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Fall 2014 Course Offerings

FALL 2014

ENGLISH, JOUR, WRIT COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

ENGL 190  01      Fabulous Creatures (5T,W) Francesca Abbate    

ENGL 190. Introduction to Literary Study - Fabulous Creatures (1). An amphibious biped named Larry. A web-footed woman. A vampire with a thing for Tarot cards. (And yes, one famously morose beetle.) In this course, we’ll encounter a host of literary hybrids—varied and various blends of the human, the supernatural, and the “beastly”—who, in teasing the credible, test our definitions of rationality and identity. Throughout the semester, we’ll develop and put into practice the critical skills of close reading, interpretation, and analysis in order to consider how writers construct these fabulous creatures—and to what ends. (5T) Offered each semester.    

ENGL 190  02      Intro Literary Study (5T,W) staff               

ENGL 190. Introduction to Literary Study (1). Designed for the potential major in English and other interested students. Prerequisite to advanced courses in English. These courses introduce students to the close reading of selected poetry, drama, and prose, with training in analysis and critical writing. (Also listed as Comparative Literature 190. English majors should register for English 190.) (5T) Offered each semester.              

ENGL 190  03      Borders & Bridging: Passages (5T,W)  Lisa Haines Wright

ENGL 190. Introduction to Literary Study - Borders and Bridging: Passages (1). This course engages widely various texts, all of which foreground passage--movement from one location  (physical and/or psycho-social)  to another, quite different one-and focus on the generative complexity of ‘in-between.'   Diverse as they are, they all confirm what postcolonial theorist Homi Bhabha has suggested:  a "boundary becomes the place from which something begins its presencing."  What sorts of something?   We'll ask that question of each text we engage and, by comparing the answers, cohere our course.  Our primary task, though, is not to cover content, but to develop a skill:  close reading.   The course trains and practices interpretive analysis and analytic writing to interpretive ends.  No prerequisites. (5T)          

ENGL 190  04      Other Minds (5T,W)  Tamara Ketabgian

ENGL 190. Introduction to Literary Study - Other Minds(1). How does literature help us to imagine the minds and feelings of others? This course explores how various texts serve—or refuse to serve—as mental and emotional “simulation chambers.” We will devote special attention to works that challenge established ways of knowing, seeing, and perceiving, among both human and nonhuman beings. Along the way, we will consider exciting developments surrounding the relation between literature and cognitive theory. Why do we read, and how do we understand notions of consciousness, relationship, narrative, environment, and time as we read? Texts will include a wide array of fiction, poetry, and drama, by authors such as Austen, Bishop, Hughes, Shakespeare, Shelley, Stoppard, and Woolf. Throughout the term, we will practice a variety of interpretative approaches and will develop skills essential for crafting literary essays. **Students will draft and revise approximately twenty pages of prose**. (5T)       

ENGL 195  01      Falls and Redemptions (W)  Steven Wright

ENGL 195. British Literary Traditions (1). The story of the Fall in Genesis–the expulsion from paradise, the sudden sense of distance from God–has permeated Western culture.  As a loose framework for our discussion of works in a variety of genres–from Chaucer to Angela Carter–we should be able to detect continuities and to distinguish between permutations of paradise (the green world of pastoral, e.g.), the inclinations of the deities, and the claims of the caste that proposes to lead us back.  We’ll sample Chaucer and late medieval romance and drama, Shakespeare, Marlowe and Renaissance poetry, Milton and Swift; in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Blake and Mary Shelley, Woolf, and assorted illustrative readings.     Prerequisite: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190               

ENGL 196  01      American Literary Trads (W) Cynthia McCown   

ENGL 196. American Literary Traditions (1). Introduces students to American texts from the 17th century to the most recent literary periods, with emphasis on broad historical patterns of literary and cultural influence. Each course examines the formation and transformation of literary canons, national traditions, and evolving concepts of artistic value and creativity. As a reading-intensive study of literary texts and their specific historical contexts, this course is appropriate for the general student and also provides groundwork crucial for more advanced English classes. Offered each semester. Prerequisite: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190.             

ENGL 205  01      Intro Creative Writing (2A,W) Francesca Abbate               

ENGL 205. Introduction to Creative Writing (1). Experimentation and practice in writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Readings to suggest and illustrate forms and techniques. (2A) Offered each semester. Prerequisite: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190.          

ENGL 205  02      Intro Creative Writing (2A,W) Matthew Vadnais               

ENGL 205. Introduction to Creative Writing (1). Experimentation and practice in writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Readings to suggest and illustrate forms and techniques. (2A) Offered each semester. Prerequisite: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190.          

ENGL 205  03      Intro Creative Writing (2A,W) Christina Clancy

ENGL 205. Introduction to Creative Writing (1). Experimentation and practice in writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Readings to suggest and illustrate forms and techniques. (2A) Offered each semester. Prerequisite: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190.          

ENGL 205  04      Intro Creative Writing (2A,W) staff

ENGL 205. Introduction to Creative Writing (1). Experimentation and practice in writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Readings to suggest and illustrate forms and techniques. (2A) Offered each semester. Prerequisite: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190.          

ENGL 210  01      Creative Writing: Poetry (W) Francesca Abbate

ENGL 210. Creative Writing: Poetry (1). Analysis of representative poems to increase understanding and appreciation of the nature, styles, and methods of poetry. Composition and discussion of original poems in various forms. Offered each fall. Prerequisite: English 205.

ENGL 220  01      Creative Writing: Fiction (W) Christopher Fink

ENGL 220. Creative Writing: Fiction (1). Study and practice of the techniques of short story writing to increase understanding and appreciation of the nature, styles, and methods of fiction. Includes analysis of representative examples and practice in writing fiction of various lengths. Offered each fall. Prerequisite: English 205.  

ENGL 228  01      Prc Lit Ed: Beloit Fict Jrnl (W,L1)  Christopher Fink

ENGL 228. Practicum in Literary Editing: Beloit Fiction Journal (1). This course is an editing workshop aimed at selecting manuscripts for publication in the Beloit Fiction Journal, an established national literary magazine. Students will read and critically assess unpublished manuscripts submitted by writers from all over the world. They will also participate in various facets of literary magazine production. (Also listed as Journalism 228. English majors should register for English 228.) Offered each fall. Prerequisite: Junior standing or consent of instructor.             

ENGL 251  01      Chaucer & His Contemporaries (TD,W) Lisa Haines-Wright

ENGL 251. Studies in Medieval Literature - Chaucer and His Contemporaries (1). For the chroniclers of the aristocracy, the later 1300s glittered with high adventure and lofty idealism, Christian chivalry and courtly love. But chronicle and experience are very different things. England and France pursued the Hundred Years' War, Holy Church divided, the Black Death killed one in three persons; princes fell, peasants revolted, and for want of field labor, cleared land reverted to waste. Geoffrey Chaucer--son of a wine merchant, servant and emissary of dukes and kings--was widely a man of his time. He knew its war, trade, diplomacy, law, and literature--classical, Christian, and contemporary, English, French, and Italian. More than any other writer, he opens the way to comprehending his world. His patrons were aristocrats, but Chaucer himself transcends simple class allegiance. His challenge to established authority is shrewd and persistent. We will trace its development, focusing on the Canterbury Tales. We'll locate Chaucer in his time and place, and we'll compare his work to that of his contemporaries, particularly those Italian writers--Petrarch, Dante, Boccaccio--whose work he engaged and revised in his fullest artistic maturity. Prerequisites: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190, and English 195 or English 261           

ENGL 257  01      Steam,Speed: Vict/Neo-Vict Lit (TD,W)  Tamara Ketabgian

ENGL 257. Studies in Literature, Later 1800s and Early 1900s - Steam, Speed, and Modernity: Victorian and Neo-Victorian Literature and Culture (1). This course explores the intersection between gender, class, and technology in Victorian literature and culture and in more recent rewritings of the period. As we read novels about nineteenth-century London and Manchester, we will consider how machines—especially trains and factories—served as suggestive metaphors for modern forms of life, labor, life, community, and consciousness. How, we will ask, did these works critique, anticipate, and mythologize the explosion of industrial and social change, among evolving classes and masses? To complement our literary study, we will investigate culturally and geographically specific aspects of British architecture, visual art, urban life, industry, and information technology, including unpursued yet remarkably viable inventions such as Charles Babbage’s difference engine. The course will end by assessing the importance of the Victorians today, as a popular subject of speculation both in the cultural history of technology and in fantastical alternate worlds proposed in “steampunk” science fiction. Prerequisites: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190; students who wish to enroll in the course as CRIS should email the instructor about alternate 5T courses that may count as a prerequisite.            

ENGL 257  02      Imaginary Gardens/Real Toads (W,TD) Cynthia McCown

ENGL 257. Studies in Literature, Later 1800s and Early 1900s - Imaginary Gardens/Real Toads: Realism and Naturalism in American Literature (1). In the decades before and after the turn of the 20th century, American literature trended in two related yet distinct ways. No longer drawn toward the improbabilities romanticism, with its tell-tale hearts and symbolic white whales, American writers became concerned with rendering the real life in close and comprehensive detail. 

In the attempt to achieve verisimilitude-- the truthful representation of “life as it is” -- both the realists and the naturalists experimented with similar techniques, but they differed in choice of subject matter. Realists depicted the ordinary lives of the middle class, laying bare the shaky substrata under the veneer of American gentility-- the religious hypocrisy, political corruption and business chicanery that served to destabilize the dominant paradigm. 

Naturalists focused on the degraded existence of those at the base of the economic pyramid, the slum dwellers and sweatshop workers on whose backs American prosperity was built.  And, although both movements drew on the scientific method and rationalist philosophy, naturalism went beyond realism in emphasizing the role of pessimistic determinism in the lives of its characters.

The title of the course draws on the words of modernist poet Marianne Moore, who believed genuine writing employed creative abstraction to evoke the raw and the real.  Readings for the course may include works by Jack London, Kate Chopin, Frank Norris, Upton Sinclair, Theodore Dreiser, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Stephen Crane, Ellen Glasgow, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. Prerequisite: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190; additional prerequisites vary with instructor."          

ENGL 262  01      Gender Bending Performance Txt (TD,W)  Matthew Vadnais

ENGL 262. Genre, Mode, Technique - Gender Bending Performance Text (1). Though the descriptor “gender bending” is most frequently used to describe plays and performance texts that question gender norms or seek to complicate the notion of gender itself, our oldest surviving examples of gender bending performance texts were written in cultures where women weren’t allowed to take part in public performance. Despite the systemic sexism requisite for all male performance practices – or perhaps because the women on stage were performed by men and boys –  many of our surviving ancient Greek and early modern English plays feature men pretending to be women and women pretending to be men, representations that potentially complicate our understanding of historical notions of gender and sexuality. Over the first part of the semester, we will read The Bacchae, Thesmophoriazusae, The Assemblywomen, Gallathea, Twelfth Night, Epicoene, and The Roaring Girl, as well theoretical texts regarding the performance of gender and scholarship regarding historical performance practices. While most of our textual examples will be Western, we will examine Peking Opera and the Logan Museum’s collection of Wayang kulit – Indonesian shadow puppets – for non-Western, historical examples of women characters performed by male performers. Additionally, we will encounter various arguments against the introduction of women to the professional English stage in 1660. Finally, we will apply theories of gender in performance to modern drag culture (and vice-versa, using drag culture to theorize the performance of gender) and, in the context of individual research projects, contemplate more modern and potentially non-binary performance texts. Prerequisite: English 190 or Comparative Literature 190        

ENGL 301  01      Undoing / Dimorphic Paradigm (W,CP)   Lisa Haines-Wright

ENGL 301. Literature in Context - Undoing the Dimorphic Paradigm (1). This course problematizes the gender system dominant in Western cultures:  heterosexual sex-gender dimorphism.  It focuses on "third"-ness:  figures and phenomena--queerness, cross-dressing, transgender, transsexuality, intersexuality--that bridge the divide between female/feminine and male/masculine.  We examine instances of and responses to "third"-ness, working across time (Renaissance to contemporary) and in various social discourses.  For example?  Myth, religion, and philosophy, biology and medicine, psychology and psychiatry, history and (auto) biography, popular culture and the arts.   At various historical moments and in various contexts, we ask what anxieties invest the "third" and what possibilities it opens. Prerequisites: junior standing and either ENGL 190 and one 200-level ENGL, or one 100-level WGST/CRIS and one 200-level WGST/CRIS           

JOUR 125  01      Intro to Journalism (2A,W)  staff

JOUR 125. Introduction to Journalism (1). Basic techniques of reportage, from researching to writing to editing. Emphasis on writing for newspapers, though other print and broadcast media also will be examined. Written assignments may include news stories, book and movie reviews, interviews, human interest stories, feature articles, and editorials. (2A) Offered each fall.    

JOUR 228  01      Prac Lit Ed: Beloit (W,L1) Christopher Fink            

JOUR 228. Practicum in Literary Editing (1). This course is an editing workshop aimed at selecting manuscripts for publication in the Beloit Fiction Journal, an established national literary magazine. Students will read and critically assess unpublished manuscripts submitted by writers from all over the world. (Also listed as ENGL 228.) Prerequisite: Junior standing or consent of instructor.              

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WRIT 100  01       Hyp-Real:Nonrealist Shrt Fict(5T,W) Steven Wright

WRIT 100. Writing Seminar - Hyper-Real: Non-Realist Short Fiction (1). What exactly is a short story?  How do writers respond to and make use of the constraints of length specified by the genre’s name?  Definitions of the genre often privilege “slice of life” realism–fiction that represents life as we ordinarily see it, i.e., in its press of daily event and as experienced by particular individuals whose psychology we engage in our most familiar terms.  This course will focus instead on short fictions that represent something very different: not particular minds and events, but the underlying principles and tacit assumptions that shape various particulars into a socio-political system.  We’ll ask how such texts signal their representational mode and make it decipherable: how do we recognize that we must interpret their connection to ordinary reality, and how do they guide us to do so?

 Students will write, workshop, and re-write three short essays, engaging various purposes: description, analysis, and interpretation, as well as argument and persuasion.  We will work to develop a self-conscious voice in writing, to identify audience and to address it effectively, to compose logically and efficiently, and to revise for clarity, precision, and economy.  Writing will focus on short stories by such artists of the genre as Porter, Oates, and Bass; Faulkner, Welty, and Capote; Greene, Carter, and McEwan; Schulz and Nabokov; Cortazar and Fuentes; Shepard, Millhauser, and Kauffman. (5T)"              

WRIT 100  02       This is the End  (5T,W) Christina Clancy

WRIT 100. Writing Seminar - (This is the End: Writing About Collapse, Extinction, and Preservation (1).  What exactly is a short story? How do writers respond to and make use of the constraints of length specified by the genre’s name? Definitions of the genre often privilege “slice of life” realism–fiction that represents life as we ordinarily see it, i.e., in its press of daily event and as experienced by particular individuals whose psychology we engage in our most familiar terms. This course will focus instead on short fictions that represent something very different: not particular minds and events, but the underlying principles and tacit assumptions that shape various particulars into a socio-political system. We’ll ask how such texts signal their representational mode and make it decipherable: how do we recognize that we must interpret their connection to ordinary reality, and how do they guide us to do so?

Students will write, workshop, and re-write three short essays, engaging various purposes: description, analysis, and interpretation, as well as argument and persuasion.  We will work to develop a self-conscious voice in writing, to identify audience and to address it effectively, to compose logically and efficiently, and to revise for clarity, precision, and economy.  Writing will focus on short stories by such artists of the genre as Porter, Oates, and Bass; Faulkner, Welty, and Capote; Greene, Carter, and McEwan; Schulz and Nabokov; Cortazar and Fuentes; Shepard, Millhauser, and Kauffman. (5T)"              

WRIT 100  03       The Writer as Traveler (5T,W)     Charles Lewis

WRIT 100. Writing Seminar - The Writer as Traveler (1). In this seminar we read and write about travel—and explore the writing process as a kind of journey. We address a variety of questions about travel—such as where and why and how and with whom we go—and to what effect. Similarly, we will address how writing can entail travel-like elements such as planning, getting lost, making adjustments, discovery, and arrival. We address critical reading strategies, effective writing process, working with sources, and the characteristics of good writing for a general academic audience. Writing assignments include original travel essays and critical analysis, and multi-media work (such as the use of photographs to explore “visual rhetoric”) that are developed through a practice of in-class discussion and writing, collaborative editing, individual conferences, and extensive revision.  No prerequisite or frequent-flier miles needed, although we do spend time exploring off-campus study options in relation to a liberal arts education. (5T)        

WRIT 100  04       Film (5T,W) Matthew Taylor       

WRIT 100. Writing Seminar - Film (1).This class will provide students with a broad introduction to film studies as a means to develop skills in textual analysis, visual literacy, and written argumentation. We will use a rigorous writing practice to explore some of the key issues related to the production and consumption of film, including history, technology, aesthetics, and ideology. Primary focus is on helping students develop skills in comprehension, reasoning, and composition. Class is conducted as a mixture of discussion, workshop, and individual conferences with instructor, and meets for 1 hour MW and 2 hours F. (5T) Topics course. Offered each semester.     

WRIT 200  01       Sci Fi & Speculative Writing (W) Tamara Ketabgian

WRIT 200. Writing Practicum - Science Fiction and Speculative Writing (1). Science fiction imagines other worlds, other life forms, and other ways of thinking. This writing-intensive course will explore literary, philosophical, and cognitive challenges posed by the genre, famously termed the “literature of cognitive estrangement.” Along the way, students will develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills by crafting and revising assignments for a variety of audiences. Members of the class will pursue their own creative projects in science fiction or speculative writing, based upon substantial research and critical analysis. We will explore earlier traditions of “scientific romance” from the nineteenth century (including H. G. Wells), as well as modern and postmodern works that question the limits of race, gender, sexuality, intelligence, and human identity. Our reading, writing, and discussion will focus both on fiction and on nonfictional essays and reflections. How, we will ask, does science fiction address ideas of modern technological faith, enthusiasm, enlightenment, and objectivity? What should we expect (or write about) in the science fiction of the future? **NOTE: This course requires extensive collaboration with peers, individual conferences with the instructor, and regular writing and revision throughout the semester, including a significant creative project that will be shared with classmates.** Prerequisites: sophomore standing         

WRIT 230  B1      Tutoring Peer Writers (W) Charles Lewis

WRIT 230. Talking About Writing - Tutoring Peer Writers (.5). This 1/2-unit course (first module) is an introduction to the theory and practice of tutoring peer writers. Our objective is to develop your understanding of, experience with, and skills in a variety of tutorial contexts and capacities, with an emphasis on working with undergraduate writers on a collaborative basis. We will address the tutor-writer relationship generally and the dynamics of working in a writing center in particular.  Most of our attention will be given to successful tutoring in relation to the entire writing process and the production of effective writing in a variety of academic contexts.  Includes classroom reading, writing, and role-playing, as well as writing center observation and practice. This course is required for eligibility for work as a writing center tutor, and provides good preparation for other teaching and mentoring roles. All students must be strong writers to enroll.  Class meets MW in addition to required observation time in the writing center.