Interim 2019-20

Writing 111 (FYW) or its equivalent is a prerequisite for all courses in the English department except some Level I Interim courses. While a few courses have additional prerequisities, most Level I and Level II courses are open to all — majors and non-majors alike — after Writing 111 (FYW) or its equivalent. Level III courses (numbered 300 or higher) are primarily for English majors and ordinarily build upon prior work. All Level III courses require as a prerequisite English 185 and at least one Level II course in an area of relevant background as confirmed by the instructor or the department. Any course offered in the English department can count as an elective in the major.

Please note that these classes are subject to change.

Level I

English 108 Trickster – J Mbele

Students examine various heroic and trickster figures as a manifested in post-colonial literature from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, both oral and written, and seek to understand what basic human needs and realities these figures express and fulfill.

English 123 Introduction to Poetry – J Patterson

This course introduces students to poetry in many forms and from a range of perspectives. Students learn to analyze the aesthetic elements that make poetry unique as a mode of communication and consider the overlap between poetry and music. Students also learn to consider poetry meaning in a variety of contexts, from the author’s life and identity to the way poetry interacts with other topics or discourses, such as race, gender, nationality and politics. To experience the medium of poetry in the fullest sense, students will discuss, write about, recite, and experiment with composing poetry.

 English 185 Literary Studies – K Cherewatuk

The foundation course of the English major, English 185 introduces students to poetic and dramatic form, narrative structure, and critical theory. In addition, students engage with literature as a living practice and address its role in a culture by attending dramatic performance and readings by visiting writers and critics. Although texts vary with the instructor, all sections explore the contemporary vitality of literature in English and their strong connections to the past. (ALS-L, WRI)

Level II

English 279 – Psychopathy in American Culture – C Gallego

In the Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Freud explores the common unconscious practices that define “normal” actions like forgetting, slips of the tongue, mistakes, clumsiness, and superstitions, while in Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious he describes the unconscious workings at play in humor (jokes, puns, witty responses, etc.). Although the psychopathological tendencies at work in these “everyday” activities are accepted as “normal,” they nonetheless provide a foundation for more dangerous practices, such as those noted by Freud in Civilization and Its Discontents. The structural nature of such discontent, addressed by later theorists like Theodor Adorno and Jacques Lacan, continue to be of interest today and can easily be applied to “everyday” pathologies from celebrity infatuation to war and financial crises. 

This course will explore the everydayness of psychopathology in American culture. Exploring various approaches, but emphasizing a psychoanalytic-Marxist methodology, we will analyze how pathology gets normalized in culture and how such pathologization obstructs or corrupts collective attempts at social justice. Stated differently, we will study how such pathologies arrest the development of social progress. Areas to be explored include madness, criminality, and politics. Texts and films/television series to be analyzed include Dexter, Batman, The Talented Mr. Ripley, True Detective (season one), and American Psycho

English 280 Topic: The Western (Genre) – B Nordfjord

The western has long been considered the American genre par excellence. For much of the 20th century perhaps nothing signified America to audiences around the world as much as the dramatic landscapes and open spaces of the “wild wild west” and its stories of gunslingers, cowboys, sheriffs and “Indians”. Well before Hollywood emerged on the scene, the notion of manifest destiny had helped pave the way for a settlement and colonization of the continent with wide-ranging consequences—and forming the United States as we know it today. From the very beginning of the western expansion to the present day, literary texts and subsequently films have represented and responded to the West and its history in a variety of ways; from euphoric celebration to outright critique. Our course selections will likely include the novels The Virginian (Owen Wister), The Ox-Bow Incident (Walter Van Tilburg Clark), Hondo (Louis L’Amour), Butcher’s Crossing (John Williams) and Fools Crow (James Welch), films directed by John Ford, Anthony Mann, Sam Peckinpah, Clint Eastwood and Kelly Reichardt, and historical and scholarly material by Henry Nash Smith and Jane Tompkins among others.

Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (ALS-L)

Level III

English 385 Feminist Rhetorics – R Richards

Rhetoric and composition—or rhet/comp—scholarship investigates how meaning is made and negotiated in a variety of historical, geographical, and media-based contexts. In this version of the topics course, students examine how women and gender minorities have contributed to the history of oratory and writing, even though they are often left out or erased from those histories, especially of those of ancient Greece and Rome.

After reading about the contested histories of rhetoric, students will examine how women and gender minorities have contributed to the US rhetorical tradition, looking specifically at the 19th century and how Black and Indigenous women wrote and spoke at a time of settler colonialism and racism.

Prerequisites: ENGL 185 + at least two English courses at Level II, or permission of the instructor