Department of English

Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Summer 2021

Summer I 

ENG 110-808: Introduction to Literature | Blevin Shelnutt 

What exactly is literature, and who gets to decide? Whose stories get told, and whose words are valued? How do stories, poems, or even artful language matter in our lives—and in the world today? Why is reading (or otherwise consuming) literature worthwhile? Such are the questions we will explore in this course. We will read texts in a variety of genres, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and drama, that help us consider the importance of literature in understanding the nature of human experience and in evaluating and transforming the world around us. Given the isolating circumstances of pandemic life and the urgency of ongoing protests against systemic racism, we will focus, in particular, on texts that allow us to examine literature as a critical medium of social connection, self-growth, and political change. 

ENG 230-001: Women in Literature: Contemporary Women’s Mysteries | Katherine Montwieler

What’s the connection between mystery and modern femininity? Why do violence, secrets, masquerade, and performance permeate contemporary representations of women? We’ll explore these questions in an abbreviated course on contemporary women’s writing, as we seek to untangle the enigmatic modern woman. At a moment when women seem to have it all, we’ll try to tease out why mysteries so alluring. How does this genre and the questions it raises speak to us today? The novels we’ll read suggest that the mysteries of femininity are, variously, psychological, suspenseful, supernatural, biological, cultural, historical, sociological—and, always, entertaining. We’ll read Attica Locke’s The Cutting Season, Christine Mangan’s Tangerine, and Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere.

ENG 312-800: Writing for Business Anirban Ray 

Writing for Business focuses on developing and strengthening business communication skills that include much more than just writing well. It covers functional techniques and strategies for writing like professionals in workplace. You will not only learn various rules of writing but will know when and how to use them. The course will prepare you to engage a wide range of audience rhetorically through the traditional and emerging communication channels. Importantly, you will learn to design and produce usable documents for targeted stakeholders to help their decision-making process in real-life contexts.  

ENG 314-800: Digital Composing | Anirban Ray 

Students in this course will explore how digital technology shapes composition practices through critical engagement with new media formats. Students will have the opportunity to use a variety of design applications and network services to analyze and produce multimedia works including interactive maps and podcasts. Course readings will explore new media theory and practice. 

ENG 364-800: Studies in Poetry | Mark Boren 

This asynchronous course is an exploration of lyric poetry (which usually refers to short, musical poems). We will look at a range of work and interrogate individual poems in detail. Students will master the intricacies of close reading and the art of scansion. We will situate poems in their historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts, as well as our own; and we’ll address questions of canon formation, genre, performance, critical methodology, and gender. This course will be writing and (online) discussion intensive. *The student should be aware that given that many of these deal with love and sexuality that some of these poems are overtly erotic, and that a number of them contain explicit lyrics and have “mature themes and language.” 




Summer II 

ENG 204-800: Introduction to Professional Writing | Addie Sayers China 

This course will introduce students to the fundamental technical concepts of professional writing in order to help develop students' professional presentation and written communication skills.  Students will interact with a variety of business texts and documents, including résumés, proposals, reports, and digital communicative forms, such blogs, tweets, and posts for business social networking communication.  Students will also explore how issues of audience design, context, persuasion, genre, and multimodality affect various types of business texts.  In this face-to-face class, students will learn to design and evaluate business documents by working independently and through collaboration with peers. 

ENG 230-800: Women and Transfolx in Literature* | Katie Peel 

In this course we will examine literary representations of women and transfolx by authors who at some point identify as women or trans. We will begin with the introduction to Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s landmark work, The Madwoman in the Attic, as well as Alice Walker’s “In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens,” and discuss the cultural, economic, and political factors that historically have affected western women’s writing. We will explore multiple genres, and look at how women create narrative about gendered experiences. We will consider factors including class, sexuality, race, gender identity, modes of production, and social justice activism.  Our work together will not seek to reduce women’s and trans writing to a common denominator of qualities, but rather, explode existing categories. 

*Our study will be inclusive of trans identities. Historically, to not be classified as a man in American and British culture tended to automatically mean classification as a woman. We will bring a broader understanding of gender to our exploration of writing in a patriarchal culture. 

ENG 325-800: Studies in Sociolinguistics: Language, Linguistics, and Popular Culture | Addie Sayers China 

In this class we will examine the interaction between language and society, with a special emphasis on the portrayal of language in popular culture.  We will explore issues of language variation, dialectology, language and power, language and race/ethnicity, language and gender, and language and social class through the lens of popular media.  We will apply basic course concepts to analyze reality TV, cartoons, comic books, films, music, and social media.