Semester I, 2021-22

Writing 111 (FYW), Writing 120 (Writing and Rhetoric), or its equivalent is a prerequisite for all courses in the English department except some 100-level courses. While a few courses have additional prerequisites, most 100- and 200-level courses are open to all students — majors and non-majors alike — who have completed Writing 111, Writing 120, or its equivalent. 300-level courses ordinarily build upon prior work in the English Department. 300-level creative writing courses generally require prior completion of a relevant a 200-level creative writing course as a prerequisite. 300-level courses in literary studies (English courses other than those in creative writing), generally require as prerequisites English 185 and two 200-level English courses. Any course offered in the English department can count as an elective in the major.

100-level (Level I)

English 123 Introduction to Poetry – M Titus
OLd major Reqs: elective
New Major Reqs: elective

This course introduces students to poetry from a range of perspectives including, but not limited to the poet’s life; the application of categories of analysis such as race, gender, and nationality; poetry as literary craft; and the aesthetic appreciation of poems. To experience the literary medium of poetry in the fullest sense, students are required to write about, memorize, orally interpret/recite, and compose their own poetry. Prerequisite: None. (ALS-L, ORC)

English 150 Craft of Creative Writing
(Preregistering students who are declared English Education majors [English majors with CAL Licensure])

This course introduces the craft of creative writing through contemporary readings and writing exercises in poetry and prose. Students learn to read and to write literature with attention to how a literary work is made. Emphasis on the elements of craft and revision provide preparation for students who want to continue into creative writing workshops at the 200- and 300-levels. Prerequisite: prior or concurrent enrollment in FYW or Writing and Rhetoric. (WRI)

         Section A – C Bucciaglia
         Section B – S Nagamatsu

English 185 Literary Studies
(Preregistering English majors)

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. Prerequisite: prior or concurrent enrollment in FYW or Writing and Rhetoric. (ALS-L, WRI)

         Section A – B DeFries
         Section B – K Marsalek

200-level (Level II)

English 200 Topic: Modern and Contemporary African American Literature – S Ward
OLd major Reqs: cross cultural, post 1800
New Major Reqs: american lit

This course makes an initial approach to the vast archive of 20th century African-American literature. Studying a broad range of literary genres and forms, we will focus on the radical ways Black writers have wielded language to address the living history of enslavement, or what Saidiya Hartman has called the “afterlife of slavery.” We will study how African-American writers interrogate race as a form of knowledge and experience and, at the same time, often address related questions of gender, sexuality, and class. To facilitate this work, we will attend to the relationship between African-American writing and other media such as film, music (jazz, blues, soul, reggae, r&b, hip-hop), dance, and the visual and plastic arts. Prerequisite: FYW. (MCD)

English 205 American Racial/Multicultural Literature – S Ward
OLd major Reqs: cross cultural, post 1800
New Major Reqs: american lit oR antiracism requirement

This course explores the experiences of an array of citizens in the U.S.: Native Americans, African Americans, Jewish Americans, Asian Americans, and Latin Americans. Our study covers such themes as their double consciousness, alienation, survival strategies, Americanization, and especially their unique stories and cultural traditions. In addition multicultural writers understandably express a concern with voice, and many of their protagonists desire to be heard and understood, at times around issues of gender, beauty, and violence. Linked to this issue of personal voice is protagonists’ search for an identity, a quest prompting them to embrace their ancestral pasts, only they cast the customs they come to value in the English language. Attention is given then to ways in which they mold the English language around their ethnocentric world views and narrative structures, separate at times from those mainstream white Americans. Aspects of culture differ with groups, as well. Of interest, too, are diverse images of mainstream identity and cultural practices, especially as they are projected in media and popular culture. In any case, our approach is literary. Prerequisite: FYW. (ALS-L, MCD)

English 223 Old and Middle English Lit: The Weird and the Wonderful – K Cherewatuk
OLd major Reqs: literary history, pre 1800
New Major Reqs: british lit, pre 1800

Two themes persist in early British literature: the role of fate (Old English wyrd) versus free will and the power of wonders–from the miraculous to the magical. These themes are traced in the Old English period in sermons, charms and riddles, biblical epics and Christian texts, and the heroic epic Beowulf. Readings from the Middle English period include lyric and ballad, romance from the Arthurian and non-Arthurian traditions, drama, allegory, mystical treatises, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Also counts toward medieval studies major. Prerequisite: FYW. (ALS-L, WRI)

English 229 Twentieth-Century British and Irish Literature – J Naito
OLd major Reqs: literary history, post 1800
New Major Reqs: british lit

The 20th century was a period of great achievement in British and Irish literature, as demonstrated by the work of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and Samuel Beckett. This course examines the famously innovative work of poets, playwrights, and novelists active during the first half of the century. It then considers postwar writing and the challenges that this literature offered to the ideas and practices associated with modernism. Prerequisite: FYW. (ALS-L, WRI)

English 251 Major Chicano/a Authors in English: Tomás Rivera, Maria Viramontes, Oscar Acosta, and Cecile Pineda– C Gallego (Cross Cultural, Post 1800)
OLd major Reqs: cross cultural, post 1800
New Major Reqs: american lit

Chicano/a identity is perhaps one of the most misunderstood racial/ethnic subjectivities in the United States. It encompasses many possible identities—such as Latino, Hispanic, and Mexican-American—while remaining politically and culturally distinct in its intended signification. Among all the racial and ethnic identities in the United States, it is perhaps the most politicized subject position, and intentionally so. The history of the term “Chicano/a” is itself defined by cultural tension, historical strife, and heated political debate. It is a term that many people, even those who technically qualify as Chicano or Chicana, feel uncomfortable with.

The main purpose of this course is to explore constructions of Chicano/a identity as expressed through the literature produced after the Civil Rights Movement (post-1964), with the intention of demystifying the contentious history underlying this subjectivity. By focusing primarily on the formation of Chicano/a identity in the U.S., the course aims at investigating the various discourses that influence the development of racial subjectivity in general. We will pay particular attention to theories that have influenced modern notions of agency, citizenship, and identity, specifically those intellectual traditions that adopt and modify Enlightenment principles of democratic equality and social justice, such as Marxism, existentialism, and psychoanalysis. Although the literary readings will focus specifically on Chicano/a texts, a comparative analysis with other racial identities is encouraged for discussion and research. Students are also encouraged to explore the intersections of the literary texts with the theoretical readings, examining how one medium accommodates, challenges, and even transforms the other. Prerequisite: FYW. (ALS-L)

English 258 Folklore – J Mbele
OLd major Reqs: elective, post 1800
New Major Reqs: elective

Focuses on verbal folklore: narratives, songs and shorter forms such as proverbs. Explores the intrinsic qualities of each as literary creations and also the ways in which they operate together when combined or in dialogic relationship. The folktale or the epic, for example, incorporates a variety of these forms, such as the proverb, the song, or the riddle, to form a complex whole.Prerequisite: FYW. (ALS-L, MCS-G )

English 266 Romanticism and Rock Music – M Allister
OLd major Reqs: cross disciplinary, post 1800
New Major Reqs: elective

British Romantic and American Transcendentalist literatures emphasize youth, celebrate the body and energy, and extol intuition, creativity, and individuality. Rock music has been derided by some commentators as extreme Romanticism. Students in the course examine this artistic line of influence and debate its merits. Writers and musicians may include Blake, Wordsworth, Byron, Emerson, Whitman, Springsteen, Cloud Cult, and Arcade Fire. Prerequisite: FYW. (ALS-L )

English 271 Literature and the Scientific Revolution – M Trull
OLd major Reqs: literary history, pre 1800
New Major Reqs: british lit, pre 1800

The 17th century movement now known as the Scientific Revolution brought radically altered ideas about human beings, truth, knowledge, and our place in the universe. This course examines its effects on English literature from about 1600 to 1700. Students discuss how changing views, particularly on astronomy and medicine, inspired literary works. Authors may include William Shakespeare; Christopher Marlowe; Ben Jonson; John Donne; Francis Bacon; John Milton; and Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. Fee may be required. Prerequisite: FYW. (ALS-L, WRI)

English 280 A Topic: Queer Literature & Theory- J Patterson
OLd major Reqs: genre, post 1800
New Major Reqs: elective

Through literature, film and theory, this course will highlight important questions about the politics and social dynamics of “queer” sexuality and gender and how some of the most interesting contemporary writers and artists explore these questions in their work. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which sexual identities intersect with and shape other categories of identity including gender, ethnicity, class, culture and nation. Our work together will work toward several goals: 1) to understand a literary work’s “queerness” in terms of form and style; 2) to gain a sense of the central concepts and debates in queer theory and politics; and 3) to apply theory to literature as well as real world issues. The arc of this course can be understood as a (mis)reading of the history of feminism; in particular we look at how queer theory is a part of the reaction of the perceived centering of second-wave feminism on the experiences of white, middle class, straight women. To that end, we posit a basic distinction between sex and gender, and we examine “gender norms.” Prerequisite: FYW. (ALS-L)

English 280 B Topic: Muslim Women Writers – J Mbele
OLd major Reqs: cross cultural, post 1800
New Major Reqs: elective

The Muslim world is perhaps the least understood or most misunderstood part of the world among Americans, who tend to see it as homogeneous, and to whom the very name Muslim conjures up images of religious fanaticism and terrorism. They tend to imagine Muslim women as perpetually veiled or burkaclad, suffering in silence under archaic religious and cultural traditions. That there is a longstanding tradition of writing by Muslim women in languages such as Urdu, Arabic, Turkish, Hausa, Swahili, French and English is not well known among Americans.

This course will explore the prevailing misconceptions. With a focus on writings in English and some translations, we will discuss writers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan, Senegal, and the USA, in the context of Islam, Orientalism, Islamophobia, and Islamic feminism. It will illuminate the ways Muslim women writers imagine and interpret their condition within the framework of culture, religion, and gender. Prerequisite: FYW. (ALS-L)

English 285 Digital Rhetoric and New Media Literacy  – R Eichberger
OLd major Reqs: genre, post 1800
New Major Reqs: elective

Students explore what it means to be literate in an age of new media by reading critical scholarship and comparing the ways they read, interpret, and learn from digital texts to ways they read, interpret, and learn from print media. In their final, digital project, students critically examine the use of new media to make humanities scholarship more public. Offered periodically. Also counts toward media studies concentration. Prerequisite: FYW. (WRI)

English 291 Intermediate Creative Nonfiction Writing – J Patterson
OLd major Reqs: genre, post 1800
New Major Reqs: elective

From the intimate personal essay to more externally driven literary journalism, creative nonfiction covers a range of forms. Students learn to combine fictional techniques, personal recollections, and direct exposition in assignments that might include memoir, personal essay, cultural criticism, nature writing, book and film reviewing, and “new journalism.” Contemporary nonfiction writers such as Annie Dillard, Scott Russell Sanders, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and John McPhee provide models and inspiration for writing in the course. Prerequisites: FYW and sophomore standing or English 150 (WRI)

English 293 Intermediate Fiction Writing
OLd major Reqs: genre, post 1800
New Major Reqs: elective

In this course students read and analyze contemporary fiction from an artistic perspective and write intensively, exploring the writer’s craft. Students compose multiple pieces of original fiction and peer-edit each others’ writing. English 150 can be helpful but is not required. Prerequisites: FYW and at least sophomore status. (WRI)

         Section A – S Nagamatsu
         Section B – C Bucciaglia 

300-level (Level III)

English 360 Literary Criticism/Theory – C Gallego
OLd major Reqs: 300-level (literary studies)
New Major Reqs: 300-level (literary studies) OR antiracism requirement

The primary aim of this course is to further enhance your understanding of literary analysis, specifically the close reading of contemporary poetry and fiction via the application of various theories.  Since the majority of the texts in this course were written during the twentieth century, it is important to keep in mind their “modernity.”  By this I mean the cultural, historical, political, and social context of their production.  These texts were not produced in a vacuum, although some pretend to be, and it is thus important to consider certain factors when analyzing them:  Who/what are/were the major influences on the author?  What are/were the main socio-political tensions of that historical period?  What are/were the major cultural and intellectual trends of the time?  These types of philosophical-social-political questions will provide the basis for our readings. In order to facilitate our understanding of the various literary texts, and because this is considered an advanced literary course, we will study various theories that have been famously applied to literature, or have incorporated literature as a means of advancing non-literary theses (Marxism and Freudian psychoanalysis being examples).  Some of these “schools of thought” include formalism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, popular cultural studies, linguistics, feminism, and ethnic studies.  By studying these various “non-literary” texts, you will hopefully discover how the complexities of literature demand a well-rounded and critical understanding of the world itself. Prerequisites: English 185 and at least two level-II English courses or by permission of instructor.

English 373 Advanced Creative Nonfiction – K Schwehn
OLd major Reqs: 300-level (creative writing workshop)
New Major Reqs: 300-level (creative writing workshop)

Students focus on poetry, deepening their understanding of the form and completing a substantial portfolio of polished work. Class sessions include discussion of models in contemporary poetry, exploration of various options within the form, and workshopping of student writing. Prerequisites: English 292 or by permission of instructor.

English 399 Senior Seminar: The Family Novel – M Allister
OLd major Reqs: 300-level (literary studies)
New Major Reqs: 300-level (literary studies)

In this seminar we’ll read novels, comic and tragic, about families. The novel as a form – with its narrative ability to move in and out of interior states, to create numerous plots and sub-plots – has been particularly suitable for capturing the near-dizzying relations of family members. To help us with the complex relations between characters and the worlds they inhabit, we’ll dig deep into family systems theory, psychoanalytic theory, and other literary theories that prove useful when brought to bear on understanding family systems. Authors may include Jhumpa Lahiri, Richard Russo, Anne Tyler, Jonathan Franzen, and Toni Morrison. In the final three weeks of the course, students will do an independent, self-created and self-directed project. Prerequisites: English 185 and at least two level-II English courses or by permission of instructor.