Winter 2021 Courses

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

Winter 2021 - Undergraduate English Courses

ENG 205-001 SURVEY OF BRITISH LIT II

Instructor: Dr. Perrin Kerns
Instructional Method: Online

In this course, we will read and discuss literary works by Neo-Classical, Romantic, Victorian, Modernist and Contemporary British Writers.  We will be reading essays, novels, plays, and poems written primarily by British women writers, exploring issues of identity, race, class, sexuality, and gender.  We will read Mary Wollstonecraft and Olaudah Equiano, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Virginia Woolf A Room of One’s Own, and more.  Coursework will include weekly reading responses and some essays.  No prior background in the subject matter is required, but be ready to read!  This term, we will be piloting the Canvas LMS, an intuitive and user-friendly platform, rather than using D2L.

 

ENG 260-001 INTRO TO WOMEN'S LITERATURE

Instructor: Susan Reese
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

All women stand upon the shoulders of women writers in the past and present, and as we move forward into the future, it is important to have a knowledge of all that they have done. Toward that end, I will provide links to texts on D2L to provide additional background to the texts we will be reading. 

  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit by Leslie Marmon Silko
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  • Just Us by Claudia Rankine

I have ordered these books through the PSU Bookstore, but as you know, you may find them elsewhere, and please find them as cheaply as possible.

In addition to these texts, we will be reading Mary Wollstonecraft, Sojourner Truth, Christina Rossetti, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, Louise Erdrich, Judith Butler, bell hooks, and Maya Angelou. It is my plan that we include all women, focusing primarily on 20th and 21st century work. This path represents an evolution of literature, and you are invited to share your favorites as well. I love sharing this course, as it is exciting and inspiring, inviting. Please join me.

 

ENG 300-001 LITERARY FORM AND ANALYSIS

Instructor: Michael Clark
Instructional Method: Online

 

ENG 300-002 LITERARY FORM AND ANALYSIS

Instructor: Alastair Hunt
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Many otherwise sensible people suspect that English majors do little more than engage in idle chatter about their favorite characters in novels. This course will teach you the truth. English majors employ a specific set of knowledge and skills to closely read literary and cultural texts for the lessons they can teach us about the world we live in and world we might yet live in. ENG 300 is one of the core courses required of all English majors at PSU. It focuses on three knowledge-and-skill areas: 1. literary form (genre, diction, figurative language, narrative technique, prosody, and so on), 2. close reading, and 3. writing critical (interpretative) arguments. Beginning at a nuts-and-bolts level, we will build up your abilities as a student of literature and culture through a series of formal analysis, close reading, and critical writing exercises on poems, fiction, and drama. The process will culminate with a full-length critical essay. By the end of the course, students will have earned the right to call themselves English majors. In our dark times, this is no mean feat.

Required Texts:

  • M. H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 11th ed. Wadsworth, 2015. ISBN 9781285465067.
  • Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. 4th ed. W. W. Norton & Co., 2019. ISBN: 9780393631678.
  • Brian Friel. Translations. Faber and Faber, 1981. ISBN 9780571117420
  • NoViolet Bulawayo. We Need New Names. Back Bay Books, 2013. ISBN 9780316230841
  • Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook. 8th ed. Modern Language Association of America, 2016. ISBN: 9781603292627.

 

ENG 300-003 LITERARY FORM AND ANALYSIS

Instructor: Alastair Hunt
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Many otherwise sensible people suspect that English majors do little more than engage in idle chatter about their favorite characters in novels. This course will teach you the truth. English majors employ a specific set of knowledge and skills to closely read literary and cultural texts for the lessons they can teach us about the world we live in and world we might yet live in. ENG 300 is one of the core courses required of all English majors at PSU. It focuses on three knowledge-and-skill areas: 1. literary form (genre, diction, figurative language, narrative technique, prosody, and so on), 2. close reading, and 3. writing critical (interpretative) arguments. Beginning at a nuts-and-bolts level, we will build up your abilities as a student of literature and culture through a series of formal analysis, close reading, and critical writing exercises on poems, fiction, and drama. The process will culminate with a full-length critical essay. By the end of the course, students will have earned the right to call themselves English majors. In our dark times, this is no mean feat.

Required Texts:

  • M. H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 11th ed. Wadsworth, 2015. ISBN 9781285465067.
  • Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. 4th ed. W. W. Norton & Co., 2019. ISBN: 9780393631678.
  • Brian Friel. Translations. Faber and Faber, 1981. ISBN 9780571117420
  • NoViolet Bulawayo. We Need New Names. Back Bay Books, 2013. ISBN 9780316230841
  • Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook. 8th ed. Modern Language Association of America, 2016. ISBN: 9781603292627.

 

ENG 301U-001 TOP: SHAKESPEAREAN GENRE

Instructor: John Smyth
Instructional Method: Online

Main Texts:

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Othello
  • Hamlet
  • Troilus and Cressida

Secondary texts will include René Girard’s A Theater of Envy as well as other critical materials, and Vladimir Nabokov’s story “That in Aleppo Once,” a title taken from Othello. Films will include Gregory Doran’s 2009 Hamlet, starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart. As regards genre, this class will focus on the intimate relation between comedy and tragedy in Shakespeare.

Primary Requirements: two essays and two weekly D2L posts.

 

ENG 304-001 CRITICAL THEORY OF CINEMA

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

Cinema theory offers a set of tools to help us ask complex questions about how films generate meaning in the world—and then, to question the questions. Theory is often accused of “overanalyzing” or “overcomplicating” the pleasures and joys of watching film, and of being written in a jargony thicket of prose. That may be ungenerous, but it's not entirely wrong. One of the things “theory” does is to instigate new ways of thinking closely about our surface-level, common-sense assumptions rather than taking them for granted. After all, is it really so obvious and “natural” that we get visceral pleasure out of watching still images taped together to simulate motion? What personal, social, psychological needs does watching a movie fulfill? Why (as we’ve learned the hard way) is watching movies on the couch or a laptop so different from watching them in a public space? And why might it help—even if it’s grating at times—to have these issues discussed in a dense, difficult critical vocabulary?

Growing conversant in these debates can enhance the pleasure we take from any film—whether an art film or the 214th Transformers sequel—and lead to a richer and more stimulating conversation in the lobby afterward. We’ll be back in lobbies eventually. I believe!

Our course will be broken into four sets of questions:

  1. Genre and authorship. What does it change if we understand films as “texts” authored by a singular auteur, or if we don’t? Where do preconceived assumptions about genre come from, and how do they shape our responses to a film?
  2. History, ideology, and realism. How do films interact with the world that produces them?  Through what elements of film form does a film present a cohesive “reality,” and what historical assumptions are bound up with that idea of “realism”?
  3. Gender, sexuality, and “the subject.” What is the relationship between the film apparatus and the psyche of the spectator? How does a film’s manipulation of a “gaze” or narrative form shape its/our attitudes, desires, and identification? 
  4. Race, nation, and empire. How can films catalyze resistant or “oppositional gazes” that challenge stereotypes or received ideas about race and nation? How do genre and spectatorship work differently in global contexts?

Our primary theory readings will be posted to D2L, in addition to one companion text: Understanding Film Theory, ed. Doughty and Etherington-Wright. Films TBA. (Note that this is not a ""film analysis"" class—we won't spend a ton of time on the basics of analyzing a movie—but students who don't have prior experience with that can generally still do well in the course.)

The required coursework will be asynchronous (through D2L), with optional Zoom sessions as a supplement.

 

ENG 305U-001 TOP IN FLM: SPECULATIVE CINEMA

Instructor: Dan DeWeese
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

“Speculative cinema” is a term used much less often than its literary analogue, “speculative fiction.” As a medium in which the means of production are foregrounded as part of the product—audiences often conflate how a film was made with what the film “is”—we may feel that all cinema contains a speculative element. What we will explore in this course are the critical ways in which speculative cinema differs in form and content from speculative fiction. Centered on and obsessed with looks and “the look,” film is particularly adept at exploring the power dynamics latent in images and visions. When these images transport us to unknowable points in time and space, offer us the power of looking at an unknown other, or depict the invisible in physical form, cinema speculates not only on the possibilities of other worlds and selves, but on its own possibilities—and problems—as a medium.

 

ENG 306U-001 TOP: LIT AND POP CULTURE

Instructor: Elizabeth Brown 
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Along with recent fiction and films that treat US incarceration, widespread protests against the police killing of George Floyd have pushed the term “abolition” into a popular national lexicon as activists, organizers, and politicians call for the defunding and/or abolition of police departments.  In this course, we will read 20th and 21st century speculative fiction as a site of inquiry into contemporary scholarly and popular discourse on abolition. Beyond reading for how works of speculative fiction merely represent prisons or policing, we will investigate how authors have used speculative form to engage broader social practices of policing, surveillance, and incarceration over time. Indeed, one of the propositions of this course is that works of speculative fiction have employed non-realist devices, such as ghosts, aliens, time travel, and magic, in order to critically imagine abolitionist possibilities. You will leave this course familiar with critical scholarship on abolition along with new strategies to think about how speculative fiction engages political and cultural discourse. The format will consist of asynchronous assignments with the option to participate in a weekly Zoom meeting. 

 

ENG 307U-001 SCIENCE FICTION

Instructor: Bill Knight, PhD
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course will survey the various ways literary science fiction considers questions of ecology, the natural world, and the role of humans in ecological processes. We’ll look at novels, stories, and films that tell SF tales focusing on utopia, wilderness, ecological disaster, permaculture and sustainability, and trans-species contact. We’ll consider the ethical, political, and social theories that emerge from these works and compare them to recent trends in writing and thought about climate, ecology, sustainability, and ecocapitalism. 

The novels we’ll read will likely include:

  • Philip K. Dick. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
  • Ursula K. LeGuin. The Word for World is Forest (1972)
  • Ernest Callenbach. Ecotopia (1975)
  • Octavia Butler. Parable of the Sower (1993)
  • Sue Burke. Semiosis (2018)

We’ll consider a number of shorter works and secondary readings from a diverse group of contemporary global authors. In groups, students will present on works of their choice *not covered* in the course syllabus—these will expand and complicate our sense of the many innovative ways that global science- and speculative fiction engage with ecological concepts, theories, and potentialities.

 

ENG 320U-001 THE ENGLISH NOVEL I

Instructor: Dr. John Vignaux Smyth
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Main Texts:

  • Aphra Behn, The Fair Jilt
  • Jane Austen, Emma
  • Henry Fielding, Shamela and Joseph Andrews
  • Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  • John Locke, Second Treatise of Government and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (selections)
  • Denis Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist (selections)
  • Nikolai Gogol, “The Nose”
  • Paul de Man, “The Epistemology of Metaphor”

Films/TV Series:

  • Peter Greenaway, The Draughtsman’s Contract
  • Amy Heckerling, Clueless
  • Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon 
  • Diarmuid Lawrence, Emma 
  • Jim O’Hanlon, Emma (4-part BBC TV series)
  • Michael Winterbottom, A Cock and Bull Story

Primary Requirements: Two essays plus 2 weekly D2L posts.

 

ENG 326-001 LITERATURE, COMMUNITY, AND DIFFERENCE

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

The study of literature is often validated with the liberal-humanist notion that reading literature helps cultivate empathy, which is thought to be the means by which individuals bridge the gap between self and other, between "us" and those with a different racial/ethnic/class/gender/sexual/national identity. This course seeks to turn this notion on its head. Rather than presupposing the existence of autonomous identity-based communities, we will turn to literature as a way of examining the social constitution of identity. Rather than using literature as a tool for encountering the other, we will turn to literature as a way of studying the formation of our own subjectivities. In turn, we will ask, how can the study of literature become a means through which to remake our own subjectivities in ways other than we've been formed? Ultimately, this course will draw on the interpretive tools developed by critical race theory, feminism, marxism, and deconstruction to rethink the role of identity in how we understand both American literature, and "literature" as such. 

Required Books:

  • Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
  • Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing
  • Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories
  • Paul Beatty, The Sellout
  • Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or Evening Redness in the West

 

ENG 333U-001 HST CINEMA/NARRATIVE MEDIA II

Instructor: Wendy Collins
Instructional Method: Online

 

ENG 341U-001 RENAISSANCE LITERATURE

Instructor: Keri Behre
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course introduces students to a range of Renaissance works, emphasizing increasing facility in reading the language as well as understanding genre, historical context, and the ways in which texts by both women and men have taken shape culturally. No prior experience with literature of the period is expected or needed. Our text will be The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume B: The Sixteenth Century / The Early Seventeenth Century, 10th Edition, ISBN 9780393603033. Course work will include response papers, active participation in discussions, and two essays. This course will have required, synchronous weekly meetings on Zoom.

 

ENG 344U-001 VICTORIAN LITERATURE

Instructor: Tracy Dillon
Instructional Method: Online

 

ENG 352U-001 AFRICAN AMERICAN LIT II

Instructor: Maude Hines
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

ENG 352 is an introduction to African American literature from the late nineteenth century to the beginnings of the “Black Arts” movement. It is the second in a three-part survey of African American literature. In addition to short stories, poetry, and novels, we will look at essays, journals, autobiographies, audio-recordings, fine art, photography, and performance. Students will have an active role in the class: beginning in the second week, student presentations will generate class conversations. The class will focus on gothic themes, temporality, childhood, gender, and sexuality in African American literature. The anthology we use (because it is inexpensive, and also because it was published in the late 1960s, and so presents a useful ""look back"" for a course that ends at its publication date) must be supplemented (on D2L) by works by women authors. Such questions of unequal access, canonization, and memory will be foregrounded as we approach the materials.

This course fills the American Identities and Gender and Sexualities cluster requirements for non-majors (see cluster web pages).

University Studies Goals:

  • Inquiry and Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Diversity, Equity & Social Justice
  • Ethics and Social Responsibility

Course Learning Goals: 

From the “American Identities” cluster goals, we will focus on the following:

  • An understanding of [some of] the tensions and contradictions of the American Experience and its ethical, social, and political implications (UNST Goals #3, #4)
  • An ability to engage with and write critically about primary texts (UNST Goals #1, #2) 
  • An ability to research and communicate about American identities and related ethical issues using both primary and secondary sources (UNST Goals #2, #4)
  • [Exposure to] diverse [African] American identities and how these identities have shaped [and been shaped by] cultural traditions and values and the distribution of power (UNST Goals #1, #3)

From the “Gender and Sexualities Studies” cluster goals, we will focus on the following:

  • Acquire knowledge of sexuality and gender studies, including intersectional theory and critical race theory that shape knowledge in these areas of study (UNST Goals #1, #3, #4)
  • Critically examine the constructs of gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, ability, and nation and their intersecting relationships, both past and present (UNST Goals #1, #3)
  • Explore and contextualize the meaning of social identities historically, politically, and personally (UNST Goals #1, #3, #4)
  • Create a collaborative and mutually beneficial learning environment (UNST Goals #2, #3, #4)

Other Learning Goals:

  • Explore contemporary issues through literature (UNST Goals #3, #4)
  • Improve skills in critical thinking and written communication (UNST Goals #1, #2)
  • Learn to organize ideas through writing (UNST Goals #1, #2)
  • Increase familiarity with MLA-style citation and research methods (UNST Goal #2)
  • Develop tools of literary and cultural analysis (UNST Goal #1)

Required Materials:

  • Chapman, (Ed.), Black Voices: An Anthology of African-American Literature
  • Hopkins, Of One Blood

 

ENG 363U-001 AMERICAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE II

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

This survey course will focus on how American literature from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century has represented the relation between modernity, capitalism, and desire. In addition to engaging with marxist, queer, and feminist critiques of marriage and property, we will read key texts in the canon of American literature that have sought to explore the complex relation between sex, gender, class, and desire in an emerging modern capitalist economy.

Required Books:

  • Henry James, Washington Square
  • Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
  • Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing
  • Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt

 

ENG 367U-001 TOP: AMERICAN GOTHIC LIT

Instructor: Hildy Miller
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

ENG 372U-001 TOP: QUEER LATINX WRITERS

Instructor: Jorge Estrada
Instructional Method: Online

 

ENG 373U-001 TOP: ARAB-AMERICAN LITERATURE

Instructor: Diana Abu-Jaber
Instructional Method: Online

Long portrayed as terrorist, oil sheikh, fanatic, passive victim of harems and veils, the Arab person has historically been denied a voice in the American media. But in recent years, there has been a profusion of Arab-American writers and artists, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and this class will conduct an in-depth examination of their art and personal experience in their own words. Some of these writers were born and raised in the United States, others came to this country as immigrants. We will be reading poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by both native Arab and Arab-American writers, and bringing our own personal responses to reflect on what these writers have to tell us.

We’ll approach these works from the perspective of writers, as well as that of students of literature, as we consider such elements as theme, characterization, structure, and voice, as well as tradition vs. assimilation, the representation of ethnic and cultural identity and questions of politics. Of particular interest will be the issue of “in-betweenness” or “balancing on the hyphen” as many of these artists attempt to grapple with the attempt to maintain different—at times, seemingly adversarial—identities. There will be extensive reading and several films, and students will be asked to write non-traditional papers or essays in response to class work.

 

ENG 378U-001 AMERICAN POETRY II

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

This course will focus on twentieth-century American Poetry. We will begin with Modernist writers like Wallace Stevens, Sterling Brown, Marianne Moore, T.S. Eliot, and Gertrude Stein. We will then turn to the diverse group of poets who follow Modernism, from writers like Louis Zukofsky and Elizabeth Bishop, to the New American Poets (such as Allen Ginsberg and Frank O’Hara). Next, we will examine the various writers who take part in the narrative, free verse poetry that dominates American letters in the postwar period, and we will pay particular attention to the “confessional” and political writing of poets such as Robert Lowell and Adrienne Rich. We will take time as well to explore the poetry of the Black Arts movement and end by reading several of the poets now associated loosely with Language poetry, like Lyn Hejinian, Charles Bernstein, and Rae Armantrout, who celebrate textual disruption, difficulty and readers’ participation in the making of a poem’s meaning.

 

ENG 414-001 COMPOSITION THEORY

Instructor: Kate Comer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Note: This class will meet once a week, with a flexible attendance policy.

What is writing? How does it work? How do we work it?

This course explores questions that matter to all writers, especially students and teachers. It also offers an introduction to the fantastic world of Composition, Rhetoric, and/or Literacy Studies.

Through readings and discussion, we’ll explore topics as varied as genre analysis, cognitive processes, linguistic diversity, multimodal composition, antiracist pedagogy, and learning transfer.

Along the way, you’ll develop new insights on writing in theory and practice, pursue research related to your own interests, and hone your critical skills—all of which will make you a better writer, thinker, and learner.

 

ENG 422-001 AFRICAN FICTION

Instructor: Sarah Lincoln
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

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, detective stories, 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. 

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 428-001 CANONS AND CANONICITY

Instructor: 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 447-001 LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY

Instructor: Dr. John Vignaux Smyth
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

This class begins with the rivalry between poetry and philosophy in classical Greece, specifically with the dialogue between philosopher Plato and comedian Aristophanes as we may deduce it from the former’s Symposium and Republic, and the latter’s Clouds, Frogs, and Assembly of Women. At the same time, via Jacques Derrida’s, Leo Strauss’, and Martha Nussbaum’s commentaries on Plato and Aristophanes, we will explore the problem as it has been reinterpreted by three philosophers in the twentieth century.

In the second half of term, we turn to René Girard’s theoretical reading of Shakespeare in A Theater of Envy, particularly A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Troilus and Cressida.

Finally, we will read several of Franz Kafka’s stories, including "Investigations of a Dog" and "Josephine the Singer, or The Mouse-Folk," which treat the relation between knowledge and art in modernity.

Main Requirements: Two essays and two weekly D2L posts on the texts we are reading.

 

ENG 450-001 ADV TOP: ENLIGHTENMENT ORIENTALISM

Instructor: Bill Knight, PhD
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Alongside the rise-of-science-and-empiricism narrative, the story we most often hear about British writing during the period known as the Enlightenment (~1600-1800) is one of an emerging national identity and a national literature. Most often this takes the form of the “rise of the novel” story (the novel as a British invention) that gives way to the eruption of British Romanticism late in the 18th century. But an open-eyed look at what was being read and published in the Enlightenment shows that what just as often obsessed literary readers and writers was writing from and about the East and South. Whether this took the form of the Arabian Nights’ tales or the many imitations of tales from or about other exotic locations— India, the Americas, the Levant, Africa, et al.— British readers were absolutely captivated by the many literary uses they could imagine for Eastern and Southern stories, characters, and settings. The Enlightenment's tendency toward nationalism and national literature was balanced against other desires embodied by the fascination with these tales: cosmopolitanism, exoticism, empiricism, human universality, and encounters with alterity. 

Building on the work of Srinivas Aravamudan, Ros Ballaster, Edward Said, Robert Markley, and others, this course will survey the most noteworthy Orientalist works of the British long eighteenth century. We’ll read tales that found themselves transmitted across centuries and continents to suddenly become wildly popular with a British readership. We’ll also read fascinating literary examples of how this kind of storytelling was appropriated, imitated, parodied, and put to the uses of thinking philosophically or satirically about British (and European) lives and values. Along the way we’ll find that, whatever the Enlightenment in Britain and Europe has become for us, its readers and writers found it absolutely vital to consume vast quantities of “Oriental tales” and imitations thereof. The Enlightenment period was composed of a complex set of transformations, values, and ideas that included far more of an intimate fascination with exogamy, exoticism, and the “Oriental tale” than narratives of British national identity admit. We’ll attempt to make sense of this conjunction of East and West in our course. 

Reading List:

  • Mack, ed. various tales from Arabian Nights’ Entertainments. Oxford University Press (978-0199555871)
  • William Beckford. Vathek. Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0199576951
  • Samuel Johnson. Rasselas. Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0141439709
  • Montesquieu. Persian Letters. Oxford World’s Classics. ISBN: 978-0192806352
  • Jonathan Swift. Gulliver’s Travels. Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0141439495
  • and we'll read other various popular “Oriental tales,” imitations, pseudo-ethnographies, and literary appropriations from the period.

 

ENG 496-001 COMICS THEORY

Instructor: Susan Kirtley
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Comics, graphic novels, comic strips, cartoons.  There are many terms for them, but they are all names for innovative storytelling done through some combination of words and images.  While picture-images date as far back as the Egyptian tombs, or the caves of Lascaux, our course will consider the development of the modern comic in twentieth- and twenty-first- century America.  This course will focus on comics theory, understanding and applying theory to primary texts.

Required texts TBA.


Winter 2021 - Graduate English Courses

ENG 507-001 SEM: POETRY AND POLITICS

Instructor: Tom Fisher
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course is a focused exploration of the relationship between poetry and politics. We will read primarily postwar and contemporary American poetry, but will look at earlier poems as well as key theoretical texts to help us think the relationship between politics and aesthetics. Key texts, among others, will include: Allen Ginsberg's Howl, Langston Hughes' Montage of a Dream Deferred, Harriet Mullen's Sleeping With the Dictionary, Mark Nowak's Coal Mountain Elementary, Claudia Rankine's Citizen, and Juliana Spahr's This Connection of Everyone With Lungs.

 

ENG 507-002 SEM: ENVIRONMENTAL ROMANTICISM

Instructor: Alastair Hunt
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

How might romanticism teach us to read the present global environmental crisis anew? How might the environmental crisis teach us to read romanticism anew? That romanticism—whether as a historical period of literature or a transhistorical literary theory—has anything at all to do with the environmental crisis is not at all certain. However, the “Anthropocene,” the new geological epoch created by the impact of Homo sapiens on the earth’s geophysical and biophysical systems, is commonly said to begin with the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century. Such a chronology places the beginning of the anthropogenic environmental crisis squarely in the romantic period of literature in Britain (1780-1830). This course takes the historical intersection of romanticism and environmental crisis as the occasion to consider British romantic literature and culture as a reflection of and reflection on the increasing difficulty human beings have of living on the earth in a way that is sustainable for us and the other creatures with whom we share the planet. Taking climate change and biodiversity destruction as the two dominant signs of environmental crisis, we will, through class discussion and writing assignments, bring literary critical and theoretical skills to bear on such questions as: if romantic poetry is famous for celebrating “nature,” what does it mean that this affection coincides with the peril to the empirical natural world posed by modern industry and agriculture? How does the trope of address to nonhuman entities, so closely associated with romantic lyric, anticipate theories of vital materialism? What role do literary and rhetorical forms, such as genre, narrative, and figurative language play in the effective perception of and response to environmental crisis? How did romantic writers radically rethink the basis of our relationship to our nonhuman fellow creatures? How does the nature of reading (including close reading, paranoid reading, reparative reading, and rhetorical reading) change in the age of extinction? Includes texts by: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, John Clare, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley (The Last Man), Jane Bennett, Jonathan Culler, Rob Nixon, and Jacques Derrida.

 

ENG 507-003 SEM: POSTCOLONIAL ECOLOGY

Instructor: Sarah Lincoln
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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, including human-animal hybridity, queer ecologies, “affirmative precarity,” recycling, and sustainable gardening.

Required Texts:

  • JM Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K. (978-0140074482)
  • Helon Habila, Oil on Water (978-0393339642)
  • Michael Marder & Anaïs Tondeur, Chernobyl Herbarium (978-1785420269)
  • Leslie Marmon Silko, Gardens in the Dunes (978-0684863320)
  • Indra Sinha, Animal’s People (978-1416578796)
  • Shani Mootoo, Cereus Blooms at Night (978-0802144621)

Required Films:

  • Sweet Crude. Dir. Sandy Cioffi. Virasana. 2009.
  • Out of Africa. Dir. Sydney Pollack. Perf. Robert Redford, Meryl Streep. Mirage, Universal. 1985.
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild. Dir. Benh Zeitlin. Cinereach. Fox Searchlight Pictures. 2012.
  • The Babushkas of Chernobyl. Dir. Anne Bogart & Holly Morris. 2015.

 

ENG 514-001 COMPOSITION THEORY

Instructor: Kate Comer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Note: This class will meet once a week, with a flexible attendance policy.

What is writing? How does it work? How do we work it?

This course explores questions that matter to all writers, especially students and teachers. It also offers an introduction to the fantastic world of Composition, Rhetoric, and/or Literacy Studies.

Through readings and discussion, we’ll explore topics as varied as genre analysis, cognitive processes, linguistic diversity, multimodal composition, antiracist pedagogy, and learning transfer.

Along the way, you’ll develop new insights on writing in theory and practice, pursue research related to your own interests, and hone your critical skills—all of which will make you a better writer, thinker, and learner.

 

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 531-002 TOP: COLLOQUIUM

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

This one-credit colloquium will address graduate-level research and writing skills in support of your other coursework and exams. We will be focusing on the development of skills: namely, positioning arguments in relation to other scholars, using scholarly periodicals to develop one's sense of a "field"; revising one's work based on feedback; or, as time permits, sharpening an academic writing style and voice. You are asked to procure two books (older or used editions are fine):

  • Graff/Birkenstein, They Say/I Say
  • Hayot, The Elements of Academic Style

Synchronous Zoom sessions will be held every other week, at a time agreed on by the class, but students who can't attend will be able to collaborate through other means (e.g. using D2L or Google Docs).

This class is designed for M.A. students in English (all years of the program will join the same section). If you are in a different program, please speak with me and your program director prior to enrolling, to make sure it will help with your degree progress.


Winter 2021 - Undergraduate Writing Courses

WR 115-001 INTRO TO COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Elle Wilder
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

This course has been designed to hone your critical reading and writing skills and foster productive writing practices. It offers a transferable perspective that will help you analyze and navigate all kinds of rhetorical situations in academic, personal, professional, and community contexts. Readings and projects will challenge you to think critically about literacy, education, and social justice, and to compose your own contributions to those discourses. We’ll learn collaboratively, using group discussions and workshops to enhance ideas and improve our communication. Along the way, you will explore your own relationship with writing, and develop insights and strategies that will serve you well beyond college.

 

WR 115-002 INTRO TO COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Mackenzie Streissguth
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

This is a critical reading and writing course that focuses on productive writing practices and establishing your own writing process. Analyzing and navigating rhetorical situations in academic, personal, professional, and community contexts, through your own personal lens, are aided by readings and projects that will challenge you. We will think critically about literacy, education, and social justice, and how our experiences and learning has and will continue to direct our contributions to those areas. We learn collaboratively, using group discussions and workshops, to enhance ideas and improve communication. Insights and strategies developed in the course will serve you well beyond college.

 

WR 121-001 COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Jason Stieber
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 121-003 COLLEGE WRITING

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

 

WR 121-004 COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Adam McDonald
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 121-005 COLLEGE WRITING

Instructor: Ryan O'Connell
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

 

WR 200-001 WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE

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

 

WR 212-001 INTRO FICTION WRITING

Instructor: Sean Hennessey
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This is workshop-focused class, so most of our time together will be geared to class discussion. We start by discussing the basic elements of a short story, illustrated by some readings, and then move into reading and discussing stories submitted by the class in open workshop.

 

WR 212-002 INTRO FICTION WRITING

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

A workshop for writers with little or no experience in writing fiction. The class focuses on the elements of fiction: setting, character, dialogue, point of view, theme, etc. Students are asked to read and discuss fiction by established writers, to critique each other’s work, and to write and revise at least one short story. Requirements also include several writing exercises.

 

WR 212-003 INTRO FICTION WRITING

Instructor: Josef Ginsberg
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 213-001 INTRO POETRY WRITING

Instructor: Ashley Toliver 
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 213-002 INTRO POETRY WRITING

Instructor: Anton Jones
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 214-001 INTRO NONFICTION WRITING

Instructor: Justin Hocking
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course will introduce you to the wonderfully dynamic and diverse genre of creative nonfiction. Via close reading, exercises, discussions and small-group workshops, students will strengthen their writing practices and deepen their understanding of various forms of creative nonfiction, including but not limited to personal essays, memoir, graphic narrative/comics, literary journalism and lyric essays. The tentative reading list includes work by James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Wallace, David Sedaris, and Sei Shonagon, as well as the graphic memoir Fun Home by Allison Bechdel.

 

WR 222-001 WRITING RESEARCH PAPERS

Instructor: Dustin Prisley
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 222-002 WRITING RESEARCH PAPERS

Instructor: Elizabeth Miossec-Backer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 222-003 WRITING RESEARCH PAPERS

Instructor: Elizabeth Miossec-Backer
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 227-001 INTRO TECHNICAL WRITING

Instructor: Garret Romaine
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 227-002 INTRO TECHNICAL WRITING

Instructor: Mary Sylwester
Instructional Method: Online

In this course, students write and analyze professional and technical documents, including letters, memos, reports, summaries, instructions, and proposals. 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 WRITING

Instructor: Lee Ware
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 227-004 INTRO TECHNICAL WRITING

Instructor: Rowan Reed
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 301-001 WIC: CRITICAL WRITING ENGLISH

Instructor: Hildy Miller
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 301-002 WIC: CRITICAL WRITING ENGLISH

Instructor: 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 301-003 WIC: CRITICAL WRITING ENGLISH

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

 

WR 312-001 INTERMEDIATE FICTION WRITING

Instructor: Sean Hennessey
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This workshop-based class builds on what was learned in WR 212: Intro to Fiction Writing. We will discuss in depth the elements of fiction as used in writing a short story, initially using reading and writing exercises as a platform for our conversations and moving to discussing short fiction work by each of the class's students.

 

WR 312-002 INTERMEDIATE FICTION WRITING

Instructor: Matthew Robinson
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

 

WR 313-001 INTERMEDIATE POETRY WRITING

Instructor: Joshua Pollock
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

 

WR 323-001 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Keri Behre
Instructional Method: Online

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

 

WR 323-002 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Keri Behre
Instructional Method: Online

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

 

WR 323-003 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Karyn-Lynn Fisette
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

 

WR 323-004 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

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

 

WR 323-005 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Travis Willmore
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 323-006 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Caroline Hayes
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 323-007 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Kirsten Rian
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 323-008 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Alexander Dannemiller
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 323-009 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

Instructor: Jessie Herrada Nance
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. This class will include research, analysis, and creative writing.

 

WR 323-010 WRITING AS CRITICAL INQUIRY

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

 

WR 327-001 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING

Instructor: Julie Kares
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 327-002 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING

Instructor: Jacob Tootalian
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 327-003 TECHNICAL REPORT WRITING

Instructor: Henry Covey
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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

 

WR 331-001 BOOK PUBLISHING FOR WRITERS

Instructor: Kathi Berens
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 333-001 ADVANCED ESSAY WRITING

Instructor: Caroline Hayes
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 398-001 TOP: WRITING COMICS

Instructor: Brian Bendis
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 407-001 SEM: ADVANCED FICTION

Instructor: Leni Zumas
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

How does fiction move? How does it move across time, through space, from exterior to interior? How does it move its characters from one situation, conflict, or perspective to another? How does it move the reader? This advanced seminar explores the design and construction of short- and long-form fiction. Reading stories, novellas, and novels, novellas as generative models for students’ own creative work, we will ask what we can learn from these texts about shape, scope, motion, pacing, recursion, accretion, delay, revelation, digression, and refrain. 

Required Texts:

  • Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative, Jane Alison. 9781948226134 
  • Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin. 0385334583
  • As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner. 9780679732259
  • The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison. 9780307278449 
  • We the Animals, Justin Torres. 9780547844190
  • Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf. 9781784870867

 

WR 407-002 SEM: ADVANCED POETRY

Instructor: Michele Glazer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Wondering how to approach revision?  Radical revision—the focus of this seminar—differs in degree and approach from the revision you may be accustomed to doing in workshop, in which suggestions about word choice, line breaks, clarity, etc., are the basis for revising. 

Here, we will practice a much more intensive process, learning to hear what is essential in the poem, letting all the rest go, and building from there; we will learn to untether a poem from the writer’s original intent or language, and recast it formally with an aim of opening up possibilities for exploration that might not otherwise be available. We will look at endings, which might be beginnings. We will perform letting go, and going on. 

Students will write and discuss two or three new poems, each of which will be revised multiple times, guided by revision exercises. We will also examine examples of revision by other writers. 

Most reading available on D2L. Details TBD.

 

WR 412-001 ADVANCED 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), look more closely at their own relationship with language, and aim to produce two completed drafts of original fiction. Students will also participate in workshop and provide written critical engagements of the works of their peers. Our work will be guided by various writing & revision exercise, as well as readings by diverse contemporary authors. (This class is offered remotely with optional synchronous sessions.)

 

WR 412-002 ADV FICTION WRITING

Instructor: Mark Cunningham
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In this workshop we will explore, experiment, and hone our perception as writers by generating new work in new forms. Our aim will be to wake up to the possibilities of fiction by training our attention as creative beings, to see our own surroundings as if we are travelers newly arrived in our own rooms, and to break out of conventional molds and learn to write more freely and imaginatively. We’ll look at the vital relationships between creative writing and other artistic disciplines, and we’ll study fiction, short nonfiction, and poetry, as well as hybrid works and a graphic novel. Through reading and discussion, writing experiments, analysis of published texts, and discussion of student work, we’ll broaden the ways we think about fiction, its main principles, and its permutations. Note: Rather than using workshop as an opportunity to polish their pre-existing work, students will be expected to create new writing in response to explorative prompts, and will leave this course with several pieces of fresh creative writing in progress, in addition to producing one or two self-contained works of fiction for workshop.

 

WR 413-001 ADVANCED POETRY WRITING

Instructor: Alejandro de Acosta
Instructional Method: Remote - No Specific Meeting Time

Mainly, this will be a time to write many poems and a place to gather and work on them. More broadly, through readings and discussion, we'll witness the emergence of poems from other kinds of language, delve into the couplet "persona of poet"/"object called poem" in history and contemporary culture, and engage the question of Beauty.

 

WR 416-001 SCREENWRITING

Instructor: Thomas Bray
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In today's world, everything is a screen: your phone, your laptop, a TV, a movie screen. The specialties between writing for the mediums of TV and what we think of as "film" are blurring. It is important that writers know and understand and are fluent in all techniques of writing for a screen--from TV forms to film writing. This course examines three of these forms: Traditional IV Act Dramatic Television, Two Act Situation Comedy, and Traditional Three Act Film. Students will practice elements of all three, and then will create an original project using the form of their choice.

 

WR 420-001 WRITING STUDIO

Instructor: Tony Wolk
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 424-001 GRANT WRITING FOR PROF WRITERS

Instructor: Tracy Dillon
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 431-001 ADV TOP TW TECH DESIGN TOOLS

Instructor: Carrie Gilbert
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In this course you will expand your technical communication problem-solving skill set by learning how to complement your writing with effective visuals. Students will learn how to create and manipulate simple vector graphics, first in Microsoft PowerPoint and then in Inkscape (an open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator). Along the way, we will explore basic design and visual communication concepts, troubleshooting techniques, and common considerations for leveraging graphics in technical documents. No software purchase is necessary for this course.

 

WR 432-001 FRAMEWORKS FOR TECHNICAL WRITING

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Read
Instructional Method: Online

This course introduces students to the many frameworks for understanding the fundamental questions that shape technical communication as a practice in industry and as a field of academic study. Frameworks introduced may include rhetoric, design, ethics, social justice, network and ethics. Students will choose a framework to analyze and respond to a technical communication problem or situation of their choice and produce a portfolio piece to report and disseminate findings. This is a required core course in the MA/MS in Technical and Professional Writing. 

This course is shaped by four fundamental questions. Every week, we will be reflecting on how the framework in question (rhetoric, design, social justice, networks and ethics) offers unique answers to these four questions: 

  1. What is technical communication?
  2. What are the problems that technical communication aims to solve?
  3. What is the role of technical communication in academia, industry, non-profits, government and people’s lives? 
  4. What are the obligations of technical communication scholars and practitioners to people, organizations and the world at large?

 

WR 457-001 PERSONAL ESSAY WRITING

Instructor: Justin Hocking
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

The word "essay" derives from the French "essai," meaning "to attempt, try, or experiment." In this workshop we will subvert formulaic approaches to writing, and instead embrace the personal essay as a dynamic art form that allows us to meditate on a subject without necessarily arriving at any pat conclusions. We will explore various purposes for "essaying," from attempting to heal past traumas, to enacting political or cultural change, to simply making a reader laugh. We will also experiment with lyrical flights of fancy, poetic moves, and fictional technique—all of which are all admissible within the bounds of a single essay. Students will also learn to choreograph various levels of narrative intimacy and distance by engaging with works that dive deep into personal and emotionally charged material, while also expanding outward, well beyond the self, to weave in news from the wider world. 

Tentative Reading List:

  • Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction (Third Edition) by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola.
  • Abandon Me: Memoirs by Melissa Febos.
  • The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay. 
  • Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed.

 

WR 460-001 INTRO TO BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Anna Noak
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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 461-001 BOOK EDITING

Instructor: Sanjay Dharawat
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course is designed to give a basic overview of the fundamentals of book editing, including proofreading, copyediting, developmental editing, as well as editing for comics, and freelance work.

 

WR 462-001 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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 463-001 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 465-001 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & COPYRIGHT

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

Thirty years ago copyright law rarely made the news. Today, almost anyone with a computer understands that there are restrictions on how one may use, reproduce, and re-use information and creative works gleaned from any number of sources. As the world has moved from an industrial to a digital age, copyright has become perhaps the most vibrant and swiftly changing area of law. But the fundamental premise of copyright law still stands: an author is entitled to some degree of ownership and authority over his or her creation. To put it slightly differently, "copyright" means that an author (or owner) of a work has a "right" to make copies, or to prevent copies from being made. 

This course will provide the student with an outline of the various principles that lie behind intellectual property law, copyright law, the law of free expression (First Amendment law), defamation, as well as with a brief history of the various challenges these areas of law have faced over the years. The bulk of the course will address contemporary issues in copyright law, with an emphasis on practical, real-life solutions to contemporary copyright questions. 

 

WR 466-001 DIGITAL SKILLS

Instructor: Kathi Berens
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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.  We read texts about the history of writing software and coding as a cultural literacy.
 
This course is not focused on ebook publishing.  It is a prerequisite for the spring’s ebook production course.  Students with programming background should not take this course unless they wish to work on a specific project of their choice, and engage in humanities discourse about writing in computational environments.

 

WR 471-001 TYPOGRAPHY, LAYOUT, PRODUCTION

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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 473-001 DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING

Instructor: Abigail Ranger
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Developmental editing—also known as substantive editing—is the collaborative, intensive, multi-stage process by which editors help authors revise their manuscripts in order to publish the most compelling possible versions of their books. This course explores the nature of editor-author relationships within the book publishing ecosystem, and delves deeply into the craft of developmental editing. Both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts and contexts will be explored.  Students will gain practical tools for identifying untapped potential in stories and for guiding writers through substantive story improvements. Areas of focus include narrative structure, characterization, and worldbuilding, among other aspects of editorial craft. Assignments will be students’ editorial responses to actual working manuscripts and book proposals, culminating in a detailed editorial letter responding to a novel-length manuscript.

 

WR 474-001 PUBLISHING STUDIO

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

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 475-001 PUBLISHING LAB

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

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.

 

WR 477-001 CHILDREN'S BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Brian Parker
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course provides a comprehensive overview of children’s book publishing, from board books up through middle grade books and covering a wide range of age categories and genres. In this course, students will learn more about specific issues related to children’s book editing (both copyediting and developmental editing), marketing, design, and sales. 


Winter 2021 - Graduate Writing Courses

WR 507-001 SEM: MFA POETRY

Instructors: John Beer, Janice Lee
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

As writers, we inevitably use grammar—and at the same time grammar uses us. In this non-conventional grammar class, we’ll develop skills and tools to help you work with and think about English grammar and syntax. We will diagram sentences! But we’ll also examine the significance of choices that we make in language: investigating, questioning, resisting, and experimenting with grammatical structures, and considering the power dynamics and legacies of colonialism that inhabit those structures. We’ll be looking at critical and creative texts across genres, the structures of other languages, the logic of metaphors, and the grammar of other art disciplines. Ultimately, you’ll use these investigations to develop a more intimate and nuanced relationship to language in your own writing.

Texts:

  • Virginia Tufte, Artful Sentences
  • Renee Gladman, Calamities

 

WR 507-002 SEM: MFA FICTION

Instructors: John Beer, Janice Lee
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

As writers, we inevitably use grammar—and at the same time grammar uses us. In this non-conventional grammar class, we’ll develop skills and tools to help you work with and think about English grammar and syntax. We will diagram sentences! But we’ll also examine the significance of choices that we make in language: investigating, questioning, resisting, and experimenting with grammatical structures, and considering the power dynamics and legacies of colonialism that inhabit those structures. We’ll be looking at critical and creative texts across genres, the structures of other languages, the logic of metaphors, and the grammar of other art disciplines. Ultimately, you’ll use these investigations to develop a more intimate and nuanced relationship to language in your own writing.

Texts:

  • Virginia Tufte, Artful Sentences
  • Renee Gladman, Calamities

 

WR 509-001 PRAC: TCHING TECH & PRO WRITNG

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Read
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 510-001 TOP: PORTLAND REVIEW PUBLISHING

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

 

WR 514-001 GRADUATE POETRY WRITING

Instructor: Michele Glazer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This is a poetry workshop for MFA fiction and nonfiction students, as well as MA, Publishing, and post-bacs, who are interested in or curious about poetry. In a workshop format of writing, discussing, revising and reading, students will develop a greater understanding of how poems work, as well as new expressive muscles for your own writing, whether it’s prose or poetry. In our reading of poems and in the regular writing exercises, we’ll attend closely to what the language does, and to ways in which meaning is made in the relationship of syntax to line, in sonic relationships, in structure. Our reading of work by a range of poets will be augmented with essays, interviews, artist statements, and lyrical prose works.

Most works will be available on D2L. Writers may include Alice Oswald, Layli Long-Soldier, Jean Valentine, George Oppen, Jorie Graham, Donald Justice, Lydia Davis, Felix Feneon, Francis Ponge, Sappho via Anne Carson, Mary Ruefle, James Longenbach, Louise Glück, Claire-Louise Bennett, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Vievee Francis, Rusty Morrison, Bill Knott, William Wenthe.

 

WR 520-001 WRITING STUDIO

Instructor: Tony Wolk
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 521-001 MFA CORE WORKSHOP FICTION

Instructor: Gabriel Urza
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Formally: This class will primarily be dedicated to the writing and improvement of two original works of fiction (either a completed short story, sections of a novel, or novella). If you are submitting an excerpt from a longer work, I ask that you write a letter to the class that explains your vision of the project and where this piece fits into that vision. We will consider and discuss these manuscripts in the workshop format, as well as in written critiques. In addition, we will read and discuss Charles Baxter’s Burning Down the House, a book of craft essays on fiction writing. We will also complete a weekly writing exercises based on our readings in Burning Down the House.  

Informally: I believe wholeheartedly in the workshop format to solicit valuable feedback from a group of smart and attentive readers with disparate tastes and aesthetics. As readers, I ask that you take work submitted to workshop on its own terms; that is to say, that we read and critique with the author’s goals in mind, not ours. Conversely, I ask you as writers to listen to critiques of your work as honest responses, and responses that you have solicited by joining this workshop. You may be asked to explain your decisions and goals, so that the workshop may best help you arrive at those goals.

 

WR 522-001 MFA CORE WORKSHOP POETRY

Instructor: John Beer
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

 

WR 523-001 MFA CORE WORKSHOP NONFICTION

Instructor: Cole Cohen 
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course introduces MFA students to models of disability (social, medical, cultural, etc.) through an interdisciplinary practice of reading, writing, and revising works of criticism and creative writing on the theme of the body. Students can expect to investigate the role of politics, the mind, and culture in how normative standards are determined and enforced on all bodies and how we may subvert these standards through our writing. Reading for the course will include the core texts Alice Hall’s Literature and Disability,  Audre Lorde's The Cancer Journals, Ilya Kominsky’s Deaf Republic, Molly McCully Brown's The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, and Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Supplemental reading, including writing by thinkers and activists such as The Harriet Tubman Collective, Mia Mingus, and Sins Invalid, will be provided for students.

 

WR 524-001 GRANT WRITING FOR PROF WRITERS

Instructor: Tracy Dillon
Instructional Method: Online

 

WR 531-001 ADV TOP TW TECH DESIGN TOOLS

Instructor: Carrie Gilbert
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

In this course you will expand your technical communication problem-solving skill set by learning how to complement your writing with effective visuals. Students will learn how to create and manipulate simple vector graphics, first in Microsoft PowerPoint and then in Inkscape (an open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator). Along the way, we will explore basic design and visual communication concepts, troubleshooting techniques, and common considerations for leveraging graphics in technical documents. No software purchase is necessary for this course.

 

WR 532-001 FRAMEWORK FOR TECHNICAL WRITING

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Read
Instructional Method: Online

This course introduces students to the many frameworks for understanding the fundamental questions that shape technical communication as a practice in industry and as a field of academic study. Frameworks introduced may include rhetoric, design, ethics, social justice, network and ethics. Students will choose a framework to analyze and respond to a technical communication problem or situation of their choice and produce a portfolio piece to report and disseminate findings. This is a required core course in the MA/MS in Technical and Professional Writing. 

This course is shaped by four fundamental questions. Every week, we will be reflecting on how the framework in question (rhetoric, design, social justice, networks and ethics) offers unique answers to these four questions: 

  1. What is technical communication?
  2. What are the problems that technical communication aims to solve?
  3. What is the role of technical communication in academia, industry, non-profits, government and people’s lives? 
  4. What are the obligations of technical communication scholars and practitioners to people, organizations and the world at large?

 

WR 560-001 INTRO TO BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Anna Noak
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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

 

WR 561-001 BOOK EDITING

Instructor: Sanjay Dharawat
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course is designed to give a basic overview of the fundamentals of book editing, including proofreading, copyediting, developmental editing, as well as editing for comics, and freelance work.

 

WR 562-001 BOOK DESIGN SOFTWARE

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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

 

WR 563-001 BOOK MARKETING

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 565-001 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & COPYRIGHT

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

Thirty years ago copyright law rarely made the news. Today, almost anyone with a computer understands that there are restrictions on how one may use, reproduce, and re-use information and creative works gleaned from any number of sources. As the world has moved from an industrial to a digital age, copyright has become perhaps the most vibrant and swiftly changing area of law. But the fundamental premise of copyright law still stands: an author is entitled to some degree of ownership and authority over his or her creation. To put it slightly differently, "copyright" means that an author (or owner) of a work has a "right" to make copies, or to prevent copies from being made. 

This course will provide the student with an outline of the various principles that lie behind intellectual property law, copyright law, the law of free expression (First Amendment law), defamation, as well as with a brief history of the various challenges these areas of law have faced over the years. The bulk of the course will address contemporary issues in copyright law, with an emphasis on practical, real-life solutions to contemporary copyright questions. 

 

WR 566-001 DIGITAL SKILLS

Instructor: Kathi Berens
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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.  We read texts about the history of writing software and coding as a cultural literacy.
 
This course is not focused on ebook publishing.  It is a prerequisite for the spring’s ebook production course.  Students with programming background should not take this course unless they wish to work on a specific project of their choice, and engage in humanities discourse about writing in computational environments.

 

WR 571-001 TYPOGRAPHY, LAYOUT, PRODUCTION

Instructor: Kelley Dodd
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

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 573-001 DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING

Instructor: Abigail Ranger
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

Developmental editing—also known as substantive editing—is the collaborative, intensive, multi-stage process by which editors help authors revise their manuscripts in order to publish the most compelling possible versions of their books. This course explores the nature of editor-author relationships within the book publishing ecosystem, and delves deeply into the craft of developmental editing. Both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts and contexts will be explored.  Students will gain practical tools for identifying untapped potential in stories and for guiding writers through substantive story improvements. Areas of focus include narrative structure, characterization, and worldbuilding, among other aspects of editorial craft. Assignments will be students’ editorial responses to actual working manuscripts and book proposals, culminating in a detailed editorial letter responding to a novel-length manuscript.

 

WR 574-001 PUBLISHING STUDIO

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

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 575-001 PUBLISHING LAB

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

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.

 

WR 577-001 CHILDREN'S BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Brian Parker
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course provides a comprehensive overview of children’s book publishing, from board books up through middle grade books and covering a wide range of age categories and genres. In this course, students will learn more about specific issues related to children’s book editing (both copyediting and developmental editing), marketing, design, and sales. 

 

WR 579-001 RESEARCHING BOOK PUBLISHING

Instructor: Rachel Noorda
Instructional Method: Remote - Scheduled Meetings

This course introduces research methods specific to book publishing and is particularly geared toward Book Publishing Master’s students to equip them to write their final research paper for the program. Students will learn about qualitative and quantitative book publishing research methods and work through various stages of their final research paper for the Book Publishing Master’s Program. Students will emerge from the course with a measurable,  right-sized research question, a methodology plan, and draft of the research paper.