Topics Courses

Spring 2017

Every quarter, the English Department offers variable topics courses such as English 315 (Studies in a Literary Genre), English 324 (Studies in Literary Topics) and English 515 (Senior Seminar) on selected topics. The topics for these courses change each quarter, and the courses may be repeated for credit as topics change. Those scheduled for Spring 2017 are described below. If you'd like further information about these courses or other English Department offerings, please contact the instructor. You'll find their contact information on our faculty information pages.

ENG 308: Studies in Writing: Language Diversity in Writing, Prof. Rowan, MWF 12-1:10 pm

This class will examine how language diversity shapes writing in various contexts (personal, social, academic, and professional) and how language ideologies inform how we value or devalue language diversity in writing. As a result of taking this class, students will be able to interpret language diversity in more critical and informed ways and will be better prepared to write and respond to linguistically diverse texts in academic and professional contexts.

ENG 315: Science Fiction of the 1950s, Prof. Carlson, MWF 9:20-10:30 am

This course will focus on classic works of science fiction produced during the 1950s, an important turning point in the literary history of the genre.  The 1950s was the time when science fiction moved away from the commercialism and sensationalism of the “Pulps” that dominated the 1930s and 1940s toward greater literary respectability and sophistication.  Science fiction cinema also began to take off as a popular form, a development that also encouraged the literary boom of the time.  As a way of acknowledging this relationship, we will view and discuss two classic movies from the period, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1953). Authors to be read will include Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, Clark, Sturgeon, and Miller.   

ENG 440: Harlem Renaissance, Prof. Pak, TR 4:00-5:50 pm

This course is an exploration of the literary movement we now call the Harlem Renaissance. Students will be asked to analyze works by cultural producers affiliated with the Harlem Renaissance, including Jean Toomer, W.E.B. Du Bois and Zora Neale Hurston; our readings will draw from a wide range of literary and performance genres, including novels, critical essays and dances. We will also read materials written "outside of" and/or after the Harlem Renaissance so as to critically think through how we remember this movement, why we might remember it in these ways and the how the concerns and issues raised by Toomer, Du Bois, Hurston and others still resonate today. Course requirements will include, but are not limited to, reading responses, a take home midterm and final paper.

ENG 441: Virginia Woolf, Prof. Henry, TR 2:00-3:50 pm

This course explores Woolf’s experiments in fiction and her sense that fiction mattered, that art mattered, and that through literature and all the arts a culture might build its future. This was a concern for Woolf as her major works were written between the First and Second World War.  Students will read selected short stories, novels, and essays, examining Woolf's experiments in fiction, but also considering how Woolf responded to the cultural milieu out of which her texts emerged.

ENG 463: Circus and Carnival in Literature, Prof. Paegle, M 9:00 am-12:50 pm (PDC)

This class will explore representations of carnivals and circuses in a variety of texts, from W.B. Yeats’s “The Circus Animal’s Desertion,” James Joyce’s “Araby,” and Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood through more contemporary fare such as Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Emily St. John Mandell’s Station Eleven, and others.

ENG 513: Interventions in Fiction and Performance, Prof. Perez, MWF 10:40-11:50 am

Students will study and craft projects at the intersections of fiction writing and performance. Students will be introduced to interdisciplinary and multimodal storytelling methods that sample from fiction writing, poetics, dramatic/performance writing, performance art, and digital video. The course will culminate in a student-organized community event showcasing student projects.

ENG 513: Confession and Conversion, Prof. Paegle, F 9:00 am-12:50 pm (PDC)

In this advanced cross-genre workshop, we will read, consider, write, and rewrite works of various lengths and from various genres exploring traditions of literary confession and conversion, including those with comedic perspectives or slants. Texts may include: works from Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, from Carlos Fuentes, from Rigoberto Gonzales, and Mary Karr’s Wit,  Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty, and others.

ENG 515: Senior Seminar: Contemporary British Women Writers, Prof. Pigeon, TR 6:00-7:50 pm

This Senior Seminar will explore award-winning works by several contemporary British women writers, infused with and influenced by magical realism and fabulism, with a particular emphasis on the authors’ “palimpsestuous” adaptation in their works of both fairy and folk tales and history. Texts will include Kate Atkinson’s Human Croquet (1997), Ali Smith’s How To Be Both (2014), Frances Hardinge’s young adult novel The Lie Tree (2015), Lucy Wood’s short story collection Diving Belles (2012), and other selected short works.  The course will provide an introduction to some core concepts in narrative theory.

ENG 515: Senior Seminar: Why the Tiger? Figurative Theory, Prof. Paegle, W 9:00 am-12:50 pm (PDC)

In this class, we will consider texts in which the figure or trope of the tiger stalks between various forms of metonymy and metaphor, thereby creating theoretically and figuratively potent structures of meta-narrative.  Literary texts may include excerpts from the 1001 Nights, Angela Carter’s The Tiger’s Bride, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Jorge Luis Borges’s Dreamtigers, Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, and others.