New and Special Course Offerings – Spring 2015
ENG 365-01: The Golden Age of the American Tomboy
Dr. Allison Speicher
According to a recent article in Psychology Today, almost half of American women report having been tomboys as children. Despite the prevalence of tomboys in both fiction and reality, however, there is surprisingly little consensus on what the term actually means. Is the tomboy born or made? Is she a girl who just wants to have fun or a girl who wants to be a boy? Is a tomboy still a tomboy without her fair and feminine foil and her “sissy” best friend? And will she ever grow out of it?
This course will explore the “Golden Age” of the American tomboy, from the Civil War into the early twentieth century, in order to understand the historical roots of this figure. Why did this era give rise to gender-bending heroines? Why do their stories enjoy continuing popularity? We will consider foundational tomboys, like Little Women’s Jo March, alongside heroines from the end of the Golden Age, like Little House on the Prairie’s Laura Ingalls and Mark Twain’s “Hellfire” Hotchkiss. Studying the tomboy in her various literary contexts—sensation novels, children’s literature, and regionalist fiction—will help us to understand the figure’s roots not only in shifting conceptions of gender, but also in postbellum views of race, class, and sexuality. As the course draws to a close, we will consider the state of the tomboy in the twenty-first century: with the popularity of fierce teen heroines today, are we currently experiencing a second Golden Age of the American tomboy?
Date/Time: Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:45 p.m.
ENG 365-02: Digital Game Studies
Dr. Jordan Youngblood
Far from a niche medium only played by kids, video games have taken a prominent place in our national media: according to a 2014 study by the Entertainment Software Association, 59% of Americans engage in playing video games; more than half of American households own a dedicated gaming console, and the average player is around 31. Nor are games just Mario eating mushrooms or soldiers blowing up other soldiers. Games continue to adapt as technologies change. Handheld devices, multiplayer environments, games as protest pieces or performance art, and the growing scope of digital storytelling are proving that the more people are playing games, the more we’re having to reconsider what a “game” actually is.
This class is intended to introduce you to the critical study of video games as a steadily emerging scholarly field, one that bridges traditional forms of textual and cultural analysis with an examination of how games actually work as digital objects. (And yes, English majors can totally study video games. We even get jobs doing it!) We’ll both read essays about games and actually play games in the course, with each game serving as a chance to use our growing critical understanding of the medium in different ways. Some days we’ll talk about the way race and economics influence the Grand Theft Auto series; others, we’ll play a round of Super Meat Boy and discuss the pain and pleasure of video game failure. However, this is not a class exclusively for people experienced with games. If you’ve never played even a single round of Candy Crush, that’s no problem at all. In fact, you may find that you’re far more aware of and adaptive to the logic of games than you think. As long as you’re willing to explore and examine a form of play that now contains over 1.2 billion users worldwide, this is the place for you.
Date/Time: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 1:00 – 1:50 p.m.
ENG 373-01: Rhetoric of the Graphic Novel
Dr. Lauren Rosenberg
Is the graphic novel literature? Is it art? What is a graphic novel anyway? How does it relate to fiction? To memoir? How does it overlap with popular comics? Is there more to comics than action? Why have graphic novels had such rapid growth in the last decade, and why is there so much controversy over their inclusion in school curricula?
“Rhetoric of the Graphic Novel” will begin with such questions as we investigate the increasingly popular medium of graphic narratives. Our objective will be to explore the graphic novel as a rhetorical form that crosses the boundaries of traditional novels, memoirs, and narrative art to create a hybrid genre. We will consider Scott McCloud’s theories of how we read text and what assumptions we make about writing and pictures when we look at, and assign meaning to, a page. Primary sources will include some of the most celebrated and controversial graphic novels currently available, such as Persepolis, Blankets, American Born Chinese, Fun Home, The Photographer, and Asterios Polyp.
In addition to discussing the rhetoric of graphic novels, we will also read critical essays that explore these texts and how graphic novels are relevant to teaching in secondary and college classrooms. Students will be challenged to examine graphic novels as cultural and teachable texts in a series of critical papers. As the final project in this class, we will have a creating comics workshop (you don’t have to know how to draw). This course on graphic novels challenges notions of what constitutes literary and popular texts and calls into question what it means to read and create meaning.
This course fulfills the English Major Language requirement and gives you credit towards the Writing minor.
Meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
New and Special Course Offerings – Fall 2014
ENG 206-01: Multimodal Writing Workshop
Dr. Steve Ferruci
This course is an introduction to writing multimodal texts. Multimodal texts incorporate different modalities – print, visual, aural – and are usually published on the Web. Multimodal writing is essentially a Web 2.0 mash-up.
In this class, we’ll learn how to design and produce a number of multimodal texts, for example a visual essay, an animated “short,” a series of podcasts, and the like. We’ll learn how to use video and sound recording technologies, how to edit such recordings, and how to incorporate them into a text (or use them as the text itself). We’ll also play with various presentation applications (Prezi, Storify, or PechaKucha) and learn how to create animated stories which incorporate print, sound, and visual components.
No prior experience in any of these technologies or genres required; we’ll learn them as we go.
*This course counts as an elective for the English major and the Writing Minor.
Date/Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:00 – 5:50 p.m.
ENG/WST 365-02: Queer Theory and Digital Media
Professor Jordan Youngblood
As we enter an era where the prospect of what and how we love becomes increasingly fused with new media, and more and more erotic negotiation takes place over digital interfaces rather than the bar countertop, the relationship between sex, gender, and technology has become decidedly complex in contemporary discourse. How does an increased reliance on Match.com and mediated relationships alter the idea of what it means to be human, if at all? What can it show us about the already-artificial nature behind the most “natural” of acts? What unexpected desirable avenues for a variety of individuals are now available due to the use of digital media, and what prospects have remained the same (or perhaps regressed)? In what ways can the digital be used as a place of sexual and gendered protest, activism, or archiving? How will we navigate this landscape, and in doing so, how will it continue to change us?
Our course grapples with these questions by examining the field of queer theory: a discipline that, from its origins, has focused upon complicating and de-familiarizing traditional concepts of sexuality and gender. We will read a collection of criticism from the field built around seven conceptual units: the “queer,” bodies, performance, public/private, race, history, and family. Each of these is meant to bring crucial foundational texts in contact with recent writings that take a queer angle on digital media. As we move further into the material, you will grow more acquainted with the language and concepts of queer theory while also witnessing how new technologies force these concepts to develop and adjust. By the end of the course every student will construct a project utilizing digital media in order to explore some aspect of gender and sexuality, based on the dialogues we develop in class. In essence, we will both witness and engage in a conversation taking place between theory and media, and how each side has been impacted by the other.
No prior experience in either gender studies or digital media is required. All that’s needed is a willingness to tackle these ideas with maturity and respect. While some readings will be decidedly complex, don’t be intimidated. We will address each text and the concepts within them in a manner that allows people from a variety of fields to gain something.
Day/Time: Mondays and Fridays 2:00 p.m.— 3:15 p.m.
ENG 338-01: Linguistic Analysis
Dr. Elena Tapia
You need it.
You want it.
- Fulfills the English major’s Language Studies category
- Will be required for Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education majors
Explore how languages Work!
This is a small class with lots of hands-on practice with various elements of language.
We’ll work with English but also with other languages from around the world.
Doesn’t seem possible? It is. Trust me.
Date/Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
New and Special Course Offerings – Spring 2014
ENG 237-01: Encoding Electronic Texts – Dr. Benjamin Pauley
This course explores questions at stake in the digitization of texts that first appeared in print or manuscript form.
Students will get a practical introduction to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines, a technical specification of XML that makes it possible to describe a text in ways that enable new kinds of digital presentation and analysis. TEI is widely used in digital humanities research in many disciplines
(not just English, but History, Linguistics, Classics, and so on). It has also been adopted by many libraries and museums as they digitize materials in their collections.
At the same time that we explore the nuts and bolts of TEI, we’ll also be taking on some very fundamental questions about reading and interpretation. What is “a book”? An abstract intellectual or artistic creation? A material object you can hold in your hand? How do we recognize the various codes by which we human readers make meaning from books? How can we best describe those codes in ways a computer can understand?
This is a four-credit course that meets four hours per week: three hours of discussion plus an hour of workshop/lab. No prior experience with XML is expected. You don’t need to be any kind of computer wizard to do the work of this class, but you do need to be willing to experiment and try new things.
Date/Time: MWF 1:00-1:50 p.m.; F 2:00-2:50 p.m.
ENG 365-01: Women Writers of the Long Eighteenth Century – Dr. Benjamin Pauley
This course will examine poetry, fiction, and drama written by British women authors during the “long” eighteenth century (from approximately 1660 to 1800).
This period was marked, in part, by the emergence of a marketplace for literature. Rather than writing for small coteries of readers or writing to suit the tastes of elite patrons, authors were increasingly able to direct their works to a broader public of book purchasers. To publish, however—to write for publication—could be a fraught choice for women authors, since courting the public eye ran counter to expectations of feminine modesty and decorum.
Among other things, this course will highlight the ways that different women negotiated questions of publicity as they pursued writing, whether as an avocation (that is, a private calling) or as a profession (as many women did).
The semester’s readings will include works by authors such as Margaret Cavendish, Katherine Philips, Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Susannah Centlivre, Anne Finch, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Charlotte Lennox, Frances Burney, and Jane Austen, as well as the anonymous works of women who may have signed themselves only “A Lady.”
**This course fulfills the Middle Period and the Women Writers requirements for
the English major.
Date/Time: Tuesdays 4:00 – 6:45 p.m.
New and Special Course Offering – Fall 2013
ENG/WST 351-01: Feminist Theories – Dr. Maureen McDonnell
This course is designed as an introduction to feminist theories and practice. Feminist theories draw attention to the ways in which all our lives are shaped and interlinked by a range of social, economic, and political structures. Although gender plays a key component in these structures, we will also pay attention to different forms that sexual, racial, class and colonial hierarchies take.
- This course is required for all students majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies.
- Are you a Women’s Studies minor? This elective is strongly encouraged.
Date/Time: Wednesdays, 7:00 – 9:45 p.m.
New and Special Course Offering – Spring 2013
ENG 348-01: Language & Society – Dr. Elena Tapia
We’ll examine the relationships that exist between language and society.
- Why does a person’s or a group’s language vary from situation to situation?
- What are some attitudes toward languages and dialects that people form about themselves and about others?
- Why do we form those attitudes?
- How does language form our identity?
Each class is organized around a question or questions that tie the readings to theoretical issues, and students should come to class prepared to discuss the questions.
** This course fulfills the English Major “Language Studies” Requirement.
Great elective for language lovers!
Date/Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 4:00 – 5:15 p.m.
ENG 365-01: Classical Comedies – Dr. Miriam Chirico
Hello! Join your fellow students in this semester’s reading of comedies, featuring such literary “stars” as the Roman playwright Plautus, the political manipulator Machiavelli, and the playfully romantic Shakespeare. We will read various texts.
closely for tricks and turns, to see how wily servants outsmart their masters, how men and women plot for their own advantage, and how fools proffer a philosophy of life.
As we delve into the roots of comedy, we will consider the present context as well:
- What sit-coms and romantic comedies do we find funny today?
- What tricks do we play on others and what masks do we wear?
- What is the modern-day equivalent of the fool or the zany?
- Does comedy reinforce stereotypes or challenge the status quo?
Finally, your instructor is interested in a particular pattern within comedy — the “trope of lost identity.” Thus, we will look for moments where a central character worries about losing his or her identity and wonders aloud “who am I?” In other words, the instructor is doing research for a book and will depend upon you for your creativity, hard work, and ideas.
Please join us! On with the Show!
**This course fulfills the English Major “Early Period” Requirement.
Date/Time: Mondays 4:00 – 6:45 p.m.
New and Special Course Offering – Spring 2013
ENG 373-01: Studies in Rhetoric: The Rhetoric of Film – Dr. Stephen Ferruci
In ENG 373 we will examine films in order to understand how and why we identify with the characters in the films. We will consider, too, the story being told (the narrative structure) as a reflection of a particular set of cultural assumptions. No previous experience with film or rhetoric required, just a willingness to watch and discuss what you see.
“This class will change your life.” – Ebert
“A must take!” – L.A. Times
“If you take just one class next semester, take this one, but then you’ll be under‐enrolled, so take this one and 4 others.” – The Onion
** This course fulfills the Language Studies requirement and counts for the Writing minor.
Date/Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
ENG 358-01: Literary Criticism – Dr. Meredith Clermont-Ferrand
In ENG 358 you will be introduced to many of the critical perspectives and theories that enliven contemporary literary and cultural studies. Included on our lit-crit-hit-parade will be Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Postmodernism, Feminist literary studies, Queer Studies, Ethnic and Race Studies, Postcolonialism, Marxism, Psychoanalytic literary studies, and Culture Studies.
Sound intimidating? Don’t worry–we will be testing these theories on short stories, novellas, films, pop culture, and each other. As we examine these different ways of reading, and thinking about reading, we will be asking ourselves: What is “literature”? Why do we study it? In what ways, if any, are literary texts different from other types of cultural productions? What is “theory?” Can literary theories be applied to non-literary texts? How do literature and criticism relate to other aspects of culture such as gender, race, class, and nation? What is at stake in choosing one critical/theoretical methodology over another?
Date/Time: Wednesdays 4:00 – 6:45 p.m.