Fall 2017 Course Descriptions


ENG 560: Writing Center and Composition Theory
Prof. Anna J. Rollins Section 101 (CRN 2225) MWF 11-11:50
This discussion-based, writing intensive course will provide a survey of critical texts in writing center and composition theory. We will be reading each week about the following topics within the field: writing center history and pedagogy, ESL tutoring, intertextuality, composition theory and pedagogy, rhetoric, genre, identity politics, research and documentation, and cultural studies. In addition to our work in the course, you will also tutor for one hour/week in the Writing Center for course credit. You will complete reflective responses each week connecting your course readings and your tutoring experiences. Likewise, you will be taught how to develop practical tutoring and teaching activities that apply your theoretical readings to a tutoring situation or a classroom. The course will culminate with a major research project where you will conduct in depth research on a topic of your choice within the fields of writing center and composition theory.


ENG 476/576: Structures of the English Language
Joni Magnusson Section 101 (CRN 2227)

Section 102 (CRN 2228)

TR 9:30-10:45


English 476/576 is a study of the structures of English grammar, including parts of speech and punctuation, and of the forms and functions of these grammatical structures. This course investigates how the structures of English grammar are used, learned, and taught by speakers/writers and gives students a deeper understanding of the English language through examination of a variety of special topics related to the structure of English, including language acquisition, English language learning, dialect variation, code-switching, and the history of English. This course also allows students to analyze how an understanding of each of these special topics informs and affects English education practices and prompts them to generate philosophies of grammar teaching and learning.


ENG 630: Materials and Methods
Dr. John Young Section 101 (CRN 2231) M 6:30-9:00
English 630 introduces M.A. students to the study and practice of literary scholarship, yielding sufficient preparation to produce graduate-level papers and other work.  We will cover the basics of bibliographical research and survey the range of theoretical approaches and techniques behind literary interpretation, comprising the “materials” and “methods” of the course title. While theory is often seen as “outside” of literature proper, and thus as imposing “external” concerns onto literary interpretation, this is a misunderstanding: used correctly and effectively, theory should be a tool that enables new kinds of questions about literature (defined broadly) to develop. As Stuart Hall (a theory and critic of postcolonial literature and culture) writes, “Theory is always a detour on the way to something more important.”

This class also serves as an introduction to graduate study, so we will cover such practical topics as: submitting an abstract to a scholarly conference, readying an essay for journal publication, preparing a CV (an academic résumé), teaching literature to undergraduates, applying to Ph.D. programs, and more.

Requirements will include a series of short responses to theoretical readings, an in-class oral presentation, and a research paper applying theoretical term(s) and method(s) to a primary text (construing “text” broadly).


ENG 635: Major Texts: Melville and Conrad
Prof. John Van Kirk Section 101 (CRN 2232) M 4-6:20
Forget everything you’ve heard about “the death of the author.” In this seminar considering two of the most influential writers in the history of English prose fiction we will do everything we can to bring the lives of the writers to the forefront, focusing not only on the writing itself but on the question of how great writing gets written. We will read a critical biography of each writer along with several major works, considering, among other things, prose style, the nature of the novel itself, the development of the “psychological” novel, and the relationship between an artist’s life and the art that emerges from that life.


ENG 661: Studies in Genre: Speculative Fiction: Exploration and Workshop
Dr. Gwenyth Hood Section 101 (CRN 2233)         W 4:00-6:20
Speculative Fiction encompasses the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy, both also subgenres of Fantastic Literature.  The “Fantastic” implies literature which examines life as it is not, or at least, as it is not perceived.  Speculative fiction has become increasingly prominent in recent times, in part because contemporary literature reflects to keep pace with social change while staying in touch with whatever permanent realities there may be.  In this course, students will look at short pieces of Speculative Fiction on a continuum from ancient to modern times, but with the most emphasis on modern developments. Each will write a substantive paper (approximately 15 pages) chosen subgroup, involving the historical development of a theme or subgenre.  Then each will choose a personal project, planned at approximately 20-60 pages, due at the end of the semester.  This may be either creative (involving short stories or chapters of a novel) or analytical (involving further exploration of works on a chosen theme). Also, students will keep also keep a semiweekly blog, responding to class readings and sharing insights about ongoing projects.  


ENG 675: Professional Topics in Creative Writing
Prof. Eric Smith Section 101 (CRN 2235) T 6:30-9:00p
Course Theme: Literary Citizenship
Writing can be a punishingly lonely enterprise. This course, which the university’s graduate catalogue describes as “a multi-genre study of professional topics on the writing, editing/publishing, and teaching of creative writing in the current literary and job markets” won’t change that fact. However, by writing new work, becoming conversant with the style and conventions of contemporary literary publishing, and discovering professionalization opportunities beyond the page, we may lessen the brunt of such isolation. The emphasis for this course is on the “multi-genre” designation in the description. While we will write and prepare work for publication, such preparation will occur alongside (and often be subordinate to) a conversation and a writing practice which includes a variety of other publishable works—including book reviews, author interviews, grant and fellowship opportunities, and other types of writing. Our primary goal: to discover a writing practice that recognizes the need for participation in a larger, more public conversation about what, why, and how we read and write.




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