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Academics

English Course Offerings

Fall 2014

ENGL 1155: Reading, Writing, & the Literary Imagination: Craving, Anger, Grief
Suzanne Ashworth – TR 10:00-11:45
This class will engage texts that dramatize compelling and complicated dimensions of the human condition: desire, rage, and mourning.  Together, we will enter a literature of lust, addiction, fury, vengeance, heartache, and loss. Do our hungers enslave or animate us? Is loss the measure of liberation? Does appetite seduce us into transgression or does it foment revolution?  Can grief be regulated and contained? What does anger create and destroy?  Reading the work of Emma Donaghue, James Frey, Franz Kafka, and others, we will tackle these questions and more. And we will consider our own relationship to compulsion, wrath, and anguish. Along the way, you’ll read, think, talk, and write like English majors.

ENGL 1160: Creative Writing Across the Genres
Terrence Hermsen – TR 12:00-1:45
This class explores the nature of the creative act itself, from poetry to fiction, from drama to creative non-fiction. We emphasize learning from writers who blur boundaries and have made careers in two or more territories, from Mark Doty, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ontaatje and Rita Dove. We generally pick a theme, such as "things," "parents," "nature" or writing in response to visual art. Whatever the area of life, writers shape approaches from the widest variety of means. Students learn to keep writer's notebooks, then mine these notes for ideas of their own. Portfolios are developed over the course of the semester which include pieces that are revised  radically from one genre to another.

ENGL 1175: Studies in Film
Patricia Frick – MWF 1:40-2:50
This course provides an introduction to film as a distinct artistic medium through topical and thematic approaches.  For Fall 2014, we will focus on iconic horror films such as NosferatuFrankensteinGodzilla, Night of the Living Dead,  The Blob, and more. In studying these films, we’ll consider their technologies and elements of production; their distinguishing  characteristics within a notable film genre; the groundbreaking work of their directors; and their critical reception.  We’ll also consider how these films are a form of cultural discourse, expressing the anxieties, concerns, and hopes of their creators and audiences.   Additionally, the course will offer students opportunities to acquire a basic vocabulary for studying film, to advance their interpretive skills, and to write autobiographically, reflectively, creatively, and critically. May be repeated once when offered with a different topic

ENGL 2210: Studies in British Literatures Before 1700
Norman Chaney – TR 2:00-3:45
Enter the world of the fiendish Grendel and the dauntless Beowulf; look through Langland’s eyes at the social effects of Black Plague; travel to Canterbury with Chaucer’s Pilgrims; assume a seat at King Arthur’s roundtable; puzzle at Spenser’s blending of myth and history to create the Christian/political hero; spend a day in More’s Utopia; ponder Shakespeare’s moral ambivalence; grasp why Donne is melancholic; understand why Satan is Milton’s hero; indulge in the pleasures of Marvell’s Garden. The course invites students to engage imaginatively and critically with British literature in old English, medieval, early modern, Elizabethan, and Jacobean eras. Course is not repeatable when offered with a different topic. Pre-req: ENGL 1155.

ENGL 2231: Studies in Women’s Literatures: Experimental Women’s Writing
Tammy Birk – T 6:00-9:30 pm
Conventional mythology holds that male writers are more emboldened, maverick. and insubordinate in their relationship to literary tradition. Women writers, on the other hand, are thought to honor and underline the rules of the game.  They are imagined as both conventional and conservative in their relationship to literary form and style. This course is designed to disrupt that fiction.
    Throughout the term, we will concentrate our attention on a wide range of women writers who are experimental and ground-breaking in their approach to literary language, form, style, and subject. These women write in every genre, and they write across a wide variety of social, cultural, and historical locations. They are willful innovators, rule-breakers, and subversives. They transgress the literary law in creative and challenging ways, and, in so doing, they disrupt expectations of what texts and women should be. Readings may include the work of Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Plath, Kathy Acker, Clarice Lispector, Maria Irene Fornes, Sarah Kane, Anne Carson, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Marguerite Duras. Pre-requisite: ENGL 1155 or INST 1500. This course may be used as a substitute for the INST Creativity and Culture requirement. 

ENGL 2233: Studies in World Literatures: Latin American Fiction: The Magical and the Real
Beth Daugherty – MWF 9:25-10:35
This course will explore the magical realism of Latin America, particularly how Latin American authors revised Europe’s modernism and postmodernism and then influenced the world’s literature. We will wrestle with questions such as: what is magical realism? why has it been so fertile in Latin America? how does it relate to politics? how and why did it develop the way it did? what does it free writers to say and do? how has magical realism permeated the world’s literature? But we will also be open to other questions we develop along the way.We will use a collection of academic essays about magical realism to give us some history and context, explore some historical precursors, and read a modernist European text that influenced Latin American fiction. Most of the course, however, will be devoted to short stories and novels written by important 20th century Latin American magical realists. We will also consider the impact magical realism has had on contemporary writers around the world. Each student will have the opportunity to write autobiographically, reflectively, critically, and creatively, to practice and develop research skills, and to construct an individual project related to the magical realist of his/her choice. Pre-requisite: ENGL 1155 or INST 1500. This course may be used as a substitute for the INST Creativity and Culture requirement. 

ENGL 2255: Studies in American Literatures After 1900: American Comic Literatures
Candyce Canzoneri – MWF 12:15-1:25
Ernest Hemingway said that:   "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn...it's the best book we've had. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since." If you believe that, then you understand the profound effect humor writing has had in shaping the American identity, and why comedy is, in the words of George Bernard Shaw, "a damned serious business."  Comedy allows us to talk about politics, pain, race, class, gender, love, death, and everything in between.  It allows us, through the lens of the absurd, to say what we're really thinking.  It is often subversive or deliberately shocking; it's always anti-authoritarian; and it's where real change can begin--social, political, or personal.  Readings in this course will include work by James Thurber, David Sedaris, and Roy Blount, Jr., Groucho Marx, Paul Rudnick, Nora Ephron, Ian Frazier, Tina Fey, Woody Allen, Fran Lebowitz, Anita Loos, Kurt Vonnegut, T.C. Boyle, and Carl Hiaasen.  We will explore the relationship between humor writing and other forms of comic art (theatre, music, visual/graphic arts, stand-up comedy, film, etc.).  We will consider how the different voices and tactics of American comic literature represent and define our culture.  Somewhere, in this amalgam of regionalism, realism, imagination, bad manners, uproarious and sometimes confrontational discourse, we may discover why we're laughing so hard. Pre-req: 1155.

ENGL 2260: Intermediate Poetry Writing
Terrence Hermsen – TR 2:00-3:45
Focusing primarily on U.S. poets for this semester, and in particular writers from Ohio (such as James Wright, Mary Oliver and Rita Dove), students in this class seek to develop their own poetic voices by borrowing skills from as many models as possible. These essential skills, such as line, image, metaphor, voice, tension and surprise, as well as various sound techniques, are experimented with in order to assemble a wide array of poetic moves. Students often try some collaborative work with actors, musicians or visual artists. We close the semester with five or more weeks devoted to developing individual projects. Pre-reqs: ENGL 1155 and one from ENGL 1160, 1161, 1162, 1163, or 1164. 

ENGL 2294: Literary Magazine Practicum: Quiz & Quill
Shannon Lakanen – T 4:00-5:30
Supervised work for student literary magazine, including choosing and editing copy, designing layouts, and promoting and hosting literary events. Students attend weekly staff meetings and edit and publish Quiz and Quill. Note: May be repeated for credit (up to a total of 6 hours). 

ENGL 2295: Linguistics
Margaret Koehler – TR 10:00-11:45
How is the Northern Cities Vowel Shift affecting pronunciations in Cleveland? Do children have a “blueprint” for language, and if so does that explain how they progress from babbling to words to sentences quickly and with apparent ease? How do linguists debunk language purists and their notions of grammatical “correctness”? Are animal communication systems anything like human language? Why is slang more playful, vivid, and shorter-lived than ordinary language? How do regional dialects of English vary across the United States? Why does English have such a hodgepodge of origins in Latin, French, and Anglo-Saxon? Which comes first: language or thought? ENGL 2295 will address all of these questions as we study language at the levels of sound, word, sentence, meaning, social context, and history.

ENGL 3000: Studies in Environmental Literatures and Writing
Terrence Hermsen – T 6:00-9:30 pm
Students will read and digest the work of classic and contemporary environmental writers, including Thoreau, Muir, Aldo Leopold, Terry Tempest Williams, Mary Oliver and Barry Lopez. We will explore the interstices between this literature and contemporary understandings of sustainability practices, enhancing students' own sense of place and their connection to the earth. This course does NOT fulfill the Advanced Literature course requirement for Creative Writing or Literary Studies majors; it DOES fulfill the “Studies in Linguistics, Writing, Film and Visual Format” requirement for both majors. (Paired with ECON 4250 or ENST 3001 to fulfill the dyad requirement.)

ENGL 3312: Advanced Essay Writing
Shannon Lakanen – TR 12:00-1:45
“To know the thing with which you work is the core of the affair” (Hilaire Belloc). This workshop-based course focuses on becoming more intimately acquainted with the things with which nonfiction writers work: the tools, theories, and formal innovations that drive the literary art of the personal essay. By immersing ourselves in contemporary writers’ work, in workshop-based critique sessions, and in, yes, lab-based experiments with our own and other art forms, we will push the aesthetic and theoretical boundaries of the genre. Students will write, workshop, and revise several personal essays, and write critically about the genre. Pre-req: ENGL 2262.

ENGL 3325: Studies in Literature, History and Culture: Black Speculative, Fantasy & Science Fiction Literatures
Phyllis Lynne Burns – MWF 1:40-2:50
Engages an intensive theoretical study of literature by writers of African descent throughout the Diaspora who consider historical and current experiences to imagine past, present and future realities.  The authors reflect on Black identities through the critique of contemporary cultures.  What if we had encounters with extraterrestrial life, if histories were re-authored, if future lives were shaped by voluntary migration to new worlds, or if supernatural entities or events were not only “real,” but ordinary?  These narratives move beyond the whimsical.  African diasporic speculative, fantasy, and sf literatures examine the complexity and malleability of race, questioning rigid concepts about race and culture.  The course cultivates advanced reading competencies, expository and critical writing aptitudes, and information literacy skills.  Readings include Dawn (Octavia E. Butler), Dhalgren (Samuel R. Delany), Blonde Roots (Bernadine Evaristo), The Gilda Stories (Jewelle Gomez), Pym (Mat Johnson), Day of Absence (Douglas Turner Ward), alongside selections from Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones  (Sheree R. Thomas).  Pre-reqs: Two from ENGL 2210, 2215, 2220, 2230, 2231, 2232, 2233, 2234, 2250, 2255; or permission of the instructor.

ENGL 4000: Senior Literary Studies Project – Writing Intensive
Phyllis Lynne Burns – MWF 3:05-4:15
Facilitates the development and production of either an original essay, or a revisited essay that is significantly expanded and revised into a full-length expository or critical capstone essay.  This capstone essay showcases advanced reading competencies, writing aptitudes, and information literacy skills for senior Literary Studies students.  Each student will participate in seminar meetings with a course coordinator and peer cohorts, work individually with a faculty director and reader, present work in a senior reading, complete a capstone-essay defense, and submit her/his work to the department in an electronic format.  Literary Studies majors take this course during Fall semester of their senior year. Prerequisites: Two from ENGL 2210, 2215, 2220, 2230, 2231, 2232, 2233, 2234, 2250, 2255; two from Engl. 3325, 3340, 3350, 3380, 3381; and senior standing.

Spring 2015

ENGL 1155: Reading, Writing, and the Literary Imagination
Tammy Birk – W 6:00-9:30 pm
This course will explore and examine texts that wrestle with that which is unsayable: the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that appear to live beyond the limits of language and understanding. Often cryptic and deeply ambiguous, these texts struggle to tell the truth about human suffering, traumatic history, existential dissatisfaction, and ecstatic experience. And because language only allows us to go so far and say so much, these texts strain to find words adequate to their subject. This makes for a challenging—and often unorthodox—reading experience. It also makes for provocative writing opportunities, and the chance to articulate your own relationship to that which goes unsaid. Readings may include the work of Herman Melville, Franz Kafka, Jhumpa Lahiri, Dan Chaon, Mary Oliver, Chuck Palahniuk, Alison Bechdel, and Nicole Krauss. Course is not repeatable when offered with a different topic. 

ENGL 1160: Creative Writing Across the Genres
Candyce Canzoneri – TR 12:00-1:45
E.B. White wrote that a writer should, "...cultivate what naturally absorbs his fancy, whether it be freedom or cinch bugs, and should write in the way that comes easy."  This course will deal with the difficulties of achieving readable fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama that have a "comes easy" naturalness.  To that end, we'll be dealing with the problems of clarity, simplicity, tone, style, etc. that go into a voice of one's own. The dynamics of communication are the same whether we are writing opera or rap, poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction—the creative medium is fluid.  While there are obviously distinct differences, many of the same techniques are employed.  All writing should strive not only for the authentic voice of the author, but precision, and emotional depth as well.  We will be discovering how a combination of techniques can often lead to exciting dimensional changes in your writing. It's about finding your voice as a writer, and becoming more accomplished in all aspects of the craft of writing.
This class is structured as a Writing Workshop—which means that you will be improving your writing by producing work in the genres of fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry—as well as by improving your critical analysis of others' work.  You will be expected to function as a thoughtful and constructive critic, as well as a writer.  It is vitally important to your development as a writer to become a good reader.  To that end, we will focus on the work of your peers in this class, as well as the work of established authors.  I expect you to be willing to examine your writing honestly, to write with fearlessness, and to honor the craft of writing by being willing to learn its fundamental precepts.  Eudora Welty said:  "All serious daring starts from within."  Hopefully, this class will be an exercise in daring.

ENGL 1175: Introduction to Film Studies: American 1970s Cinema
Karen Steigman – TR 10:00-11:45
The 1970s have been described as the last golden age of American cinema: the Hollywood New Wave. Some important directors came of age in the late 1960s and 1970s to challenge classical Hollywood cinema in a series of landmark films. In addition, the 70s witnessed the advent of the Hollywood “blockbuster” with the commercial success of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 Jaws, alongside take-downs of Hollywood in Hal Ashby’s Shampoo and Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. In this course we will view and discuss several films of this era, including Bonnie and Clyde, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Godfather, and Chinatown. We will discuss the various genre conventions of classical Hollywood cinema and consider how the “auteur” directors of American 1970s film considered and contested those conventions. We will also consider the influence of 70s American film on contemporary North American filmmakers: the Coen brothers, Spike Lee, David Fincher, Mary Harron and Sofia Coppola. A central aim of this course is to introduce you to reading and writing about film, so along the way we will read some key essays and study some fundamental concepts in film criticism and theory.

ENGL 1193: Professional Writing
Margaret Koehler – MWF 9:25-10:35
This course will ask you to apply (and expand) skills from the English major to the practice of professional writing.  Some of the areas we’ll cover will include:  research skills for professional writing, technologies for professional writing, rhetorical theory and practice, audiences and communities fostered by professional writing.  We’ll trace the historical development of professional writing before turning to its current and future trends. We’ll read and write in a variety of genres, and you’ll produce an independent project in an area of interest. 

ENGL 2220: Studies in British Literatures After 1900: Only Connect: Modernism’s Web
Beth Daugherty – TR 8:00-9:45
In this course, students consider the modernist experiment with fragmentation, rebellion, interiority, and open-endedness within the context of connections: between and among authors, cultures, eras, arts, and nations. Students read not only the literature of the modernist era, but also letters, diaries, and book reviews as they examine a modernist milieu constructed in the midst of historical rupture and with borrowings from other art forms, cultures, locations, and times. Each student weaves a web surrounding one author as the class works to recreate modernism’s web, and in the process, all students have opportunities to write autobiographically, reflectively, creatively, and critically. The 1-credit hour research component of the course focuses on the search for and use of primary materials beyond authors’ published literary texts. Pre-req: ENGL 1155.

ENGL 2230: Studies in African American Literatures
Phyllis Lynne Burns TR 6:00-7:45 pm
African American literature contains a rich and complex tradition of satire. Through the use of humor, wit, and various types of irony, Black writers have examined Black identity politics in relation to ideals of “freedom,” “empowerment,” “progress,” and “citizenship.” This course will explore how twentieth- and twenty-first century satirists re-imagine narratives about the historical past, re-configure contemporary ideologies, and suggest alternative futures. Our reading list will include works by Paul Beatty, Aaron McGruder, Zora Neale Hurston, Spike Lee, Gloria Naylor, Ishmael Reed, and Fran Ross. Note: course fulfills the American requirement. Pre-requisite: ENGL 1155 or INST 1500. This course may be used as a substitute for the INST Creativity and Culture requirement. 

ENGL 2232: Studies in Diverse Literary Cultures: Homeland (In)Security
Patricia Frick – TR 2:00-3:45
In his introduction to The Scarlet Letter, the nineteenth- century American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne pondered the fate of those who left their native lands to build new identities on foreign soil.  Hawthorne imagined that by transplanting themselves into new soil, people could become stronger, tougher, and more flourishing.  Human fortunes could be improved, he argued, if men and women could “strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.”   But was Hawthorne right? Does a change in geography always guarantee security, or can it produce more mixed outcomes? What other factors can complicate the happiness of those who are “transplanted”, either by choice, political upheaval, or fate?  This course will test Hawthorne’s assumption by examining narratives from diverse cultures that chronicle the experiences of those who seek happier or more stable lives beyond their homelands.  We will consider both their excitement and anxiety as they cope with the perpetual balancing of here and there, and as they confront leaving behind their home cultures’ constraints and comforts.  It will also examine their shifting senses of what defines “home” and how those they leave behind view their attempts at transformation and new identity.  Readings may include works by Jhumpa Lahiri, Kiran Desai, Edwidge Danticat, Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, Shaum Tan, Junot Diaz, Joseph O’Neill, Sonia Nazario, and Esmeralda Santiago. Pre-requisite: ENGL 1155 or INST 1500. This course may be used as a substitute for the INST Creativity and Culture requirement. 

ENGL 2250: Studies in American Literatures Before 1900: Traumatic Memory & National Identities
Suzanne Ashworth – MWF 1:40-2:50 BL
Early American literature is an archive of genesis, crisis, and trauma. It chronicles moments in which our national psyche was forged and tested.  This class will take you inside the Salem witch trials, Indian genocide, the violence of conquest and revolution, and the psychological costs of cultural survival. The texts you’ll encounter capture a new nation’s insatiable appetite for power, dominance, and moral certainty.  Here you will meet the marauders, the witch burners, the self-made men, and the disobedient daughters that haunt our collective past and present. Readings will include the work of Harriet Jacobs, Cotton Mather, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Rowlandson, Walt Whitman, and others. We will also engage the tenets of trauma theory and examine ritualistic retellings of American origin stories in contemporary film.  This course will be offered in a blended format that combines classroom instruction with on-line pedagogies and projects. Pre-req: ENGL 1155.

ENGL 2261: Intermediate Fiction Writing
James Gorman – MWF 12:15-1:25
Intermediate Fiction Writing is for story writing junkies, for students who are already good with the basic narrative strategies, students who can summon detail to establish plausibility, plumb the human psyche to show both motive and mystery, and use suspense and surprise to put an audience under a spell. This course will help students committed to narrative as an art form mature into sophisticated storytellers. It will also provide the occasion for self-reflection, allowing writers to become fully conscious of their particular style or voice. The mission of this course, then, is two-fold: to help committed writing students further develop their innate narrative skills and to realize their own narrative identity. Intermediate Fiction Writing has four specific course goals. First, the class will connect maturing writing students with the tradition of storytelling in early societies and help them discover how that tradition continues to this day. Second, the class will take an integrative approach, connecting maturing writers to how story telling is used in a variety of disciplines, especially in history, education, counseling and visual arts. Third, the class will use a variety of specific exercises to help maturing writing students further develop skills in dramatic presentation, characterization, plotting, setting, point of view and tone. Finally, the class will introduce students to outlets for engaging others in their writing, both in face-to-face readings or performances and through both on-line and print publication. Pre-reqs: ENGL 1155 and one from ENGL 1160, 1161, 1162, 1163, or 1164.

ENGL 2262: Intermediate Essay Writing
Shannon Lakanen – TR 10:00-11:45
In The Situation and the Story, Vivian Gornick explains, “The task is to become acquainted with the stranger who lives inside your own skin, the one who answers when your name is called.” Students in this course will hone their creative nonfiction writing strategies while making this acquaintance. Through extensive experiments with and readings in personal essays, writers will investigate the wide varieties of approaches used to create and manipulate persona, craft digressions, experiment with form, and navigate the subjectivity of truth in personal essays. Pre-reqs: ENGL 1155 and one from ENGL 1160, 1161, 1162, 1163, or 1164. 

ENGL 2294: Literary Magazine Practicum: Quiz & Quill
Shannon Lakanen – T 4:00-5:30
Supervised work for student literary magazine, including choosing and editing copy, designing layouts, and promoting and hosting literary events. Students attend weekly staff meetings and edit and publish Quiz and Quill. Note: May be repeated for credit (up to a total of 6 hours). 

FMST 2280: Cinema: History, Theory, and Criticism
Karen Steigman TR – 12:00-1:45
This foundational course in the Film Studies minor will comprise a survey of key essays in film studies alongside a series of landmark films. Films represent a range of directors (Scorsese, Chaplin, Eisenstein, Hitchcock, Campion, Pontecorvo), eras (early cinema, classic Hollywood cinema, the 1970s, Third Cinema), and genres (horror, melodrama, and film noir). Readings include foundational work in film theory and criticism by Kracauer, Bazin, Altman, Metz, Mulvey, Doane, and Williams.

ENGL 3310: Advanced Poetry Writing
Terrence Hermsen – M 6:00-9:30 pm
Students in this class will dive into an intense investigation of the question of form in contemporary poetry, from traditional sonnets (yes, they are still written) to "free" verse, prose poems, sestinas, pantoums, the long poem and jazz-inspired free association. With the skills developed in English 2260, students will test out numerous techniques for throwing their voices new directions. Along with closely reading some "contemporary classics," such as Tony Hoagland's "What Narcissism Means to Me" and Susan Mitchell's "The Water Inside the Water," readings will also branch out to include poets from other cultures, such as Lorca, Neruda, Rilke, Ahkamatova and other less well-known names. Additional projects may include working with translation or collaborating with musicians on improvised recordings. Pre-req: ENGL 2260.

ENGL 3325: Studies in Literature, History and Culture: The Inherited Global:  Literature and Empire in the British 18th Century
Margaret Koehler – MWF 1:40-2:50 BL
This course will trace the influence of New World contacts on 18th-century British literary texts.   It will begin with historical background of the British empire.  We’ll read a selection of early travel narratives to consider some of the ambitions attached to travel during this period:  exploration, colonization, trade, adventure, scientific discovery, and privateering among them.  We’ll also read slave narratives such as Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789) and Swift’s satiric Gulliver’s Travels (1728).  A major question the course will ask is this:  How do literary texts respond to Britain’s contact with the New World and its burgeoning imperial ambitions?  We’ll think about the ways that various genres of 18th-century writing—including the novel, poetry, drama, and essays—articulate colonial modernity.  We’ll also ask why, as the century goes on, British novels and plays in particular displace or sublimate this same colonial modernity in favor of a focus on the domestic.  We’ll think about the emergence of the novel in Britain during this period partly in terms of its transatlantic and colonial origins.  We will ask how the novel moves from Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave (1688), with its detailed picture of colonial life in Surinam and graphic treatment of slavery’s violence, to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814), with its occasional but pointed references to the colony of Antigua.  Across the entire course we will consider how literary texts help to shape national identity as well as how transatlantic colonial history illuminates—and cautions us about—contemporary narratives of globalization. This course will be offered in a blended format that combines classroom instruction with on-line pedagogies and projects. Pre-reqs:  Two from ENGL 2210, 2215, 2220, 2230, 2231, 2232, 2233, 2234, 2250, 2255; or permission of the instructor. Note: May be repeated once for credit when offered with a different topic.

ENGL 3355: Studies in Literary and Critical Theory: Thinking Queer
Suzanne Ashworth – MWF 12:15-1:25 BL
In 1984, Gayle Rubin wrote, “The time has come to think about sex.”  But we’d never really stopped thinking about it. This class will get into queer theory, examining the paradigms and politics that have propelled it. More specifically, we will wrestle with queer conceptions of the body, sex, and desire. The texts that animate this course are edgy, evocative, and controversial. They say the unsayable. They break rules. They push a culture to unlearn its sexual history, its sexual science, and its sexual shame. As an intellectual movement, queer theory rethinks the marginalized, the forbidden, the kinky, the deviant, and the strange. Reading theory is rigorous; writing about it is challenging. But it’s an invigorating ride, and students interested in this kind of inquiry will really dig it. This course will be offered in a blended format that combines classroom instruction with on-line pedagogies and projects. Pre-reqs: two from ENGL 2210, 2215, 2220, 2240, 2250, 2255, 2230, 2231, 2232, 2233, 2234; or permission of the instructor.

ENGL 3380: Studies in Adolescent Literatures: Other Bodies, Other Minds, Other Worlds
Suzanne Ashworth – W 6:00-9:30 pm
Harry Potter. Divergent. Ash. Skinned. Sci-fi and fantasy lit enthralls teen readers, pervades American media, and captivates our culture.  It also says something significant about the tyrannies of childhood, the oppressions of adolescence, and the power of magical thinking. It chronicles the impact of political revolutions, technological advances, biomedical science, and environmental change. These texts present us with preternatural bodies, dystopian settings, and enchanted geographies. Their protagonists often exhibit an “extra human” capacity to defy physical and social limits.  These “fantastic” physiologies and psychologies raise pressing questions – questions about identity, ethics, justice, fate, and the human condition. Through reading, writing, and spirited discussion, this class will explore adolescent science fiction and fantasy, asking it to teach us what it knows about other bodies, other minds, and other worlds. Pre-reqs: two from ENGL 2210, 2215, 2220, 2240, 2250, 2255, 2230, 2231, 2232, 2233, 2234; or permission of the instructor.

ENGL 4060: Senior Creative Writing Project – Writing Intensive
Shannon Lakanen – TR 2:00-3:45
Facilitates the development and production of an original creative project. Students participate in seminar meetings with a course coordinator and peer cohorts, reflect on their intellectual and personal growth in the major, work individually with a director and reader, present work in a senior reading, complete a project defense, and submit their work to the department in an electronic format. Creative Writing majors take this course during Spring semester of their senior year. Pre-reqs: one from ENGL 1160, 1161, 1162, 1163; two from ENGL 2261, 2262, 2263, 2264; one from ENGL 3310, 3311, 3312, 3313, 3314, or 3360; and senior standing.

May Term 2015

ENGL 2910: “Loose Baggy Monsters”: Reading the Long Novel
Beth Daugherty – May 4-21: TR 9-12:00; May 26-29: TWF 9-12:00
Henry James once described big 19th-century novels as “loose baggy monsters.” In this reading course, students will have the opportunity to read four such novels, novels that no longer appear regularly on syllabi because of their length. Students will also read a few short readings about the novel genre. Time in class will be devoted to discussion based on passage selection and notes kept in a daily reading journal. Together, the students in the class will compile a list of additional “loose baggy monsters” to serve as a future reading list. Students will write a personal reflection about the novels and the process of reading them at the end of the course, and that will function as the final exam, but no other papers or exams will be required. The course is an elective open to all students in the university; the only requirements are a willingness to read a lot, keep a reading journal, and discuss and reflect on one’s reading. Open to all students. 

/ Department of English

Shannon Lakanen
Department Chair
Towers Hall 228

p / 614.823.1211
e / slakanen@otterbein.edu 

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