Courses Offered (Spring 2022)

Undergraduate Courses

First-Year English (UCCS Rhetoric Requirement)

1001 Foundations in Rhetoric  (Foundation Tier)

Various days and times, see Snapshot
English 1001, Foundations in Rhetoric

Students learn to:

  • Critically engage scholarly communication by identifying and analyzing the main rhetorical features of variously mediated texts used by scholars to express ideas in academic settings;
  • Pursue inquiry with rigor and responsibility by formulating feasible and meaningful research questions and revising them while conducting thorough, ethical inquiries using appropriate available resources;
  • Understand writing as a purpose-driven, audience-oriented, multimodal activity that involves writers in making continuous ethical and informed choices;
  • Develop writing by engaging in overlapping phases of invention, synthesis of ideas and information, and revision undertaken in response to others' feedback and self-critique;
  • Deliver writing by making full use of appropriate available media, genres, formats and styles;
  • Write with exigence by addressing issues of importance with the goal of increasing one's own and others' understanding as a foundation for future action of various kinds;
  • Develop an appropriate ethos by meeting academic audiences' expectations for credibility, consistency, and integrity.
  • For additional details, including unit-by-unit syllabi, contact Dr. Steve Hartman Keiser.

Introduction to Marquette Core Curriculum


 2011 Books That Matter (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, Memory)

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Jackielee Derks

Course Title: Books that Matter: Distant Connections 

Course Description: Despite the many ways that technology promises to keep us connected, the global pandemic forced us to endure extreme isolation. As lockdowns and social distancing became our new normal, many of us longed to reconnect with loved ones and friends in more authentic ways. In this class, we’ll study novels and short stories from around the world to discover what it means to be connected. As we read, we’ll explore novels made up of interconnected short stories and characters that defy the boundaries of time and space to make unexpected connections. We’ll investigate how stories help us transcend borders to connect with others in meaningful ways. And, we’ll use our own experiences to consider how the practice of storytelling can help us achieve similar connections in our own lives.  

Readings: Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being; Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin; Zeyn Joukhadar, The Map of Salt and Stars; Tommy Orange, There There; and selected short stories from Helen Oyeyemi. 

Assignments: Short writing assignments; participation in story exchanges; and a reading journal 


102 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Matthew Burchanoski

Course Title:  Life During Globalism

Course Description: While modernist and postmodernist literature have their share of wide-ranging, expansive epics, the 21st century has featured a rapid expansion of fiction traversing time, place, and genre in search of a globally unifying structure. One of the works most emblematic of this trend is David Mitchell’s 2004 novel Cloud Atlas. Ranging across six different eras and locations, each written in a unique genre, Cloud Atlas culminates with a message of inescapable connection, which could be read as a depressing or beautiful ending to a novel warning of future cataclysm. 

In this course we’ll investigate Cloud Atlas as a representative novel, structurally and thematically, of how contemporary fiction writers are grappling with the pressures, lures, and dangers of, in particular, globalism and cosmopolitanism. We’ll begin with select theoretical readings that analyze the anxieties surrounding 21st century periodization and the ethics of an electronically, economically, and physically globalized world. We’ll use Cloud Atlas as a lens to discuss questions of periodization, decolonization, global capitalism, the compatibility of art and science, posthumanism, ecocriticism, and more. Along with reading Cloud Atlas and watching the Wachowski’s film adaptation from 2012, we’ll read selections from other 21st century authors to get a fuller sense of how writers are imagining our contemporary history and the obstacles to an ethical cosmopolitanism. 

Additional short works could include, but is not limited to, those by Michael Ondaatje, Zadie Smith, Karen Joy Fowler, Samantha Schweblin, Colson Whitehead, Emily St. John Mandel, J.M. Coetzee, and/or Laurent Binet. as well as selections from other genres, primarily music and television/film. 

Assignments: Online discussion posts, presentations, short writing assignments, one final project. 

103 MWF 8:00-8:50 Professor John Brick

Course Title:  (Non)fiction

Course Description:  Are fiction and nonfiction really the opposites that we often casually assume them to be?  Reader, they are not — and in this section of English 2011, we’re going to spend digging around in texts that live in the gray area between these two apparently contradictory poles of literature.  This course leans into the smorgasboard of genres, the buffet of styles, the sampler platter of authors, all tied together by their common playfulness in — and clever manipulation of — the spaces between fiction and nonfiction, subjectivity and objectivity, representation and fabrication.  Our readings will take us into issues like mass surveillance and data harvesting, climate and environment, and journalistic reliability (and more!); across a range of authors from Martha Gellhorn, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anthony Bourdain, and Joan Didion to Junot Díaz, Ellen Raskin, Edward Abbey, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, and Hunter S. Thompson (and beyond!); through a wide and intersecting range of genres and styles: the young-adult detective novel, the short character sketch, narrative journalism, war dispatches, science fiction meditations, nature-writing memoir (and … well, you get the idea).  This class is ideal for students keen to actively engage with a wide variety of literature and to closely and critically examine how fiction, nonfiction — and especially the spaces in between — provide authors with the tools to work within their historical and cultural contexts and code their ideas into compelling forms.  Course assignments include semi-formal (read: low-stress) presentations that lead class discussion and short written assignments that engage intelligently and creatively with the ideas and forms of our texts.  For their culminating assignment at the end of the semester, students will be able to choose their projects from a number of options calculated to suit their scholarly interests and goals. 


ESSV Core Requirements

2001 Ways of Knowing (ESSV2, WRIT)

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Jenn Fishman 

Course Title: Ways of Knowing

Course Description: This writing-intensive, ESSV 2 course is for students who want to learn—hands on, eyes on, ears on, hearts on—how the everyday stories that people tell help us know more about the worlds around us: past, present, and future. In this course, we will all have multiple roles. We'll be readers of stories, and we'll go down the rabbit hole of reading stories about stories. We'll also be storytellers, both out loud and in different kinds of writing, and we'll be storysearchers or curious listeners who thoughtfully, deliberately, and ethically seek others' stories and share them with purpose.  

Course materials include a variety of electronic materials available on D2L. Approximately one-third of our readings will be stories collected and told by members of our class.  

Assignments include class participation (twice weekly) and regular short reading and writing assignments (weekly) plus steady contributions (e.g., ideas, raw material, analysis, writing, revisions) to a collective story project that addresses a topic we will choose as a group.  

2020 Text, Social Systems, and Values  (ESSV 1)

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Cedric Burrows

Course Title: I Am We: Memoirs of the Civil Rights Movement 

Course Description:  This course will focus on narratives written by participants in the Civil Rights Movement (1955-1975). We will study how these participants used their narratives to give voice to those who are often overlooked in mainstream narratives about the era. The course will also investigate how the authors used their accounts to respond to common perceptions (and misperceptions) about the movement. In the process, we will explore the Civil Rights Movement as a grassroots movement occurring in several locations that created a national movement. 

Readings:  Readings will include: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It—JoAnn Gibson Robinson; March Trilogy—John Lewis; Negroes with Guns—Robert F. Williams; The Autobiography of Malcolm X—Malcolm X; Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community—Martin Luther King, Jr.; Revolutionary Suicide—Huey P. Newton 

Assignments:  Reading Responses; Quizzes; Midterm; Final; Class Participation

102 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Rebecca Nowacek

Course Title: Analyzing American Culture through the American Musical

Course Description: The genre of the American musical is nearly a century old and has always offered a fascinating lens on changing attitudes towards gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and what it means to be American.  This course will focus on four musicals from different historical eras: Showboat (1927), Oklahoma! (1943), Cabaret (1966), and Hamilton (2015).  We’ll learn about how those musicals responded to their historical moments (channeling and sometimes challenging beliefs of the time) and discuss how subsequent productions sometimes changed substantially in new historical moments.  We’ll be thinking about how issues of gender and sexuality and race and ethnicity and what it means to be American get represented in the very American genre of the musical.  In short, our main activities will be close reading and critical analysis: the staples of most English courses. 

This is not a course that requires that you arrive with any particular knowledge about musicals or even be a big fan of musicals.  I will confess that (no surprise) I do love musicals—and if you actively dislike musicals this course may well give you a semester-long headache.  Nevertheless, our focus will be on analyzing a handful of shows closely and critically, so what matters most is that you develop the knowledge and the ability to analyze musicals in their historical and cultural contexts.

103 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Serina Jamison


Writing Courses

3210 Writing Practices and Processes (WRIT)

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Rebecca Nowacek
102 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Rebecca Nowacek

Course Title: 
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Writing Practices and Processes requirement for ENGA and ENGW majors. Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.  

3220 Writing for Workplaces (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

101 MWF 8:00-8:50 Professor Elizabeth Angeli

Course Title: Writing for Workplaces
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description:  How will you use your Marquette experience in the workplace and in the community? Are you looking for an internship, a job, or a graduate program? Have you struggled with writing and want to improve? 

This course introduces you to the written communication practices you’ll use off-campus, also known as professional communication. Professional communication is essential to succeeding in workplaces and organizations of all types where effective communicators adapt their writing for a variety of audiences and purposes.

This class, in content and form, models successful professional communication practices so that you become confident in your own skills. You will learn effective strategies to communicate by working individually and collaboratively to complete course projects that are tailored to your personal and career goals.

The course covers the following principle topics:

  • Develop the mindset and habits of an ethical, effective professional communicator
  • Discern how the skills and knowledge you’ve learned at Marquette have prepared you to be a competitive job/graduate school applicant regardless of major
  • Learn workplace research methods, including interviews, survey design, and usability testing
  • Craft your document design skills and learn design software, like InDesign
  • Hone your writing skills by planning, drafting, revising, and editing workplace documents, like proposals, presentations, reports, and instructions

Readings: Johnson-Sheehan, Richard. Technical Communication Today. 6thed., Pearson/Longman, 2018.

Assignments: You will create a professional career portfolio that includes a cover letter or personal statement, résumé, documentation/instructions, reports, and reflections. All projects are individualized to meet students’ individual goals, needs, and interests. 

3222 Writing for Health and Medicine (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justic)

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Lilly Campbell

Course Title: Writing for Health and Medicine
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: While most would agree that healthcare is a basic need and right, simply providing access to healthcare does not guarantee equitable treatment for populations with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Language and communication are frequently at the heart of discrepancies in healthcare – whether it be a condescending doctor who overlooks a female patient’s pain symptoms or a well-meaning public health professional who cannot account for the ways her cultural biases interfere with her care of patients. By focusing on writing in health and medicine, this course encourages both future health professionals and future communication professionals to critically reflect on the importance of their language choices in shaping how various populations can access and use healthcare. *No scientific background required.* 

Assignments:  Will include a reading journal, a Health Narrative, a Rhetorical Analysis, a Document Life Cycle Report, a Redesign, and a Health Writing Reflection. Assignments are open-ended to meet a variety of goals, needs, and interests.

3240 Introduction to Creative Writing (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Elisa Karbin
104 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Elisa Karbin

Course Title: Introduction to Creative Writing 
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: A multi-genre introduction to the craft of creative writing this course is designed to acquaint students with the complexities of creative writing as a craft across the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Through analysis of each genre’s representative works, we’ll explore literary conventions and cut our teeth as critical readers and writers, engaging in the ongoing practice of writing our own texts across a variety of literary forms. 

102 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Tyler Farrell
103 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Tyler Farrell

Course Title: Introduction to Creative Writing
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: Learn to write creatively in multiple genres. Vladimir Nabokov once wrote, “Literature belongs not to the department of general ideas, but to the department of specific words and images.” In this course, students will learn to read and write short/flash fiction, poetry, and a short drama/screenplay. We will focus on our writing community and place attention on word choice, sound, voice, subject matter, style, and revision in all of our work. All students will read and write weekly while also engaging in workshops to critique and offer/receive guidance. Time and space to practice writing and learn technique is our constant aim. A supportive community of writers will help to cultivate a helpful atmosphere and a final portfolio of work in at least two genres. Go writing!

105 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Sebastian Bitticks

Course Title:  Creative Nonfiction
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900

Course Description:  Maybe you've wanted to tour a city like Anthony Bourdain but couldn't convice a TV crew to follow you.  Or maybe you've filled pages with thoughts and reflections but can't quite find the form to fit them.  Maybe you've read Roxanne Gay or Rebecca Solnit and thought: yes, this is what we need more of.  Creative nonfiction is for you.  Covering travel and food writing, memoir/autobiography, New Journalism, personal essays and hybrids that blur the borders with poetry and fiction.  CNF is literature's eclectic, big-tent genre.  In this class, we will learn the habits, methods and writing techniques to tell true stories well.  We will go out into the world and deep into our memories, explore new literary forms to express unique experiences, and learn how to take an idea from a vague feeling in our guts to a polished piece of writing.  This course also introduces the fundamentals of creative writing workshops.

106 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Tyler Farrell

3241 Crafting the Short Story (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory

101  MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Katherine Zlabek
102 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Katherine Zlabek

Course Title:  Crafting the Short Story
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: Students will produce fresh, original writing that appeals to an audience’s imagination in this intermediate-level journey into short fiction. In it, we will be discussing the various elements of fiction, including concrete and specific detail, voice, atmosphere, and plot, to name a few. Students will explore the formal elements of writing alongside fiction that exemplifies or challenges these formal elements. Each story will be examined critically for its form as well as its representation of social, cultural beliefs and values, economic or global conditions, and environmental circumstances. In a workshop setting, we will critique one another’s creative writing, and discuss strategies for revising creative writing effectively.   

Readings:  Stories and craft essays will be posted on D2L. 

Assignments: Thoughtful attention to published work, and the work of peers; considerate workshop participation; short stories; outside reading and short presentation; final portfolio. 


103 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Brittany Pladek

Course Title: Crafting the Short Story
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: In this course we will explore the joy and praxis of writing short fiction through a combination of literary study, discussions of craft, and peer workshops. The class will begin by analyzing short stories from the 20th and 21st-centuries alongside introductions to craft terms, mostly drawn from Matthew Salesses’s Craft in the Real World and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft. Students will also write brief exercises in class that let them practice key techniques like inhabiting a point-of-view, building characters, plotting, and scene-setting. After this, students will write, workshop, and revise their own short stories. In a supportive workshop environment, students will offer one another feedback that they will use to 1) better understand themselves as writers, and 2) improve their work—both by revising stories they’ve already written and becoming more intentional and attentive when writing new ones. At the end of class, students will submit a portfolio of their revised stories.  

Readings: All readings will be posted on d2L. Exercises will be drawn from Salesses’s Craft in the Real World and Le Guin’s Steering the Craft; short stories may include work from Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sofia Samatar, Angela Carter, Carmen Maria Machado, James Baldwin, and Grace Paley.

104 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Megan Paonessa

3261 Poetry and Community (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

101 Monday 6:00-8:30pm Professor Angela Sorby

Course Title: Poetry and Community
Fulfills English Major Requirement:
ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Lyric forms (traditional verse, spoken word, verbal/visual collage) can offer us powerful ways to find and share our authentic voices with one another. In this course we will practice a range of lyric forms as we seek to build a generative creative community through poetry. The course, sponsored by the EPP program, will be held at the Racine Correctional Institution (RCI); half the students will be RCI residents and half will be MU students. Transportation from Marquette to the RCI facility will be provided. Interested MU students should apply here for admission to the course: 

4223 The Rhetoric of Black Protest (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Cedric Burrows

Course Title: Theorizing the Rhetoric of the Antilynching, Black Power, and Black Lives Matter Movements
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: This course will examine the rhetorical strategies African Americans have used to fight for their civil and human rights in the United States. We will pay particular attention to three historical movements that have either received renewed attention in society (Anti-Lynching Movement and the Black Power Movement) and one contemporary movement (Black Lives Matter). To help ground our discussion, we will examine the movements with the following questions: 1) What historical factors led to the development of the particular social movement? 2) What rhetorical devices did African Americans use to respond to the historical moment? 3) How did the development of these rhetorical devices connect to the next social movement related to Black protest? These questions will help us to review the rhetorical strategies in each social movement and will culminate into students writing a research paper theorizing the rhetorical strategies of African American protest.

Readings: Some of the authors we will read include Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Walter White, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and Sybrina Fulton, and Alicia Garza.

Assignments: Three essays and one seminar paper 

4224 Radical Writing: An Invitation to the Self (WRIT)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Elizabeth Angeli

Course Title: Radical Writing: An Invitation to the Self
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: This is a writing class for people who want to learn how to make better decisions.  

Grounded in discernment, a spiritual way of making decisions, this class uses writing to support your decision-making processes. It draws on elements of Ignatian spirituality to help you tap into the power of imagination to see what new possibilities lie ahead of you. Using that, you will learn different ways to make decisions to ultimately learn what process works best for you. Course readings will guide us, with the most important text being you, your life experience, and your willingness to embark on the journey. This class shows you how finding a life purpose(s) is a life-long commitment, one that impacts the communities, contexts, and creatures around us. This class provides you with tools for the journey. 

We will ask and answer questions like: 

  • How do I determine “what’s next” for me?  
  • What values and skills do I have? How do I explain them to other people? 
  • What careers or graduate school options are out? Is there more out there than I’m aware of? (Spoiler alert: Yes.)  
  • How do I learn how to say no?  

This class gives you what many academic contexts don’t: time and space to be, ponder, wonder, dream, question, and create.   

This class is designed for students across disciplines who want to dive into their career and personal journeys. No religious practice, tradition, or preference is required—this course is open to anyone who wants to improve their decision-making skills. Class projects include weekly reflections, informational interviews, class presentations, and a final capstone project. Projects are tailored to students’ interests.  

4230 Writing Center Theory, Practice and Research (WRIT, ESSV2)

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Rebecca Nowacek
601 F 12:00-12:50 (Discussion) Professor Rebecca Nowacek

Course Title: Writing Center Theory, Research, and Practice
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: Participants in this course will study the theoretical and practical aspects of peer tutoring of writing—a topic that may have relevance not only in the short term (for students looking to gain employment at Marquette’s Ott Memorial Writing Center and other campus programs that hire peer writing tutors) but also in the long term (for students looking to cultivate written and oral communication skills attractive to employers in a wide range of professions). Topics of inquiry include the complex processes involved in written, oral, and multi-modal composition; the exploration of the different genres and contexts of writing; the theory and practice of providing feedback on work in progress; and writing center scholarship more broadly. Observation, examination, and reflection upon our own experiences as writers and tutors is a central dimension of the course. Permission of the instructor after a process of application is required for registration. Please contact Dr. Rebecca Nowacek (Director of the Ott Memorial Writing Center) at

Readings: Texts will include scholarly sources made available through electronic reserve as well as original texts composed by current and previous participants in the course.

Assignments: Will likely include two reflective papers, a longer inquiry project, and 15 hours of participation in a “writing center internship” in Marquette’s Ott Memorial Writing Center. 

4250 Creative Writing: Fiction (NOTE: due to high demand, this course will not count for the Discovery Tier for the 2021-2022 academic year).

102 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Megan Paonessa
104 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Megan Paonessa

Course Title: Creative Writing:  Fiction
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 
ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: The Seminar in Fiction is the study of the craft of fiction within the context of the culture in which it is produced. This course investigates how storytelling represents, reflects, reframes, and resists or reinforces cultural beliefs and values. The workshop structure allows for an active discussion of student work. Readings are a diverse selection of authors as examples of craft and the diversity of voice. Supporting craft materials include essays, video clips, and book excerpts, which invite the study of language and story reimagining our world. Every student will produce their own creative stories. Part of the class will be managed in a  workshop format, which allows for an active discussion of student work.

ReadingsMaking Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern; The Best American Short Stories (2019), edited by Anthony Doerr.

Assignments: Students will participate in leading class discussions and write craft exercises, a critical craft essay, workshop reviews, several original short stories in different forms. A final portfolio due at the end of the semester will be a representation of each student’s best work. 

4260 Creative Writing: Poetry (WRIT)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Angela Sorby
102 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Angela Sorby 

Course Title:  Creative Writing: Poetry
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: This course introduces writers to the field of contemporary poetry and encourages them to find their voices within it.  Students will read widely in addition to writing new poems every week.  We will explore a range of sub-genres from documentary verse to formalism to spoken word.  Most of our class sessions will follow the Iowa Workshop model, which involves peer feedback within the context of a deliberately supportive community. This course will be a hybrid course. 

4986 Writing Internship

The Writing Internship Course, English 4986, enables both English Literature majors and minors and Writing-Intensive majors and minors to earn three hours of academic credit (“S” or “U”) for "real-world” writing experience. Such internships may be paid or unpaid. For more information, visit our internships page.


Language Courses

4110 Exploring the English Language (Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, Memory)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Steve Hartman Keiser

Course Title: Exploring the English Language
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Language study

Course Description: The aim of this course is to wow you with the wonder of language:  its complexity, systematicity, and diversity.  We will take a scientific approach to the investigation of language, that is, we will collect data, analyze it, and consider testable hypotheses to account for it.  In the process you will evaluate your beliefs and attitudes about language and human beings as language speakers.

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Describe the features of human language that differentiate it from animal communication. (CMI outcome)
  2. Collect and transcribe language data from natural conversation.
  3. Analyze the structure of sounds, words, and sentences in English by describing the relationships between the units that compose them. (CMI outcome)
  4. Describe the systematic, rule-governed features of several important language varieties in the US, including ASL and African American English (CMI outcome)
  5. Critically evaluate statements and attitudes—including your own—about language and human beings as language speakers.

4130  History of the English Language

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Steve Hartman Keiser

Course Title: History of the English Language
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Language study

Course Description: Marauding Germanic tribes in a corner of Europe in the 5th century established an island society whose native tongue is now spoken by billions around the world as the language of business, technology, and diplomacy. This is the story of English from before Ælfric to present-day Zimbabwe. Explore the nature of linguistic change, major developments in the structure and use of the English language, and current variation in English worldwide.

Assignments: Learn to pronounce Old English and Middle English. Analyze language patterns. Lead class discussion. Midterm and final exams. 


Upper Division Literature Courses

3000 Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies (WRIT)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Tosin Gbogi
TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Tosin Gbogi

Course Title: Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies
ENGL 3000 fulfills the foundation course requirement in the major sequence for ENGA, ENGL, and ENGW majors.

Course Description: This course serves as an entry point to advanced study in the discipline of English literature. We will read a variety of literary texts—poetry, short fiction, drama, novel, graphic novel, film, television—and will talk about formal, theoretical, and historical approaches to literary interpretation. We are not going to be overly concerned about themes common across these texts (though we might discover some!) but will always be thinking self-consciously about the ways we approach texts with particular expectations that can be fulfilled, frustrated, or exceeded…sometimes all in the same text. This course will help students develop fluency with academic discourses and habits of literary criticism that will serve them in their upper-division courses at Marquette, as well as develop their skills as writers and thinkers in their own right.

Readings: John Peck and Martin Coyle's Practical Criticism. Other readings will be posted on d2L. 

Assignments: discussion posts (close reading), a midterm paper, an oral presentation, and a final research paper


103 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Amy Blair

Course Title: Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies
ENGL 3000 fulfills the foundation course requirement in the major sequence for ENGA, ENGL, and ENGW majors.

Course Description:  This course serves as an entry point to advanced study in the discipline of English literature. We will read a variety of literary texts—poetry, short fiction, drama, novel, graphic novel, film, television—and will talk about formal, theoretical, and historical approaches to literary interpretation. We are not going to be overly concerned about themes common across these texts (though we might discover some!) but will always be thinking self-consciously about the ways we approach texts with particular expectations that can be fulfilled, frustrated, or exceeded…sometimes all in the same text. This course will help students develop fluency with academic discourses and habits of literary criticism that will serve them in their upper-division courses at Marquette, as well as develop their skills as writers and thinkers in their own right.

Readings:  Texts will include: Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette and Douglas, Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home; Octavia Butler’s Kindred; Tony Kushner’s Angels in America; Claudia Rankine’s Citizen; a variety of poems; and a smattering of short stories.

Assignments: weekly discussion board, creative assignments, close reading assignments, and an open-topic open-modality culminating project

3513 Modern Irish Literature (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Tyler Farrell

Course Title: Modern Irish Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900

Course Description: This class will focus on Irish Literature through the lens of place. The Irish use the word “dinnseanchas” or “dindsenchas” which translates into the “lore of places.” We will examine deep and symbolic aspects of place or location through the lens of major Irish authors and films. Every class will engage in reading and discussions reflecting on how Irish artists portray themselves and examine how where we are is who we are. The starting point for both our reading and writing will be our personal responses to the texts, both as works of literature and film and as windows into the Irish world. The class will also focus on how these writers use their native land and its inhabitants to inform their writing, the use of place and surroundings to show and create a certain mood and overarching moral. Discussion format with critical analysis of works.

Readings: Authors we will read will include: W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, Kate O’Brien, Michael Hartnett, Eavan Boland, Leland Bardwell, Edna O’Brien, Brian Friel, Philip Casey, Christy Brown, Angela Bourke, and James Liddy. Also, we will be watching the following Irish films in class: In Bruges – 2008, Odd Man Out, 1947, and My Left Foot, 1989 along with some short films. 

Assignments: Will include: class discussion, group assignments, presentation, short reflections, 2 critical papers, and a final research project.

102 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor James Pribek, S.J.

3611 Jane Austen (Discovery Tier: Individuals and Communities)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Al Rivero
102 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Al Rivero

Course Title: Jane Austen
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900

Course Description: Jane Austen is huge these days. Dozens of television, film, and theatrical adaptations of her novels have appeared and will continue to appear. Merchandise featuring her image or the images of her characters is everywhere. Only Shakespeare exceeds her in cultural capital. The downside of our current obsession with Austen is that the novels themselves are often trivialized or not read with care. In this course, we will read Austen’s six novels with the close critical attention they demand and deserve. Whether Austen was a feminist in our modern sense is debatable. What is beyond dispute is that her novels aim to represent the plight of women in a patriarchal society rigged against them. Austen’s novels are not the fantasy machines for which they are often mistaken but pedagogical interventions in a culture which, while ostensibly valuing women, kept them from achieving their full human potential. This is a truth not universally acknowledged either in Austen’s time or in ours.

Readings: Norton Critical Editions of Northanger Abbey; Sense and Sensibility; Pride and Prejudice; Mansfield Park; Emma; and Persuasion.

Assignments: One or two oral presentations, one researched term paper (ca. 10pp.); midterm examination; comprehensive final examination; class participation; and regular attendance.

3740 Film Studies (Discovery Tier: Crossing Boundaries)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Paul Gagliardi
102 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Paul

Course Title: Cinema -- Studies in Popular Genres
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900

Course Description: This course will explore some of the most popular film genres and why they resonate with audiences. We will examine several specific genres of film including but not limited to the backstage musical, the slasher film, the domestic melodrama, and the romantic comedy from both American and other cinematic traditions. Over the course of the term, we will consider how genres evolve and the evolution of their popularity --- such as the prevalence of the backstage musical during the post-World War II period -- and how different generations of filmmakers have reinterpreted generic conventions for different cultural and historical contexts. Additionally, this course will study how films of various genres address issues of gender, race, and identity representation, as well as reinforcing or challenging social norms at various points. We will also explore the scholarly tradition of film studies and some of the long-standing debates over the notion of genre and its impact on audiences (as well as audience expectations of these genres).  

3775 Literature and Place (Discovery Tier: Individuals and Communities)

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Amy Blair

Course Title: Imagining the Midwest
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900 and American Literature

Course Description: In this course we will think about the imaginative construction of the Midwest from the late nineteenth century through the present day. We will consider the ways that Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Louis were figured as urban spaces that were supported by and reached into the rural spaces of the “Great West,” and how the Midwest was imaginatively and literally constructed as a hub for goods, people, and culture between the coasts. We begin with the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, during which Chicago laid its claim to twentieth-century significance. We will read a number of novels that consider the possibilities and dangers of the metropolis for women, immigrants, African Americans, Native Americans, and East-coasters. Along the way we will talk quite a bit about architecture, wheat, pigs, trains, rivers and shoes.

Readings:  Texts may include: L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz; Jean Toomer’s Cane; Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle; Ida B. Wells’ journalism; Willa Cather’s My Ántonia; one or more novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder; The Round House by Louise Erdrich; poetry by Robert Frost, Eve Ewing, and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Assignments: weekly discussion board, creative assignments, close reading assignments, and an open-topic open-modality culminating project 

4303 Studies in the Medieval Imagination (WRIT)

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Elizaveta Strakhov

Course Title: Castles in the Clouds: Studies in the Medieval Imagination
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Pre-1700 requirement

Course Description: The origin of the very discipline we now call “English”—with its emphasis on “close reading” and “critical thinking”—was born in the Middle Ages. Medieval readers talked about cutting open the surface skin of the text to get at its entrails, or washing off the dung on the surface to get at the gold hidden inside the text. Then as now, medieval bookworms sought to get “into” the text, to uncover the hidden truths that lay just below its surface. This course will explore medieval texts and their buried mysteries, known as allegories. We will read about Dante’s vision of hell, Chaucer’s parody of Dante’s hell, a bizarely Marxist pilgrimage narrative, and a gender-bending tale of a woman raised as a man who must choose a gender identity as an adult. Because the medievals understood allegory as both something you read but also something you write, we will do several creative writing projects over the course of the semester. In the process, as we learn to read and write like the medievals, we just might learn that the past is not as dusty, dreary, and distant as it seems. 

Readings: Texts:  Dante’s Inferno, Chaucer, William Langland’s Piers Plowman, the Romance of the Rose, and the Romance of Silence

4331 Shakespeare (WRIT)

101 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor John Curran

Course Title: Shakespeare
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Pre-1700, Shakespeare

Course Description: This course is an introduction to Shakespeare’s art and some of its major themes. The course will include representatives of Shakespeare’s four major dramatic genres - comedy, romance, history, and tragedy.

Readings: A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, As You Like It, The Tempest, Richard II, Henry IV, Macbeth, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and King Lear.

Assignments: Students will be expected to come prepared to discuss specific problems they discern in the plays, read passages aloud in class, and serve as discussion leaders on at least three occasions. Further assignments will include three analytic papers (5 pages each) and a final exam. 

4616 Moby Dick (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Expanding our Horizons)

TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Sarah Wadsworth

Course Title: Moby Dick
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900, American Literature.
Counts toward INGS and major / minor

Course Description: This course offers an in-depth study of one of the most iconic and highly regarded works in literary history, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Our primary activity will be taking a deliberately paced semester-long journey through this multigenre masterpiece of personal, geographical, philosophical, and spiritual exploration. We will immerse ourselves in its complex atmosphere of mystery and suspense, grapple with its transcendent heights and plumb its existential depths. Along the way, we will investigate Moby-Dick’s historical, artistic, and philosophical roots amid a carefully curated constellation of satellite texts. In addition, we will survey the novel’s transformation into film and other genres, including pop cultural appearances ranging from the tortured (Star Trek) to the comedic (The X-Files). The course will emphasize sharpening the tools of textual analysis and written expression through close reading, reflection, discussion, and writing practice.

Readings: Readings will include the annotated text of Moby-Dick; an array of short readings, including selections from Melville’s tales, poems, personal letters, criticism; and Nathaniel Philbrick’s gripping, award-winning disaster narrative In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.

Assignments: In addition to participating regularly in class discussion, each student will produce brief informal written reflections / responses, four short response papers, a collaborative presentation, and a longer paper that builds, in stages, on one of the shorter ones.

4715 Children's Literature (WRIT, Discovery Tier: Cognition, Intelligence, Memory)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Sarah Wadsworth

Course Title: Children's Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirements: Post-1900, American Literature. Counts toward INGS and major / minor and Family Studies minor

Course Description: This course surveys key texts and transitions in the development of English and American children’s literature from the seventeenth century to the present while introducing critical and theoretical approaches to the analysis of children’s literature. Bringing together significant works of fiction, poetry, and illustration with literary-historical and critical texts, course readings explore the role of memory, cognition, and the adult perception of the child’s mind in the shaping of children’s literature. Class discussions will be guided by the following questions: How does children’s literature negotiate the divide between the desire to instruct and entertain juvenile readers? How do the texts accommodate and contribute to changing notions of children and of childhood? How does the relationship between words and images operate in illustrated texts? How does children’s literature respond to contemporary social issues? How do the texts construct gender, race, ethnicity, age and ageing, disability, and class? How does children’s literature respond to children as marginalized “others”? How does writing for children address the power differentials upon which this marginalization rests?

Readings: Primary texts will include fairy tales, poems, picturebooks, adaptations in film and other media, and the following novels: Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (Part One); Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island; Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House; Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game; Varian Johnson, The Parker Inheritance.

Assignments: In addition to participating regularly in class discussion, each student will produce brief informal written reflections / responses, four short response papers, and a longer paper, developed in stages. 

4717 Comics (Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, Memory)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:30 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title: Comics as Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900

Course Description: This course surveys the history and reception of comics and graphic narrative since 1945. We will explore the history of the comics form from its origins to the present moment, watching as the medium shifts from a predominantly American, predominantly male fixation on the superhero towards an increasingly popular international art movement crossing gender, class, and ethnic lines. What are comics today, and who are they for—and why, as Thierry Groensteen has pointedly asked, are comics still in search of cultural legitimization? As in previous instances of the course, we will consider science fictional and superheroic comics alongside high literary novels and confessional autobiographies to gain a full understanding of the medium and its possibilities. In addition to studying comics as literary scholars, along the way we will also consider alternative modes of comics reception, including the great comic book panic of the 1950s, the underground “hippie” counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, film and television adaptation, and Internet fandom today.

Readings: I will poll the class for their particular interests once registration is done but core texts I have taught in this course in the past include Warren Ellis and John Cassady’s Planetary; Mark Millar and Dave Johnson’s Superman: Red Son; G. Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt, and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel; Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead; Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and II; Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home; Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth and Building Stories; Ben Passmore’s “Your Black Friend”; Marjane Satrapi’s The Complete Persepolis; David Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp; Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon’s Daytripper; and Richard McGuire’s Here. I am, of course, always open to suggestions of new texts.

Assignments: Enthusiastic class discussion; two papers and one final project; online discussion posts; presentations

4734 The Epic (WRIT, Discovery Tier: Expanding Our Horizons)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor John Curran
102 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor John Curran

Course Title: The Epic
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Pre-1700

Course Description: Epic poetry is one of the oldest literary genres, and in the west literary tradition it has always been intimately associated with exploring the unknown - whether far-off oceans, the edges of the theological universe, or the dark territory of the self. Examines the Homeric epics, and then surveys four of the most important literary epics in the western tradiation: Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Milton's Paradise Lost and Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh. All four document how exploring distant realms always, at the end of the day, means exploring yourself. These epics ask their heroes where they came from and where they're going as ways of forcing them to understand who they are.

4736 Fiction (Discovery Tier: Cognition, Intelligence, Memory)

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Robert Bruss

Course Title: Stories About Storytelling 
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900

Course Description:  This course examines the power and function of fiction by examining novels and short stories about writers and the stories they tell. We’ll consider how narratives structure the way we interpret the world and our lives, the reasons why people decide to write fiction, what makes stories meaningful for readers, how they connect us with others, and even the ways stories can become dangerous or harmful. The course explicitly engages with the core discovery theme of Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory, arguing that stories profoundly shape the ways that we think and remember and interpret our past. Literary concepts discussed include metafiction, intertextuality, reader response theories, escapism, identification, and narrator reliability.  

Readings: Potential texts might include “How to Tell a True War Story” by Tim O’Brien,Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and the game Save the Date by Chris Cornell.

102 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Leah Flack

Course Title:  Words to Worlds
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900 

Course Description: This course begins with a fundamental premise: words and stories matter. So much so that they can change us and our world. Through meaningful readings, conversations, and experiences, we will explore the interconnectedness of imaginative storytelling and hope. 

We will read and experience an exciting archive of world-changing stories, art, and music of a global network of storytellers and artists, including Virginia Woolf, Colson Whitehead, Joseph Brodsky, Yo Yo Ma, Jonathan Larson and Andy Señor Jr., Helen Benedict, Colum McCann, and James Foley. 

We will learn about projects that help transform local and global cultures through stories, including Living Nations, Living Words: A Map of First Peoples Poetry, Future Library, the Milwaukee-based Penelope Project, Narrative 4, Memory Bridge, and the Chicago-based Playmakers Laboratory, which we will visit. 

We will have the opportunity to learn directly from some of the founders and leaders of these organizations who will visit our class. We will also participate in a Narrative 4 story exchange on campus and learn about the work of this organization. 

Course Requirements:  Final project on a topic each student chooses; 4 storytelling exercises; a presentation; journals; and informed, energetic engagement with the class. 

4761 Medicine and Literature (WRIT, Discovery Tier: Basic Needs and Justice)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Grant Gosizk
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  1700-1900

Course Description: Susan Sontag said that ‘Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. […] Yet it is hardly possible to take up one’s residence in the kingdom of the ill unprejudiced by the lurid metaphors with which it has been landscaped.’ In other words, the experience of being ill is often complicated by prejudices, stereotypes, and moral/ethical meanings that are attributed to illnesses within particular cultural contexts. This section of “Literature and Medicine” focuses on how fiction, theatre, poetry and prose participate in the cultural act of defining the limits and meanings of illness and wellness. To focus this inquiry, we will be taking one particular illness as a case study: addiction. We’ll spend the semester exploring the various ways that addiction has been defined by American doctors (and how this has changed throughout history), how these definitions have been embraced, denounced, and analogized by literature, and how the metaphorization of addiction has had real world political consequences. 

4762 Neuroscience and Literature

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title:  Disability and Narrative
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900 

Course Description: From the Shakespearean soliloquy (famously credited by Yale’s Harold Bloom with “the invention of the human” as such) to James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness narration, and beyond, literature has long been fascinated by the inner workings of the mind, and the so-called “cognitive turn” in literary studies of the 2000s created a vast subfield devoted to understanding these representations with more specificity and in more detail. Marquette’s new “Neuroscience and Literature” course, included in the Cognitive Science interdisciplinary major, draws on this critical archive to explore how literature understands consciousness, particularly in the way literature has posited disability and neurodivergence. Narratives about disability follow predictable and often quite hurtful patterns, typically centering compulsory optimism around concepts like “cure” and “inspiration,” or else fixating on inexorable decline—but emerging narratives about neurodivergence also register the efforts of social and political movements to expand awareness about the lives of people whose minds and brains are not neurotypical, and to change social structures, especially in education and medicine, in order to improve the quality of those lives. In literary terms, representing neurodiversity raises questions such as: What narrative strategies do writers use to represent various ways of perceiving the world? What are autistic voices, or amnesiac voices, Tourettic voices, sociopathic voices? Do these differ, and in what ways, from so-called neurotypical voices? How do fictional voices compare to autobiographical ones? How does centering neurodivergence impact the way we tell and understand stories? Modules in the course will pair scientific and therapeutic writing with literary examples that center the lived experiences of disabled people. 

Readings: The final reading list is still being developed, but this semester’s reading list will likely focus on autism, Huntington’s disease, addiction, and depression. Readings will be balanced among fiction, memoir/nonfiction, popular science writing, and literary and philosophical theory around disability studies. Interested students are invited to contact the instructor in advance of registration to discuss material that will be studied in the course.

Assignments: Enthusiastic class discussion; two papers and one final project; online discussion posts; presentations 

4820 Studies in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Jodi Melamed

Course Title: Race and Racism in Milwaukee: Cultural Critique
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900, American Literature Diverse Cultures for ENGA

Course Description: How is it that Milwaukee, Wisconsin, today can be known as both “the All American City” and “The Most Segregated City in America”?  What makes Milwaukee both a paragon of multicultural America (“Festival City”)  and a symbol of the entrenchment of racialized privilege and inequality?  Focusing specifically on the post-World War II history, the course seeks to make the study of race and ethnicity intellectually rigorous and immediately relevant for students at Marquette University.  In particular, we will seek to understand racialization – a process that stigmatizes some forms of humanity and privileges others – as a complex factor that has deeply shaped the cultural, economic, political and social fabric of Milwaukee, as well as the experiences and consciousness of all its inhabitants. To do so, we will familiarize ourselves with the global and local histories of the city’s multiple social groups: white, African American, American Indian, Latinx, Asian and Arab American, and LGBTQ.  Rather than consider these groups as unified and static, we will consider how each undergoes constant change  and is constantly hybridized by a multiplicity of other factors, including national origin, class, gender, religion, and sexuality.  An equally important focus will be on the interaction between the literary text and the social text (the signs through which we “read” or make meaning of our social worlds). 

Readings: Will likely include:  John Gurda, The Making of Milwaukee; Allison Hedge Coke, Blood Run; Richard Wright, Twelve Million Black Voices; Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street;  Kathleen Tigerman, Wisconsin Indian Literature

Assignments: Two short essays (4-5 pages), one long essay (10-12 pages), one oral presentation, final exam. 

4825 Native American / Indigenous Literature (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier: Crossing Boundaries)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Samantha Majhor  

Course Title: Native American / Indigenous Literature 
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Multicultural American Literature and UCCS Diverse Cultures, Post-1900

Course Description: This course introduces students to a variety of texts by Native American writers and makers. We will develop a sense of context and continuation in Native American literature by looking at both traditional and non-traditional texts across a span of centuries, but our focus will be on contemporary Native writing from the late 20th and early 21st century. This course takes a particular interest in major themes in Native writing: sovereignty, gender, language, human and other-than-human relationships, Indian law, trauma, and tribally specific concerns.

Readings: Our texts will include novels by Louise Erdrich, Tommy Orange, LeAnne Howe, and Richard Wagamese along with a selection of poems, short stories, and objects. 

4826 Global Indigenous Literature (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Samantha Majhor

Course Title:  Global Indigenous Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  
UCCS Diverse Cultures, Post-1900

Course Description: This course explores literature from Indigenous peoples around the globe. In reading both traditional and non-traditional texts from Indigenous groups around the globe, we will map the emergence of trans-indigenous methodologies, exploring the fine differences as well as the shared concerns expressed by Indigenous peoples around the world. Indigenous peoples are often found at the forefront of environmental protection policies and religious and human rights movements, and so the class will explore these efforts in depth. 

4997 Capstone (WRIT)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Jenn Fishman

Course Title: Writing (My) Education
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Capstone

Course Description: This course is for students who would like to cap the English major or complement their graduate work with a course dedicated to writing and its study. To start, we'll survey contemporary arguments about writing education that address what it should be and what it should be for. We'll draw from popular and scholarly sources, and we'll examine the arguments embedded in our own educational experiences. Next, we'll turn to the past and a series of significant educational changes: the study of vernacular languages at the university level; tug-of-wars between civics and civility within writing instruction; and disagreements about the place of writing within liberal (arts) education. Last, we'll look to the future and consider what comes next. Readings will dare us to think big; they will also ask us to be real regarding what it takes to sustain educators and educational systems and what is required for real change, whether modest adjustments or truly radical revisions.

Course materials: Will include a variety of electronic sources, all free and available via D2L.

Assignments: Will include participation in synchronous and asynchronous class discussions, regular short writing responses, and completion of a portfolio that includes a letter of introduction, a critical essay (or equivalent) about past writing education; a think piece (or equivalent) about future writing education, and a closing letter of reflection. Students will have the option at midterm of trading the portfolio for a personal project with a future focus (e.g., establishing an online professional presence, developing resources or piloting programming for writing education, completing a previous project for publication). 

Graduate Seminars

6800 Studies in Genre

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Brittany Pladek

Course Title: History and Historicism

Course Description: In “On the Concept of History,” Walter Benjamin imagines the “angel of history” as a figure snared by the forward wind of progress while its face is locked on a past it sees not as a “chain of events” but as one undistinguished catastrophe. In this class, we will explore how differing theories of history and methods of historicism shape our encounter with literary texts—and ourselves. The class will begin with a broad look at “history” as a way of organizing experience. Is the past another country, and how differently do they do things there? And what, if anything, does that have to do with literature? We’ll continue by examining history and historicism in several related realms: the English literary academy (why do we organize courses into periods like “early modern” and “Romanticism”?); pedagogy (why is/isn’t historical context valuable, and how do you teach it?); creative life (how do different models of history shape our creative work? how do we engage with writers from different times?); and public life (how does the way we conceptualize history help or hinder us in imagining political futures?). The first half of this course will focus on theoretical readings. In the second half, students will collaboratively generate a reading list of literary texts as test cases for our earlier conversations. I will email all students before the course begins to touch base about their goals and intentions for their graduate work. Students’ responses will shape how we proceed.  

Readings: Paul Hamilton’s Historicism; all other readings posted on d2L. Be ready to suggest literary texts for the second half of class! 

Assignments: weekly engaged participation; a series of discussion posts; a final project keyed to students’ overall goal(s) in the graduate program.  

6820 Studies in Modern Critical Theory and Practice

701 Tuesday 5:00-8:00pm Professor Jodi Melamed

Course Title: Critical Race Theory and Contemporary Literary Theory: Intersections

Course Description: Scholars trace Critical Race Theory to a legal theory workshop at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in 1989.  There law professors of color, including Derrick Bell and Kimberle´ Crenshaw, came together to think about what Crenshaw describes as “the viability of race as a unit of analysis and the utility of race consciousness in deconstructing hierarchy.” These scholars were concerned with how law mediated racial oppression after the end of de jure or legalized discrimination. They thought about how the legal text and conventional legal thinking preclude knowing gendered racialization as an enduring structure of domination and how the gulf is maintained between actual and formal equality. They recast the role of law, challenging the liberal notion that antidiscrimination law guaranteed racial progress, considering instead the ways that law has been and remains complicit in upholding hierarchies of gender, race, class, sexuality, and more.

At roughly the same time, contemporary literary theorists affiliated with Black feminism, women of color feminism, postcolonialism, and other interdisciplinary fields began to examine the use of "aesthetics” and “culture”  in liberal humanist traditions to narrowly constitute the ‘Human’ as ‘Western Man’. In groundbreaking literary theory– Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark, Gayatri Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?,” Lisa Lowe’s Immigrant Acts and more – scholars posed questions about the role of cultural narratives and discursive power in maintaining racial, gendered, colonial, and class oppression in ways that resonate with Critical Race Theorists’ consideration of law: They considered how dominant U.S. cultural narratives (including the literary canon) erased Black presence; how a global public sphere normed by European epistemes distorted subaltern speech; and how the sensibilities, aesthetics, and common sense of liberalism (or Enlightenment thinking) have given impunity to racial terror, gendered violence, and the dispossession of peoples, cultures, and lands in the name of “civilization” and “the common good.”

This course provides students with a robust introduction to Critical Race Theory and Contemporary Literary Theory by examining their intersections from the 1990s to the present. In particular, it will foreground the importance of storytelling to both fields as a methodology and practice that “speaks back.” Storytelling offers complex, textured, intersectional, and embodied modes of knowing that not only reveal how lines are truly drawn between the valued and the devalued, but, importantly, help us imagine – and do worldmaking – otherwise.

Readings: We will read key figures in both traditions including Cheryl Harris, Patricia Williams, Kimber Crenshaw, Derrick Bell, Kendall Thomas, Dean Spade, Leti Volpp, for Critical Race Theory, and Toni Morrison, Lisa Lowe, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Stuart Hall, Sylvia Wynter, Avery Gordon, Saidiya Hartman, and Jodi Byrd, for contemporary literary theory.  There will be room for the syllabus to reflect the interests of students in the class.

Assignments: Students will be asked to write significant responses to assigned readings, to moderate class discussion, and write a final paper or project keyed to the students’ overall goal(s) in their graduate programs. 

6965 Practicum in Teaching Writing

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Lilly Campbell

Course Title: Teaching Writing: Inclusive Pedagogy

Course description: This course will introduce current research in writing studies and the core debates and politics that have shaped the practice, teaching, and study of writing. The course will also examine the assumptions that guide different approaches with consideration of whose interests they serve, so that all members of the class can become more self-reflective readers, writers, and teachers. We will discuss anti-racist and translingual pedagogical approaches as well as strategies for equitable curriculum design and assessment.

Assignments: Will include a reading journal, a teaching ethnography, a bibliography and curriculum design presentation, and a teaching portfolio. There will be an optional service learning component for students who are interested in gaining more teaching or classroom experience as part of the course.


Approved 5000 level courses

Please see the 4000 level courses for course descriptions

ENGL 5110 - Exploring the English Language 

ENGL 5130 - History of the English Language

ENGL 5230 - Writing Center Theory, Practice and Research 

ENGL 5303 - Studies in the Medieval Imagination 

ENGL 5616 - Moby-Dick 

ENGL 5717 - Comics and Graphic Narrative 

ENGL 5762 - Neuroscience and Literature