Semester II 2020-21

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.


Please note that these classes are subject to change.

100-Level/Level I

English 150 The Craft of Creative Writing – J Patterson (Sections A & B)

This course introduces the craft of creative writing through contemporary readings and writing exercises in three genres: poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Students explore the fundamentals of reading and writing literature with attention to how a literary work is made. Emphasis on the elements of craft and revision also provide preparation for discussing literature from a writer’s perspective in a workshop environment should students pursue more comprehensive single genre study in the future. Prerequisite: prior or concurrent enrollment in FYW. (WRI)

English 185 Literary Studies – K Cherewatuk (Section A) and J Hepburn (Section B)

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 literatures in English and their strong connections to the past. Prerequisite: prior or concurrent enrollment in FYW. (ALS-L, WRI)

200-Level/Level II

English 204 South Asian Literature – J Mbele (Cross-Cultural, Post 1800)

Some of the most exciting writing in the world, not in translation but in English, is coming from South Asia: India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. A geographical area shaped greatly by British colonization, South Asia is changing rapidly now as globalization introduces a new kind of colonizer. We’ll study this are – its history, culture, and religion, what unifies it and what pulls its peoples apart – by reading dramatic literature that tells compelling stories about individuals and groups that seem far different and far away from 21st century Minnesota. Writers may include Kiran Desai, Salman Rushdie, Aravind Adiga, Pradeep Jeganathan, Michael Ondaatje, and Jhumpa Lahiri. Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (ALS-L)

English 206 Topic: African Literature – J Mbele (Cross Cultural, Post 1800)

Africa, the cradle of humanity, is where storytelling started, as an oral tradition. Over time, the tradition evolved and diversified, incorporating such forms as songs, folktales and epics. The invention of writing enabled the textualization of the oral traditions and the creation of literature as written expression. The oldest evidence of such texts comes from ancient Egypt, in the form of folktales, songs, and sayings. With the advent of literacy African storytelling incorporated fiction, poetry and drama in written form. With time, written literature emerged, in languages such as Geertz, Hausa, Swahili and Zulu. With the coming of colonialism, writing in European languages, especially English, French and Portuguese emerged, influenced, from the beginning, by European literature. The medium might change, now embracing film, for example, but the tradition of storytelling persists. African literature draws from several main sources, including indigenous oral traditions, such as the folktale and the epic, and foreign—especially western–literatures. Shakespeare, Defoe, Bunyan, T.S. Eliot, and the Bible have always played a role in the evolution of African literature. On the other hand, major African writers like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o influence other African writers. We will draw attention to these issues as we explore a number works of drama and fiction. Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (ALS-L, MCG)

English 207 Women of the African Diaspora – J Hepburn (Cross Cultural, Post 1800)

Course description coming soon.

English 220 Literary History Topic Course – K Marsalek (Literary History, Pre 1800)

Course description coming soon.

English 228 Romantic/Victorian/Modern British Literature – S Ward (Literary History, Post 1800)

This course explores British literature of three eras, from William Wordsworth and Mary Shelley to Virginia Woolf and Mulk Raj Anand. Students begin with the Romantic revolution of the late 18th century, traverse the wide 19th-century span of Queen Victoria’s reign, and cross into the modernist period after the cataclysm of World War I. Within each era, students examine a set of literary forms (novels, poems, plays, essays), as well as literature’s place within British culture. To this end, the course emphasizes the relationship between literary innovation and historical change within British and British imperial societies. In addition, we will consider the influence of other artforms on literary production, including dance, music, visual and plastic arts, fashion and design, and film. Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (ALS-L, WRI)

English 242 Children’s and Young Adult Literature – M Titus (Genre, Post 1800)

Beginning with the backgrounds to children’s literature in books of manners and religious instruction and in the “fairy tale,” this course then traces the history of literature in English written for children from the nineteenth century to the present. We explore the importance of book illustrations from the golden age at the turn of the 19th-20th century to the wonderful rise of the picture book in the mid 20th. We read a wide variety of books for children and young adults, including representative works of fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the popular and controversial genre we call “contemporary young adult realism.” Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (ALS-L)

English 256 Shakespeare and His Contemporaries – M Trull (Elective, Pre 1800)

Students examine Renaissance drama by Shakespeare and others in order to concentrate on how to read the plays well and how to respond fully to both text and performance. Students attend live performances when possible and view productions on video. The course includes some consideration of historical context and background as well as practice in how to write about the plays. Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (ALS-L)

English 268 Literature and Modern Philosophy – C Gallego (Cross Disciplinary, Post 1800)

Course description coming soon.

English 275 Literature and Film – L Mokdad (Cross Disciplinary, Post 1800)

Through the lenses of literature and film, this course will investigate the central place of war in the American imagination. We will ask: how do literature and film depict the experience of war differently? Which modes of representation do they share? Whose interests does US war culture serve? And why are Americans so fascinated by mass violence anyway? Writers may include Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, H.D., Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Ha Jin, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Roy Scranton, Solmaz Sharif, and Ahmed Saadawi. Filmmakers may include Stanley Kubrick, Ernst Lubitsch, Michael Cimino, Peter Davis, Francis Ford Coppola, Terrence Malick, Kathryn Bigelow, Alex Gibney, and Spike Lee. The course also counts toward media studies and film studies concentrations. Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (ALS-L)

English 280 Topic: American Cinema – L Mokdad (Genre, Post 1800)

Course description coming soon.

English 282 Fantasy and Science Fiction – C Bucciaglia (Genre, Post 1800)

In this course students read, analyze, and write works of speculative fiction (including genres such as fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, and fabulism). Readings include short stories and novels that exemplify these genres by writers such as Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler, and Gabrial Garcia Márquez. Students then apply their knowledge of form, theme, content, and narrative techniques by crafting and workshopping their own stories. Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (ALS-L, WRI)

English 283 Crime Fiction – B Nordfjord (Genre, Post 1800)

Throughout its history crime fiction has been a genre with particularly strong ties to English literature on both sides of the Atlantic. This course provides a historical overview of crime fiction from its emergence in the 19th century to the present day, while also addressing questions of form and meaning. After opening with the pioneering work of Edgar Allan Poe we head to England and study the classic detective story as formulated by Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. Returning to the United States we take a close look at the hard-boiled variety of crime fiction which breaks with the classic tradition in the hands of writers such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Patricia Highsmith and Chester Himes. Subsequently we will turn to the police procedural introduced by American author Ed McBain, which quickly gains popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. Finally, we compare and contrast crime fiction with spy fiction by looking at key works by Ian Fleming and Stella Rimington. In addition to novels and short stories by these influential authors, students read supplemental texts that help shed light on the historical evolution of the genre and the aesthetic and social relevance of its heterogeneous forms. In class discussions we will address narrative structure and style, while also paying close attention to issues of gender, sexuality, race, class and nationality. Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (ALS-L)

English 286 Topics in Rhetoric and Composition: Visual Rhetoric and the Global Imagination of Environment – R Eichberger (Genre, Post 1800)

Contemporary life is increasingly shaped by environmental issues. As with all issues that resonate across societies and cultures, we turn to art and media to make sense of them. In this course, we will investigate the way artists from around the world have used visuals, particularly film and photography, to tell environmental stories specific to their lives and locations. Each story will explore the encounter between humans and the more-than-human world, tackling questions about climate change, wildlife conservation, changing foodways, or environmental justice. Through discussion and writing, we will analyze the rhetorical construction of these media and what they can tell us about visual culture. We will also write about media of our choosing and address questions about just what visuals—whether produced by the documentary camera or the smartphone lens—can do in the climate change era. No prior knowledge about environment or visuals is required. Please note that students can take multiple ENGL 286 courses for credit if they are taught on different topics. Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (WRI)

English 289 Journalistic Writing – R Eichberger (Genre, Post 1800)

Course description coming soon.

English 290 Exploring Literary Publishing – J Nagamatsu (Genre, Post 1800)

This course explores the inner workings of the publishing world from literary magazines to commercial book publishers. Students explore the modern history and trends of publishing inAmerica with special attention paid to indie and university presses/magazines, as well as engage with hands-on projects that both illuminate readings and offer insight into the daily practicesof writers and literary gatekeepers. Projects may include the drafting of a proposal for a hypothetical literary magazine, reading and discussing submissions for a magazine, short literary reviews, and conducting a podcast interview.
Prerequisite: FYW or equivalent. (WRI)

English 292 Intermediate Poetry Writing – K Schwehn (Genre, Post 1800)

Course description coming soon.


Level III

English 372 Advanced Fiction Writing – J Nagamatsu

Students develop and complete individual projects in fiction, deepening and polishing their work. Assignments include multiple pieces of short fiction, the opening chapter(s) of a novel, an analytical presentation of a published short story, and a world building group project culminating in a website. Class sessions are devoted to discussion of craft, examination of literary models (both short stories and novels), and workshopping of student writing. (WRI) Prerequisites: Completion of English 293 or permission of instructor.

English 380 Shakespeare – K Marsalek

Course description coming soon.

English 395 Chaucer and Ethics – K Cherewatuk

Course description coming soon.