Spring 2024 Courses
Explore our course offerings for the spring 2024 semester.
ENG 220 - STUDIES IN GREAT WORKS OF WESTERN LITERATURE (3 CREDITS)
Readings, in English translation, of Western literary masterpieces from the b eginnings of literacy in the Middle East and Europe towards the present, including such suthors as Homer, Sophocles, Aristotle, Virgil, Ovid, Dante, Shakespeare, Rousseau, Blake, dickinson, Tolstoy, Rilke, Proust, Kafka and Borges.
ENG 251 - MAJOR BRITISH WRITERS (3 CREDITS)
Significant British authors chosen from among such figures as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Pope, Austen, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Tennyson, Browning, Bronte, Dickens, Joyce, Eliot, Woolf, and Yeats. Credit will not be given for both ENG 251 and either ENG 261 or 262.
ENG 261 - ENGLISH LITERATURE I (3 CREDITS)
This course is an introduction to English literature of the medieval and early modern periods, covering a 500-year period from the late twelfth century to the late seventeenth century. We will read a selection of major writers and texts from the Anglo-Norman period (Marie de France), the Middle English period (the Gawain poet, Chaucer, Julian of Norwich, and Margery Kempe), the English Renaissance (Shakespeare), and the seventeenth century (Donne, Herbert, Milton). Our approach to reading and discussing these texts will be twofold. First, the aesthetic approach to reading asks us to recognize these poems and plays as works of art with transhistorical value and enduring appeal. Secondly, the historical approach to reading literature asks us to understand the same texts as cultural objects which are deeply embedded in the times, places, and circumstances of their creation. Part of our task will be to recognize how and when our own twenty first-century moral and aesthetic impulses (what we find beautiful or moving or offensive) diverge from (or converge with) those of the writers we are studying. Over the course of the semester, students will acquire the necessary vocabulary and technical skills needed to analyze literary texts on their own terms and to situate texts within their original cultural contexts. For CHASS majors, fulfills Literature I requirement. Fulfills GEP Humanities credit (3 hours).
ENG 262 - SURVEY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE II
This online asynchronous survey of English literature begins in the 1790s and brings to the present, taking us on a journey through the poetry, fiction and prose of major British writers. Along the way we will focus most of our attention on three literary periods: the Romantic, the Victorian and Twentieth-Century Modernism and Postmodernism. Studying works of literature in the context of these eras will allow us to listen to the writers’ conversations and disagreements across and within these literary periods and to situate these conversations within the changing landscape of British cultural history. How did literary texts respond to massive social changes such as industrialization, a growing population, the rise of cities, shifting gender roles and social classes and two world wars? And how did these texts shape people’s experiences of such changes? How did writers across this time period offer new ways of thinking about the relationship between self and world? How do these texts reflect, shape, and/or critique aspects of the social contexts in which they were written, including race, class, gender, nation, empire and “Britishness”/”Englishness”? We will ask these questions as we read works by Willaim Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Mary Prince, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, W.H. Auden, Jean Rhys, Chinua Achebe and Warsan Shire. Your work in this course will have weekly deadlines and will include watching lesson videos, taking lesson check quizzes and sharing your thoughts about our reading via collaborative annotations and reading responses. There will be three unit tests, a small creative project and a final reflective writing project.
ENG 308 - ECOFEMINISM AND LITERATURE (3 CREDITS)
In this course we will cover the beginnings and evolution of Ecofeminism. We will focus especially on how literature has played a role in disseminating the philosophy of Ecofeminism. students will do several presentations and write short papers. The class will be student-driven and progressive in nature.
ENG 326 - HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
This course will cover the known history that lies behind the English language, from Indo - European to the present day. After an introduction to linguistic terminology and writing systems, the course explores Indo-European, some of the controversies surrounding it, and structures of it that are important to understanding later developments. It then discusses Proto-Germanic and Ingvaeonic Germanic, how they relate to Indo-European and Old English, and the cultural setting associated with them. Next, the coverage of Old English includes its linguistic structure, the Anglo-Saxon and Viking invasions, and an introduction to Old English literature. With Middle English, the course examines the impact of the Norman invasion and other factors on the language and how English ultimately prevailed over French, accompanied by a glimpse at Middle English literature. The Modern English period begins with the Great Vowel Shift and covers various innovations in linguistic structure, as well as the standardization of English and the development of American English. Students also analyze a period play from late Middle or early Modern English, affording them a view of both linguistic and literary developments.
ENG 330 - SCREENWRITING (3 CREDITS)
Through lectures, film clips, screenplay examples, collaborations, writing exercises, and sharing of students’ work we will explore the craft and art of screenwriting. Students will learn about structure, characterization, creating dynamic dialogue, subtext, subplots, theme, exposition, etc. utilizing established screenplay formats. The course will involve studying great films and scripts, participating in critiques, and the writing and revising of original material. At the end of the semester the students should have a clear understanding of cinematic storytelling techniques and will have a work-in-progress screenplay.
ENG 335 - LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT (3 CREDITS)
Language Development examines the stages of language acquisition by young children and themechanisms and hardware that children use to learn language. It begins with models of child language acquisition and an examination of the brain structures involved in language. It then proceeds through different age levels, from birth to early grade school, examining how children learn vocabulary, morphological and syntactic structures, and the phonology of their language at each step. The course concludes with discussion of the early steps to literacy.
ENG 377 - FANTASY (3 CREDITS)
A survey of representative works in the genre of fantasy examining characters from Beowulf to Bilbo Baggins. Primary focus on the heroic quest, including the search for revelation/transformation, the demands and types of leadership, the value of supporting figures (the wise old man, the good mother/goddess, the helper), and the supernatural/magical as key to success in the supreme ordeal. Prior reading of works by J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling recommended (due to reading load) but not required. There will be two tests, multiple quizzes and an essay.
ENG 390 - CLASSICAL BACKGROUNDS OF ENGLISH LITERATURE
Thomas Hardy opens his elegiac sequence “Poems of 1912-1913,” written for his recently deceased wife, with a Latin epigraph: veteris vestigia flammae—the “traces of an old flame.” In their original context in Virgil’s Aeneid, these words are spoken by Dido, Queen of Carthage, to express her burning desire for the Trojan hero who arouses feelings in her that she thought were long dead. Centuries before Thomas Hardy, however, English literary tradition had made a habit of copying, borrowing, and stealing from ancient Greek and Latin sources. This course studies a selection of the ancient flames that have burned most brightly in the English literary imagination. We will read texts by Homer, Sappho, Aeschylus, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Ovid, Augustine, and Boethius. Student projects will do the work of connecting these precursor texts with their British and American followers, including but not limited to: Chaucer, Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson, Hardy, Stevens, Eliot, and Pound. All Latin and Greek texts will be read in translation. Course fulfills the GEP Humanities requirement and the Global Knowledge co-requisite. For CHASS majors, course fulfills the Literature II requirement.
COM/ENG 395 - ARCHIVING ACTIVISM
How do we tell the stories of the people and groups who push against institutions of power? How does this telling affect how we position our own narratives today and in the future? In this course, we will consider the theories, methodologies and tools that have historically been used to archive activism as well as the innovative ways that contemporary social movements and activists are engaging with the rhetoric of memory work. The final project will be to create a digital archive of activism that aligns with students’ personal research goals.
ENG 410 - GENDER AND GENRE: CONTEMPORARY SOUTHERN WOMEN NOVELISTS (3 CREDITS)
This course will focus on the most contemporary women writers of the South. We will cover such authors as Lee Smith, Jesmyn Ward, Tayari Jones and Dorothy Allison.
ENG 416 - ADVANCED REPORTING (3 CREDITS)
The purpose of the course is to prepare the student for in-depth writing of multiple topics (depending on the student's choosing), including local, state and national government; criminal justice and the courts; business and economics; science and health matters; coverage of education, science, religion and sports; and opinion and personal essay. Students will write two stories and will include statistics and multiple sources. We'll also cover public records, interviewing skills and tone and pacing of writing through lecture, readings and robust discussion. Enhance your knowledge of the world around you, and
learn how to write in-depth about your subject.
ENG 490 - STUDIES IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE
This course examines monsters from the classical and medieval eras as depicted in medieval art and literature. The medieval imagination gave rise and form to a vivid pantheon of mythological creatures, including ogres, trolls, elves and faeries, whose popularity remains unabated in contemporary literature and film. Our survey will include familiar monsters such as werewolves, dragons and minotaurs, as well as a host of exotic monsters seldom encountered today, including dog-headed men (canocephali) and one-footed monopods. We will consider how medieval monsters represented marginalized groups, including non-Christian and non-European others, as well as how they addressed and embodied the deepest human anxieties over death and the afterlife, the boundaries of the human and animal, and human bodies and sexuality.
ENG 491 - AI, LARGE LANGUAGE MODELS AND WRITING (3 CREDITS)
This course will be a theoretical and a project-based introduction to text-based and multimodal Large Language Models (LLMs). The focus will be on the ways in which LLMs are transforming writing practices, and how you might incorporate them into your future work in writing and persuasive/rhetorical communication. I want to emphasize that this is an introductory course. You do not need any prior knowledge or technical experience to enroll, albeit curiosity and an interest in learning some hands-on, technical methods for working with LLMs is important. The theoretical content of the course will focus on 1) a technical overview of LLMs (some of the math behind them; how they work), and 2) an It will then turn to current debates and discussions about the futures of writing and rhetoric in an era of LLMs. The project-based, technical content of the course will focus on strategies for writing compelling prompts, aka prompt engineering, and the basics behind fine tuning an LLM. Some of this work will be done in the Python programming language, but no prior coding experience is required.
ENG 491H - WRITERS ABOUT WRITING (3 CREDITS)
ENG 492/592 - TV INDUSTRY AND AUDIENCES: THE CASE OF NETFLIX
This course uses Netflix as a case study to examine the industrial, cultural, and aesthetic shifts that television is undergoing through its convergence with the internet. Students will learn about the industrial particularities of internet-distributed television by examining Netflix’s branding strategies; relationships with Hollywood media companies and with other internet-streaming platforms; and role in transforming the transnational distribution ecosystem. This course will contend with the cultural practices that characterize “Netflix-viewing,” including the proliferation of algorithmic recommendations as well as time-shifting, bingeing, and interactive engagement. Through analysis of Netflix’s original programming, students will also examine some of the programming trends and aesthetics that the streaming ecosystem has cultivated.
ENG 495 - STUDIES IN LITERATURE: SERIALS AND STORYLINES
Ours is a culture of serial storytelling. Whether it’s the television shows we’re hooked on, the podcasts we listen to, the interactive video games we immerse ourselves in, or the book series we love, so many of the stories we enjoy today are told in parts. But how do we approach these serial texts as literary critics when we are so used to discussing texts as “whole” forms? In this class we will take up this and other questions related to seriality by investigating the history and conventions of serial and multiplot storytelling. We will spend most of our time in the heyday of serial fiction: the Victorian era. But we’ll journey all the way back to early story cycles like One Thousand and One Nights, in which sequential storytelling is nothing short of life-saving, and we’ll finish in the present moment with TV shows and other forms of popular serial media. Along the way, you will experience what it was like to be a Victorian reader consuming one of the most popular serial detective novels of the day, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, in parts over many weeks. We will spend some time with the most famous serial novelist, Charles Dickens, by reading his unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood alongside the notes he kept for himself as he wrote the first few installments of the novel. Projects will include a final paper and a collaborative application of your learning about serial form to your own serial narrative.
Questions we will be asking this semester might include: How do the plots and parts of serial stories relate to one another and to the notion of a “whole text”? What role do theories of reading and technologies of production play in the history of serial storytelling? What is the relationship between serial storytelling and the history of mystery and detection as genres? Do our theories of serial narrative change when we move from one medium (e.g. serial novel) to another (e.g. television series)? What can attention to seriality teach us about narrative form in general?
ENG 511 - THEORY AND RESEARCH IN COMPOSITION (3 CREDITS)
Theory and Research in Composition introduces the landmark works and various (sometimes competing) theories of composition that shape scholarly and pedagogical practices in the contemporary field of Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing Studies. To help us construct a map of the complex theoretical terrain, we will consider the historical, cultural, and political contexts in which particular practices and theories have emerged and been valued. Further, we will consider questions such as:
- How do theoretical assumptions lead scholars and teachers to adopt particular practices, reject others, and appear to be blind to still others? And,
- Conversely, how do certain kinds of literate, composition, and pedagogical practices give rise to, support, challenge, or undermine certain theories?
This course is themed around the major contemporary pedagogical theories which together attempt to discover how writing works:
- Increasing genre awareness, rhetorical knowledge, and use of multimodalities,
- Exploring language variation and multiliteracies by context,
- Developing information literacy through primary and secondary research,
- Reflecting on writing processes and labor, and
- Collaborating to create and revise texts
In order to address these theories, we will work together to familiarize ourselves with the range of voices and theoretical assumptions underlying the teaching of writing, understand various histories of the field of composition studies, become acquainted with major journals and resources in the field of composition, and apply knowledge of the field’s history, theory, and research in analyzing new contexts,
developing new pedagogical insights, and raising new questions for research.
ENG 513/798 - EMPIRICAL RESEARCH IN COMPOSITION (3 CREDITS)
This class offers an introduction to basic principles of research design and to a range of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods used to study writing processes, products, and contexts. Recommended for students who have had at least one prior graduate course in composition or technical communication, the course examines the empirical methods cited in the professional literatures of these fields. The course is intended to help students (1) develop a basic understanding of research design needed for reading and evaluating published research in composition and related fields; and (2) assess the goals and limitations of various methods in order to select methods and designs appropriate to their own research questions. The course is especially useful for those anticipating research-based dissertations or MA capstone projects. Coursework includes data analysis projects and design critiques, a brief presentation of a research method and a summary of a published research study, and a research proposal, including a review of relevant prior research. Requirements will differ for
master’s and doctoral students. Doctoral students should register for the affiliated ENG 798 section.
ENG 513/798 satisfies the following requirements in departmental programs:
- M.A. Concentration in Composition; Rhetoric: Research Methods or Rhet/Comp elective
- M.S. Technical Communication: Theory; Methods elective
- Ph.D. Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media: Quantitative or Qualitative Methods option (depending on the focus of projects), or may be taken as an elective.
ENG 518 - PUBLICATION MANAGEMENT FOR TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION (3 CREDITS)
This course is designed to prepare technical communication students and practitioners for the concepts, tasks, coordination work and management expectations of project management in a technical communication environment. We will draw on your expertise and relevant scholarship in the field to develop your project management capacities along two parallel tracks:
We will develop your professional identity, goals and public presence as well as a vocabulary for articulating your point of view as a project manager.
We will work on practical studio projects creating and for publication documentation for university partners or projects.
ENG 522 - WRITING IN NON-ACADEMIC SETTINGS (3 CREDITS)
This course will have two components: an academic component and an experiential component. For the academic component, students will read and discuss articles relevant to writing in nonacademic settings and meet as a group once per week to discuss the issues reflected in the articles and possible connections with their own nonacademic experiences. Students will also experiment with large language models, develop a preliminary understanding of how generative AI works, and explore ways to incorporate generative AI creatively and critically into their workflow as a writer.
For the experiential component (practicum), students will work approximately eight hours per week (at least 120 hours total) within an organization relevant to their interests and areas of expertise. They will complete several short assignments as well as a project that connects their reading to the experiential component.
The instructor will assist students in their search for internship opportunities.
ENG 523 - LANGUAGE VARIATION RESEARCH SEMINAR (3 CREDITS)
Sociolinguists recognize linguistic variables as elements in the structure of every language. Quantitative analysis of linguistic variables aims to uncover the relationship between linguistic variation and two kinds of influencing factors. The first kind has to do with elements of the grammar such as sound structures, the lexicon, and clause type. The second kind has to do with social structures, especially durable economic disparity (social class), sex and gender, age, and ethnicity. This course covers theory and methods in variationist sociolinguistics as they relate to both kinds. The course is structured around 2 goals:
1) We develop an understanding of influential past research about linguistic variation, building upon what you learned in ENG 525 or other sociolinguistics courses. This includes "first-wave" research, which focused on linguistic differences between speakers in different demographic categories within speech communities, as well as research that explores the relationship between linguistic variation and the social identities and personae that speakers construct.
2) We learn about and practice the coding and analysis of linguistic variation, using data from multiple sources including my ongoing study of language change in Raleigh. During this part of the course, you can make progress on the research project that you will describe in your final research paper.
Coming into the course, you will need basic familiarity with phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and sociolinguistics. You will not need any background in quantitative analysis or statistics. We will do simple quantitative analysis of linguistic variables, but we will not attempt to learn statistical methods as such. If you would like to learn more about quantitative analysis, specifically using the program R, I recommend the course ENG 534, Quantitative Methods in Sociolinguistics.
ENG 530 - SEVENTEENTH CENTURY LITERATURE IN CONTEXT: GENDER, RACE AND EMPIRE (3 CREDITS)
This course introduces you to the poets, politicians, historians, and cultural figures of seventeenth-century England. We'll read the work of well-known writers like Ben Jonson and John Donne, but we'll also spend a lot of time encountering authors you've likely never heard of, particularly women writers and non-elite individuals writing for a growing print market. We'll especially consider the production of English literature within a global context. How, for example, can we think of the many English advancements in the seventeenth century (more women writers, scientific advancement, travel and exploration and social legislation), with all of their positive connotations, during a period that saw the brutal establishment of England's settler plantations and the trade in enslaved peoples? What can we learn about English poetry by considering England's first incursions into the lands of native peoples, both in the Caribbean and North America? We'll consider how we can best interpret the signal works of an era and culture that often suppressed the voices of anyone outside of a male English elite. With trips to the library's Special Collections and work with texts in their original print and manuscript forms, we will consider what we can learn about both well-known and marginalized voices through archival research and non-canonical literature. This class will include traditional research papers, as well as a multi-modal final project.
ENG 533 - BILINGUISM AND LANGUAGE CONTACT (3 CREDITS)
Linguistic, cultural and socio-political aspects of bi- and multilingualism in a global context. Issues and implications of bilingualism from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Topics include: language maintenance and shift; child and adult bilingualism; relationship between language, culture and identity in bi- and multilingual situations; psycholinguistic aspects and linguistic outcomes of bilingual contact, such as code-switching, convergence and language attrition; language ideology, the politics of language choice and language policy; globalization and intercultural communication. Must hold graduate standing or get consent of instructor for advanced undergraduate students.
ENG 534 - QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS IN SOCIOLINGUISTICS (3 CREDITS)
This course is an introduction to the concepts and quantitative methods that are currently central to the analysis of sociolinguistic variation. It is not a statistics course per se, and in fact the challenge inherent to this course is to develop a good understanding of certain quantitative methods without delving deeply into the math underlying most of those methods. Coming into the course, you don’t need any mathematical knowledge beyond high school-level algebra.
We will spend the first part of the course learning to use the R programming language. As our textbook says in the Preface, "These days, it’s safe to say that R is the de facto standard in the language sciences." We will focus on basic data handling, simple computation, and graphing. If you already have some experience with R, you’ll probably still learn some things you didn’t know during this first part of the course, and I’ll be happy to point you to some more advanced reading about R programming upon request.
The next part of the course is devoted to developing an intuitive understanding of some of the building blocks of quantitative analysis, including distributions, descriptive statistics, probability, sampling, and variance. We then briefly look at t-tests but quickly move on to the most common statistical test in variationist sociolinguistics, multiple regression. We will work toward developing a solid practical understanding of regression, first linear and then logistic regression. We will practice extensively using data available to all NC State linguists, including the Raleigh data. You are also welcome to bring in your own quantitative data for us to work on together. For example, if you are doing variationist analysis for another class or for your capstone, please talk to me about your quantitative methods.
ENG 539 - HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE (3 CREDITS)
This course focuses on literary fiction from a number of global locations to help us understand human rights, justice, and ethics in the contemporary world. Students will have an opportunity to help shape the course by making presentations on the historical and cultural contexts for and critical responses to the books we read. The critical frameworks for the course are post colonialism, global feminism, and ecocriticism. As a starting point, we will consult The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Authors may include Jenny Erpenbeck, Louise Erdrich, Ken Saro-Wiwa. Jose Saramago, Manuel Munoz, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Chris Abani, and Nadine Gordimer, among others.
Students will produce two projects. One will be a traditional literary analysis. The other may also be a literary analysis or students may choose to use a critical framework or method from another English discipline besides literature, for example, a linguistics analysis, a rhetorical analysis, or (if the student has graduate work in interdisciplinary studies, perhaps an anthropological approach might be employed). Students who have skill in the craft of fiction may also experiment with writing a story or a set of poems as a project. In any of these cases, the student will be required to show evidence of research and provide a bibliography.
Students will present one of their projects as if they were making a presentation at a professional conference.
ENG 541 - LITERARY AND CULTURAL THEORY (3 CREDITS)
Throughout your coursework, you’ve probably learned about various theoretical approaches to studying literature and culture. You might have heard of thinkers such as Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler and Hortense Spillers; you might also have read selections of some of their works. But you may still wonder why people so often talk about Theory in the singular, and chances are good that you haven’t yet learned what these approaches and thinkers have in common. This course offers you the opportunity to do so. In introducing ourselves to some of the most influential work inthe humanities of the past half-century plus, we’ll study the field of Theory and its development through structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, Marxism, queer theory and Black studies, paying particular attention to how the thinkers we discuss interrogate structures of power and the production of meaning and identity. Because we’ll approach Theory as a genre, rather than as a set of competing methods, we’ll read mostly primary texts in this genre—though, if you engage these texts seriously, I promise they’ll change the way you read just about everything, from poems and novels to television shows and text messages. This course may be of interest to students in all humanities disciplines. It presumes no previous knowledge, just an open mind and a willingness to be challenged.
ENG 554/COM 554 - CONTEMPORARY RHETORICAL THEORY (3 CREDITS)
Contemporary rhetorical theory covering the 20th and 21st centuries. Conceptual connections with and disruptions of the classical tradition and its successors; relationship between rhetorical theory and philosophical trends, institutional hi8stories, socioeconomic circumstances and pedagogical needs. Attention to current issues such as the revival of invention, rhetorical agency and ethics.
ENG 560 - BRITISH VICTORIAN PERIOD (3 CREDITS)
This graduate course explores how writers represented the tumultuous Victorian era (1837-1901), spanning responses to industrialization, political reform, religion, colonialism, class, gender and race at home and abroad. The course covers an array of literary forms and seeks to include perspectives from within the British Isles as well as from across the British Empire. There are no prerequisites for this course.
ENG 570 - 20TH CENTURY BRITISH PROSE: OTHERS AND OUTSIDERS (3 CREDITS)
Our course will focus on the theme of “Others and Outsiders” as a means of discovering the dominant literary approaches of the period, modernism and postmodernism. We will examine how these literary approaches both shape and reflect evolving notions of British identity throughout the period. We will read: James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist (1916), E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1924), Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927), Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981), Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000), and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005), as well as additional critical readings. Students will also have the opportunity to select their choice of novel for the final paper. Assignments will include three journal entries, a long paper (10-12 pages) completed in several stages (topic proposal, annotated bibliography, draft, and final), and a final presentation. MA students in all concentrations and MFA students are encouraged to enroll. This course fulfills the British Literature after 1660 requirement in the MA in Literature and a literature requirement in other degree programs.
ENG 577 - LITERATURE, SOCIETY, AND SELFHOOD IN JAZZ AGE AMERICA (3 CREDITS)
As the social historian of the Jazz Age, and the father of that term, few authors’ works provide a better entry point into the literature and culture of the Roaring ‘20s than F. Scott Fitzgerald’s. In this course we will examine how Fitzgerald’s prose represents, comments upon, critiques and challenges social expectations and cultural norms emblematic of his era, alongside works by his contemporaries, like Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker and writers of the Harlem Renaissance, such as Nella Larsen. This
class will examine the many echoes of this period that resonate in our current moment, including considerations of privilege, identity, American exceptionalism and Americans’ relationships to and with the rest of the world. Though the impact and reach of popular magazines is often left out of classrooms and scholarly conversations about American literature, as one of the primary vehicles of mass culture in the 1920s, they played a fundamental role in its publication, circulation, reception and interpretation, and our journey will take us into their pages as well. This class will also introduce students to some of the methods used and arguments made in current scholarship on the literature of this period, and students will have the opportunity to conduct research into a scholarly conversation about a topic of their choosing.
ENG/COM 581 - VISUAL RHETORIC: THEORY AND CRITICISM (3 CREDITS)
Application of visual theory to rhetoric and of rhetorical theory to visual forms of communication. Discussion and analysis may include advertising, photography, news and informational media, political communication, instructional material, scientific visualization, visual arts, public commemorative artifacts, internet and other digital media.
ENG 582 - LANGSTON HUGHES: FROM POPULAR CULTURE TO THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (3 CREDITS)
Langston Hughes (1901-1967) consistently noted that his greatest source of inspiration was listening to (or reading) the news. In shaping both Harlem’s values and the social turmoil of the 1960s, this seminar reassess this writer whose career merely begins with his role as a leading poet of the New Negro Movement of the 1920s.
After engaging with extensive works from Hughes’s seventeen-volume oeuvre, this course directs students into the archival realm of primary sources which includes his mentoring of NC’s own jazz singer Nina Simone. Music shaped the rhythms and cadence of a new innovative genre created solely by Hughes that David Chintz has rightly labeled “Blues Poetry.” Through regular student presentations, we will examine Hughes’s dramatic works, track his influence on Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1959), and move into his weekly newspaper columns written for the Chicago Defender from 1942-62. Final papers for this course might explore such questions as How does literature serve as a rehearsal for social change? or What role did communism play in the life of this writer who was forced to testify on television before Joseph McCarthy in 1953 at the height of the Red Scare? Of special note, this seminar begins and ends with extended exploration into the newly identified role Hughes’s poetry played in the Civil Rights Movement and its direct inspiration on the nation’s most visible dreamer— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
ENG 585/798 - STUDIES IN FILM: MEDIA AND MODERNITIES (3 CREDITS)
“The missile and the toaster, the push-button and the repeating revolver, military and kitchen technologies, are the natural possession of the media--a treasury of orientation, a manual of one's occupancy of the twentieth century.” --Laurence Alloway, 1959.
The purpose of this class is to explore the rich socio-cultural histories and theories of media and modern life. We will explore the roles of various media technologies in shaping the conditions of modernity, including colonialism, capitalism, and knowledge production. By giving special prominence to cultural techniques that are media, we will see that modernity is not one thing but rather fractured along the lines of media cultures, environment, and geopolitics.
ENG 590 - STUDIES IN CREATIVE WRITING: LITERARY CITIZENSHIP AND CONTROVERSIES (3 CREDITS)
Through the discussion of several literary controversies, this course examines our individual role in relation to the literary community. Issues relating to the changing American literary scene, diversity in publishing, how pandering and likeability may factor in our work, and the ethics of being a literary citizen will be discussed.
This course will examine our individual role and its relationship to the larger literary community. We’ll discuss how to create and sustain a creative writing community (both from a writer and a reader perspective), and we’ll look at recent controversies within these communities. Issues related to the changing American literary scene, diversity (or lack of it) in publishing, how pandering and likeability factor in an author’s work, the line between what constitutes autofiction versus “stealing” from others’ real lives, the role social media plays in literary communities, and the ethics in being a literary citizen will all be examined. Assignments include a presentation and guided discussion on a literary controversy where students will research the issue(s), including reading the books of the authors in question at the heart of the controversy, interviewing writers over their debut books (fiction, poetry, nonfiction, comics), writing a book review over a recently published book (fiction, poetry, nonfiction, comics), and researching venues for publication. By the end of this course, students will gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a creator, as well as a consumer—of literature.
ENG 590 - STUDIES IN CREATIVE WRITING: MEMOIR (3 CREDITS)
This is a course for those who wish to expand their writing repertoire by spending a semester immersed in memoir and related autobiographical forms. Workshop members will have an opportunity to submit their memoirs three times for workshop. The coursework will include deriving lessons from exemplary classical and contemporary memoirs. Early in the semester, we will read a lot. Memoir writing can be an excellent way for fiction and poetry writers to unlock and explore subterranean material that will bring greater richness to their primary genre. For M.A. students, memoir may be an avenue to greater self-awareness in relation to scholarly writing, and for any writer, memoir is an avenue to hybrid forms. The course invites experimentation with structure and style. Students may work on flash memoirs, essay-length memoirs, or chapters for a longer work.