of identity, with the goal of discovering how we conceive of ourselves and others within our society. Readings, videos, and podcasts in a variety of genres will allow us to see how others write and talk about their own identities, and will give us a jumping off point for several writing practices, including personal writing in the form of a journal, written discussion on the D2L discussion boards, and formal essays. The term will culminate in a written analysis of one aspect of your own identity, which you will explore through both personal writing and research.

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Develop productive strategies for generating, drafting, revising, and editing writing based on feedback and reflection.
  2. Analyze texts according to their rhetorical situation (context, audience, purpose), with particular attention to genre and conventions.
  3. Compose texts appropriate to their rhetorical situation (context, audience, purpose), with particular attention to genre and conventions.
  4. Articulate and pursue a coherent research agenda through finding and evaluating authoritative sources, integrating and citing sources according to appropriate conventions, and synthesizing and situating information within existing conversations.
  5. Use critical reflection to assess previous literacy experiences, articulate developing knowledge and skills, and transfer learning across contexts.

WR 323 007 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Sean Warren
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

WR 323 008 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Jessie Herrada Nance
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

WR 327 001 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING

Instructor: Tracy Dillon
Instructional Method: Online

WR 327 002 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING

Instructor: Tracy Dillon
Instructional Method: Online

WR 327 003 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING

Instructor: Julie Kares
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

WR 333 001 ADVANCED ESSAY WRITING

Instructor: Karyn-Lynn Fisette
Instructional Method: Online

WR 333 002 ADVANCED ESSAY WRITING

Instructor: Karyn-Lynn Fisette
Instructional Method: Online

WR 398 001 TOP: WRITING COMICS

Instructor: David Walker; Brian Bendis
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

WR 410 004 TOP: ADVANCED BOOK DESIGN

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course requires students to design the interior, front and back matter, and cover jackets for both a fiction and nonfiction title. The students work in critique groups to provide peer-to-peer feedback and support. Along the way, we will look at design development and more advanced techniques in the Adobe InDesign software.

Textbook:

  • Aspects of Contemporary Book Design by Richard Hendel (978-1609381752)

WR 410 005 TOP: AUDIOBOOKS

Instructor: Stephanie Argy
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This overview of audiobook publishing will be partly an art appreciation course, and partly a studio practice course. We will listen to and discuss excerpts from multiple audiobooks, and students will make their own recordings of various types, including non-fiction, first-person fiction, third-person fiction, and multiple voices. We will also have visits from guests working in the audiobook trade, such as narrators, sound editors, directors, distributors, and more. 

WR 410 006 TOP: EBOOK PRODUCTION

Instructor: Pariah Burke
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the digital publishing workflow, expose them to tools of the trade, and teach them the skills needed to produce ebooks. Each publishing house will have their proprietary methods and preferred tools so the goal is to teach some of the underlying theories of design and readability; the fundamentals of ebook structure; the basic mechanics of the underlying code; where to find updates on standards and retailer requirements; and introduce the students to foundational troubleshooting techniques that are flexible and applicable to all environments.

WR 412 001 ADV FICTION WRITING

Instructor: Janice Lee
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In this class, students will engage with topics related to craft (point of view, character, narrative, setting, etc.), look more closely at their own relationship with language, and aim to produce one complete draft of original fiction. Students will also participate in workshops and provide written critical engagements of the works of their peers. Our work will be guided by various writing & revision exercises, as well as readings by diverse contemporary authors. This term, we’ll focus on rethinking the cultural values of craft alongside the core text for the class this term: Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses. (Note: Though there will be weekly class meetings via Zoom, students can opt to participate synchronously or asynchronously.)

WR 413 001 ADVANCED POETRY WRITING

Instructor: Emily Frey
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

WR 420 001 WRITING STUDIO

Instructor: Leni Zumas
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course is a writing laboratory—a space for experiments and discovery. The focus will be on generating new prose (via weekly writing prompts and exercises) and cultivating space for a daily writing practice. We will also read and respond to published fiction, poetry, and essays that may inspire your own inventions and support your creative growth. 

WR 427 001 TECHNICAL EDITING

Instructor: Aaron Bannister
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Gives technical writers practice in technical editing by introducing them to the principles of minimalism with the aim of editing documentation in a “mobile-friendly” world. Learning professional editing practices and standards for achieving concision and clarity for a variety of audiences is key in this course, where students hear from technical writing and editing professionals, and work on projects in collaborative student-editing teams.

WR 428 001 ADVANCED MEDIA WRITING

Instructor: Eben Pindyck
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In this course, we will focus on longform journalism, which requires intense reporting and literary craft. Each student will produce a piece of such work; assigned readings (book-length as well as feature-length) will help understand the form, as will class discussions. Longform journalism entails telling true stories in a narrative manner. 

WR 431 001 ADV TOP TECH WRITING TECHNLOGY

Instructor: Bryan Schnabel
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

As websites have grown more robust and complex to satisfy the needs of website visitors, the systems and tools have grown in robustness and complexity. The days of adding content to a static HTML website are diminishing, and the Web Content Management System (CMS) are a fact of life. This class will show how a modern CMS works. Students will also learn how the auxiliary tools (translation, SEO, analytics, authoring tools) are a part of this system. Beyond the tools, this class will feature best practices in content strategy, content modeling, and workflows.

WR 433 001 RESEARCH METHODS FOR TECH WRIT

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Read
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course will introduce students to the research methods commonly practiced by professional technical writers. These methods include interviewing subject-matter experts, researching genre conventions, user research, content analysis of existing websites and usability testing. Students will practice methods via client-projects with local community partners. Students can expect to develop at least one portfolio piece during this course. This course is a core course in the MTPW curriculum.

WR 461 001 BOOK EDITING

Instructor: Rachel Noorda
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

WR 462 001 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Book Design Software is a hands-on exploration of the Adobe Creative Suite, focusing on InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. The course begins with common tools, menus, techniques, and keyboard commands. In Illustrator, we cover drawing techniques, live trace, and editing and transforming vector-based artwork. In Photoshop, we look at color correction, retouching and repairing photos, selecting and combining images, and clipping paths. And in InDesign, we study document set up, typography, styles, and working with images and graphic assets. Students perform a series of exercises to build skills in each application and use those skills to produce design projects. 

Textbooks:

  • InDesign Type: Professional Typography with Adobe InDesign by Nigel French (978-0321966957)
  • Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd (978-0761172192)

WR 463 001 BOOK MARKETING

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The objective of this course is to understand the role of marketing and publicity in book publishing, both traditional and self-publishing, and to obtain the necessary skills to position a title, create sales materials, and develop a marketing and publicity plan. Your goal is to end the course able to demonstrate skills in target audience analysis, copywriting, metadata management, author platform building, media and reviewer outreach, budgeting and scheduling, email and social media marketing, and metrics and analytics that are directly applicable to a career in book publishing.

WR 463 002 BOOK MARKETING

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The objective of this course is to understand the role of marketing and publicity in book publishing, both traditional and self-publishing, and to obtain the necessary skills to position a title, create sales materials, and develop a marketing and publicity plan. Your goal is to end the course able to demonstrate skills in target audience analysis, copywriting, metadata management, author platform building, media and reviewer outreach, budgeting and scheduling, email and social media marketing, and metrics and analytics that are directly applicable to a career in book publishing.

WR 464 001 BUSINESS OF BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Kent Watson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

WR 466 001 DIGITAL SKILLS

Instructor: Kathi Inman Berens
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

WR 472 002 COPYEDITING

Instructor: Jessie Carver
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course will contain narrow focus on copyediting at the sentence level, with little to no attention given to developmental editing. With a primary emphasis on copyediting books (the skills for which can be broadly applied to any written material), we’ll be doing a deep dive on the rules of punctuation, grammar, usage, language, and style. By the end of the course, you should be able to improve clarity, coherency, consistency, and correctness through the application of grammatical and stylistic guidelines; explain the reasons for each correction you make; effectively craft queries; and feel confident copyediting a book-length manuscript. 

WR 474 001 PUBLISHING STUDIO

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Publishing Studio & Lab are the courses for hands-on learning at Ooligan Press. Designed to give students the freedom and responsibility of running a real-world trade publishing house, students are assigned to projects where they will work on a variety of publishing tasks. Project teams will work collaboratively to assess, plan, and execute editorial, design, digital content, marketing, and sales tasks throughout the term.

WR 475 001 PUBLISHING LAB

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Publishing Studio & Lab are the courses for hands-on learning at Ooligan Press. Designed to give students the freedom and responsibility of running a real-world trade publishing house, students are assigned to projects where they will work on a variety of publishing tasks. Project teams will work collaboratively to assess, plan, and execute editorial, design, digital content, marketing, and sales tasks throughout the term.

WR 478 001 DIGITAL MARKETING FOR PUB

Instructor: Kathi Inman Berens
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 


Spring 2021 - Graduate Writing Courses

WR 507 001 SEM: MFA POETRY

Instructor: Michele Glazer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

WR 507 002 SEM: MFA FICTION

Instructor: Gabriel Urza
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The term “Social Justice Writing” is nebulous and necessarily far-reaching; research the phrase, and you’ll find books that touch on Immigration, Health Care, Racial Justice and Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Gender Equality, LGBTQ+ Rights, Criminal Justice Reform and Mass Incarceration and many, many other topics. The purpose of this class is not to serve as a comprehensive survey of writing that touches on various movements; the breadth of the term “Social Justice” precludes even a cursory survey of this kind. 

Rather, this class will use a limited selection of works that touch on subjects that fall under the umbrella of “social justice” to examine the ways—the rhetorical mechanisms and craft decisions—by which some authors have approached their topics. We will examine these authors’ approaches with the goal of forging our own creative paths by which we engage with issues of truth, equality, and human rights and dignity in our writing. While examining these rhetorical approaches in published writing, we will also employ these in our own creative work over the course of the term. This creative work will culminate in the production of a handmade "cartonero" book edition of a student manuscript.

WR 507 003 SEM: MFA NONFICTION (MEMOIR)

Instructor: Justin Hocking
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

How does it feel to be alive in 2021, and what use does the memoir genre serve during a time of such upheaval and enforced isolation? What possibilities exist for raising the sashes between our small selves and the larger world via memoir? To engage these and other perennial questions, this genre-fluid seminar/workshop will seek inspiration in poetry, visual art, architecture, and the natural world. Architects employ the term "fenestration" to designate any openings in the walls or enclosures of a building: windows, skylights, ventilation, doorways. We will thus experiment with "windowing" our personal writing with glimpses into history, ecology, politics, social justice issues, literary criticism, and poetics. We will also explore the seemingly paradoxical ways that embracing the wider world in memoir can allow us to risk more personal vulnerability on the page.

Tentative Reading List:

  • In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Descent: Poems by Lauren Russell
  • The Best We Could Do: A Graphic Memoir by Thi Bui

WR 507 004 SEM: BK PUBLISHING FOR WRTRS

Instructor: Justin Hocking
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course will empower students of any genre/discipline to navigate both within and beyond the conventional commercial pathways for propelling your creative work into the world. Via research and guest visits from small-press publishers, you will gain deeper understanding of the ever-shifting publishing landscape—as well as best practices for engaged literary citizenship and movement building. Based on this knowledge, by quarter’s end you will conceptualize, plan, and launch your own modestly scaled press and publication(s). To this end, we will practice basic zine-making and saddle-stitch binding (commonly used to bind chapbooks) and other hands-on skills, along with training in publication design via Adobe Creative Suite. By writing queries and outlining a basic book proposal, you will also learn to effectively approach literary agents and large, mid-sized, and micro-presses, as well as various online venues. In addition we will explore an array of nontraditional publishing options, audience-building resources such as Patreon, and grant opportunities to fund your writing/publishing projects. 

WR 510 001 TOP: PORTLAND REVIEW MARKETING

Instructor: Michael Seidlinger
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

WR 510 002 TOP: 1ST YR PORTFOLIO WKSP

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Read
Instructional Method: Online

WR 510 003 TOP: 2ND YR PORTFOLIO WKSP

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Read
Instructional Method: Online

WR 510 004 TOP: ADVANCED BOOK DESIGN

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course requires students to design the interior, front and back matter, and cover jackets for both a fiction and nonfiction title. The students work in critique groups to provide peer-to-peer feedback and support. Along the way, we will look at design development and more advanced techniques in the Adobe InDesign software.

Textbook:

  • Aspects of Contemporary Book Design by Richard Hendel (978-1609381752)

WR 510 005 TOP: AUDIOBOOKS

Instructor: Stephanie Argy
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This overview of audiobook publishing will be partly an art appreciation course, and partly a studio practice course. We will listen to and discuss excerpts from multiple audiobooks, and students will make their own recordings of various types, including non-fiction, first-person fiction, third-person fiction, and multiple voices. We will also have visits from guests working in the audiobook trade, such as narrators, sound editors, directors, distributors, and more. 

WR 510 006 TOP: EBOOK PRODUCTION

Instructor: Pariah Burke
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the digital publishing workflow, expose them to tools of the trade, and teach them the skills needed to produce ebooks. Each publishing house will have their proprietary methods and preferred tools so the goal is to teach some of the underlying theories of design and readability; the fundamentals of ebook structure; the basic mechanics of the underlying code; where to find updates on standards and retailer requirements; and introduce the students to foundational troubleshooting techniques that are flexible and applicable to all environments.

WR 512 001 GRADUATE FICTION WRITING

Instructor: Janice Lee
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In this class, students will engage with topics related to craft (point of view, character, narrative, setting, etc.), look more closely at their own relationship with language, and aim to produce one complete draft of original fiction. Students will also participate in workshops and provide written critical engagements of the works of their peers. Our work will be guided by various writing & revision exercises, as well as readings by diverse contemporary authors. This term, we’ll focus on rethinking the cultural values of craft alongside the core text for the class this term: Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses. (Note: Though there will be weekly class meetings via Zoom, students can opt to participate synchronously or asynchronously.)

The course is primarily geared toward MFA poets and nonfiction writers, but MA in English and MA/MS in Publishing/Tech Writing students, as well as advanced undergraduates and post-bacs, may also enroll by permission of instructor. Interested non-MFA students should submit 5-7 pages of fiction to janice7@pdx.edu.

WR 520 001 WRITING STUDIO

Instructor: Leni Zumas
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course is a writing laboratory—a space for experiments and discovery. The focus will be on generating new prose (via weekly writing prompts and exercises) and cultivating space for a daily writing practice. We will also read and respond to published fiction, poetry, and essays that may inspire your own inventions and support your creative growth. 

WR 521 001 MFA CORE WORKSHOP FICTION

Instructor: Leni Zumas
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The graduate workshop in fiction focuses on the writing, revision, and critical discussion of prose works in progress. Students’ critical analyses of their peers’ work are informed by their study of published fiction, supplemented by lectures clarifying technical strategies in the writing of fiction. Restricted to student admitted to the MFA program’s fiction strand.

WR 522 002 MFA CORE WORKSHOP POETRY

Instructor: John Beer
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

WR 527 001 TECHNICAL EDITING

Instructor: Aaron Bannister
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Gives technical writers practice in technical editing by introducing them to the principles of minimalism with the aim of editing documentation in a “mobile-friendly” world. Learning professional editing practices and standards for achieving concision and clarity for a variety of audiences is key in this course, where students hear from technical writing and editing professionals, and work on projects in collaborative student-editing teams.

WR 531 001 ADV TOP TECH WRITING TECHNLOGY

Instructor: Bryan Schnabel
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

As websites have grown more robust and complex to satisfy the needs of website visitors, the systems and tools have grown in robustness and complexity. The days of adding content to a static HTML website are diminishing, and the Web Content Management System (CMS) are a fact of life. This class will show how a modern CMS works. Students will also learn how the auxiliary tools (translation, SEO, analytics, authoring tools) are a part of this system. Beyond the tools, this class will feature best practices in content strategy, content modeling, and workflows.

WR 533 001 RESEARCH METHODS FOR TECH WRIT

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Read
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course will introduce students to the research methods commonly practiced by professional technical writers. These methods include interviewing subject-matter experts, researching genre conventions, user research, content analysis of existing websites and usability testing. Students will practice methods via client-projects with local community partners. Students can expect to develop at least one portfolio piece during this course. This course is a core course in the MTPW curriculum.

WR 561 001 BOOK EDITING

Instructor: Rachel Noorda
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

WR 562 001 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Book Design Software is a hands-on exploration of the Adobe Creative Suite, focusing on InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. The course begins with common tools, menus, techniques, and keyboard commands. In Illustrator, we cover drawing techniques, live trace, and editing and transforming vector-based artwork. In Photoshop, we look at color correction, retouching and repairing photos, selecting and combining images, and clipping paths. And in InDesign, we study document set up, typography, styles, and working with images and graphic assets. Students perform a series of exercises to build skills in each application and use those skills to produce design projects. 

Textbooks:

  • InDesign Type: Professional Typography with Adobe InDesign by Nigel French (978-0321966957)
  • Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd (978-0761172192)

WR 563 001 BOOK MARKETING

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The objective of this course is to understand the role of marketing and publicity in book publishing, both traditional and self-publishing, and to obtain the necessary skills to position a title, create sales materials, and develop a marketing and publicity plan. Your goal is to end the course able to demonstrate skills in target audience analysis, copywriting, metadata management, author platform building, media and reviewer outreach, budgeting and scheduling, email and social media marketing, and metrics and analytics that are directly applicable to a career in book publishing.

WR 563 002 BOOK MARKETING

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The objective of this course is to understand the role of marketing and publicity in book publishing, both traditional and self-publishing, and to obtain the necessary skills to position a title, create sales materials, and develop a marketing and publicity plan. Your goal is to end the course able to demonstrate skills in target audience analysis, copywriting, metadata management, author platform building, media and reviewer outreach, budgeting and scheduling, email and social media marketing, and metrics and analytics that are directly applicable to a career in book publishing.

WR 564 001 BUSINESS OF BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Kent Watson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

WR 566 001 DIGITAL SKILLS

Instructor: Kathi Inman Berens
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

WR 572 002 COPYEDITING

Instructor: Jessie Carver
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course will contain narrow focus on copyediting at the sentence level, with little to no attention given to developmental editing. With a primary emphasis on copyediting books (the skills for which can be broadly applied to any written material), we’ll be doing a deep dive on the rules of punctuation, grammar, usage, language, and style. By the end of the course, you should be able to improve clarity, coherency, consistency, and correctness through the application of grammatical and stylistic guidelines; explain the reasons for each correction you make; effectively craft queries; and feel confident copyediting a book-length manuscript. 

WR 574 001 PUBLISHING STUDIO

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Publishing Studio & Lab are the courses for hands-on learning at Ooligan Press. Designed to give students the freedom and responsibility of running a real-world trade publishing house, students are assigned to projects where they will work on a variety of publishing tasks. Project teams will work collaboratively to assess, plan, and execute editorial, design, digital content, marketing, and sales tasks throughout the term.

WR 575 001 PUBLISHING LAB

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Publishing Studio & Lab are the courses for hands-on learning at Ooligan Press. Designed to give students the freedom and responsibility of running a real-world trade publishing house, students are assigned to projects where they will work on a variety of publishing tasks. Project teams will work collaboratively to assess, plan, and execute editorial, design, digital content, marketing, and sales tasks throughout the term.

WR 578 001 DIGITAL MARKETING FOR PUB

Instructor: Kathi Inman Berens
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings