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Department of English Language and Literature

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Undergraduate Course Descriptions - Fall 2019

Awesome, Cool Classes You Won’t See Every Semester

ENGL 350.001   INTRODUCTION TO COMICS STUDIES   TR 2:50-4:05   MINETT

Tackles questions of storytelling, industry, history, culture, legitimation, and audiences. Readings range from Donald Duck to Maus, from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns to Fun Home, from Archie to The Avengers, from Persepolis to Lumberjanes, and from Tales from the Crypt to Young Romance.

ENGL430.001   TOPICS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE: Freedom Trains   TR 10:05-11:20   TRAFTON

This is a course which explores the meanings of the concept of freedom in African American literature from the revolutionary period to the present. More than just a metaphor, but also more than mere reality, the concept of freedom has meant and been used by a vast number of every kind of American since before the nation’s founding, but has had a special set of meanings for African Americans. Slavery and its aftermath is the most obvious reasons for the heightened sense of importance given to the concept of freedom in black culture, of course, but more to the point, it was the presence of slavery in the “land of liberty” – and the continuing effects of American racial and social injustice following Emancipation – which gave the term its force, as well as its sometimes bittersweet connotations. In this course we will cover poetry, prose, revolutionary manifestos, films, pop culture, and music to track some of these connotations.

ENGL 438B.001   SCOTTISH LITERATURE   MW 12:45-2:00   JARRELLS

This course offers a survey of Scottish literature from the eighteenth century to the present – that is, from Ossian to Outlander. How, we will ask, has Scotland, with its distinctive landscape, languages, oral traditions, and modern inventions, contributed to or challenged the idea of a United Kingdom (or an English literature)? What happens to regional identity and local associations in a global economy? Is Scottish literature a regional literature or a national literature – and what’s the difference? Why do so many Scottish writers turn to popular themes (horror, superstition, crime, magic) and forms (ballads, chapbooks, tales, children’s literature) to engage the serious issues of the day? And speaking of serious issues of the day, what can Scottish literature tell us about the recent call for independence and that complicated mess that goes by the name “Brexit”? Authors studied include Robert Burns, Anne Grant, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh, Ali Smith, Michel Faber, Janice Galloway, James Kelman, Jackie Kay, and Ian Rankin.

ENGL 439.001   TOPICS: Bright Lights Big City   TR 1:15-2:30   SHIELDS

The city was both the promise and the problem of the American republic. The burgeoning cities of the United States in the 19th century served simultaneously as the material evidence of the productivity and ambition of capitalism and the site of moral depravity and crime in the eyes of cultural critics whether religious, agrarian, or left utopian. This course will examine a series of literary and visual evocations of the city, exploring the politics, sociology, ethnography, and voice of the country’s great urban centers.

ENGL 439.002   TOPICS:  ALFRED HITCHCOCK:  Gender, Sexuality and Representation (Cross-Listed with FAMS 310)   MW 3:55-5:10   GREVEN

This course examines several key works of Alfred Hitchcock, one of the most important directors in film history, paying close attention to the recurring motifs and concerns in his body of work. Hitchcock’s career began in England, where he made the first English sound film (Blackmail) and several of the most important works of the 1930s. Lured to America by David O. Selznick, Hitchcock went on to make an astonishing number of films still pored over and debated by scholars. This course examines Hitchcock’s cinematic art, focusing on the intersection between his complex aesthetics and his controversial representation of gender roles and sexuality. Of particular interest will be Hitchcock’s development of suspense techniques from the equally influential sources of Soviet montage and German Expressionism; his recurring interest in the figure of the embattled woman; his representation of queer sexuality; his use of the film star (Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, and Grace Kelly especially); and the development of Hitchcock’s reputation as his critical reception, shaped by the intervention of the auteur critics in France and the United States, transformed the view of Hitchcock as primarily an entertainer to that of a serious artist.

Courses That Satisfy Core AIU & VSR Requirements

ENGL 200.001   Creative Writing, Voice, and Community   Satisfies AIU & VSR   TR 11:40-12:55               AMADON

Creative Writing, Voice, and Community is an introduction to writing as a form of social engagement. By examining creative work by established writers, we will discover formal strategies we can put to use in creative assignments. Both the outside texts and writing assignments are geared toward helping us to explore and assert our own identities and aesthetic values. The course will be divided in three units: (1) Self-discovery and Questioning Known Values, (2) Writing a Community, and (3) the Value Of Attention/What We Value Through Attention. In addition to reading and analyzing outside texts and creating poems and stories of our own, we will become accustomed to describing and helping further the development of our classmates’ writing, the ultimate goal being the creation of a workshop community in which everyone feels able to take risks in their writing.

ENGL 282.001   FICTION: Introduction to Global Studies through Literature (Designed for Non-English Majors; Cross-listed with GLST 220)   Satisfies AIU   MW 2:20-3:35   WOERTENDYKE                     

What does it mean to think globally? This course invites students to explore how networks and flows of people, wealth, goods, ecosystems, ideas, and information across vast distances have shaped human experience. We will draw on insights from a range of disciplines, encouraging us to apply global perspectives to the study of issues such as identity, war, migration, commerce, human rights, justice, and artistic expression and communication. Literature has long been a resource for understanding the values, beliefs, and practices of different cultures. In this course, students will read, discuss, and write about literature from different periods, nations, and regions across the world in order to better understand the way human experiences and different cultures relate. We will consider how literature represents real policies and practices in the contemporary world and what our ethical responsibilities are as global citizens.

ENGL 282.002   FICTION: Prepper Fiction: Modern American Novels of the Coming Collapse (Designed for Non-English Majors)   Satisfies AIU   TR 1:15-2:30   GWARA

The financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession created—for some Americans—the prospect of a future economic, social, ecological, and/or political apocalypse, code name SHTF. From this expectation emerged the cultural phenomenon of the “prepper,” who was prepping (“preparing”) for this anticipated collapse. Joining forces to create self-reliant militias comprised of friends, family, and resilient strangers, preppers stockpile food, fuel, weapons, medicine, and other essential supplies of civilization; hoard gold and pre-1965 silver coinage (called “constitutional silver”); practice survival drills; build elaborate, carefully hidden and defensible bunkers; and encourage virtues they associate with a deeply patriotic neo-American identity. Underlying the prepper impulse lies the anxiety of ceaseless readiness, an essential self-righteous conviction, an ecumenical Christianity, a co-survivalist brand of racial tolerance, and a commerce based on sound money, tangible trade-goods, and arable land. In their fiction—a brand new American genre—preppers imagine a bleak future of social isolation, desperate shortages, and widespread contagion. The new America will wage a second Revolutionary War against grasping liberal elites, EU mercenaries, or domestic dictators. This course is intended to explore the cultural mythology conveyed in prepper novels, identify the neoteric American ideals such fiction entails, and understand the resilience that preppers embrace. We will look closely, in other words, at the human archetypes comprising imaginary prepper communities. NOTE: In presenting these novels on their own terms, the instructor of this course neither expresses nor endorses any political, economic, social, or cultural positions.

ENGL 283.001   TOPICS IN BRITISH LITERATURE: Sex, Death and Beauty   Satisfies AIU   TR 10:05-11:20   STERN

In this class, we will explore British authors’ uses of sex and death to create their own renditions of beauty.  Reading across centuries and genres to examine the uses to which sex and death combine to create compelling literary masterpieces, we will analyze how various authors engage their readers and the major issues of their historical moments.  Beginning with John Donne’s strange seduction-by-bug poem, “The Flea,” and concluding with such contemporary works as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the semester’s reading includes classics and lesser-known wonders that press at the boundaries of what constitutes beauty.  Assignments include reading responses, two short papers, a midterm, and a final exam.

ENGL 285.003   TOPICS IN AMERICAN LITERATURE: Science Fiction   Satisfies AIU   TR 3:55-5:10   MUCKELBAUER

Mathematician and novelist, Vernor Vinge summarizes a paper he delivered at a NASA conference in 1993 as follows: “Within 30 years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.” This event, which Vinge termed “the singularity,” has become a popular topic of debate among scientists and artists alike: are we actually on the verge of a major transformation to our species? Is this superhuman intelligence even possible? And if so, is it desirable? Or controllable? As we will see, Vinge and others focus primarily on the implications of artificial intelligence as the key element of this transformation.  However, other contemporary thinkers point to significant changes in bio-technology (for instance, our increasing ability to alter nuclear DNA) as indicating that our near future might look significantly “post-human.”  In fact, some have even argued that our society’s increasing dependence on mood-enhancing medications indicates that we are already well on our way to becoming something other than human. But what exactly do we mean by this? What, precisely, does it mean to be human? These are big questions with profound moral, ethical, and even legal implications.

In this class we will engage a series of different works (fictional, scientific, cinematic, and philosophical) that not only pose these questions, but wrestle with the implications of some possible responses. To be clear, along with many of the writers we will read, our goal will not be to definitively answer these questions, but to attempt to map some of the recurring directions in contemporary posthumanist thinking.

Prerequisites

ENGL 287.001   AMERICAN LITERATURE (Designed for English majors)   Satisfies AIU   TR 11:40-12:55   POWELL
English 287 provides an introduction to American literary history, emphasizing the analysis of literary texts, the development of literary traditions over time, the emergence of new genres and forms, and the writing of successful essays about literature. This section presents competing narratives of U.S. literary history by clustering selections by representative writers from a range of American literary traditions as they deal with selected characteristic themes across several centuries, beginning with Benjamin Franklin and Olaudah Equiano and concluding with Audre Lorde and Billy Collins. The conversation clusters will draw on exemplary works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, to support the exploration of both the advantages and limitations of thinking about literary history in terms of traditions, what narratives about literary history may reveal about literary influence and innovation in particular, and what they may also obscure. Students may expect lectures, group activities, discussion, one or more midterms, two essays, and a cumulative final exam.

ENGL 287.003   AMERICAN LITERATURE (Designed for English majors)   Satisfies AIU   TR 10:05-11:20   COLLINS
An introduction to American literary history, emphasizing the analysis of literary texts, the development of literary traditions over time, the emergence of new genres and forms, and the writing of successful essays about literature.

ENGL 287.004   AMERICAN LITERATURE   (Designed for English majors)   Satisfies AIU  MW 2:20-3:35   GREVEN
An introduction to American literary history, emphasizing the analysis of literary texts, the development of literary traditions over time, the emergence of new genres and forms, and the writing of successful essays about literature.

ENGL 287.005   AMERICAN LITERATURE: Homelands, Rebels, and Aliens   (Designed for English majors)   Satisfies AIU  TR 4:25-5:40   VANDERBORG
This class examines how key American authors have tried to define a national identity based on acts of rebellion and immigration. Who gets included in or excluded from these metaphoric homelands? Is the country symbolized by a melting pot, a “Dream,” a consensus, a tradition of dissent, or multiple voices recounting different histories? The course is reading-intensive and oriented toward discussion (about 20% lecture, 80% discussion). There will be two papers and a final exam, as well as frequent reading quizzes and discussion posts.

 

ENGL 288.001   ENGLISH LITERATURE   (Designed for English majors)   Satisfies AIU  TR 8:30-9:45   COHEN
An introduction to English literary history, emphasizing the analysis of literary texts, the development of literary traditions over time, the emergence of new genres and forms, and the writing of successful essays about literature.

ENGL 288.002   ENGLISH LITERATURE   (Designed for English majors)   Satisfies AIU  TR 1:15-2:30   BRITTON
According to one definition of the term “survey,” this kind of course would “take a broad, general, or comprehensive view of” British literature. But to survey is also to “determine the form, extent, and situation of the parts of (a tract of ground, or any portion of the earth’s surface) by linear and angular measurements, so as to construct a map.” In this course, students will seek a comprehensive view of British literature by thinking about how major literary texts imagine and reference geographical space. In our discussions, we will map the places of literature’s origins and settings, tease out the narrative and geographic meanings of “plot,” and consider maps and literature as two modes of representation. This class meets in the Hollings Library, and we will supplement our discussions of literary works with the study of maps and original editions in USC’s Rare Books and Special Collections. Authors will include William Shakespeare, Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Zadie Smith, and others.

ENGL 288.003   ENGLISH LITERATURE   (Designed for English majors)   Satisfies AIU  TR 11:40-12:55   CORIALE
An introduction to English literary history, emphasizing the analysis of literary texts, the development of literary traditions over time, the emergence of new genres and forms, and the writing of successful essays about literature.

Pre-1800 Literature

ENGL 380.001   EPIC TO ROMANCE   (Cross-listed with CPLT 380.001)  TR 10:05-11:20   GWARA

A study of genres, characterization, and salient themes in five major texts: Homer’s Iliad, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Beowulf, Marie’s Lais, and Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.

ENGL 382.001   THE ENLIGHTENMENT   TR 2:50-4:05   GAVIN

The Enlightenment was an intellectual and political movement in Europe and Great Britain that spanned the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, emphasizing freedom of thought and experimentation. Science, democracy, nationalism, and capitalism all underwent fundamental transformations during this period, as did literary forms like operas and novels. During this course, students will be introduced to the broad outlines of this important moment in cultural history, with an emphasis on writers from Great Britain and with special attention to changes in literary form over the eighteenth century.

ENGL 405.001   SHAKESPEARE’S TRAGEDIES   MW 11:10-12:25   GIESKES

We will read eight plays this semester—plays generally labeled as tragedies, along with one that occupies a slightly different generic niche—deriving from almost the whole span of Shakespeare’s dramatic career. We will also read one play not by Shakespeare (Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy) to provide some context for Shakespeare’s tragic practice. Our goal will be to read the plays closely as literature—objects of verbal art—and as playtexts—scripts for theatrical production. In addition we will attempt to situate Shakespeare’s plays in the context in which they were produced: early modern London. Shakespeare’s plays are intimately involved with that context and our reading will be enriched by an understanding of his times.

ENGL 406.001   SHAKESPEARES COMEDIES AND HISTORIES   MW 2:20-3:35   SHIFFLETT

We shall study plays that address ethical and political themes relevant both to Shakespeare’s time and ours. Comedies and romances may include Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest. Histories may include Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, and Henry V. Requirements are likely to include an essay, a midterm exam, and a take-home final comprehensive exam.

Post-1800 Literature

ENGL 350.001   Introduction to Comics Studies   TR 2:50-4:05   MINETT

Tackles questions of storytelling, industry, history, culture, legitimation, and audiences. Readings range from Donald Duck to Maus, from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns to Fun Home, from Archie to The Avengers, from Persepolis to Lumberjanes, and from Tales from the Crypt to Young Romance.

ENGL 393.001   POSTCOLONIALISM   TR 11:40-12:55   JELLY-SCHAPIRO

This course will examine how works of fiction and theory represent and critique the extant history of colonial power. Tracing the development of colonial forms from the advent of the New World through to the present—from Jamaica to India to South Africa—our inquiry will accent the ways in which modernity has been constituted from and by the “periphery” of the capitalist world system. In our engagement with the contemporary moment, we will reflect upon the continuing resonance of colonial rationality in the time of its supposed negation—the structural contiguities between the colonial past and (post)colonial present, and the cultures of memory and witness that evince the enduring presence of colonial histories. Proceeding in a dialectical spirit, we will remain attentive throughout to formations of cultural, intellectual, and political resistance to colonial power.

ENGL 411.001   BRITISH ROMANTIC LITERATURE   TR 1:15-2:30   FELDMAN

Poetry and prose of the English Romantic period.

ENGL 413.001   MODERN ENGLISH LITERATURE   TR 1:15-2:30   COHEN

This course will trace major concerns of twentieth-century British literature, including shifting ideas about nation, empire, and history. We’ll look at the role gender plays in these configurations, and the way literary form is deployed in their redefinition, with special emphasis on the relations between modernity and questions of genre; we’ll be reading a number of short works, as well as longer fictions, in an effort to cover a century of self-conscious experimentation. Authors may include Wells, West, Forster, Woolf, Greene, Rhys, Carter, Swift, Smith, Rushdie, Evaristo and/or others. Requirements: short responses, one longer paper and revision, final exam, and exuberant participation.

ENGL 428B.001   African American Literature II: 1903-Present   TR 1:15-2:30   COLLINS

Representative works of African-American writers from 1903 to the present.

ENGL 430.001   TOPICS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE: Freedom Trains   TR 10:05-11:20   TRAFTON

This is a course which explores the meanings of the concept of freedom in African American literature from the revolutionary period to the present. More than just a metaphor, but also more than mere reality, the concept of freedom has meant and been used by a vast number of every kind of American since before the nation’s founding, but has had a special set of meanings for African Americans. Slavery and its aftermath is the most obvious reasons for the heightened sense of importance given to the concept of freedom in black culture, of course, but more to the point, it was the presence of slavery in the “land of liberty” – and the continuing effects of American racial and social injustice following Emancipation – which gave the term its force, as well as its sometimes bittersweet connotations. In this course we will cover poetry, prose, revolutionary manifestos, films, pop culture, and music to track some of these connotations.

ENGL 431A.001   CHILDREN’S LITERATURE   TR 8:30-9:45   JOHNSON-FEELINGS

This course introduces students to the field of contemporary children’s literature, encompassing picture books as well as short novels written for audiences of young people. Topics of exploration include (but are not limited to) the history of children’s literature, the world of children’s book prizing, the legacy of Dr. Seuss, the disturbing image in children’s books, and literary/artistic excellence in children’s literature. In some ways, this is an American Studies course; students will consider ways in which children’s literature infuses our culture—“There’s no place like home.” Students will leave the course with an understanding of central issues and controversies in the industry of children’s book publishing and the literary criticism of children’s books. Most importantly, students will explore the relationship between children’s literature and the idea of social justice.

ENGL 432.001   YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE   TR 1:15-2:30   SCHWEBEL

This course provides an opportunity to study the origins and current state of a rapidly-growing field in the United States, Young Adult literature. We begin by reading groundbreaking books originally written for adults but which became wildly popular through their adoption in secondary school curriculum. We’ll discuss how these novels helped to define a genre before we turn our attention to the study of YA literature (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) published since 2000, when the American Library Association established the Printz prize for excellence in young adult writing. The rise of YA literature has been accompanied by the blossoming of Children’s Literature as an academic field of study. This course devotes significant attention to literary criticism on YA literature.

ENGL 435.001   THE SHORT STORY   MW 8:05-9:20   KEYSER

In the early twentieth-century United States, the short story was imagined to be a debased and feminine form, associated with the New Woman and nostalgic regionalism in an era of modernization. By the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway’s famously taciturn style reclaimed the short story as a masculine, high-art form; at the same time, William Faulkner used the short story to expand his elastic syntax and to hone his critical perspective on the South. In the 1950s and 1960s in creative writing programs, short stories became a testing ground for aspiring writers, not to mention a ticket for publication in the New Yorker. Today, the short story offers a venue for exciting experimentation, as writers like Carmen Maria Machado and Kelly Link reclaim the weird inside this form that has often been associated with realism and psychological interiority. As we follow this form through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, we will ask what aspects of brevity are enabling for writers and how they apply principles of structure in this compressed space. We will also consider how the short story speaks to its moment of production, through theme, style, and literary movement. Assignments will include quizzes, exams, a creative imitation of one of the writers, and a critical essay. Authors may include Kate Chopin, Susan Glaspell, Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, Raymond Carver, Ursula K. LeGuin, Toni Morrison, Lauren Groff, Carmen Maria Machado, and John Keene.

ENGL 437.001   WOMEN WRITERS   (Cross-listed with WGST 437.001)  MW 2:50-4:05   POWELL

This section of English 437 will consider how selected U.S. southern women writers have explored their experience of education in imaginative literature since the mid-twentieth century. Some of the questions we will consider are what a cross-section of southern women writers have suggested that it may mean to learn or teach, what it may mean to learn or teach in parts of the U. S. South in particular, and what it may mean for a woman to learn or teach. A possible reading list might include fiction, nonfiction, and poems by authors such as Doris Betts, Nikky Finney, Gail Godwin, Minrose Gwin, Flannery O’Connor, Mab Segrest, Monique Truong, or Alice Walker, among others. Students may expect lectures, group activities, discussion, one or more midterms, two essays, and a cumulative final exam.

ENGL 438B.001   SCOTTISH LITERATURE   MW 12:45-2:00   JARRELLS

This course offers a survey of Scottish literature from the eighteenth century to the present – that is, from Ossian to Outlander. How, we will ask, has Scotland, with its distinctive landscape, languages, oral traditions, and modern inventions, contributed to or challenged the idea of a United Kingdom (or an English literature)? What happens to regional identity and local associations in a global economy? Is Scottish literature a regional literature or a national literature – and what’s the difference? Why do so many Scottish writers turn to popular themes (horror, superstition, crime, magic) and forms (ballads, chapbooks, tales, children’s literature) to engage the serious issues of the day? And speaking of serious issues of the day, what can Scottish literature tell us about the recent call for independence and that complicated mess that goes by the name “Brexit”? Authors studied include Robert Burns, Anne Grant, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh, Ali Smith, Michel Faber, Janice Galloway, James Kelman, Jackie Kay, and Ian Rankin.

ENGL 439.001   Bright Lights, Big City   TR 1:15-2:30   SHIELDS

The city was both the promise and the problem of the American republic.  The burgeoning cities of the United States in the 19th century served simultaneously as the material evidence of the productivity and ambition of capitalism and the site of moral depravity and crime in the eyes of cultural critics whether religious, agrarian, or left utopian.  This course will examine a series of literary and visual evocations of the city, exploring the politics, sociology, ethnography, and voice of the country’s great urban centers.

ENGL 439.002   ALFRED HITCHCOCK:  Gender, Sexuality, and Representation   (Cross-Listed with FAMS 310)   MW 3:55-5:10   GREVEN

This course examines several key works of Alfred Hitchcock, one of the most important directors in film history, paying close attention to the recurring motifs and concerns in his body of work. Hitchcock’s career began in England, where he made the first English sound film (Blackmail) and several of the most important works of the 1930s. Lured to America by David O. Selznick, Hitchcock went on to make an astonishing number of films still pored over and debated by scholars. This course examines Hitchcock’s cinematic art, focusing on the intersection between his complex aesthetics and his controversial representation of gender roles and sexuality. Of particular interest will be Hitchcock’s development of suspense techniques from the equally influential sources of Soviet montage and German Expressionism; his recurring interest in the figure of the embattled woman; his representation of queer sexuality; his use of the film star (Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, and Grace Kelly especially); and the development of Hitchcock’s reputation as his critical reception, shaped by the intervention of the auteur critics in France and the United States, transformed the view of Hitchcock as primarily an entertainer to that of a serious artist.

 Creative Writing

ENGL 360.001   Creative Writing   TR 10:05-11:20    JOHNSON-FEELINGS               

This course is designed especially for students interested in writing for an audience of children and/or young adults. Workshop participants will explore the demands of these genres through reading representative primary texts and relevant secondary texts. Students will produce manuscripts in any number of genres (including but not limited to picture books, short fiction, poetry, and memoir). Depending on the genres in which students are working, they will submit one or more pieces of original work at the end of the semester. In addition, students will turn in statements reflecting upon the writing process. This course is not for those who think of the field as “kiddie lit” or imagine beginning their lives as writers with children’s books and then “graduating” to adult literature.

ENGL 360.002   Creative Writing   MW 12:45-2:00   DINGS

This course is an introduction to creative writing which will focus on short fiction and poetry, one-half semester for each genre. Students will learn fundamental techniques and concepts by reading professional stories and poems as models; students then will write their own original stories and poems to be discussed in a workshop format by their peers and instructor.  All work will be revised before grading by portfolio.

ENGL 360.003   Creative Writing   TR 2:50-4:05   BAJO   

This creative writing course will be a workshop for the contemporary literary short story. Early weeks will center around the study of contemporary short stories and poems in order to discover what makes writing fiction, and what makes writing contemporary. Discussion of the elements of fiction and the anatomy of story over the first three weeks will merge into class workshops on student story drafts. Some attention will be given to the relationship between writing and publishing. In addition to showing students the craft of fiction, learning outcomes will also offer experience in the skills of informed discussion and presentation, the beginnings of professional collegiality.

ENGL 360.004   Creative Writing   MW 11:10-12:25   BARILLA

This course will explore strategies for producing compelling creative work in different genres. At the beginning of the course, we will work with elements of short fiction, and move in more experimental directions as the course proceeds. The course will function primarily as a workshop, in which students will share work in progress with other members of the class. The course will also involve reading and discussing published models, as well as numerous writing exercises. Students will produce a portfolio of original creative work, which they will turn in at the end of the course for a final grade.

ENGL 464.001   Poetry Workshop   MW 11:10-12:25   COUNTRYMAN

The focus of this course will be writing and revising new poems. Students will refine their ability to articulate their own poetic aims and style, while also expanding their view of what a poem can be and do through readings of contemporary poetry and writing exercises tied to those readings. Peer response will factor heavily into the final grade. The final goal of this course is a portfolio of original creative work. Students should have taken ENGL 360 previously, but those with experience writing poetry or taking creative writing workshops are welcome. 

ENGL 465.001   Fiction Workshop   TR 4:25-5:40   BLACKWELL

This course is for students who have either completed ENGL 360 or dabbled in writing fiction and want to roll up their sleeves and get a little more serious. We’ll read some published stories to consider how contemporary writers are working with the elements of literary fiction, but most class time will be given to the friendly yet constructive group critique of each other’s writing. (If you want to look up the professor, she publishes as Elise Blackwell.)

ENGL 469.001   Creative Nonfiction   MW 2:20-3:35   BARILLA

Welcome to a workshop in creative nonfiction. What does that mean? Memory, the self, the writing process, the little known world . . . these will be the focus of our class. This class is designed to explore the constellation of subgenres that make up the broader category of nonfiction. We will begin with memoir, looking inward, and then proceed to work our way out into the world. We will write essays of varying length and complexity, some of which draw upon experiences and knowledge you already have, while others will require you to have new experiences and acquire new knowledge. The objectives, or goals, for this course, are to: 1) sharpen your skills as a writer; 2) become familiar with the spectrum of nonfiction subgenres; 3) improve your ability to offer constructive editorial feedback, and 4) learn to revise your own work productively.

 We will spend a good portion of our time in workshop, discussing student work, but we will punctuate our discussions with classes devoted to the consideration of technique in outside reading. We will also spend considerable time on exercises, both during class and at home. You will turn in a portfolio of your revised work at the end of the semester, in which I expect you to include four polished essays. Please note that while I will provide detailed written analyses of your workshop submissions, I will be unable to respond in writing, beyond assigning a grade, to your revisions.

ENGL 492.001   Advanced Fiction Workshop   TR 2:50-4:05   BLACKWELL  

This course is for students who have taken ENGL 360 and 465 and/or have substantial experience reading and writing literary fiction. Most class sessions will be workshops of students’ original fiction, though we’ll occasionally take a break to tackle a craft issue, consider an exemplary published work, argue about writing as an art form, or discuss publishing and other aspects of the writing life. If you’re considering going on for a Master of Fine Arts and/or writing after you graduate, this is for you. (If you want to look up the professor, she publishes as Elise Blackwell.)

Rhetoric, Theory, and Writing

ENGL 388.001   History of Literary Criticism and Theory   TR 11:40-12:55   GLAVEY

This course will survey the developments that have shaped the way scholars and critics have studied literature and culture across the twentieth century and into the twenty–first. Each school of thought we cover could easily be the topic of a course all of its own. We will be moving quickly and, of necessity, leaving out a great deal. The goal of the course is thus not to achieve mastery of any particular approach. Rather, the class is to serve as a brief introduction to many different ideas in the hopes of multiplying our sense of what it might mean to read and interpret a text. Many of our readings—though generally short—are notoriously difficult or confusing. It is quite possible that you will find much of this material challenging and even frustrating (though some of you will no doubt be familiar with these ideas from other courses). Confusion is completely appropriate, and my aim this semester is to create a space where we can all feel comfortable talking about what does and does not make sense to us, what seems obvious and what impossible. By the end of the course, students will:

  • become conversant with the major thinkers and schools of thought that have defined the professional discourse of literary and cultural studies;

  • experiment with applying different theoretical approaches to literary texts in exploratory and collaborative interpretive exercises;

and engage in meaningful debate about relations among aesthetics, history, race, gender, sexuality, and class, as well as language and representation.

ENGL 460.001   Advanced Writing   MW 12:45-2:00   RULE

How do writers stand out? What about a writer's choices—about their sentences or structure or tiny word choices—make us feel like we're experiencing their "voice"? How do writers shape language to convey their unique perspective, their presence, or distinct personality? This course focuses on these questions, as we puzzle over what it means to say that writing has "voice" and explore how to bring out such force in our own writing, especially in the genre of the personal essay. Through study of rhetorical style, sentence-craft, identification, and other concepts, you can expect in this class to analyze a range of personal essays (from authors including David Sedaris, Nancy Mairs, Joy Williams, Annie Dillard, Jamaica Kincaid, and more), collect in a commonplace book samples of powerful sentences and excerpts, and develop your own essays in a semester-long writer's workshop and portfolio, including a multimodal project in which you literally give voice to your writing. 

ENGL 462.001   Technical Writing   MW 12:45-2:00   BROCK

Preparation for, critical examination of, and extensive practice in types of writing important to technical communicators. Genres explored include brief memos, instructions and procedural documentation, formal proposals, reports, and usability tests.

ENGL 463   BUSINESS WRITING   (multiple sections; see SSC for available times)

Extensive practice in different types of business writing, from brief letters to formal articles and reports.

ENGL 468.001   Digital Writing   MW 12:45-2:00   HAWK

This course will examine recording, editing, and distribution of sound as a form of digital writing. In a contemporary world where writing is mostly digital, we often overlook the presence of sound--music that accompanies video, voice published as podcasts, noise remixed into an ambient art form or as background for daily life. In order to understand the rhetorical effects of sound compositions, this course will read and discuss important works in the field of sound studies and offer an introduction to using open source digital audio editing tools for writing with sound. Students will write and produce their own short podcast series.

Language and Linguistics (all fulfill the Linguistics overlay requirement)

ENGL 389001   MW 2:20-3:35   (Cross-listed with LING 301.001)

The English Languages introduces linguistics through an in-depth exploration of many aspects of English. We will examine the English sound system (phonetics and phonology), word structure (morphology), grammar (syntax), and meaning and usage (semantics). We will also consider other aspects of English, including its acquisition by children, its history as a language, and its social context. 

ENGL 389.002   MW 3:55-5:10   (Cross-listed with LING 301.002)

The English Languages introduces linguistics through an in-depth exploration of many aspects of English. We will examine the English sound system (phonetics and phonology), word structure (morphology), grammar (syntax), and meaning and usage (semantics). We will also consider other aspects of English, including its acquisition by children, its history as a language, and its social context.

ENGL 450.001   ENGLISH GRAMMAR (Cross-listed with LING 421.001)   TR 10:05-11:20   LIU

  • What is “grammar”?

  • What is corpus?

  • How is corpus-based grammar different from traditional grammar?

  • Is there one correct grammar that is suitable for all purposes and contexts?

  • Is the grammar one uses in conversation different from the grammar used in writing?

  • How is grammar manipulated to achieve various communicative functions?

ENGL 450/ LING 421 answers these questions by describing the systematic nature of English grammar as it relates to the contexts in which it is used and the speakers/writers who use it.

Honors College Courses (restricted to SC Honors College Students)

ENGL 282.H01   FICTION: Introduction to Global Studies through Literature (Designed for Non-English Majors)   Satisfies AIU   MW 3:55-5:10   WOERTENDYKE

What does it mean to think globally? This discussion-based course invites students to explore how networks and flows of people, wealth, goods, ideas, and information across vast distances have shaped human experience. Course materials draw on insights from a range of disciplines, enabling students to apply global perspectives to the study of issues such as identity, war, migration, commerce, human rights, justice, and artistic expression and communication. Literature has long been a resource for understanding the values, beliefs, and practices of different cultures.  In this course, students will read, discuss, and write about literature from different periods, nations, and regions across the world in order to better understand the way human experiences and different cultures relate. We will consider how literature represents real policies and practices in the contemporary world and our ethical responsibility as global citizens. All literature will be read and taught in English.

ENGL 283.H01   TOPICS IN BRITISH LITERATURE: Sex, Death, and Beauty (Designed for Non-English Majors)   Satisfies AIU   TR 1:15-2:30   STERN

In this class, we will explore British authors’ uses of sex and death to create their own renditions of beauty.  Reading across centuries and genres to examine the uses to which sex and death combine to create compelling literary masterpieces, we will analyze how various authors engage their readers and the major issues of their historical moments.  Beginning with John Donne’s strange seduction-by-bug poem, “The Flea,” and concluding with such contemporary works as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the semester’s reading includes classics and lesser-known wonders that press at the boundaries of what constitutes beauty.  Assignments include reading responses, two short papers, a midterm, and a final exam.

ENGL 285.H01   TOPICS IN AMERICAN LITERATURE:  [Designed for Non-English Majors] American Slavery & American Literature from the Eighteenth Century to Present   Satisfies AIU   MW 2:20-3:35   JACKSON

This course will introduce you to the powerful and widely divergent literary responses to slavery in America from the eighteenth century to the present. We’ll define ‘literary' generously to include not only fiction, poetry, and drama, but also sermons, songs, autobiographies, journalism, advertisements, polemical pamphlets, clay pots, plantation record books, and a number of other expressive forms. Since scholars now argue that slavery in America was a transnational phenomenon with implications that spanned the globe, we’ll define “American” fairly generously at moments also. In the first half of the semester, we'll explore writings about slavery from the 1760s through the 1860s, including not only narratives produced by fugitive and former slaves themselves, but also by black and white abolitionists, and by pro-slavery advocates. In the second half, we'll look at fictions that have sought to come to terms with slavery since the Civil War, including so-called neo-slave narratives. The themes we’ll explore may include (but won’t be limited to) the ways in which the authors of fugitive slave writings established their credibility; the challenge of expressing human suffering in language; the question of for whom, and under what terms, writings about slavery were produced; the influence of religion on both pro- and anti-slavery aesthetics; issues of gender, class, sexuality, and intersectionality; the conundrum of voice and ventriloquism in writings by and about enslaved persons; and the politics of memory and forgiveness. We’ll determine other themes to explore collaboratively as they emerge from our discussions.  Readings will include a variety of critical and historical works, as well as works of literature. Assessment will probably entail a combination of quizzes, essays, and exams.

ENGL 286.H01   Poetry (Designed for Non-English Majors)   Satisfies AIU   TR 2:50-4:05   VANDERBORG

Calling all poetry lovers—or anyone curious about poetry’s unique forms and themes! This class offers a brief history of narrative and lyric poetry, starting with translated selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Old English poetry, and then moving to Middle English poetry and early modern ballads. We conclude with examples of modern and postmodern poetry—including a poetry book made up of 500 index cards, visual collage poetry, and a poem translated into DNA bases and then implanted into a living organism.

We will use the Norton Anthology of Poetry, shorter edition (at campus bookstore) as the main text, supplemented by additional poems from a course reader. Each class includes a brief lecture followed by extensive discussion.

ENGL 287.H01   AMERICAN LITERATURE   (Designed for English majors)   Satisfies AIU   TR 1:15-2:30   TRAFTON

An introduction to American literary history, emphasizing the analysis of literary texts, the development of literary traditions over time, the emergence of new genres and forms, and the writing of successful essays about literature.

ENGL 360.H01   Creative Writing   MW 11:10-12:25   DINGS

This course will focus equally on short fiction and poetry.  We will read closely various stories and poems by some of our best writers, but we will read as writers, noting what we can about the techniques and structures that we too might use in the creation of our own stories and poems. Ordinarily, writing assignments will be made that require students to focus on key abilities/skills—basic, core things that any good writer simply needs to be able to do.  That said, students are expected to add to the basic assignment in ways that develop their artistic interests and imaginations. The individuation of each student’s style and sensibility is a core goal, but in order for this to happen, burgeoning writers must explore and develop an array of techniques and skills from which to choose at any given artistic moment. This course is designed to facilitate that process, but any serious writer must learn how to learn and take initiative in his or her own development.

SCHC 350.H02   HNRS:  The Birth and Death of the Book: From Gutenburg to Google   MW 11:10-12:25   JACKSON

With the rise of the Internet calling into question the very future of the book as a viable technology, it seems like an especially good time to explore the book’s past. Where do books come from? How are they printed, published, and promoted? How are they shipped, stored, sold, and read? How long have they been around, and how much longer are they likely to be so? The Birth and Death of the Book will explore the history of the book as a technology, as a means of information storage and retrieval, as a commodity, an art form, and as way of understanding the world. It will introduce students to the history of the book from the beginning of the first millennium to the beginning of the second, ranging across continents, cultures, and centuries. It will also explore the ways in which the book has been threatened with extinction or irrelevance by other forms of communication including telephones, televisions, and especially the Internet, and consider the book’s possible futures. The class will entail a mixture of readings in historical and literary sources; hands on experience with books hundreds of years old and hot off the press; experimentation with printing presses and web publishing, and lots of bold, speculative thinking. Possible themes will include the psychology and physiology of reading; the Harry Potter craze as a publishing phenomenon; book hoarding, book burning, and book theft; the invention of the printing press; the rise of book clubs; the emergence of Amazon and the decline of bricks-and-mortar book stores; the transformation of publishing; the experience of reading, writing, and publishing digitally; and many other topics. The class should be of interest to students in English, History, Sociology, Psychology, and any other field of humanistic exploration.

SCHC 383.H02   HNRS: Mathematics for Shakespeare   TR 1:15-2:30   GAVIN

With the public release of digital versions of major authors like William Shakespeare, as well as with the availability of large-scale datasets like Early English Books Online, it’s now possible to study early modern literature and history using quantitative methods. Researchers have used computers to measure the social networks of Shakespeare’s tragedies, to show how the English language changed over the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and to map the landscapes of fictional worlds. In this course, students will learn how to perform this kind of research, with special emphasis on the basic principles of literary mathematics. We’ll survey concepts from set theory, point-set topology, statistics, matrix and linear algebra, and graph theory, showing in each case how their mathematical principles inform research design in the study of literature.

SCHC 450.H02   HNRS: MeToo: Young Adult Literature Grapples with Sexual Harassment and Assault   TR 11:40-12:55   SCHWEBEL

This seminar reads young adult literature against the backdrop of today’s MeToo movement. We’ll consider both the systems of power that have contributed to school and campus cultures in which sexual harassment and assault are tolerated and the representations of those power systems in books written for teens.  As literary scholar Roberta Trites has argued, young adult literature can be distinguished from children’s literature in its concern not with characters’ growth in self-understanding, but rather in their growth in understanding of power.  Feminist literary criticism, sociological studies of school culture, and histories of sexual education and consent curricula will equip us with tools and frameworks for the central task of analyzing YA literature.  We’ll end the semester by reflecting on those who produce books. Several prominent YA and children’s authors have been accused of sexual misconduct; should the personal and professional behavior of authors be considered when selecting texts for youth? Final projects can take a variety of forms, ranging from an essay of literary analysis, to an annotated digital archive of press coverage of high school and college assault cases, to designing book club activities or a K-12 lesson plan. This course is appropriate for students pursuing majors in the humanities or social sciences who have an interest in gender and sexuality studies, literary analysis, and/or K-12 curriculum.  Women’s & Gender Studies, English, History, and Education majors especially welcome.

SCHC 450.H05   HNRS:  The American Musical and Literary Adaptation   MW 12:45-2:00   KEYSER

From the very first "book" musical—a play that told a story through its songs rather than presenting a vaudeville-style medley—Show Boat (1927), based on Fannie Hurst's best-selling novel of that title, the American musical has been engaged in literary adaptation. This course will range across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century to ask how musicals take source materials and transform them. Each week of the semester, we will pair a source text with its resulting musical, and we will consider how plot, characterization, setting, and musical styles shape the thematic messages of an adaptation. Cervantes' Don Quixote, for example, was designed to be a satire of chivalric romance, while Dale Wasserman's Man of La Mancha (1965) recalls the Cold War aspiration, embodied by the recently assassinated John F. Kennedy, to dream impossible dreams. We will end the semester with recent award-winning musicals, Fun Home (2013) and Hamilton (2015), that adapt unlikely source materials, a graphic novel and a historical biography respectively. This course will provide a rigorous introduction to interpreting narrative through historical context, tone, and theme, and it will also provide an entertaining survey of the American musical.

SCHC 450.H0B   HNRS: Beyond the Wall: Reading U.S. Latinx Literature   MW 2:20 3:35   DOWDY

A wide-ranging introduction to the literatures and cultures of U.S. Latinas/os, spanning national groups and historical geographies. Moving from the U.S. obsession with the U.S.-Mexico border to other sites and spaces of Latinx cultures, the course will read a broad range of texts by Chicana/o (Mexican American) and Puerto Rican writers, as well as texts by writers descended from other Latin American nations.

SCHC 452.H02   HNRS:  Jane Austen Lives!   MW 9:40-10:55   JARRELLS

There’s no good movie about Wordsworth. Ditto for Blake. And also for Byron – which is surprising given his reputation for being so mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Jane Campion’s movie about John Keats and Fanny Brawne is pretty good, but that’s just one. And even Mary Shelley has been failed by most of the attempts to bring her powerful creation story to the screen. But Jane Austen, a writer from the same period, continues to live on, more popular in the twenty-first century than she was in her own day. She lives on TV. She lives on film. She lives in fan clubs and on YouTube and in books where zombies eat her characters. And, of course, she lives on in her novels, which continue to be reissued with cool covers and introductions by famous people. Why? What is it about Austen – about her plots, her characters, her style – that continues to fascinate and entertain? In this course, we will try to answer this question by reading the novels and letters, by looking at a variety of adaptations, and by studying critical accounts of Austen herself, the canon, and the making of literary celebrity.  

SCHC 457.H0A   HNRS:  Contagion   TR 10:05-11:20   CORIALE           

In this course, we will read literature by British, French, Caribbean, Russian, and American writers who explored the subject of contagious disease in their novels, short stories, essays, and narrative poems. As we make our way from the eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, we will consider how developments in the history of medicine gave rise to innovative forms of narrative, and conversely, how stories and folklore inspired new treatments, cures, and models for understanding the spread of communicable diseases. Along the way, we will consider how our understanding of contagious disease detaches us from the writers we study and makes it difficult to understand the world as they saw it, but we will also search for vital points of connection—including live pathogens—that link past and present.  Readings will include major works by Daniel Defoe, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Seacole, Katherine Anne Porter, and Albert Camus, and shorter works by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Nathanial Hawthorne, Charlotte Brontë, Guy de Maupassant, Henry James, Anton Chekhov, and others.

SCHC 457.H07   HNRS: Anticolonial Writing from the Haitian Revolution to Black Lives Matter   TR 2:50-4:05   GULICK

This seminar will trace a long, global history of anticolonial writing and activism, from the founding documents of the world's first Black republic to the wealth of essays, plays, poetry, tweets, and manifestos that have emerged from contemporary social justice movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and #FeesMustFall. Our goal will be to develop a historically informed sense of the broad range of creative responses to empire, state violence, and structural racism that have emerged from the Global South over the past two centuries. The work of brilliant Caribbean, African, and U.S. literary authors such as Aimé Césaire, Audre Lorde, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and Jamaica Kincaid will be central to our exploration. But this will not be a typical English class; we'll consistently put that literature in conversation with history, political speeches, critical theory, and film. At all times we'll take an intersectional approach to the material—that is, we'll recognize that identity categories such as race, gender, sexuality, and class need to be studied together rather than in isolation from one another. This seminar should be of interest to students majoring in English, Comparative Literature, African American Studies, History, and Global Studies as well as anyone interested in gaining a broad historical and global perspective on the relationship between art and social justice.




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