Winter 2018 Courses

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

Undergraduate English Courses

ENG 201 INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE

Instructor: Jessie Herrada Nance

Introduces students to the works of Shakespeare.

ENG 205 SURVEY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE II

Instructor: Tracy Dillon

From Beowulf to 1900: Eng 204, Beowulf to Milton; Eng 205, Enlightenment through Victorian period. This is the second course in a sequence of two: Eng 204 and Eng 205.

ENG 254 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE II

Instructor: Tracy Dillon

American literature from its beginnings to the present. This is the second course in a sequence of two: Eng 253 and Eng 254.

ENG 300 LITERARY FORM AND ANALYSIS

Instructor: TBD

Emphasizes skills in close reading, formal analysis, the specialized study of literary genres, argumentation, and the process of drafting, revising, and editing academic essays.

Required for, but not restricted to, English majors.

ENG 301 U SHAKESPEAREAN ROMANCE 

Instructor: Jonathan Walker

Fulfills Group C or E (old major) /  Historical Literarcy (new major) 

In this course we will read and discuss four Shakespearean plays: The Tempest, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre. All four of these plays come late in Shakespeare’s career and are now usually called “romance” plays, which is a modern label for what early moderns typically called “tragicomedy.” For a long time, The Tempest was taken to be Shakespeare’s final play and was even likened to an autobiographical farewell to the theater. Both Cymbeline and The Winter’s Tale revisit earlier preoccupations in Shakespeare’s comedies, featuring disguise and mistaken identity, but they also incorporate dominant themes found in some of his tragedies, such as extreme jealousy and fierce maliciousness. In addition, the action in The Winter’s Tale and Pericles takes place over a long period of time, which is highly unusual in early drama. Of these four plays, only Pericles appeared in print during Shakespeare’s lifetime.

Our guiding questions in this class will center on the generic or formal identities of these plays. In other words, we will discuss what it is that makes these plays “romances” or “tragicomedies,” while at the same time considering the possibility that such classifications are themselves forms of mistaken identity. We will examine how this hybrid literary form predisposes us as readers and playgoers to interpret dramatic action in certain ways, and, in turn, how the plays’ disruption or frustration of our formal expectations transforms the possibilities of our interpretations. We will likewise give attention to questions of social class, race, nationality, and gender (among other issues) as they are posed by these four plays and by the larger English Renaissance culture from which they come.

Most of our in-class time will involve discussing such questions in these four texts, along with other short readings. There will be very few lectures. The course will therefore require you to have read the plays carefully and to be prepared to discuss and ask questions about them during class meetings. Because of the course’s discussion-based format, its success will depend upon everyone’s active participation as we seek to answer these various questions together.

ENG 304 CRITICAL THEORY OF CINEMA 

Instructor: Wendy Collins

Fulfills Group E  (old major) / Electives (new major) 

Outlines the central elements of cinema criticism, including interpretive theories and approaches. Begins with an outline of critical approaches, including critical history. Moves to contemporary criticism, including feminist, structuralist, sociological, and psychoanalytic analyses. Includes discussion of film as a cultural commodity.

ENG 305U TOPICS IN FILM

Instructor: TBD

Fulfills Group B or E  (old major) / Electives (new major) 

Study of film as text, including auteur, formalist, historical, and cultural perspectives. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics.

ENG 306U TOPICS IN LIT & POP CULTURE 

Instructor: TBD

Study of literary issues in popular culture. Courses taught under this number may examine literature as a popular form (such as detective or romance fiction) and the relationship between literature and popular genres (such as comics or music), or use techniques of literary/textual analysis to analyze forms of popular culture (blogs, music videos, etc.). Course may be repeated for credit with different topics.

ENG 306U FANTASY

Instructor: Katya Amato  

Fulfills Group E  (old major) / Electives (new major)

Fantasy appears in the canon of world literature from the very beginning. Gilgamesh has Humbaba, The Odyssey the Cyclops and the Sirens, Beowulf Grendel and the dragon. However, fantasy was one element among many and was interpreted mythically, allegorically, theologically, or symbolically. Fantasy was not a genre in itself. In the eighteenth century, it was used to comment satirically on contemporary beliefs and customs (Gulliver's Travels, Candide). In the nineteenth century, fantasy became central to a new kind of literature written especially for children (Alice in Wonderland, The Princess and the Goblin); it also gained prominence in some adult literature (She, A Christmas Carol). But the paradigmatic fantasy was written in the twentieth century--J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which turned fantasy into an important publishing category and led to thousands of genre publications. Not only has fantasy become a best-selling genre, but it has also invaded the canon (Calvino, Garcia Marquez, Morrison, Atwood, Rushdie, et al.).

The literature we read in this course is all popular fantasy, some of it labeled "Young Adult" (YA), although that judgment fits these books only when the reader ignores intellectual and ethical implications and yearns for explicit sexuality. Ursula Le Guin revisions the world in her Earthsea series, influenced by the Tao Te Ching, which she translated in 1997. Following Ged and Tenar from childhood to maturity, we grow with the characters, developing our understanding of the interconnectedness of the world while soaring with dragons "farther west than west." Philip Pullman takes us to many worlds in His Dark Materials, a trilogy intertextual with the Bible, Dante, Blake, and Milton, where we follow Lyra and Will to maturity amid daemons, armored bears, and Lapland witches wearing black silk and riding branches of cloud pine. China Miéville has written YA novels, but Perdido Street Station is not one of them. His New Crobuzon is surreal--an alienating, filthy, polluted, sexual city peopled by exotic creatures who surprise us into feeling.

The course requirements are regular attendance and various/varied writing assignments.

Required texts (all listed at the PSU Bookstore website):

  • Ursula K. Le Guin: 
  • A Wizard of Earthsea
  • The Tombs of Atuan
  • The Farthest Shore
  • Tehanu 
  • The Other Wind 
  • Tales from Earthsea 
  • Philip Pullman: 
  • The Golden Compass
  • The Subtle Knife
  • The Amber Spyglass
  • China Miéville:
  • Perdido Street Station

Please feel free to get in touch via email if you have questions about the course.

ENG 306U VIDEOGAMES AND ELECTRONIC LITERATURE 

Instructor: Kathi Inman Berens

Fulfills Group E (old major) / Electives (new major)

Students play and interpret video games and digital literature using theoretical readings, games criticism and literary critical interpretive techniques. Students compare the mechanics, aesthetics and dynamics of interactive games and literature. The course situates such play and interpretation in rich cultural contexts. It treats computational games and literature as new forms of reading, social interaction, and popular entertainment. This course is offered online.

ENG 319U NORTHERN EUROPEAN MYTHOLOGY

Instructor: Katya Amato  

Fulfills Group E  (old major) / Electives (new major) 

Come to Valhalla, the Spring of Mimir, the Lands of the Giants and of the Dark and Light Elves, and then travel south to the Celtic Otherworlds of Wales and Ireland before embarking on a mythic journey across America. We will immerse ourselves in Norse and Celtic mythologies collected and redacted in medieval times and then see the myths at play in a contemporary text by Neil Gaiman.

Texts:

  • Jesse Byock, tr., The Saga of the Volsungs
  • Anthony Faulkes, tr., Edda by Snorri Sturluson
  • Carolyne Larrington, tr., The Poetic Edda (2nd edition preferably)
  • Thomas Kinsella, tr., The Tain
  • Jeffrey Gantz, tr., Early Irish Myths and Sagas 
  • Patrick K. Ford, tr., The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales
  • Neil Gaiman, American Gods (author's preferred edition if possible)

For ISBN numbers, see the online list of the PSU Bookstore.

The translations listed are all required, but you may use earlier editions if you already have them.

In 2017, Neil Gaiman published Norse Mythology—a lively and well researched retelling of the medieval Norse sources. Although the issue of fragmented transmission of texts is part of our work in the course, you might enjoy using Gaiman's retelling to supplement our texts.

Requirements: Regular attendance, the usual exams, and a short paper. If you have time over the long holiday, you might enjoy reading American Gods, for which you do not need a medieval guide. It's a long but entertaining book, and you'll lessen your workload during winter term by already having read it once. 

Please feel free to get in touch via email if you have questions about the course.

ENG 326 LITERATURE, COMMUNITY, AND DIFFERENCE

Instructor: Marie Lo

Fulfills Group B (old major)/ Culture, Difference and Representation (new major) 

Examines the relationship between cultural production and the formation, practice, and representation of social identities.

ENG 327 CULTURE, IMPERIALISM, AND GLOBALIZATION

Instructor: Anoop Mirpuri

Fulfills Group B (old major) / Culture, Difference and Representation (new major) 

This course will examine the relation between literature, aesthetics, and the history of Euro-American imperialism and colonialism. How has the history of conquest, exploitation, and enslavement shaped literature and other forms of discourse? What has been the role of literature in rationalizing, resisting, or consolidating relations of exploitation that characterize imperialism? Do we currently live in a "postcolonial" world consisting of equal sovereign nation-states? How should we understand contemporary globalization in relation to earlier histories of imperialism and conquest?

Required texts include:

  • Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
  • Herman Melville, Benito Cereno
  • Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
  • Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
  • Aime Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

ENG 333U HISTORY OF CINEMA AND NARRATIVE MEDIA II

Instructor: Wendy Collins

Fulfills Group E  (old major) / Electives (new major) 

Surveys the history of cinema and narrative media from the end of the Second World War through the 1970s. Issues will include the impact of postwar artistic and literary movements, postwar consumer cultures, the cold war, new wave movements, television, youth culture, and third cinemas.

ENG 341U RENAISSANCE LITERATURE 

Instructor: Jessie Herrada Nance

Fulfills Group C or E (old major) /  Historical Literarcy (new major) 

Selected works of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century literature (c. 1500-1660); introduction to the themes, genres, history and cultures of the Renaissance.

ENG 343U ROMANTICISM 

Instructor: Katherine McAlvage

Fulfills Group C or E (old major) /  Historical Literarcy (new major) 

Selected works of Romantic literature; introduction to themes, genres, history, and culture of Romanticism.

ENG 345U MODERN BRITISH LITERATURE 

Instructor: John Vignaux Smyth

Fulfills Group E  (old major) / Electives (new major) 

Primary authors will be Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden, James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Virginia Woolf, Angela Carter, Samuel Beckett, and film director and writer Peter Greenaway.  

Two essays and an in-class presentation, plus short weekly contributions to D2L discussion will be required.

ENG 364 AMERICAN FICTION I 

Instructor: Elisabeth Ceppi

Fulfills Group C or E (old major)/  Electives (new major) 

This course will survey novels and short stories from the early National period through the Civil War, when U.S. writers sought to establish a distinctively American literary history.  We will examine the generic conventions associated with sentimentalism, the gothic, the historical romance, and realism as they dramatize and shape American nationalism.  We will track shifting concepts of the relationships between author, reader, text, and nation.  We will also consider how complex issues of gender, race, and class emerge from the basic elements of fiction: plot, character, point-of-view, and setting. By attending carefully to questions of form, we will work to develop the skills for critical approaches to fiction. Authors will include Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Catharine M. Sedgwick, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Fanny Fern, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville.

ENG 372U TOPICS IN LITERATURE, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY: Bodies, Power, & Places

Instructor: Sally McWilliams

Fulfills Group B or E  (old major) / Electives (new major) 

Study of representations of gender and sexuality in literature and related cultural forms.

May be repeated for credit with different topics. This is the same course as WS 372U and may be taken only once for credit.

ENG 373U TOPICS IN LITERATURE, RACE, AND ETHNICITY: Arab American Literature

Instructor: Diana Abu-Jaber

Fulfills Group B or E  (old major) / Electives (new major) 

Study of representations of racial and ethnic identity in literature and related cultural forms.

May be repeated for credit with different topics.

ENG 387U WOMEN'S LITERATURE: Irish Women Writers

Instructor: Susan Reese

Fulfills Group B or E  (old major) / Electives (new major) 

Irish Women's Literature have given us such a rich array of texts, and I’ve had a lot of fun and difficulty winnowing down my choices. I've ordered a collection of short fiction titled A Green and Mortal Sound, edited by D'Arcy and Hogan; A Girl is a Half Formed Thing by Eimear McBride; Down by the River by Edna O'Brien; Marina Carr: Plays, and The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women's Poetry, edited by Peggy O’Brien. I intend to also show two films.

We will use the Short Fiction and Poetry anthologies throughout the course and the first novel we will read will be O'Brien's. These female voices will in turn seduce, enrage, enthrall and incite you. They will inspire you, and they are essential to knowledge of Irish life and literature. Students will be required to write three short responses to the work under study, during the term, and a longer piece in conclusion. Please join us.

WR 398 WRITING COMICS

Instructor: Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker

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.

ENG 414 CONTEMPORARY COMPOSITION THEORY 

Instructor: Kate Comer

Fulfills Group A or E (old major)/ Electives (new major) 

This course is designed to introduce you to the core conversations in modern Composition Studies. We will examine influential research, theory, and practice that shape the discipline and influence literacy education at the national level. This survey will consider lasting legacies, ongoing debates, best practices, and new directions, paying particular attention to how composition scholars are responding to pressing issues in the current moment, such as student diversity, information literacy, public rhetoric, and ethical communication across difference. Along the way, you will situate your own educational experiences within the field, conduct research related to your personal and professional interests, and hone your analytic thinking and writing skills—all of which will make you a better learner and teacher.

Note: This course builds upon but does not require ENG 413/513.

ENG 421 AFRICAN FICTION: African Fiction and the Politics of Genre

Instructor: Sarah Lincoln

Fulfills Group B or E (old major)/ Electives (new major)

This class undertakes a survey of twentieth- and twenty-first century African fiction, exploring the historical development of the African novel and other fictional forms along with the divergent geographical, political, cultural, environmental and generic contexts that shape literary production on the continent. Alongside canonical texts by some of the most famous writers of African fiction, the course will consider the influence of “popular” modes of writing and reading, from oral epics and self-help manuals to contemporary scifi, on the novel form. We will focus on questions of genre to investigate how forms like the epic, “pulp” fiction, allegory, sci-fi, the Bildungsroman, graphic novels, and others frame African experience in different ways. Fiction writers’ engagement with colonialism and its aftermath, the politics of gender and sexuality, class struggle, language, tradition and modernity, and the environment will form intellectual touchstones throughout.

Note: Fulfills Group B of the old major.

Required books:

  • Abouet, Aya: Life in Yop City (978-1770460829)
  • Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K (978-0140074482)
  • Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions (978-0954702335)
  • Ngugi, Petals of Blood (978-0143039174)
  • Niane, Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali (978-1405849425)
  • Tutuola, The Palm-Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (978-0802133632)
  • Other materials will be available via the class Desire2Learn (D2L) site.

ENG 460 EARLY ANGLO-AMERICAN LITERATURE 

Instructor: Elisabeth Ceppi

Fulfills Group C or E (old major) /  Historical Literarcy (new major) 

This course surveys major authors and genres of the Anglo-American tradition from the period of first contact between the indigenous peoples of North America and the English through the Early National period (1780’s and 90’s).  The first half of the course will focus on the literature of Puritan New England: conversion narratives, devotional poetry, histories of war, captivity narratives, travel narratives, and sermons.  As we move into the eighteenth century and the Enlightenment, our readings will include autobiography, drama, and some of the earliest novels written in the U.S.  Throughout the course, we will link issues of genre and authorship to the social and political history of this volatile period, considering questions of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and religion.  

This course fills the Historical Literacy/pre-1800 requirement for the B.A. and M.A. in English.

ENG 464 RACE AND MODERNISM 

Instructor: Anoop Mirpuri

Fulfills Group C or E (old major) /  Electives (new major) 

This course examines American modernist literature within its broad sociopolitical and economic contexts. We will study writing by American authors of the early twentieth century (roughly 1900-1940) in relation to currents and transformations in global capitalism. These include imperialist conquest, World War I, the rise of fascism, mass migration and the development of the modern city, and the emergence of anti-racist, socialist, and anti-imperialist movements throughout the world. How did the literature that we understand as “modernist” engage with the history of exploitation, domination, and challenges to racial, class, gender, and sexual hierarchies? Ultimately, we will seek to understand how the concept and history of “race” functioned as modernism’s “political unconscious.” We will pay specific attention to how modernism developed new forms of literary representation as a response to the “creative destruction” of capitalism, which was increasingly remaking geographical space and racial/gender identities.

ENG 475 ADVANCED TOPICS IN VICTORIAN LITERATURE 

Instructor: Lorraine Mercer

Fulfills Group C or E (old major) / Electives (new major)

Specialized studies of Victorian literature in the context of the history, ideas, and culture of the period. Topics include individual writers and literary movements such as Dickens; pre- Raphaelitism; literature of the industrial period. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics.

Expected preparation: Eng 344U and 4 additional upper division Literature credits.

ENG 494 THEORIES OF THE EVENT

Instructor: Bill Knight

Fulfills Group A or E (old major) / Electives (new major) 

Crossing lines marked out by aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, and politics, 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 we bear witness to or that acts on us in irreversible ways? Is an event in narrative merely an outgrowth of narrative genre, each genre staking claim to its own type of event? Or are there philosophical problems 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 a largely Continental theoretical tradition has asked and responded to the 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 four main modes: the event of subjectivity, the event of trauma, the event as simulacrum, and the event of everyday life. 

Major texts (we’ll also look at a number of theoretical excerpts including works by Marx, Hegel, Lacan, Debord, and others):

  • 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
  • Zizek, Slavoj. Event: A Philosophical Journey Through a Concept. New York: Melville House, 2014. ISBN: 978-1612194110

ENG 492 is *not* required as a prerequisite for this course.

ENG 496 COMICS THEORY

Instructor: Diana Schutz

Fulfills Group A or E (old major)/ Electives (new major)  

“Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.” —Dr. Seuss

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 more. This course will explore the contemporary comics medium and its theoretical underpinnings through extensive reading of seminal American texts. In particular, we will consider the unique visual grammar of the medium, paying special attention to current scholarship in the thriving new field of Comics Studies as a means of engaging with theory and applying it to our texts.

 

Graduate English Classes

ENG 507 POSTCOLONIAL ECOLOGY 

Instructor: Sarah Lincoln

Despite the longstanding interest of writers, poets and filmmakers from postcolonial sites in ecological and environmental issues, critics in these fields (postcolonialism and ecocriticism) have only recently begun talking to each other. We will make our own contributions to this conversation by reading, discussing and critically responding to a range of literary works from these “underdeveloped” or otherwise peripheral regions of the world, works that specifically address questions of sustainability, waste, human interactions with their environment, and the lives of animals in a postcolonial context. We will begin by considering the relationship between colonialism and nature, empire and the environment, before turning to some literary and non-fictional responses to three postcolonial ecological disasters: the gas leak at Bhopal, India in 1984; the ongoing devastation of the oil-producing regions of the Niger Delta; and the effects of global climate change on the peoples of the “third world.” These events cast light on the limits and consequences of unrestrained “development,” helping us think further about the ecological effects of “globalization,” “modernization” and other progress narratives. The remainder of the term will be taken up with works that explore alternative ways of living, doing and being in the world, from eco-tourism to “Creole” ecologies, human-animal hybridity, “affirmative precarity,” recycling, and sustainable gardening.

Required texts:

  • JM Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K. (978-0140074482)
  • Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide (061871166X)
  • Helon Habila, Oil on Water (978-0393339642)
  • Jamaica Kincaid, My Garden (Book) (978-0374527761)
  • Olive Senior, Gardening in the Tropics (978-1897178003)
  • Indra Sinha, Animal’s People (978-1416578796)
  • Shani Mootoo, Cereus Blooms at Night (978-0802144621)

Films on reserve at the library or available online:

  • Sweet Crude. Dir. Sandy Cioffi. Virasana. 2009.
  • Out of Africa. Dir. Sydney Pollack. Perf. Robert Redford, Meryl Streep. Mirage, Universal. 1985.
  • Waste Land. Dir. Lucy Walker. Almega. 2011.
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild. Dir. Benh Zeitlin. Cinereach. Fox Searchlight Pictures. 2012.
  • The Island President. Dir. Jon Shenk. ITVS. Samuel Goldwyn Films. 2011

ENG 518 COLLEGE COMP TEACHING 

Instructor: Hildy Miller

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.

ENG 519 ADV COLLEGE COMP TEACHING 

Instructor: Hildy Miller

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 TOPICS ENG STUDIES 

Instructor: William Knight

Examines various theories, history, scholarship, pedagogy, and professional development in the field of English Studies. Topics always differ each term. May be repeated for up to six credits.

ENG 531 TOPICS ENG STUDIES: COLLOQUIUM 

Instructor: William Knight

Examines various theories, history, scholarship, pedagogy, and professional development in the field of English Studies. Topics always differ each term. May be repeated for up to six credits.

ENG 560 EARLY ANGLO-AMERICAN LITERATURE 

Instructor: Elisabeth Ceppi

This course surveys major authors and genres of the Anglo-American tradition from the period of first contact between the indigenous peoples of North America and the English through the Early National period (1780’s and 90’s).  The first half of the course will focus on the literature of Puritan New England: conversion narratives, devotional poetry, histories of war, captivity narratives, travel narratives, and sermons.  As we move into the eighteenth century and the Enlightenment, our readings will include autobiography, drama, and some of the earliest novels written in the U.S.  Throughout the course, we will link issues of genre and authorship to the social and political history of this volatile period, considering questions of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and religion.  

This course fills the Historical Literacy/pre-1800 requirement for the B.A. and M.A. in English. 

ENG 594 THEORIES OF THE EVENT

Instructor: Bill Knight

Crossing lines marked out by aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, and politics, 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 we bear witness to or that acts on us in irreversible ways? Is an event in narrative merely an outgrowth of narrative genre, each genre staking claim to its own type of event? Or are there philosophical problems 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 a largely Continental theoretical tradition has asked and responded to the 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 four main modes: the event of subjectivity, the event of trauma, the event as simulacrum, and the event of everyday life. 

Major texts (we’ll also look at a number of theoretical excerpts including works by Marx, Hegel, Lacan, Debord, and others):

  • 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
  • Zizek, Slavoj. Event: A Philosophical Journey Through a Concept. New York: Melville House, 2014. ISBN: 978-1612194110

ENG 492 is *not* required as a prerequisite for this course.

ENG 596 COMICS THEORY

Instructor: Diana Schutz 

“Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.” —Dr. Seuss

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 more. This course will explore the contemporary comics medium and its theoretical underpinnings through extensive reading of seminal American texts. In particular, we will consider the unique visual grammar of the medium, paying special attention to current scholarship in the thriving new field of Comics Studies as a means of engaging with theory and applying it to our texts.

 

Undergraduate Writing Classes

WR 115 INTRO TO COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: TBD 

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 115 INTRO TO COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Jenny Kimura

Writing 115 is a course for first-year students to help prepare them for Freshman Inquiry or Writing 121. In this course, we will practice college-level writing and reading by looking at cities from different perspectives. The aim of the course is to practice formal and informal writing, respond to a variety of media, learn textual conventions, and build confidence in writing. 

WR 121 COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Lauren Hobson

This course will challenge you to think critically about the media we consume in our everyday lives, from news articles to Instagram, while also exposing you to a diverse array of literary texts. It will provide you with opportunities to improve your thinking, reading and writing skills while gaining rich insights into literacy, identity, and power. Through collaborative learning and a defined writing process, the skills you gain in this class will be useful to you far beyond your academic career.  

WR 199 SPST: WRITING FOR COLLEGE 

Instructor: Daniel DeWeese

May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. See department for course description. (Credit to be arranged.)

WR 212 INTRO FICTION WRITING 

Instructor: Rayna Jensen

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 INTRO FICTION WRITING 

Instructor: Sean Hennessey

“Opening the book,” is a discussion-orientated class that seeks to open up the process of fiction writing. Starting with idea creation and leading to story workshop, the course uses in-class writing and explorations into the elements of story to help the students see their own work differently and to empower them with the language used to discuss their writing in a workshop environment. Students will be asked to write a number of small studies focusing on the aspects of story writing under study, and to submit one full story for in-class workshop.

Includes discussion of student work. May be repeated for a total of 8 credits. Expected preparation: Freshman Inquiry.

WR 213 INTRO POETRY WRITING 

Instructor: TBD

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 INTRO NONFICTION WRITING

Instructor: TBD 

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 WRITING RESEARCH PAPERS

Instructor: TBD 

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 INTRODUCTION TO TECHNICAL WRITING

Instructor: Mary Sylwester

This class introduces technical and professional communication and emphasizes precise use of language and graphics to communicate complex information safely, legally and ethically. Students compose, design,and edit documents, including correspondence, reports, summaries, user instructions, and proposals. Short writing assignments are due weekly in the first half of the term; longer assignments are the work of the second half.

WR 227 INTRODUCTION TO TECHNICAL WRITING

Instructor: 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 formal and informal reports, memos, letters, proposals, and procedures. The goal is to keep building up to a formal report that you can include in your portfolio. By the end of the term, you will develop the ability to summarize key points and provide the reader with important information up front. You will 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. You should come out of this class with some good samples and templates that you can use later in your career. 

WR 228 MEDIA WRITING

Instructor: Beth Slovic

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 WIC: CRITICAL WRTING ENGLISH 

Instructor: Hildy Miller

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.

Questions? Contact Hildy Miller at milleh@pdx.edu.

Texts and Contexts:

  • Writing about Literature with Critical Theory (7th ed paperback).  Steven J. Lynn. Pearson, 2016.
  • The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton): Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism. Bedford/St. Martin's, 1994.

Online materials as assigned

WR 301 WIC: CRITICAL WRTING ENGLISH 

Instructor: John Vignaux Smyth

This writing-intensive course extends the skills developed in ENG 300 by applying selected theoretical and critical approaches to the study of literary and other texts (including film), and by introducing students to close reading and interpretation as a way of entering literary and scholarly conversations. Writing is itself “close reading.” Primary texts will include Isak Dinesen’s “The Blank Page” and Ehrengard; Vladimir Nabokov’s “Signs and Symbols,” “That in Aleppo Once,” “Spring in Fialta,” and Lolita; Franz Kafka’s “A Country Doctor;” and Peter Greenaway’s films “The Cook, The Thief, The Wife, and Her Lover” and “The Draughtsman’s Contract.” Secondary commentaries will include the section on Nabokov in Nafisi Azar’s Reading Lolita in Tehran, Richard Rorty’s “The Barber of Kasbeam: Nabokov on Cruelty,” and “Hannah Arendt on Isak Dinesen: Between Storytelling and Theory” by L.R. Wilkinson. Students will also learn to become better close readers and critics of their own writing through the process of drafting, peer review, and revision.

WR 301 is required for, but not restricted to, English majors. It is also a pre-requisite for all 400-level English courses.

WR 312 INTERMEDIATE FICTION WRITING 

Instructor: Loretta Rosenberg

In this course students will practice the techniques of fiction writing such as dialog and flashbacks in order to craft short stories. We'll look at examples of these techniques in literature and discuss the ways different writers work their magic. We'll keep observation journals and meet in small groups regularly to read our work.

WR 313 INTERMEDIATE POETRY WRITING

Instructor: TBD

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.

WR 323 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: TBD

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 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY (Section 004)

Instructor: Cassie Duncanson

This section of 323 aims to help students develop their own style of writing within the nonfiction genre. Students will read a diverse breadth of authors and subjects to gain understanding in how writing is crafted and engage with texts they may not otherwise encounter. Students will engage in the writing process through formal & informal writing, peer review, class discussion, two longer writing assignments, and revision.

To this end, the class will be working with and interviewing staff at Artists Repertory Theatre and attending an ART production; students will also be expected to attend the production of Between Riverside and Crazy.

Recommended: satisfactory completion of Wr 121 or Freshman Inquiry.

WR 333 ADVANCED COMPOSITION

Instructor: TBD

Essay writing with particular attention to student's area of specialization. Advanced practice in essay writing.

Recommended: Freshman Inquiry or two writing courses.

WR 327 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING 

Instructor: Julie Kares

Sharing your ideas can be challenging, and when those ideas convey complex, technical information, it can seem overwhelming! Building skills that allow you to speak to varied audiences on any number of technical topics will ensure that you successfully express your great concepts. In WR 327, we’ll explore technical writing across career fields, exploring the “how” of technical writing versus the “what.” While we will focus on particular kinds of reports to familiarize you with the possibilities, the emphasis will be on the process. Using the core skills you learn in this class, you will be able to recognize and apply the effective components of report writing to create strong documents in diverse situations.

WR 327 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING 

Instructor: Jeff Gunderson

This course covers the fundamentals of creating accurate, effective, and well-designed technical reports, emphasizing the fundamentals of technical communications. Students draw on personal work experiences and career interests to practice strategies for developing technical briefs, informal reports, formal technical reports, and feasibility reports. Through the course, students will obtain an understanding of technical communication basics, develop knowledge of technical writing styles, and learn the technical communication process including profiling audiences, research, and design strategies.

WR 333 ADVANCED COMPOSITION 

Instructor: TBD

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

WR 404 INTERNSHIP

Instructor: TBD 

Students who have arranged an internship may register for this course, which includes periodic group meetings and career development activities, by contacting Prof. Reese with the details of their position.  Prof. Reese will then grant permission to register, and students can add the course through Banweb.  This course is offered for 1, 2, 3, or 4 credits.  

Students may also register for internship credits under the ENG 404 or 504 course numbers by submitting a By-Arrangement Request form.  Students electing this option for internship credits can register for 1-12 credits of coursework, and may work with any faculty member who agrees to supervise their internship work.  If you have questions about internship registration options, contact the English Department.  

WR 407 ADVANCED POETRY SEMINAR "When Ecstasy is Inconvenient": The Poet and the Problem of Livelihood 

Instructor: Jae Choi

The focus of this seminar will be to provide an intensive forum for writers to engage deeply with questions, some dirtier than others, attendant to money, vocation, and survival. Joanne Kyger wrote: "The whole occupation of poet, if it does exist as an identity in the current society, is one that has to do with a spiritual, cultural practice of words, and can't be 'bought.'" In pursuit of that ideal, we will trouble after the fundamental concern off and on the page--how then does the poet live? What independence is available in the current economy to the working poet? We will explore this difficult terrain through various means including weekly writing exercises, frank group discussion, collaborative investigations into commodity and community, and a range of readings related to resilience in art. The door is closed; bring your crowbar and some tenacity.

Disclaimer: this course aims to be rigorous, proposes to answer nothing, and may arrive at unsatisfying conclusions. 

WR 410 Digital Skills

Instructor: Kathi Inman Berens

This course is a hands-on lab and a discussion seminar about writing in computational environments.  Students code webpages in HTML and CSS, then use domain management software to upload these pages to the web.  Students modify website templates such as Wordpress and Squarespace, and can craft final projects of their choice in consultation with the instructor. Programming fundamentals are explored by modifying a JavaScript program that outputs a poem, which prompts discussion about the culture of copying and remix.  Computational literacy is a systems approach to creative thinking.  We critically analyze writing productivity software, multimodal “database” essays, and best practices of website design for desktop and mobile.

WR 410 TOP: RESEARCHING BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Rachel Noorda

The first 2 weeks of this 4-credit course are designed to prepare students in the MA/MS in Writing with a specialization in Book Publishing to complete the final paper that is required for graduation. Anyone is welcome to attend these first 2 weeks, even without registering for the course. Of course, if you attend the first 2 weeks without registering, you will not be receiving any credit for this course, but it will be enormously beneficial when you sit down to write that final paper that is required for graduation. For those who actually register for the 4-credit course, you will conduct research projects designed to contribute to the scholarly conversation about publishing studies, and you will write scholarly journal articles presenting your research. You will also conduct research projects designed to contribute to the publishing industry’s knowledge of itself and of its best practices, and you will produce a variety of documents presenting your research. The research you conduct and the documents you produce in this course will be worthy of publication, and the goal will be to actually get you some publication credits. There will be both individual research projects and group research projects. Any and all publishing-related topics that are of interest to you (e.g., ebook pricing, the role of social media in book sales, the role of cover design in book sales, the rapidly morphing responsibilities of the literary agent, estimating sales of a potential acquisition, how readers discover a given book, etc.), we will learn how to identify, collect, and analyze the relevant data/evidence in order to provide answers to these questions.

WR 412 ADV FICTION WRITING 

Instructor: Gabriel Urza

Our primary goal for the term will be to produce two completed drafts of original fiction. Students will provide written critiques prior to discussion of each piece in workshop. We will use several craft essays jumping-off points to discuss how decisions such as Point of View, Characterization, and Story Arc are at play in our own work and the work of established writers. In addition, we will utilize writing exercises and directed readings to challenge the way we think about current drafts, to generate specific strategies for revision, and to provide novel starting points for new work. 

WR 416 SCREENWRITING 

Instructor: Thomas Bray

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.

WR 425 ADVANCED TECHNICAL WRITING 

Instructor: Bryan Schnabel

This class understands technical writing as a continuum with "technical" at one end and "writing" on the other end. This class is weighted towards the technical end and aims to build proficiency in the technical skills that are essential to writing jobs in many technical industries. In this class students will gain an entry-level proficiency in the key open standards that modern tools use, such as XML, DITA, HTML, and XLIFF. Students will also learn to understand, use, and be able to articulate the principles, benefits, and processes of Web CMS and Component CMS, including content creation, translation, and publication. Students will learn these technical skills in the context of learning must-have writing skills that are essential to all writing jobs. No prior experience with these technologies is necessary to enroll in this class.

WR 429 WRITING COMPUTER DOCUMENTATION 

Instructor: Maralee Sautter

This course focuses on the process of planning/designing, creating, managing, and publishing technical documentation using MS Word and MadCap Flare. Study includes comparison of linear, paper-based documents, such as manuals, to topic-based content, and covers minimalism, user-centered documentation, and topic types. Students apply formatting features of Word to manuals or documents, and use the same content to create an abbreviated online help system, which is published and viewable through MadCap Central, a Content Management System (CMS). Students learn how to collaborate, manage project tasks and checklists, use source control, manipulate storage, and publish using the back-end process of the CMS tool.

WR 457 PERSONAL ESSAY WRITING 

Instructor: Jesse Donaldson

This class will examine the extensive and diverse world of the personal essay. As writers, we will polish two longer-form essays and a number of short essays (or “attempts”) over the course of the term. As thinkers, we will examine what makes nonfiction “creative” and what makes an essay “personal.” Topics will include but are not limited to: structure, tone, POV, writing through scene versus exposition, image, language and prosody, and the lyric essay.

WR 458 MAGAZINE WRITING 

Instructor: Kjerstin Johnson

Examines the development of both long- and short-form magazine pieces, as well as the business and economics of magazine publishing. Students write and peer-critique articles in the styles and formats of a variety of publications and magazine departments.

WR 460 INTRO TO BOOK PUBLISHING 

Instructor: 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 461 BOOK EDITING 

Instructor: 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 462 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE 

Instructor: Kelley Dodd

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 463 BOOK MARKETING

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson 

The objective of this course is to understand the role of marketing and publicity in publishing and to obtain the necessary skills to create a sales presentation, tip sheet, marketing plan, press release, and pitch letter. Your goal is to end the course able to create marketing and publicity campaigns and press kits that are directly applicable to a career in book publishing.

WR 464 BUSINESS OF BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Kent Watson

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.

WR 465 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & COPYRIGHT

Instructor: Amanda-Ann Gomm

Outlines opportunities and pitfalls faced by writer (editor, graphic designer, artist) in legal and ethical spheres. Copyright law, U.S. First Amendment law, defamation, right of privacy, trademark, trade secret law. Discusses the importance of the Internet in rethinking copyright and intellectual property rules.

WR 471 TYPOGRAPHY, LAYOUT, PRODUCTION

Instructor: Alan Dubinsky

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.

Prerequisite: WR 462: Book Design Software.

WR 473 DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING

Instructor: Adam Rodriguez

Explores the relationship between an editor, a writer, and the work in the process of developmental editing—also known as global, substantive, or comprehensive editing. Examines historically significant editor/author relations, how the editorial process and relationships have changed over time, and how editorial expectations shift based on the expectations of the publisher, the constantly changing global marketplace, and the introduction of new technologies.

Prerequisite: WR 461: Book Editing.

WR 474 PUBLISHING STUDIO 

Instructor: Abbey Gaterud

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. May be taken multiple times for credit.

Prerequisite: WR 475: Publishing Lab.

WR 475 PUBLISHING LAB 

Abbey Gaterud

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. May be taken multiple times for credit.

 

Graduate Writing Courses

WR 504 INTERNSHIP

Instructor: TBD 

Students who have arranged an internship may register for this course, which includes periodic group meetings and career development activities, by contacting Prof. Reese with the details of their position.  Prof. Reese will then grant permission to register, and students can add the course through Banweb.  This course is offered for 1, 2, 3, or 4 credits.  

Students may also register for internship credits under the ENG 404 or 504 course numbers by submitting a By-Arrangement Request form.  Students electing this option for internship credits can register for 1-12 credits of coursework, and may work with any faculty member who agrees to supervise their internship work.  If you have questions about internship registration options, contact the English Department.  

WR 507 SEM: NONFICTION: Magazine Writing

Instructor: Paul Collins

This seminar focuses on developing magazine items, articles, and features. Each class meeting will focus on the current issue or online content of a different magazine, and we'll also examine the profession of freelancing and the economic and production parameters of magazine publishing.

TEXTS:

  • Borel, Brooke. The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking (9780226290935)
  • Call, Wendy and Mark Kramer. Telling True Stories ( 9780452287556)
  • Ragland, Margit. Get a Freelance Life. (0307238032)
  • Tin House: Issue 73, Fall 2017 (978-1942855132)  

WR 507 SEM: NONFICTION: Personal Essay Writing

Instructor: Sallie Tisdale

This class is designed to deepen our understanding of the personal essay. This form of nonfiction is subjective, partaking of memory as well as observation, critical thinking, intuitive leaps and solid research. We will consider questions about relative views of truth, emotional tone, mining personal material, the shift from the individual to the global point of view, and nuances of voice. Class includes reading, discussion and lecture as well as writing an essay requiring primary research and revision. 

WR 507 SEM: FICTION: The Apocalypse

Instructor: Janice Lee

“We are living in the apocalypse. The first moment of life was the first moment of the apocalypse and death. Please, don’t fear the apocalypse.” – László Krasznahorkai

The apocalypse, though often seen as a large event, in some ways becomes an anticipatory state. How might the apocalypse be related to time as a vantage point from which we observe and anticipate and how might this anticipation highlight human tragedy and hope? That we go on, is the heroic gesture, is the gesture of hope. The apocalypse is about failure and devastation, but also about relief and hope. It is about the modification of reality, the ability to see the world from a pair of eyes not just one’s own. It is about disintegration and ruin, yes, but also about empathy and the relationships between human beings. It is about the acceptance of uncertainty over clarity and an abandonment into the beauty of reality. It is about the plateau, the daily struggle, and not necessarily the end.

Students will explore various ideas on the apocalypse as a concept and as a landscape through various works of fiction, poetry, and film, including texts by Cormac McCarthy, László Krasznahorkai, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Nicole Broussard, Mariko Nagai, Blake Butler, Maurice Blanchot, and Lucy Corin, and films by Béla Tarr, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Werner Herzog. Class components will include weekly reading responses and discussion, short writing prompts, and a final creative project.

Required Texts:  

  • Satantango by László Krasznahorkai. IBSN 978-0811220897
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy. ISBN 978-0307387899
  • Ice by Anna Kavan. ISBN 978-0720612684
  • Mauve Desert by Nicole Brossard. ISBN 978-1552451724
  • Irradiated Cities by Mariko Nagai. ISBN 978-0307387899

WR 510 DIGITAL SKILLS 

Instructor: Kathi Inman Berens

This course is a hands-on lab and a discussion seminar about writing in computational environments.  Students code webpages in HTML and CSS, then use domain management software to upload these pages to the web.  Students modify website templates such as Wordpress and Squarespace, and can craft final projects of their choice in consultation with the instructor. Programming fundamentals are explored by modifying a JavaScript program that outputs a poem, which prompts discussion about the culture of copying and remix.  Computational literacy is a systems approach to creative thinking.  We critically analyze writing productivity software, multimodal “database” essays, and best practices of website design for desktop and mobile.

WR 510 FILM SCREENWRITING

Instructor: Jon Raymond

This seminar (with some workshop attributes) will examine the labor of screenwriting in terms artistic, theoretical and practical. Subjects will include the adaptation of novels, short stories, and life stories, as well as the fabrication of original scenarios—with recurring attention to the pains and pleasures of collaboration. Lolita will provide one case study in the translation of writing to film, as will works (probably) by Pier Pasolini, Charlie Kaufman, and Ranier Fassbinder. Students will be expected to watch films outside of class, and write in both critical and creative modes. Assigned projects will include (but not be limited to) one analytic essay and a final screenwriting assignment that will involve group criticism and various forms of documentation.

This seminar gives priority to MFA students; MA in English and MA in Publishing/Tech Writing students, as well as advanced undergraduates and post-bacs, may also enroll by permission of instructor. If interested, please submit 5 pages of creative writing, any genre, to jon@plazm.com. 

WR 510 TOP: RESEARCHING BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Rachel Noorda

The first 2 weeks of this 4-credit course are designed to prepare students in the MA/MS in Writing with a specialization in Book Publishing to complete the final paper that is required for graduation. Anyone is welcome to attend these first 2 weeks, even without registering for the course. Of course, if you attend the first 2 weeks without registering, you will not be receiving any credit for this course, but it will be enormously beneficial when you sit down to write that final paper that is required for graduation. For those who actually register for the 4-credit course, you will conduct research projects designed to contribute to the scholarly conversation about publishing studies, and you will write scholarly journal articles presenting your research. You will also conduct research projects designed to contribute to the publishing industry’s knowledge of itself and of its best practices, and you will produce a variety of documents presenting your research. The research you conduct and the documents you produce in this course will be worthy of publication, and the goal will be to actually get you some publication credits. There will be both individual research projects and group research projects. Any and all publishing-related topics that are of interest to you (e.g., ebook pricing, the role of social media in book sales, the role of cover design in book sales, the rapidly morphing responsibilities of the literary agent, estimating sales of a potential acquisition, how readers discover a given book, etc.), we will learn how to identify, collect, and analyze the relevant data/evidence in order to provide answers to these questions.

WR 510 TOP: PORTLAND REVIEW

Instructor: Thea Prieto

This series of courses is intended to provide graduate students with the editorial, publishing, and marketing skills necessary to run an international literary journal. By participating in Portland Review’s publication process and understanding the practices of a journal over sixty years old, students will gain practical experience in the field of literary publishing. This course is the second of three Portland Review classes, which combined with the editorial (fall) and marketing (spring) courses will collectively satisfy four units of graduate elective credit.

WR 510 TOP: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Applying for Grants, Fellowships, and Residencies

Instructor: Michele Glazer

Students in this one-credit colloquium will research funders/residencies and write two applications. After students decide what they will apply to, colloquium members will offer support and practical help in writing the project description and other submission materials required by the grantor. Please note that on Thursday, January 18th, the subject of our 1-hour brownbag will be Artist Residencies & Fellowships.

This class meets on alternate Tuesdays, 12:10-13:30. The dates are Jan 9, 23, Feb 6, Feb 20, March 6

WR 510 TOP: MFA Teaching Colloquium

Instructor: Michele Glazer

This is a one-credit colloquium for MFA students who are teaching or may be interested in teaching creative writing classes, particularly at the undergraduate level. Students will write a syllabus, using models as well as their own ideas. While a syllabus might seem basic, it should encapsulate not only the instructor’s organization of the course, but also anticipate questions and problems that may arise in class, ranging from classroom management to student outcomes. Colloquium students will also be expected to visit a creative writing class and make field notes on the experience. You will get help in arranging those visits (30 minutes minimum, even if the class you visit runs for two hours). We will be visited at our colloquium meetings by adjunct faculty and others who can speak from recent experience about matters including pedagogy, assessment, and engagement with challenging students.

This class meets on alternate Tuesdays, 12:10-13:30. The dates are Jan 16, 30, Feb 13, 27, March 13

WR 512 GRADUATE FICTION WRITING 

Instructor: 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, paying attention, feeling, moving, walking, forgiving, and sensing. We will look at various experiments, forms, and narrative structures that can exist in fiction, as well as look more closely at sentences and language. Our work will be guided by writing exercises, readings by diverse contemporary authors, and class workshops. 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.

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 514 GRADUATE POETRY WRITING 

Instructor: Michele Glazer

"Poetry is knit of words compacted with every conceivable mode of operative force. These words are, in Coleridge's simile, 'hooked atoms', so construed as to mesh and cross-mesh with the greatest possible cluster of other words in the reticulations of the total body of language."  —George Steiner

"The role of the poem is to bring out all aspects of language: its provisionality, uncertainty, slippage, as well as its miraculous ability to communicate, to mean." —Matthew Zapruder

In a workshop format of writing, discussing, revising and reading, students will develop both a greater understanding of how poems work, as well as new expressive muscles for their own writing, whether prose or poetry. We will read works by a range of poets, as well as some prose works, attending closely to what the language does, and to some of the many ways meaning is made at the levels of word, sound, sentence, line, and so on. Our emphasis will be on process.

Texts: James Longenbach, The Art of the Poetic Line.

Selections from fiction, nonfiction and poetry, including works by George Oppen, Louise Gluck, Matthew Zapruder, Jorie Graham, and W. G. Sebald.

This poetry workshop is primarily geared toward MFA fiction and nonfiction writers, but MA in English and MA 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 poetry to glazer@pdx.edu.

May be repeated once for credit. 

WR 521 MFA CORE WORKSHOP IN FICTION

Instructor: Gabe Urza

The MFA Core Workshop in Fiction focuses on the writing, revision, and critical discussion of student short stories and chapters from novels. Students' critical analyses of their peers' work are informed by their study of published fiction in the texts, supplemented by lectures clarifying technical strategies in the writing of fiction.

May be taken up to six times for credit. This course is restricted to graduate students admitted to the Writing Program (Fiction).

WR 522 MFA CORE WORKSHOP IN POETRY 

Instructor: Joseph Bradshaw

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 525 ADVANCED TECHNICAL WRITING

Instructor: Bryan Schnabel

This class understands technical writing as a continuum with "technical" at one end and "writing" on the other end. This class is weighted towards the technical end and aims to build proficiency in the technical skills that are essential to writing jobs in many technical industries. In this class students will gain an entry-level proficiency in the key open standards that modern tools use, such as XML, DITA, HTML, and XLIFF. Students will also learn to understand, use, and be able to articulate the principles, benefits, and processes of Web CMS and Component CMS, including content creation, translation, and publication. Students will learn these technical skills in the context of learning must-have writing skills that are essential to all writing jobs. No prior experience with these technologies is necessary to enroll in this class.

WR 529 WRITING COMPUTER DOCUMENTATION

Instructor: Maralee Sautter

This course focuses on the process of planning/designing, creating, managing, and publishing technical documentation using MS Word and MadCap Flare. Study includes comparison of linear, paper-based documents, such as manuals, to topic-based content, and covers minimalism, user-centered documentation, and topic types. Students apply formatting features of Word to manuals or documents, and use the same content to create an abbreviated online help system, which is published and viewable through MadCap Central, a Content Management System (CMS). Students learn how to collaborate, manage project tasks and checklists, use source control, manipulate storage, and publish using the back-end process of the CMS tool.

WR 560 INTRO TO BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: 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 BOOK EDITING

Instructor: 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 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE

Instructor: Kelley Dodd

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 BOOK MARKETING

Instructor: Robyn Crummer-Olson

The objective of this course is to understand the role of marketing and publicity in publishing and to obtain the necessary skills to create a sales presentation, tip sheet, marketing plan, press release, and pitch letter. Your goal is to end the course able to create marketing and publicity campaigns and press kits that are directly applicable to a career in book publishing. 

WR 564 BUSINESS OF BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Kent Watson

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.

WR 565 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & COPYRIGHT

Instructor: Amanda-Ann Gomm

Outlines opportunities and pitfalls faced by writer (editor, graphic designer, artist) in legal and ethical spheres. Copyright law, U.S. First Amendment law, defamation, right of privacy, trademark, trade secret law. Discusses the importance of the Internet in rethinking copyright and intellectual property rules.

WR 571 TYPOGRAPHY, LAYOUT, PRODUCTION

Instructor: Alan Dubinsky

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.

Prerequisite: WR 562: Book Design Software.

WR 573 DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING

Instructor: Adam Rodriguez

Explores the relationship between an editor, a writer, and the work in the process of developmental editing—also known as global, substantive, or comprehensive editing. Examines historically significant editor/author relations, how the editorial process and relationships have changed over time, and how editorial expectations shift based on the expectations of the publisher, the constantly changing global marketplace, and the introduction of new technologies.

Prerequisite: WR 561: Book Editing.

WR 574 PUBLISHING STUDIO

Instructor: Abbey Gaterud

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. May be taken multiple times for credit.

Prerequisite: WR 575: Publishing Lab.

WR 575 PUBLISHING LAB

Instructor: Abbey Gaterud

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. May be taken multiple times for credit.