Fall 2021 Course Descriptions
Writing and the Humanities: Reading Between the Liner Notes (Writing About Music)
Delivery Mode: MWF, 1–2pm, in-person
Instructor: Courtney Skaggs
Stevie Wonder once said, "Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand." In this class, we will explore that world together as we investigate the myriad ways writers have chosen to engage with music over time. With a focus on contemporary music, we will read and write our way through many different genres, including music criticism, personal essays, interviews, music historicism, and lyric analysis. Expect to read work from essayists such as Hanif Abdurraqib and Joan Didion, articles and reviews from music writing publications, and D.I.Y. 'zines. In this course, you'll be asked to open not just your eyes, but your ears, too, so come prepared to listen to a wide range of artists and musical genres—from electronic-based pop to black metal—all the while considering what the themes and symbols presented in contemporary music may mean in relation to the historical and cultural contexts within which the music was produced.
Writing and the Humanities: Romanticism and Pop Culture
Delivery Mode: TTh, 9:45–11:15am, in-person
Instructor: Cade Yongue
"I look about, and should the guide I chuse / Be nothing better than a wandering cloud / I cannot miss my way." —William Wordsworth . . . In this course, we will examine British Romanticism and its writers—including William Wordsworth, Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, and others—with a focus on how Romanticism impacts our world today. How does Dorothy Wordsworth's "Floating Island" speak to modern day environmentalism? How does Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias" compare to the Watchmen character who bares the same name? And how does Samuel Taylor Coleridge's unfinished poem "Kubla Khan" intersect with modern day Graffiti? Through our study of Romanticism, we will answer these questions and many more. We will explore the ways in which writing can transcend time and cross social contexts. How centuries old prose and poetry manages to influence contemporary writing, television, video games, music, and so much more.
WRTG 211X, F03
Writing and the Humanities: Representations of Mental Illness
Delivery Mode: MWF, 9:15–10:15am, in-person
Instructor: Alison Miller
This is crazy. She’s nuts. That episode was insane. What a psycho. The language of mental illness permeates our vernacular. Often, we refer to our meticulous quirks as "OCD behavior" or say that we are "depressed" when we're really just sad. These terms are (mis-)used constantly and unthinkingly, usually without any intention of shaming people who do suffer from mental illness. But what do those casual appropriations mean for our collective cultural conceptions of mental illness? And where do they come from? In this course, we will be discussing the ways that mental illness is represented in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, film, and other forms of media.
Arguing Across Contexts: Sex and Media
Delivery Mode: MWF, 11:45am–12:45pm, online/synchronous
Instructors: Jane Jacob; KJ Janeschek
Is porn bad? Really, think about it. The topic of pornography can raise some heated debates, but what are those opinions based on? In this course, we will attempt to define the boundaries of pornography. Through scholarly articles, critical theory, essays written by sex workers, films, documentary episodes, and podcasts, we will examine pornography's many nuances. Using these resources, we will discuss and write about topics such as how the definition of pornography as changed over time, whether or not pornography can be feminist, how marginalized communities are affected by the industry, how pornography has affected romantic relationships, whether or not free pornography is ethical, and how technology has changed pornography. We will use the controversial topic of pornography to practice constructing and defending arguments while prioritizing compassion and respect for one another.
ENGL 376, FE1
Intermediate Creative Writing: Poetry
Delivery mode: TBD
Instructor: Sara Eliza Johnson
This intermediate-level course is a group writing workshop focused on writing poetry. We will read a wide variety of contemporary poets that attempt to process and understand the world in its beauty, terror, and complexity. In the process of reading, experimenting, and writing over these weeks, you will learn how to write in a diversity of forms, how your work connects to/with the work of other poets writing today, and how to critique the work of other writers. Throughout the course, we will also review and deepen our understanding of basic poetic techniques, such as figurative language, voice, sound, form, and the line.
Authors: Virginia Woolf and the 20th Century
Delivery Mode: MWF, 2:15–3:15pm, in-person
Instructor: Dr. Chris Coffman
This version of ENGL 435 is cross-listed with WGS 492; it will focus on the writings and twentieth-century legacy of feminist modernist writer Virginia Woolf, who is best known for stream-of-consciousness novels such as Mrs. Dalloway (1925) as well as for her famous non-fictional exploration of the situation of women writers in A Room of One's Own (1929). We will read those texts in the context of a broader look at Woolf's career, from the fantastic traversals of history and gender in Orlando (1928) to her highly poetic experimental novel The Waves (1931) to her non-fictional and fictional responses to the rise of fascism in Three Guineas (1938) and Between the Acts (1941). We will also examine Woolf's legacy in novels from the second half of the twentieth century: Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street (1984), Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987), Jeanette Winterson's The Passion (1987), and Michael Cunningham's The Hours (1998). Woolf's innovative writings stretch our understanding of genre, gender, sexuality, politics, history, and the psyche in ways that continue to take on new significance today.
ENGL 470, F01
Delivery Mode: T, 6–9pm, in-person
Aphra Behn, William Congreve, Richard Sheridan—Do these names ring bells? How about Alexander Pope, William Blake, or Robert Burns? Maybe …. Or Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne, or Maria Edgeworth? The Restoration marks the return of the English monarchy under Charles II after eleven dreary years of the Commonwealth under the Puritan Cromwells, Oliver and Richard. It was time to celebrate and make merry. English 606 will take up some of the poets, playwrights, and prose writers published in the last part of the 17th century and during the 18th—a century variously known as the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment, the Age of Sensibility. Laugh aloud with The Way of the World or "The Rape of the Lock." Enjoy the heartfelt songs and funny verse of Robert 'Bobbie' Burns or the often puzzling poetry of William Blake. Experience full-on satire with Gulliver's Travels, scratch your head over Tristram Shandy, or relish the unabashed confessions of one Moll Flanders. We will have a rollicking good time.
Studies in American Literature to 1865: Seafaring Adventure
Delivery Mode: W, 2:15-5:15pm, in-person
Instructor: Jennifer Schell
Do you want to read stories of mutiny, murder, and mayhem on the high seas? Do you want to travel to exotic ports of call? Do you want to encounter whales, walruses, or wobbegongs? Or do you just like to mess about in boats? Then, you should take this course! This semester we will examine nautical literature written by such famous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors as Daniel Defoe, Olaudah Equiano, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville. Along the way, we will also take up the works of several less familiar authors and a few literary critics/theorists. Thus, we will explore the complex and varied relationships between humans and the sea in the United States in the antebellum years.
ENGL 671, FE2
Writers' Workshop: Multi-genre
Delivery mode: W 6–9pm, in-person
Instructor: Sara Eliza Johnson
The aim of this open-genre workshop is twofold: to write and polish individual works for publication in our preferred genre(s), and to build a deeper understanding of how a book operates as a collective unit, so that we may better understand how our poems, essays, and/or stories are speaking to one another, as well as identify core lines of inquiry or ideas around which our manuscripts might evolve. To this end, we will be reading first books by both emerging and established authors to consider what we might learn from them as we complete our own theses. We will also look at how these books operate holistically—both thematically and structurally—in order to develop intuitive tools for organizing a manuscript for publication. Students will read and critique each other's work weekly. Cross-genre experimentation is encouraged but not required. Student presentations of class texts expected.