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Spring 2015 Course Descriptions

We have listed the numbers and titles of many of the English courses for the Spring 2015 semester below.

Click here for a PDF with full course descriptions.

In addition, information about the undergraduate catalogue for English courses can be found in MyCourseGuide (NetID log-in required). Non-UW students can contact the Undergraduate Advisor for information about courses.

140    American Violence, 20th- and 21st- Century Literature (Keller)
  Course Trailer

142    Mystery and Crime Fiction (Levine)

145    American Dreamers: Winners, Losers, Passers, and Posers (Zimmerman)

162    Blood, Sex, and Shakespeare (Calhoun)

175    Literature and Medicine (Gillis)

177    Science Fiction (Ortiz-Robles)

214    The English Language (Young)

220    Shakespearean Drama, 1600-1611 (Loewenstein)

236    Real-Life Drama: Art, Truth, and Verbatim Theater (Plants)
  Course Trailer

241    Literature and Culture I (Cooper)

242    Shackled by Freedom: Literature and Culture II (Tanoukhi)

243    American Revolutions and Countercultures (Allewaert)

245 (fulfills the major requirement for English 245)

We are offering several different topics this semester:
  • Introduction to Poetry (Allewaert)
  • Literary Labor (Ortiz-Robles)
  • Literature and Disability (Samuels)
  • Narratives of Passing in American Literature and Culture (Sherrard-Johnson)
    Course Trailer
  • Growing Up Global: Youth, Happiness, and the Postcolonial Bildungsroman (Tanoukhi)

248    Caribbean American Women's Writing (Sherrard-Johnson)

270    Survey of Asian American Literature (Young)

271    Writing in New Media - Digital Narratives (Foys)

304    Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric (Vieira)

314    Structure of English (Purnell)

315    English Phonology (TBA)

336    Eighteenth-Century Novel (Vareschi)

373    Contemporary Poetry: American Poetry and the Environment (Keller)

400    Advanced Composition (Fiorenza)

408    Creative Writing: Fiction (Kuka)

408    Creative Writing: Fiction (Mitchell)

409    Creative Writing: Poetry (Bishop)

410    Playwriting (Plants)

416    English in Society (Cho)

420    Topic in ELL - Child Language Acquisition (Cho)

420    Topics in ELL - English Speech Analysis (Purnell)

422    Figures in Literature in before 1800 - Discourses of Disability before 1800 (Bearden)

422    Figures in Literature before 1800 - Pleasure and Danger/Seneca    (Harris)

423    Topic in Medieval Literature - Medieval Marvels & Monstrosities (Zweck)

427    Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - The Shock of the Old (Foys)

432    Shakespeare and the Arts of Possession (Elsky)

433    Exploring Spenser's Faerie Queene (Calhoun)

434    Liberty in Milton's England   (Loewenstein)

444    Topic in 19th Century British Literature - Jane Austen (Kelley)

454    James Joyce (Begam)

456    Topic in 19th Century American Literature - American Rebels (3-week J-term)     (Castronovo)

457    Topic in American Literature - Cultural Citizenship in the New Deal and After (Fawaz)

457   Welcome to the Apocalypse: Cinema & Ecology (Neyrat)

461    Topic in Ethnic and Multicultural Literature - America in the 1990s (Fawaz)

461    Topic in Ethnic and Multicultural Literature - Afro-Political Music (Olaniyan)

463    Race and Sexuality in American Literature (Bow)

474    Topic in Contemporary Literature    (Tanoukhi)

474    Topic in Contemporary Literature: Literature and HIV/AIDS    (Gillis)

478    Indian Writers Abroad (Dharwadker)

505    Topics in Composition and Rhetoric - Visual Rhetoric & the University (Olson)

514    English Syntax (Wanner)

521    Advanced Old English Literature (Zweck)

533    Literature and the Environment (Nixon)

545    Feminism and the Literary Imagination (Hussen)

561    Literary Criticism and Theory (Begam)

571    Remix, Mashup, and Digital Design (McKenzie)
  Course Trailer

100-level Courses

ENGLISH 140: American Violence, 20th- and 21st- Century Literature (Keller)

In this introductory course on American literature written since World War I, we will examine
works that attempt to confront violence in American history and violence in the American
psyche. We will start with an essay on the Abu Ghraib photos and a play focused on the Matthew
Shepard murder. We then look back in history via study of twentieth-century literary
representations of the violence of American slavery and of slavery’s legacies. We next consider
literature that addresses forms of violence associated with the movement of white settlers west,
especially their relations with Native Americans, and the violence linked with national myths of
the wild west, along with a poetic sequence that considers corporate violence against American
workers. The course closes with works that highlight forms of violence associated with the
increasingly globalized “American dream” of material prosperity and technological
advancement. These novels, poems, essays, and plays do more than expose that violence; they
offer implicit analyses of its causes, suggestions for healing its wounds, and models for more
peaceful and harmonious ways of living. This 4-credit course enables students to satisfy their
Communications B requirement while fulfilling one of their literature requirements. In the two
section meetings per week, substantial time will be devoted to learning the conventions of
writing about literature and, more generally, of writing persuasive prose. Lectures and
discussion sections will emphasize the development of reading skills that focus on closely on the
text while also stressing the importance of social and historical contexts to meaningful literary

Susan Sontag, “Regarding the Torture of Others”
Moises Kaufman, The Laramie Project
Toni Morrison, Beloved
poems on lynching, by African American poets
Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal”
Walter Van Tilburg Clark, The Ox-Bow Incident
Louise Erdrich, Tracks
Muriel Rukeyser, “The Book of the Dead”
Don DeLillo, White Noise
Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake



ENGLISH 142: Mystery and Crime Fiction (Levine)
How did our culture grow so hungry for stories of crime and detection? How did we come to be
entertained by dead bodies, sinister butlers, hardboiled cops, red herrings, and private eyes?
What kinds of people solve crimes? What kinds of readers respond to mysteries? And how,
exactly, does the detective arrive at a convincing knowledge of the crime? Some scholars argue 2
that detective fiction is an attempt to reassure us, making us feel that disruptive social forces will
eventually be brought to justice; others claim that we are as likely to root for the criminals as for
the cops. We’ll look for answers to these questions by reading short stories by Poe, Conan
Doyle, Hammett, Chandler, and at least two novels: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Cotton
Comes to Harlem. We’ll also think about some television detectives—Sherlock, and perhaps The
Bletchley Circle, Top of the Lake, and the first season of HBO’s The Wire.

ENGLISH 145: American Dreamers: Winners, Losers, Passers, and Posers (Zimmerman)
We'll be studying novels, plays, poems, and films that focus on individuals who strive to achieve
success and security in America. These individuals sometimes succeed, but in doing so they often
compromise their power and freedom. They sometimes fail, exposing both the seductive promise
and the fatal limitations of the American Dream. The course texts ask: What are the risks and
rewards of the dream of success in America? How does our country's political and social history
shape the meaning and possibility of success for different groups of people? Does success require
that individuals fit in socially, and do individuals gain or lose power by assimilating? What role
does mass culture play in shaping individuals' passion and potential for success? This course
requires three short papers (2-3 pages, 3-4 pages, and 4-5 pages). There will also be weekly writing
assignments and exercises, to be determined by your instructor. There will also be a final exam (see
below for date and time). The course is meant to be engaging and fun. Our hope is that you will
enjoy studying the texts and movies and also enjoy learning how to think critically and carefully
about them and the questions they pose.

ENGLISH 162: Blood, Sex, and Shakespeare (Calhoun)
This course offers an introduction to several of Shakespeare's most popular plays and their relation
to other works of English and American literature. As You Like It, Macbeth, Hamlet, Julius Caesar,
and Much Ado About Nothing are among the plays likely to be covered in this lecture-style course.
Assessments will include an exam, two short essays, and a guided creative project. The goal here is
for students to finish the semester with a working understanding of Shakespearean language and
themes that appear everywhere in literature and media (including graphic novels, film, music,
children’s literature, etc.).

ENGLISH 175: Literature and Medicine (Gillis)
This course introduces the basic skills of literary analysis by examining literature as both a
source of knowledge about medicine and catalyst for reflection about it. We will study literary
works that analyze the cultural and political dimensions of illness and health, and, in the process,
we will interrogate the important medical concepts, such as of wellness, pathology, disability,
life, and death. We will also consider whether and how literature can serve as social and
psychological resource for patients and healthcare practitioners. Our reading schedule is
organized into four units, each of which pairs literary texts with a major topic in medicine:
health, illness, care, and death. Our conversations about literature and medicine will be enriched
by service with a local community organization that does work around healthcare.

ENGLISH 177: Science Fiction (Ortiz-Robles)
What will the earth be like in 2056? Is there life on Mars? How long do we have before all
terrestrial species die out? Will it ever be possible for humans and aliens to communicate? Can
science and technology save us from ourselves? These and other speculative questions about the
future form the conceptual core of the literary genre familiarly known as “science fiction.”
Through thorough readings of some of the best sf novels and stories written in English over the
last century, we will endeavor to define sf, describe the different reading strategies we put into
practice when we read sf, and specify the aesthetic, political, and conceptual stakes involved in
sf’s attempt to marry science and fiction. Readings are likely to include works by HG Wells,
Edward Bellamy, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. LeGuin,
Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlen, William Gibson, Octavia Butler, Richard Powers, Kim Stanley
Robinson, Frederik Pohl, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), and Nalo Hopkinson. We will also
read critical, historical, and scientific essays that complement and challenge our assumptions
about science fiction. 

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200-level Courses
ENGLISH 214: The English Language (R. Young)
*fulfills the major requirement for one course in language/linguistics or composition/rhetoric
Whether you have spoken English since you were a baby or you learned English as an adult,
you probably have asked yourself questions about the English language. Do you feel good or
do you feel well? Who wrote the dictionary? Is hip-°©‐hop poetry? How do children learn to
speak? Will the Internet really change the English language? In this class we will ask many
questions like these and attempt to answer them by using the techniques of modern linguistics
(the systematic study of language in all its aspects). We will investigate how the English that
we use today is organized into sounds, into small meaning-°©‐bearing units called morphemes,
into words, by groups of words into sentences, and sentences gather together to form
discourse, from which we derive meaning. Though most people have strong feelings about
what is right and wrong about today’s English, we will see that there is no such thing as ONE
English language. No, there is no single English language today, and when we look back over
the past 50 years or over the past 500 years it is obvious that English has changed. What
processes have brought about this change? And why do different native speakers today speak
different Englishes? This class is intended for anyone who is interested in how English works
and how the English of today came to be what it is. By the end of the course, you will have
acquired skills in linguistics and have used them to understand the structure, uses, varieties,
styles, and history of the English language. All students are expected to attend class regularly
and to complete weekly readings assigned from the textbooks. Your knowledge and
interpretation of the readings and lectures will be assessed by two in‐class examinations.

Curzan, A., & Adams, M. (2011). How English works: A linguistic introduction (3rd ed.).
New York: Pearson Longman. ISBN 9780321946270
Bauer, L., & Trudgill, P. (Eds.). (1999). Language myths. London: Penguin. ISBN 9780140260236

ENGLISH 220: Shakespearean Drama, 1600 to 1611 (D. Loewenstein)
*fulfills the major requirement for one of two courses in pre-1800 literature
This course is devoted to the second half of Shakespeare’s career when he wrote some of his
greatest tragedies. We’ll examine the ways that Shakespeare, at the height of his career,
experiments with tragedy, the dramatic representation of the terrifying downfall of a central
character or protagonist. We’ll also study two of the great “romances” Shakespeare wrote at the
end of his career, plays which make daring and experimental use of magical illusion, journeys of
separation, and surprising reunions. As we study some of the outstanding later plays, we’ll ask
ourselves: why do Shakespeare's plays continue to engage our imaginations so deeply and with
such vitality? What makes them such probing representations of human love and sexuality, the
human imagination, politics, power, war, evil, prejudice, friendship, forgiveness, human frailty,
and old age among other notable issues? Our selection of Shakespeare’s later plays will enable
us to examine his ongoing development and creativity as the outstanding dramatist of his age.
The smaller discussion sections in this course will be led by experienced, well-trained teaching
assistants; these sections will enable you to explore further issues raised in the lectures, as well
as additional topics of interest to you and your discussion leader. The course will give you the
opportunity to improve your analytical and writing skills. Moreover, given the importance of the
Shakespearean works we are reading, the course will provide you with an excellent foundation
for the further study of literature and culture.

Required Text: The Norton Shakespeare, Volume 2: Later Plays, gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt,
2nd edn., paperback (W. W. Norton).

ENGLISH 236: Real-Life Drama: Art, Truth and Verbatim Theatre (Plants)
Verbatim theatre is a form of documentary theatre that uses interview transcripts and the spoken
words of real people as play texts. Performers use the precise language, rhythms and cadences of
the interviewees or speakers. (Popular examples of verbatim work in English include the
ensemble-based Laramie Project and the solo/multi-character work of Anna Deavere Smith.)
The resulting theatrical events are almost always political and raise a number of theoretical
questions about authorship, technology and truth. Examine answers to these questions by
reading, seeing and analyzing a number of key verbatim works from the U.S. and the UK. At the
end of the semester, put theory in practice by conducting your own interviews and a) use them to
create an individual short multimedia project and b) work collaboratively to create an original
short work of verbatim drama. This course satisfies the Comm B requirement.

ENGLISH 241: Literature and Culture I (Cooper)

*fulfills the major requirement for English 241
What is a person, a home, a nation, a world? What we now call "English literature" begins with
these questions, imagining a cosmos filled with gods and heroes, liars and thieves, angels and
demons, dragons and dungeons, whores and witches, drunken stupor and religious ecstasy.

Authors crafted answers to these questions using technologies of writing from parchment to the
printing press, and genres old and new, from epic and romance to drama and the sonnet.
Emphasis will be on developing the skills of close reading, critical analysis, and writing that are
of use for majors and non-majors alike, and on thinking about what it means to participate in a
community (or several communities) of readers.

ENGLISH 242: Shackled by Freedom, Literature and Culture II (Tanoukhi)

(No Prerequisites; honors option) *fulfills the major requirement for English 242*
Since the mid-18th century, prose has denoted less a mode of writing, and more an acquired taste for freedom from form. Think of a writing assignment without rules: how it entails both infinite freedom and the lack of direction that such infinity entails. All the authors we will read in this class, despite their different choices of genre and style, and despite the diversity of their prejudices, come out of a sensibility we could think of broadly as prosaic. Because of this, we will discuss the readings not as finished products but as meaningful outcomes of processes of aesthetic deliberation. We will imagine the authors asking: "What structure to adopt, what frame to impose, what rules to flaunt, how much freedom to forfeit to find the form to speak through the words? To make the case for unconditional love in a novel, should I suspend my plot line or tighten the grip of suspense? If the heroine of my story is to have her cake and eat too, should she be more of a doer than a talker, or should she be mostly a thinker? Will my poem best express rage, or shame, or insight through order or disorder? As a postcolonial or immigrant writer, should my English be unmarked or accented, dissonant or all the way "rotten ? From Romantic poetry, to the novel of manners, to Gothic fiction from the literature of colonialism to high modernism to the postcolonial diaspora we'll examine the works of writers drawn in by the impossible promise of prose the potential for certainty and uncertainty, the mixture of decision and indecision. And we'll reflect on their effects on us as readers.

ENGLISH 243: American Revolutions and Countercultures (Allewaert)
*fulfills the major requirement for one course in American literature
Often, we often think of the American Revolution as beginning in 1776 and ending in 1788 with
the ratification of the Constitution. In this survey of eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth-century
American literary, cultural, and political movements, we will expand the meaning as well as the geography of revolution to challenge this idea of revolution and the revolutionary as a short-lived, temporally limited phenomenon. While we will study the U.S. Revolution, we will start the class by looking at cultural movements that preceded 1776. We will also study the Haitian Revolution to gain an understanding of revolution as a hemispheric event that cannot be understood in narrowly national terms. Over the course of the term, we will consider the ways writers and other kinds of artists developed, revised and in some cases refused the Americas' diverse revolutionary genealogies. Along the way, we will take up classic topics in American literature (Exploration and Discovery, Puritanism, Print Culture, the first and second Great Awakenings, Slavery and Racism, Transcendentalism, Nationalism, the Industrial Revolution).

Readings will likely include works by Amerigo Vespucci, Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, John Smith, John Winthrop, Mary Rowlandson, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Samson Occum, John Marrant, Thomas Jefferson, Jean Jacques Dessalines, Leonora Sansay, Washington Irving, Lydia Maria Child, Nat Turner, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Jean Toomer.

*fulfills the major requirement for English 245
We are offering several different topics this semester:

Introduction to Poetry (Allewaert)
We will develop analyses, consult dictionaries, attend to all sorts of technical details, and
listen (always) to the sounds of words in our quest to gain a greater understanding and
enjoyment of poetry. Topics covered include genre, form, meter, rhyme, syntax, voice,
tone, and figurative language.

Literary Labor (Ortiz-Robles)
Through careful readings of a set of modern texts about writers, writing, and the writing
life, this course will examine literature as a form of labor and consider the cultural,
political, and aesthetic implications of understanding literature as work. Readings are
likely to include Dickens’s David Copperfield, Balzac’s Lost Illusions, Gissing’s New
Grub Street
, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Nabokov’s Pale Fire, Philip
Roth’s Ghost Writer, Michael Chabon’s The Wonder Boys, Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo
, and J.M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello. Theoretical and critical readings
drawn from the work of Marx, Freud, Benjamin, Bourdieu, Moretti, Casanova, and
McGurl, among others, will help us contextualize and complicate the topics to be
covered: What sort of profession is the literary profession? How do writers make a living
writing fiction? Is literature a form of “immaterial” labor? How does technology (cheap
paper, typesetting, typewriters, computers) affect literary labor? What kind of work does
literature perform? How is literature valued in the marketplace? How should the work of
the imagination be valorized? This is a writing-intensive course, which means that you
will be writing about writing, but also that you will be doing so all the time: three papers,
weekly responses, no exams.

Literature and Disability (Samuels)
In this class we will study the representation of physical and mental disabilities in fiction,
poetry, memoir, drama, and film. We will consider how disability has functioned
metaphorically, strategically, and politically in a diverse range of texts. We will also
explore the relationship of disability to narrative structures, modes of representation,
poetics, and linguistic forms. Texts will include Shakespeare, Richard III; Charlotte
Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper; Lucy Grealy, Autobiography of a Face; Mark
Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Susanna Kaysen, Girl,
Interrupted; and Harriet Wilson, Our Nig.

Narratives of Passing in American Literature and Culture (Sherrard-Johnson)
In this course we will investigate what it means to “pass” by focusing on literature and
films that feature protagonists who for various reasons decide to take on alternate
identities. In most cases, the usually racially ambiguous hero or heroine will engage in
racial passing, exchanging one cultural and racial identity for another. While racial
passing is our primary focus, we will also explore other kinds of passing, including crossdressing,
gender, and class performance. The reasons why one would elect to pass are as
myriad as the qualities that allow one to pass. Some characters only pass for a fixed
period of time. In the slave narrative Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, the heroine
passes as a white male slaveholder in order to obtain freedom for herself and her
husband. In other cases, as in the film/novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, the protagonist
takes on specific identity in order to obtain wealth and privilege. Because the passing
performance is dependent on a visual as well as cultural masquerade, we will also
examine several films that deal with the passing motif in conjunction with our study of
literary passing narratives. One of the aims of this course will be to develop writing and
interpretive skills that can be applied to more than one object of analysis, including, but
not limited to literature, film, theoretical texts, and popular culture. Writing requirements
include: informal reading responses, two formal papers, two short film reviews, and one
in-class presentation. There is no final exam.

Preliminary Reading List:
William and Ellen Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom
Charles Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
Nella Larsen, Passing
Jessie Fauset, Comedy: American Style
Mark Twain, Puddin’head Wilson
William Faulkner, Light in August
Allyson Hobbs, A Chosen Exile
Films may include: Imitation of Life, Lost Boundaries, Devil in a Blue Dress, and/or The
Talented Mr. Ripley.

Growing Up Global: Youth, Happiness, and the Postcolonial Bildungsroman (Tanoukhi)
How does one grow up to find happiness? The bildungsroman, or plot of "coming to age," is a genre of the Western novel that arose in the late 18th century to answer precisely that question by using stories of young protagonists' development to examine what leads to happiness. In this class, we will familiarize ourselves with early influential models of the bildungsroman, then look to non-Western narratives of youth, where the young heroes often travel abroad, as a possible source of different cultural conceptions of the connection between youth and happy living.

We will proceed in two steps: First, we will analyze works of fiction considered seminal of the Western bildungsroman, by authors from the Anglo-American tradition (Germany, Britain, and the United States), to grasp the meanings and expectations that Western culture has attached to youth as a formative period of an individual's life. With this in mind, we will turn to narratives of youth from the postcolonial world, mainly from Africa, by writers from Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa. These works we will tentatively call "postcolonial bildungsromane" (plural, German). We will examine the artistic choices in postcolonial bildungsromane and reflect on whatever might strike us, individually or jointly, as a significant similarity or difference to the Western model. In short, we will be engaging in a cross-cultural exploration of the connection between youth and happiness, and the variety of ways in which literature negotiates aesthetically between often conflicting values like freedom (of choice) and responsibility, or potentially contradictory ideals like adventurousness and practicality. Our cultural interpretation and reinterpretations of youth will lead us to evaluate conceptions of the happy life, good citizenship, and participatory membership in a democratic society.

Along the way, if less directly, we will periodically turn to broader questions, like: What is the value of reading into the stories told around us (and in this case, about us)? What is the value in thinking of ourselves and our culture in comparison to others or another? And because some books we read will suggest that there's indeed risk in too much thinking, you will hopefully ask yourself whether a course like this will make you well-formed individuals, or risks the reverse.

English 248: Caribbean American Women's Writing (Sherrard-Johnson)

*fulfills the major requirement for one course in American literature
What is particular about the experience of an Afro-Caribbean girl coming of age in Brooklyn, a
Nuyorican mother in the Bronx, or a transplanted Cubana housewife in Miami? Is there a
collective sense of Caribbean identity within and without the U.S.? The linguistic, economic and
social culture of the Caribbean is as diverse as its islands. Through reading, discussing and
writing about fiction, short stories, essays and poetry by writers who define their experience
through the lens of the Caribbean, we will chart literal and figurative journeys between the
United States and the region of isles, cities and coasts collectively categorized as part of
Caribbean dyaspora. The nature of this course is somewhat comparative in that many of the
novels we study might also considered part of African American or U.S. Latina literary canons.
One of the goals of this course will be to develop close reading and interpretive skills while
considering each work in its social, historical, political, cultural context. Certain debates and
concepts relevant to the authors’ philosophic and aesthetic concerns including, neo and postcolonialism,
slavery, global capitalism and third world feminism will be covered in order to
deepen our understanding of the writings.

Preliminary Texts (confirm before you buy!!)
Jamaica Kincaid. A Small Place
Jean Rhys Davies. Wide Sargasso Sea
Mary Prince. Narrative of Mary Prince
Michelle Cliff, Abeng
Paule Marshall, Praisesong for the Widow
Elizabeth Nunez, Prospero’s Daughter
Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones
Julia Alvarez, In the time of the Butterflies
Tiphanie Yanique, In the Land of Love and Drowning

ENGLISH 270: Survey of Asian American Literature (M. Young)
*fulfills the major requirement for one course in American literature
English 270 is an introduction to the literatures and cultures of the many diverse peoples who fall
under a loosely defined appellation of Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA). The course
will examine the emergence of APIA writers and their texts, the historical contexts that inform
themes within the literature, and the growth and differences between “first generation” APIA
texts and contemporary APIA texts. The course will survey the changing landscape of APIA
literature, beginning with some of the “touchstone” texts of the field such as Kingston’s The
Woman Warrior, and moving toward, for example, “new” literary forms such as graphic novels,
and emergent writers who make us rethink what Asian American literature is.

ENGLISH 271: Writing in New Media - Digital Narratives (Foys)
What happens when literature goes digital? How do New Media narratives change the way we
“read” the world around us? This course explores such questions in three ways: We’ll begin by
looking at some examples of how digital culture influences traditional fiction. We'll read some
classic examples of cyber literature imagined within a digital and virtual world - including
William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984), Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash (1992), among others.
Then we’ll take a hard left into a strong foundation in narrative theory, looking at how old and
new technology shapes the process of how a story is told. We'll tackle some of the new canon of
"born-digital" works, including Michael Joyce's groundbreaking hypertext afternoon, a story
(1987) and Shelley Jackson's moving multi-media Patchwork Girl (1995). Finally, we’ll consider
how examples and experiences of New Media affects not only narrative, but social identity,
literacy and even reality itself in the process. The course counts for the Digital Studies

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300-level Courses
ENGLISH 304: Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric (Vieira)
*fulfills the major requirement for one course in language/linguistics or composition/rhetoric
According to recent studies, writing is on the rise, while reading is on the decline. We spend
hours of our work and personal lives texting, emailing, posting, and otherwise composing. What
makes writing so economically valuable, so interpersonally engaging, and so darn difficult to do
well? This class answers these questions, exposing students to several theories, based in the field
of composition and rhetoric, about what it means to write: cognitive, socio-historic, rhetorical,
technological, and pedagogical. We will test out these theories in our own writing and on our
own writing lives, as students come to know themselves as writers and to more deeply
understand the complexity of the pervasive contemporary phenomenon known as writing.
Text: course packet

ENGLISH 314: Structure of English
This course introduces students to linguistic methods of analysis and description of English syntax and morphology. As such, material is designed to focus on basic principles of the descriptive analysis of English phrasal grammar. As part of this undertaking, students will learn to identify parts of words, parts and functions of phrases, learn to define grammatical categories via distributional patterns, and learn to represent relationships between words and phrases via "trees." 

ENGLISH 336: Eighteenth-Century Novel (Vareschi)
*fulfills the major requirement for one of two courses in pre-1800 literature
Where did the novel in English come from? How did the novel come to be the dominant literary
form in modern culture? What is so “novel” about the novel? This course will explore the central
questions surrounding the rise of the English novel in the eighteenth century through authors
such as: Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Horace Walpole,
Frances Burney, and Jane Austen. The novel of this period was fundamentally an experimental,
adventurous, and innovative form that was subject to interrogation by both readers and writers.
We will seek to understand how these novels variously work to represent truth, consciousness,
history, and everyday life. Further, we will attend to the novels on a formal level to examine the
questions they raise about the generic conventions of narrative fiction in order to understand how
the novel came to resemble its current form in contemporary culture.

ENGLISH 373: Contemporary Poetry: American Poetry and the Environment (Keller)
What roles can literature play in responding to the environmental issues and crises of our time?
That is a question we will consider as we study volumes of American poetry written since World
War II in which environmental issues figure importantly. Some of this work will be traditional
nature poetry that celebrates the solace and beauty to be found in environments that are relatively
undisturbed by humans. Other works on the syllabus will explore rural living or the nature to be
found in cities and the value of urban environments. Still others will address current
environmental problems, including various forms of waste and toxicity as well as global
warming, or they will address questions of environmental justice. Just as the subjects and
perspectives of the poetry will vary, the forms of these works will also range widely, from poems
written in traditional forms like sonnets to fragmented and collaged experimental structures.
Poetry readings will be supplemented by essays on environmental criticism or essays by the
poets. Students in the course will strengthen their skills in reading and writing about poetry,
while also learning about how literary critics engage with environmental studies (what is now
called ecocriticism) and learning more about contemporary environmental issues.

Likely course texts:
Mary Oliver, House of Light
Gary Snyder, Turtle Island
Wendell Berry, Selected Poems or perhaps A Country of Marriage
Sherwin Bitsui, either Floodsong or Shapeshift
Robin Chapman, Abundance
A R Ammons, Garbage
Ed Roberson, City Eclogue
Juliana Spahr Well Then There Now
Mark Nowak, Coal Mountain Elementary
Evelyn Reilly, Styrofoam
Jorie Graham, Sea Change

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400-level Courses
ENGLISH 400: Advanced Composition (Fiorenza)
This course provides a workspace and community to help you develop into a more skillful and
rhetorically aware writer. You’ll write about issues or subjects that matter to you, and you’ll
connect them to the larger world through research, other texts, other media, and your own
choices. Reading will focus on contemporary essays, creative nonfiction, and writing itself. Class
time will be spent in discussions of both published texts and student writing, with frequent
writing exercises. At the end of the semester, each writer will prepare a final portfolio of their revised work. The main texts for the course will be Best American Essays 2014 and Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace.

ENGLISH 416: English in Society (Cho)
This course provides a general introduction to the area of linguistics (“sociolinguistics”) that is
primarily concerned with the interrelationships between language and society. In this course, we
will discuss how language reflects society focusing on uses of English. We will consider various
social and contextual factors affecting language such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, geographic
region, cultural and pragmatic norms, and identity of the speaker. We will also consider societal
attitudes toward varieties of the English language (e.g., regional and social class dialects),
language planning and policy, and multilingualism in the U.S. We will also learn how to design
and carry out a sociolinguistic study. All reading materials will be available electronically on the
course website

ENGLISH 420: Child Language Acquisition (Cho)
This course provides an introduction to the linguistic study of child language acquisition.
Children attain adult-like linguistic knowledge by the age of 5-6 without any explicit instruction
or correction from their caregivers. In this course, we will examine the properties of the human
mind that make language so easily accessible to all normally developing children and discuss
evidence for the claim that children are born with built-in universal linguistic principles
(Universal Grammar) that constrain language acquisition. We will also discuss experimental
methods on child language acquisition. We will cover child first language/monolingual
acquisition as well as child bilingual acquisition (children acquiring two languages
simultaneously). All reading materials will be available electronically on the course website.

ENGLISH 420: Topics in ELL - English Speech Analysis (Purnell)
This course introduces students to the basic principles of the phonetic analysis of spoken English. In this course we use new and archival audio recordings of speech to measure and analyze English consonants, vowels, prosody and voice quality. In doing so, students produce a sociophonetic writing sample built up from weekly lab work. Students also learn how to design a perceptual experiment based on acoustic measurements, and explore alternate technologies for speech research such as ultrasound technology. Students are given wide latitude to pursue their own interests in speech analysis. One theme of the course is the treatment of variation. At the end of this course, students are prepared to conduct sociophonetic research on their own.

ENGLISH 422: Discourses of Disability before 1800 (Bearden)
*fulfills the major requirement for one of two courses in pre-1800 literature
This course asks how disability was represented in the past, and how that history of
representation effects the way we think about disability today. Along with considering how
literary classics like Shakespeare’s Richard III or Milton’s Samson Agonistes represent disabled
figures, we will investigate the formal and cultural contexts from which these representations
arise. The reading for this course will be plentiful and challenging. Willingness to work hard and
openness to new ways of thinking are required. The course has four thematic areas of focus:

1. Defining Disability: monsters, miracles, marvels, medicalization
2. Disabling bodies;
3. Disabling Space;
4. Disabling narrative.

The student should have a firm understanding of these overarching concepts by the end of the
class. These topics will help to define our discussion of the texts at hand. The goal of the course
is not only to provide an understanding of the history of the representation of disability in
literature before 1800, but to think critically and deeply about how these early productions of
disability continue to affect the way we ascribe meaning to disability today.

ENGLISH 423: Medieval Marvels and Monstrosities (Zweck)
*fulfills the major requirement for one of two courses in pre-1800 literature
In this course, we will explore what it is that we have feared, and why it is that we so enjoy, and
even desire, to confront evil. From green men, to werewolves, to dragons, medieval literature
was filled with monstrous beings who challenged the division between human and non-human,
and between society and the mysterious world that existed outside it. Like monsters, marvels
occupied a space beyond the boundaries of the normal human world. One reincarnated being
with excessive strength might be seen as a ferocious heathen zombie, while another reincarnated
being who lives in the trees might be worshipped as a Christian saint. With readings drawn from
a wide variety of medieval genres and contexts, including Old and Middle English as well as
Scandinavian literature, topics will include race, gender, animals, and the nature of belief. No
previous experience with medieval literature is required.

Readings may include:
Saga of the Volsungs
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Gerald of Wales, The History and Topography of Ireland
The Book of Margery Kempe
The Wonders of the East
Old English riddles
selected works by Marie de France, Chaucer

ENGLISH 427: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – The Shock of the Old (Foys)
*fulfills the major requirement for one course in pre-1800 literature
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is one of the best literary bridges we have between our
medieval past and our modern present. Once you actually get into it, Chaucer's poetry proves to
be some of the funniest, raunchiest, most socially scathing and radically experimental poetry
ever written in English. You would be surprised. You will be surprised. This course gets you into
this poetry -- by building a working knowledge of selections of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The
Canterbury Tales, and by developing an understanding of Middle English culture and language
through a careful reading and discussion that allows us to take our time with each work. Through
the course, the textual, cultural and political issues important to Chaucer will be revealed, as will
his medieval wit, humor, and literary avant-gardism-- along with a few seriously NSFW

ENGLISH 432: Shakespeare and the Arts of Possession (Elsky)
*fulfills the major requirement for one of two courses in pre-1800 literature
In this course we will read Shakespeare's later plays, focusing on tragedies and romances.
Shakespeare is often thought of as belonging to all of us, but how did Shakespeare himself
imagine and dramatize notions of possession and belonging? In this class, we will focus on
multiple understandings of these concepts in Shakespeare's plays, including, but not limited to,
(1) the legal possession of property, whether in the form of an object, a kingdom, or an empire;
(2) the vexed category of self-possession and its fatal loss; and finally (3) the possibility and
impossibility of possessing one's artistic creations. To explore this last type of possession, we
will spend some time with the First Folio, the 1623 collection of Shakespeare's plays compiled
and published seven years after his death. Finally, we will ask whether Shakespeare's works
allow us to glimpse at and imagine alternatives to possession and ownership, including
commonality, collaboration, and friendship, provoking us in turn to imagine our own
contemporary understandings of these central modern categories. Readings will include Hamlet,
King Lear, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, and poems and letters relating to
Shakespeare’s First Folio. Assignments will include 2 papers, a midterm, a final, and reading

ENGLISH 433: Exploring Spenser’s Faerie Queene (Calhoun)
*fulfills the major requirement for one of two courses in pre-1800 literature
Like any epic but episodic story, Spenser’s Faerie Queene develops over time. Most students
read a bit of FQ in a Brit Lit survey (and often feel as confused as one would be watching a
single episode from the middle of Game of Thrones). In this course, we will read the whole work
at a pace that allows discussion and exploration. Two papers plus one creative project and one
presentation are required. Several class sessions will meet in Memorial Library’s Special
Collections, where we will work with rare books—including a first edition of FQ. By the end of
the course, engaged students will 1) gain confidence in reading and understanding poetic styles,
2) improve as writers and communicators, and 3) develop new skills related to working with rare

ENGLISH 434: Liberty in Milton’s England (D. Loewenstein)
*fulfills the major requirement for one of two courses in pre-1800 literature
In this advanced undergraduate course we will consider seventeenth-century England as a crucial
and defining period in literary and cultural history when writers engaged in, defined, and
reshaped discussions about liberty, dissent, and toleration. John Milton (1608-74), one of the
very greatest writers of English prose and verse, examined these issues--still so crucial to us
today--with great imagination and polemical energy. Consequently, his writings will be at the
center of our course. How do his major prose and poems redefine concepts of civic, domestic,
and religious liberty? As we consider this question, we will study selections from his early
poetry and his prose before turning our attention to two of his greatest poems: Paradise Lost and
Samson Agonistes. We will also read John Bunyan’s major Puritan text and prose allegory, The
Pilgrim’s Progress, the latter one of the greatest works of religious dissent in our language and
one of the most influential books in English literature. As we consider Milton’s great works and
Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in relation early modern ideas of liberty and dissent, we will also
address some of the methodological and interpretative issues involved in reading literary texts
historically. At the same time, we will consider how their imaginative and moving depictions of
dissent in a persecuting society still speak to us today as we continue to struggle with issues of
political and religious liberty, toleration, and freedom of the press.
Course Texts: John Milton: Complete Shorter Poems, ed. Stella P. Revard (Wiley-Blackwell,
2009); paperback; John Milton: Prose: Major Writings on Liberty, Politics, Religion, and Education, ed. David Loewenstein (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), paperback; John Milton: Paradise
Lost, ed. John Leonard (Penguin, 2003), paperback; John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress, ed.
Roger Pooley (Penguin, 2008), paperback.

ENGLISH 444: Jane Austen (Kelley)
Along with William Shakespeare, Jane Austen remains one of the most widely read and
celebrated writers in English literature. Austen’s celebrity has a ricochet effect on her characters,
who have become, for generations of readers, celebrities in their own right. No wonder film
adaptations of Austen’s novels are a popular subgenre of modern film. This course is designed
to take students behind the curtain to look more closely at how Austen’s narrative style invites
readers into the fictional world of Austen’s novels to defend or moniter her characters. We will
investigate Austen’s style by asking what cues her narration gives us about characters and
thoughts, and how we pick them up. A master of narrative voice and nuance, she conveys a new
set of possibilities in the history of the novel and the development of fictional voices. To take
the measure of Austen’s achievement, we will begin by reading novels by her two most
successful and immediate predecessors, who did much to establish the novel of romance as a
genre written by, and purportedly for women: Fanny Burney’s Evelina (1778) and Elizabeth
Inchbald’s A Simple Story (1791). Both novels were wildly popular and both emphasized the
passions and social development of women heroines. In just six novels, published during a six-year
period, and a seventh that was incomplete at the time of her death in 1817, Austen radically
altered the landscape of the novel, not simply by turning away from the traditions of the novel of
romance and domestic lives, but by making those lives and characters more subtle, and more
complexly engaged with each other and the world they inhabit.

The semester’s reading includes: Burney’s Evelina, Inchbald’s A Simple Story, and Austen’s six
published novels, which we will mostly read in the order of publication: Sense and Sensibility
(1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), and Persuasion
(1817); Austen’s sixth published novel, Northanger Abbey, which spoofs the gothic tradition,
was published posthumously (1817). Because Austen’s fiction is so often adapted for film and
the theater, we will consider at least two adaptations so that we can think about how visual and
stage representation works differently from reading the page. The choice here is likely to be a
film of Pride and Prejudice and the world premiere in Chicago of a new play based on Sense and

Course requirements include: frequent short essays on narrative elements and methods in
Austen’s writing; a midterm essay; a comparative analysis of one novel and its adaptation; and a
longer final essay. This course may be taken for honors credit, based on an independent project
that the student develops to accompany other course requirements.

ENGLISH 454: James Joyce (Begam)
This course focuses on the major writings of James Joyce, excluding Finnegans Wake. Most of
our attention will be devoted to an in-depth examination of Ulysses conducted over the course of
nine weeks. By way of preparation, we shall read two earlier works by Joyce, Dubliners and
Portrait of the Artist, as well as Joyce’s principal source text, Homer’s Odyssey. Among the
larger questions we shall address: Where does Joyce position himself in relation to the
conflicting demands of nationalism, individualism and aesthetics? What is the significance of
the “odyssey of styles” in Ulysses, and how does it affect the novel’s mimetic aspirations?
Finally, how does Ulysses reconceive such fundamental ideas as time and place, love and
marriage, truth and language, art and morality?

James Joyce, Dubliners (Penguin, Brown edition)
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin, Deane edition)
James Joyce, Ulysses (Vintage, Gabler edition)
Don Gifford, Ulysses Annotated
Homer, The Odyssey (Vintage, Fitzgerald translation)

ENGLISH 456: American Rebels (Castronovo)
*fulfills the major requirement for one course in American literature
How does literature intersect with rebellion and revolution? Literature promotes values
commonly associated with the social order, which is why we learn about literature in school. But
literary works often seem to have proximity to political violence and social unrest. As we move
from Revolutionary-era Boston to Zuccotti Park and Occupy Wall Street, we will explore the
relationship between literature and social and political movements associated with the radicalism
of slave resistance, anti-capitalist demonstrators, turn-of-the-century feminism, and other
issues. As we do so we’ll also think about different literary modes and forms, including
manifestos, satire, short stories, poetry, and the novel. Given the nature of the course, all the texts
are online but readings include Tom Paine, Ben Franklin, Herman Melville, Nathaniel
Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, Kate Chopin, Langston Hughes, e.e. cummings.

ENGLISH 457: Cultural Citizenship in the New Deal and After (Fawaz)
*fulfills the major requirement for one course in American literature
This course explores how Americans came to view cultural production and mass media as
legitimate sites for the performance of citizenship, political activism, and public dissent starting
in the 1930s. In this period, New Deal programs explicitly treated art and literature as avenues
for remaking American citizenship; Hollywood cinema came to view its film productions as
vehicles for anti-fascist and democratic politics; and the left-wing popular front movement began
to take art and literature seriously as sites of social and political transformation. This heightened
attention to culture as a scene for political activism would infuse both left and right-wing politics
for the next six decades, galvanizing the right-wing backlash against Hollywood in the 1950s, the
radical politics of 1960s television, art, and literature, the rise of independent cinema in the
1970s, and the culture wars of the late 20th century. Through an engagement with an array of
primary sources – including popular film, television, art and theatre, comic books, and literature
among others – alongside the writings of political theorists and public intellectuals since the
1930s, we will explore how culture shifted from a space of mass entertainment to collective
political struggle in the 20th century.

ENGLISH 457: Welcome to the Apocalypse: Cinema & Ecology (Neyrat)
*fulfills the major requirement for one course in American literature
In this course we will describe the functions of cinema in an age of environmental disasters.
Every session will be devoted to an eco-apocalyptic movie that we will question with a text
coming from cinema studies (Bazin, Kracauer), catastrophe theory (Zizek, Diamond),
ecocriticism (Frederick Buell), psychoanalysis (Freud), philosophy (Husserl, Benjamin), and
literature (Spinrad, Robinson). For each film (All is Lost, Noah, The Day after Tomorrow,
Soylent Green, etc.) we will investigate if it records, distorts or projects reality (even if these
three operations can obviously be combined). Indeed, we might think that apocalyptic cinema
only imagines possible events: would its own goal be to distract us from the necessary coming of
these events? Would it try to falsely avert, thanks to the imaginary, the real dangers that threaten
us? Or is it possible to argue that cinema is able to show us what we might not be able to see
without it? Fueling ours fears and our paranoia, cinema sometimes enables us to think what we
refuse to think: the extinction of human beings, of life. Cinema tries to deal out justice with
images when we refuse to see and to act politically to avoid catastrophes.

ENGLISH 461: America in the 1990s (Fawaz)
This course will offer a cultural history of America in the 1990s, using media and popular
culture, social movements, and key intellectual debates to reconstruct the cultural and political
conflicts that came to define the last years of the 20th century. Not only did the decade signal the
end of the cold war, it also saw the ascendancy of the Clinton administration, the first Gulf War,
the most severe racial conflicts since the Civil Rights era, the acceleration of globalization and
mass consumerism, and extraordinary advances in medicine and technology that continue to
shape our everyday lives. By investigating these and other events that shaped national public
culture in the 1990s, we can begin to develop arguments about our current political and social
environment, simultaneously unpacking the ways we interpret, appropriate, and fantasize the
American past. We will discuss a range of topics including the “Culture Wars,” the AIDS
epidemic, feminism and gay liberation, the Internet, the Human Genome Project, and national
debates over violence and ethics in the global “war on terror.”

ENGLISH 461: Afro-Political Music (Olaniyan)
The course is a lively study of popular music from Africa, African America, and the Caribbean.
We will focus on leading musicians of three well-known types of music in the regions: Afrobeat,
Reggae, and Hip-hop. We will examine the musics both as sounds arranged in motion (the
“music”), and as poetry (the lyrics), and then speculate on the relationships between the two. The
musics we will study are globally acknowledged “political” musics. So, we will use them to
reference the histories, politics, and cultures of their societies, explore what is political in the
musics and how, and critically debate what difference they have made to those societies.
Assignments include a class presentation, short analyses of songs, a mid-term, and a final.
Students will be allowed to substitute a paper or an exam with a project such as making a music
video or a digital musical sampling from our audio selections. The selections will be available in
Mills Music Library either as hardcopy or digital reserve. Required reference readings are
Kwame Dawes, Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius; Tim Strode & Tim Wood (ed.), The Hip Hop
Reader; and Trevor Schoonmaker et al (eds.), Fela: From West Africa to Broadway.

ENGLISH 463: Race and Sexuality in American Literature (Bow)
*fulfills the major requirement for one course in American literature
This course engages the intersection between race and sexuality in American fiction, memoir,
drama, poetry, short stories, graphic novel, and film. How does racial belonging hinge upon the
construction of other forms of difference or normativity? The course examines the ways in
which sexual transgression exposes the borders of community inclusion and racial-ethnic
authenticity. We will analyze coming out stories, transgenderism, sexual trauma, the formation
of radical consciousness, the racial implications of Oedipal narratives, the policing of women’s
sexuality, and analogies between ethnic and sexual closeting. In what ways is racial difference a
catalyst for desire? How do degrees of acculturation come to be expressed through shifts in
sexuality? Throughout the course, we will examine the inscription of desire within and in excess
of the dichotomies drawn between homosexual/heterosexual, male/female, white/black, and First
World/Third World. Course Requirements: attendance and participation; in-class presentation; 2
papers; final exam.

Nella Larsen, Passing
Minnie Bruce Pratt, Identity: Skin, Blood, Heart
Bharati Mukherjee, The Middleman and Other Stories
Cherríe Moraga, Loving in the War Years: lo que nunca pasó por sus labio
Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez
Yi-Fu Tuan, Who Am I: An Autobiography of Emotion, Mind, and Spirit
David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly
Adrian Tomine, Shortcomings
Films: Mai’s America; My German Boyfriend; Banana Split

ENGLISH 474: Literature and HIV/AIDS (Gillis)
This course will examine the body of literary works that has emerged in response to HIV/AIDS.
We will look at memoirs, poems, novels, plays, and films about HIV/AIDS from the initial
outbreak of the epidemic in the early 1980s to the present. We will study how these works bear
witness to the suffering of friends and lovers, memorialize the dead, intervene in the cultural and
scientific discourses around HIV/AIDS, catalyze political action, and situate the disease in its
social and historical contexts. Our discussions will also address some of the deeper theoretical
and philosophical questions raised by these works: What can literature tell us about illness and
the human condition? How does infectious disease alter our understanding of the relationship
between self and community? And what role does literature play in the formation of social
movement cultures?

Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart (1985)
Thom Gunn, The Man with Night Sweats (1992)
Tony Kushner, Angels in America, Parts One and Two (1993)
Sonia Sanchez, Does Your House Have Lions? (1997)
Amy Hoffman, Hospital Time (1997)
Jamaica Kincaid, My Brother (1997)
Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to Our Hillbrow (2001)
Mark Doty, Heaven’s Coast (1996) (recommended)

ENGLISH 478: Indian Writers Abroad (Dharwadker)

Since the mid-twentieth century, which witnessed the end of British colonialism on the Indian
subcontinent, citizens of countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have
migrated to the West in sufficiently large numbers to create distinctive South Asian “diasporas”
(immigrant populations) in locations such as Britain and North America. In the past three
decades, fiction in English by authors of South Asian origin has become an unexpectedly
dominant presence on the Western literary scene. Between them, novelists such as V. S. Naipaul,
Salman Rushdie, Bharati Mukherjee, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Jhumpa
Lahiri, Kiran Desai, and Shyam Selvadurai have won every major literary honor, including the
Nobel Prize, several Bookers, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Neustadt Prize. Films by diasporic
directors such as Mira Nair, Gurinder Chadha, and Deepa Mehta, which deal with both India and
the West, have also steadily gained visibility in the past fifteen years, and acquired a significant
worldwide urban audience. The work of these authors and directors has focused an entirely new
kind of attention on their respective cultures of origin, while also addressing the experiences of
displacement, acculturation, and marginalization that are traditionally associated with migration
and exile. This course is concerned, therefore, with the emerging thematics of diaspora literature
and film, the relation of geography to language and form, the interrelations between diasporic
literary and visual genres, and the instrumental conditions of writing and reception. The course
will conclude with an unusual experiment: the juxtaposition of a Bollywood blockbuster set
entirely in New York with a diasporic film portraying the lives of first and second generation
Indian immigrants, also set in New York.

Salman Rushdie, Midnights Children (1980)
Hanif Kureishi, My Beautiful Laundrette (film, 1986)
Shyam Selvadurai, Funny Boy (1994)
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (1997)
Gurinder Chadha, Bend it Like Beckham (film, 2002)
Monica Ali, Brick Lane (2004)
Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss (2006)
Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth (2008)
Kabhi alvida na kahna (Don’t ever say goodbye; film, 2006)
Mira Nair, The Namesake (film, 2006)

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500-level Courses

ENGLISH 505: Visual Rhetoric & the University (Olson)
*fulfills the major requirement in language/linguistics or composition/rhetoric
The Statue of Liberty on Lake Mendota, Bucky doing push-ups in Camp Randall, protestors
holding signs against the Vietnam War or Act 10… Life on campus is full of images that have
persuasive purpose. Whether they foster pride, challenge assumptions, or just try to make us
laugh, those pictures and scenes aim to influence us—and they’re often successful. This class
explores that power visual images have to affect us. It combines reading in visual theory with
real-life examples drawn from the history and present of UW Madison. Whether you’ve failed to
notice the slight differences among Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Ohio State red or could spot a
Badger in a crowd of Buckeyes, this class is for you. In it, we’ll discuss team loyalty, branding,
and campus pride as profoundly rhetorical matters. Whether you think theory has no connection
to real life or believe that theory can change how you see the world, this class is for you. In it,
we’ll give complex concepts immediate application. Whether you’ve gone door-to-door handing
out political fliers or prefer to stage a flock of flamingos on Bascom Hill, this class is for you. In
it, we’ll look closely at the politics of all kinds of pictures, and we’ll make some ourselves. Over
the course of the semester, we’ll explore the University campus, visit the Silver Buckle Press,
and watch political speeches; we’ll discuss Bucky, the bombing of Sterling Hall, and the posters
that appear around every day; we’ll write analytical papers, compose photo essays, and give
presentations. By the end of the semester, you’ll be equipped with tools for engaging critically
with photographs, performances, and buildings and with a greater appreciation of those artifacts’
persuasive effects. Class readings will be available in a course packet and will include texts by
visual theorists, rhetoricians, artists, photojournalists, and performers.

ENGLISH 514: English Syntax (Wanner)
Do you like to puzzle linguistic pieces together? Do you sometimes wonder why sentences that
seem to make sense semantically just don’t sound right? (*It was expected Harry to leave early)?
Did you enjoy diagramming sentences in “The Structure of English?” Then this may be the class
for you.

In this class we will combine the analysis of sentences with an in-depth exploration of a
particular theoretical framework, the "Principles & Parameters" (also: Government & Binding)
approach to syntactic analysis, first introduced by Noam Chomsky in the 1980s. Chomsky's
approach to syntactic theory is also known as "Generative Grammar." Both data and analysis will
be more complex than in the "Structure of English" course. For instance, we will look at
infinitives (He tried __to leave), which lack a visible subject, but which are interpreted as
sentences with agents nonetheless. Other constructions with invisible agents include imperatives
(Wash your hands!), and passives (Mistakes were made). We will also look at complex
constructions that involve the ordering of objects, for example the particle verb construction (I
looked up the information/I looked the information up -- what exactly happens with the particle?)
and the double object construction (give a book to Mary/give Mary a book -- do they mean
exactly the same?). You will learn how to analyze these sentences, how to represent them as tree
diagrams in an updated version of the X-bar format, and to compare the generative analysis with
a more traditional approach to the analysis of syntax.

The core assumption of generative grammar theory is that an infinite set of syntactically wellformed
(grammatical) sentences can be produced (generated) on the basis of a finite set of
principles, which are universal (valid in every language) and which may not be violated because
they are an integral part of the human language faculty. You will learn to explain the
ungrammaticality of sentences like [*Sally's brother doesn't like herself] or [*It was expected
Harry to leave early] as violations of one or of these principles, which are part of everyone’s
mental grammar (but which cannot be found in an ordinary grammar book).
Occasionally, we will include data from corpus searches and we will relate the topics that we
discuss to observations from first and second language acquisition. You will not have to read a
lot for this class, but you will spend a fair amount of time analyzing syntax problems every
week. There will be weekly homework assignments, quizzes, two exams, and a presentation on a
syntactic construction, such as the relative clause or the imperative (graduate students will also
have to write a paper). Tree diagrams will get fairly complex in this class, but what really matters
is the ability to construct a syntactic argument: Why is a construction problematic? Why is one
analysis better than another? What are problems that remain unsolved?

This class is required for M.A. students in Applied English Linguistics, it is semi-required for the
English Linguistics track in the major (you have to take this class or English 516, Grammar in
Use, which is not offered this semester), and it counts as an elective towards the English Major.
ENG 324/ENGL 314 (Structure of English) is a prerequisite for this course.

Required textbook:
Andrew Carnie: Syntax. A Generative Introduction. 3rd Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.

ENGLISH 521: Advanced Old English (Zweck)
An intensive study of Beowulf read in the original language (Old English). Line-by-line
translation of the text will be supplemented by discussion of related issues (whether linguistic,
thematic, or contextual) as well as by readings from relevant critical literature. Open to graduate
students as well as undergraduates. PREREQUISITE: one semester’s study of the Old English
language (English 320/520 or equivalent).

ENGLISH 533: Literature and the Environment (Nixon)
We’ll be acquainting ourselves with a wide range of environmental storytellers—writers and
filmmakers who have borne witness to environmental issues that have inspired them to create.
Stories matter. They can change the way we feel toward the environment, the way we see it
anew, and potentially to the way we act. We’ll be moving across a wide variety of landscapes:
from the American Southwest to New England, from the Caribbean to South Africa and Nepal.
We’ll also be debating a wide range of issues, from climate change and environmental justice to
ecosystem management and urban gardening. The writers we’ll be reading are incredibly varied
in mood and motive: some are lyrical, others argumentative, meditative, apocalyptic or
humorous. The class will give us a chance to consider the diverse imaginative strategies
available to creative people for conveying our connection to the environments that we inhabit
and impact. As a subject, the environment covers everything from the microbial ecosystem in our
gut to planet earth itself. How do writers manage to dramatize life forms that are difficult for us
to visualize, either because they’re too small to see or too unimaginably large? What role can the
imagination play in getting us to see—and feel—these microscopic and gargantuan forms?
Through a lively selection of readings and films, we’ll get to grips with these tantalizing
questions and more.

ENGLISH 545: Feminism and the Literary Imagination (Hussen)
This course explores the relationship between literature and politics: between the narration of
women’s lives, and the philosophies and social projects of empowering women. Reading a
diverse corpus of contemporary women’s fiction alongside academic theories of feminism and
representations of feminism in journalism and popular culture, we will ask: What is the status of
feminism in contemporary culture? Meaning, what stories do we tell about feminism today, and
how do competing ideas about feminism circulate through the stories we tell about women? How
do narrative themes, styles, and forms come to be read as feminist or not-feminist? Is political
ideology a valid metric for evaluating literature? What is at stake when we argue about feminism
in literature?

Assigned reading will likely include works of fiction and criticism by Margaret Atwood, Tsitsi
Dangarembga, Gish Jen, Toni Morrison, and Jeanette Winterson. Theoretical selections may
include writing by Deepika Bahri, Judith Butler, Janet Halley, Claire Hemmings, Jennifer Nash,
and Robyn Wiegman. The scope of our inquiry will be broad and diverse, but will not attempt to
be exhaustive. We will focus primarily on literature written in English in the period since the
modern women’s liberation movement (i.e., the 1980s to the present), giving particular attention
to feminism’s interface with other progressive social movements, such as anti-racism,
postcolonial mobilizations, and LGBTQ activism.

In addition to its content-based curriculum, this course is designed to develop skills in reading,
writing, and analytical thinking. We will hone close reading skills, introduce rhetorical tropes,
explore different methods for approaching literary texts, and develop techniques of critical
writing. Coursework will include short written assignments, class participation, in-class writing,
a short midterm essay (5 pages), and a longer final paper (10 pages).

ENGLISH 561: Literary Criticism and Theory (Begam)
This course will introduce students to a number of the central issues in literary criticism and
theory. Questions that we shall consider include: Where and how do we locate the “meaning” of
a work of literature? Is it to be found in the work itself, the author’s intentions, or the reader’s
interpretation? To what degree have developments in modern thought–especially the post-
Nietzschean critique of objectivism–affected how we identify and define hermeneutic truth?
How do our cultural and historical situations constrain our ability to understand texts of our own
time and of the past? Finally, what roles do aesthetic appreciation and evaluation play, both in
guiding interpretation and in establishing literary canons?

Plato, Phaedrus (Macmillan)
Jacques Derrida, Dissemination (University of Chicago)
Michel Foucault Discipline and Punish (Vintage)
xeroxed material (available Room 1650, Humanities)

ENGLISH 571: Remix, Mashup, and Digital Design (McKenzie)
This “studiolab” course mixes studio, lab, and seminar-based learning to introduce students to
theories and practices of human--centered design, an essential skill for both design and
innovation across many fields. Human--centered design focuses on the experience of audiences,
end-users, and communities, drawing on such disparate traditions as classical rhetoric and
aesthetics and modern fields of human-computer interaction, performance studies, and
community activism. Students learn human-centered design through two interrelated activities:
smart media and design thinking. Smart media are emerging genres of scholarly communication,
such as digital storytelling, theory comix, and multimedia presentations, forms that can be seen
as mashing up traditional scholarship and contemporary media culture in order to create more
interactive forms of learning. Design thinking is an interdisciplinary approach to problemsolving
and innovation used to address social challenges, organizational change, and product
development, and it has been applied to education, engineering, and non-profits. Both smart
media and design thinking stress empathy with end-users, creative and analytical skills, and
collaborative, iterative design processes involving different perspectives—all hallmarks of
human-centered design. Learning outcomes include:

● collaborative problem-solving
● media, information, and technology literacies
● divergent, creative thinking
● convergent. integrative thinking
● critical media analysis and production

Final grade breakdown: 25% each for Project 1, Project 2, Project 3 and Participation. Exercises,
thumbnails, discussion and attendance comprise the participation component of the class.

Books to purchase
Brown, Tim. 2009. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and
Inspires Innovation. New York: HarperCollins.
Duarte, Nancy. 2007. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences. Sebastopol,
CA: O’Reilly Media.
McCandless, David. 2009. The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most
Consequential Trivia. New York: Collins.
Saper, Craig. 2012 Intimate Bureaucracies. Brooklyn, NY: Punctum Books.
Tufte, Edward. 1990. Envisioning Information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press. 


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