- There are no prerequisites for 200- and 300-level English courses
- 300-level course topics marked with an asterisk [*] have the option of being taken in the 430-433 range to fulfill a 400-level English major requirement. Students enrolled in the 400-level versions of these courses will, as part of their coursework, conduct independent research appropriate to a senior-level seminar. Students should consult the descriptions below and myPugetSound for the ENGL 400-level number that corresponds to each designated topic.
ENGL 220 INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH STUDIES
Regina Duthely-Barbee - MWF 10:00-10:50
This Introduction to English Studies class asks, “What is English studies? Who is welcome? Who is excluded from the field?” This course will center marginalized voices as a way of critically examining English studies, and pushing back against the literary canon that has historically shaped what we understand as English studies. We will read novels, plays, and poetry that experiment with language and form, and that provide alternative perspectives that center the marginalized figures in a text. We will also study the place of writing and rhetorical studies in the broader field of English studies, and examine the place of language, power, and positionality in our understanding of the world around us. By the end of the course you should have a better understanding of what comprises English studies, as well as ways to disrupt traditional notions of what it means to study English.
This course serves as an introduction to the English major and minor and provides a foundation for the study of literature and composition and rhetorical studies through reading, analyzing, and writing about a variety of literary and non-literary texts. Focusing on the relation between form and content in a range of genres including poetry, fiction, drama, memoir, graphic texts, and film, students develop a critical vocabulary and interpretive frameworks to engage meaningfully with literature. Students are also introduced to basic literary research tools, literary criticism, and disciplinary scholarship.
Attributes: Required for all English majors and minors.
ENGL 226 INTRODUCTION TO JOURNALISM
Laura Behling - MF 12:00-1:20
This course immerses students in the craft of journalism to develop the skills and critical discernment required for writing as a journalist. Introduction to Journalism is designed to equip students with an understanding of what news is, help students develop key journalism skills of reporting and writing of the news, and engage students in critically examining journalists’ responsibilities in reporting and shaping public understanding and opinion. The course will introduce the fundamentals of journalistic writing, interviewing, researching, and editing, as well as journalism ethics and law. In order to replicate journalistic practice, the course requires timed writing and writing with revision, attention to current events, and attendance at some campus events in the evening or on weekends.
Attributes: Media and Non-Literary Analysis; Artistic Approaches core
ENGL 229 INTRO TO CREATIVE NONFICTION (WRITING ABOUT PLACE)
Priti Joshi - TTh 2:00-3:20
“Creative nonfiction” is a vast genre that is also referred to as “non-fiction prose” and even “literary journalism”; it includes many sub-genres, including the travel essay, the food essay, nature writing, the memoir or personal essay, long-form journalism, even some forms of investigative journalism. In this iteration, our focus will be on Writing About Place with particular attention to our town and region. We will work to explore the novel in our midst and also defamiliarize the familiar, to see it with new eyes, as T. S. Eliot urges when he writes:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
We will read seminal essays about place by Rebecca Solnit, Annie Dillard, N. Scott Momaday, James Baldwin, Saidiya Hartman, Rachael Kaadzi Ghansah, Toni Jensen, and others, with particular attention to the writings of young African-American and Native American essayists. Students will write a number of essays – on place, local artifacts, and rituals – and will intertwine your essays with maps and other visual media such as photographs. We will work collaboratively and each essay will be workshopped and revised; students will submit a final portfolio that will include both new and revised writing.
Attributes: Creative Writing; Artistic Approaches core; IHE pathway, “The Artist as Humanist”
ENGL 238 AFROFUTURISM
Regina Duthely-Barbee - MWF 11:00-11:50
This course examines the theoretical foundations and aesthetics of Afrofuturism. The term Afrofuturism was coined in 1993 by scholar Mark Dery and is an all-encompassing term used to describe science fiction work (literature, music, art, etc.) that focuses on Afro-diasporic ways of being and knowing. We will examine the contours of the field of Afrofuturism and decenter traditional science fiction perspectives that erase the existence of people of color in their visions of future worlds. Scholar Alondra Nelson states, “Afrofuturism can be broadly defined as ‘African American voices’ with ‘other stories to tell about culture, technology and things to come’” (Nelson 9). Our course will explore these other stories of things to come. Afrofuturist authors speak into the legacies of colonialism and slavery as well as persistent inequality to examine their impact on imaginings of future worlds and the ongoing technological age. In our course we will read science fiction texts produced by Afrofuturist authors to study the ways that they reimagine the future from the perspectives of Afro-diasporic peoples in the New World.
Attributes: Centering Marginalized Voices; Literature; KNOW; Humanistic Approaches core
ENGL 245 SHAKESPEARE: CAN A.I. WRITE IT?
John Wesley - MWF 10:00-10:50
AI is all the rage these days, and it’s on my mind, too, not only with respect to what it means for writing, creativity, higher education, and our future, but also how it raises all kinds of interesting questions about our ideas of the self, what it means to be human, what it means to live socially and purposefully, and what tools we have for answering these questions. One of things I want to do in this class is think about how Shakespeare’s plays offer one such tool. To be clear, though, this is not a class in which we theorize about AI (though we will have some fun getting AI to write Shakespearean material for us!); in fact, we will spend the majority of our time developing a critical appreciation of the plays’ language, how Shakespeare creates his dramatic worlds, and how they are shaped by their historical contexts. We will develop our knowledge of Shakespeare in part to assess how well it can be replicated by A.I., and what that relative success might tell us about what it takes to identify a human fingerprint. More broadly, though, we will approach the plays as an invitation to consider contemporary issues—those in Shakespeare’s time and our own—in this case those pertinent to the existential challenges that technology puts before us, and how it gives us new opportunities to define our humanity. This is, of course, something Shakespeare’s own audience thought about, not only because the technology of the printing press challenged the ways that people evaluated truth claims and information, but also because new cosmological discoveries, political changes, and philosophical ideas challenged the ways that people had traditionally conceived of their own identity and purpose. So, too, as I hope you will see, the plays themselves ask us to think about how history and historical literature can be used to clarify present interests and problems. (Indeed, paradoxically, one reason the plays have remained relevant to audiences over the centuries is that they are immersed in early modern strategies of writing and interpretation.) Given the above, we will study plays that have a particular interest in embodiment and disembodiment (including disembodied information sharing), existential anxieties, and what it means when the things we create become mirrors of ourselves (as Hamlet would say), ones that may also challenge our understanding and expectations of what is real.
Attributes: Literature; Literatures and Cultures Before 1800; IHE pathway “The Artist as Humanist”
ENGL 248 YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
Alison Tracy Hale - MW 2:00-3:20
What is young adult (YA) literature? When and how did it first emerge, and how has it become a powerhouse genre in publishing? How and why has YA literature been at the forefront in addressing some of the most pressing issues of our era—sexual and gender identity, sexual violence, poverty, racism and police violence, societal collapse, and environmental devastation? Why do so many adults continue to read widely in YA literature? In this course, we’ll immerse ourselves in these and other questions, reading a range of texts across genres (romance, fantasy, horror, poetry, graphic novels), across time periods (from the 19th Century to today), and across thematic preoccupations as we consider the significant generic elements and cultural concerns that motivate and define the field. We’ll also explore some critical approaches to the genre. Course assignments include both analytical and creative work: a critical analysis paper, a collaborative editorial survey of new works in the genre, and a query letter and sample chapter for your own YA text.
ENGL 297 FUNDAMENTALS OF EDITING
Tiffany MacBain - MW 2:00-3:20
The course introduces students to three types of professional editing: proofreading, line editing, and developmental editing. Students develop skills that build proficiency in each area and identify individual strengths and interests within the editorial field. Topics of study include levels of editing; the editing process; rules of grammar and usage; narrative structure and style; and tools, practices, and philosophies of editing. The course is suitable for students interested in exploring editing as a career or in improving their own writing.
Attributes: Media and Non-Literary Analysis
ENGL 327 ADVANCED FICTION WRITING
Laura Krughoff - TTh 12:30-1:50
In this advanced fiction workshop, we will consider what it means for a writer to develop a body of work. While we will continue to practice and hone the fundamental skills and techniques used in narrative prose, the expectation in this course will be that you are ready to produce complete works of short fiction and are beginning to explore your own voice, aesthetic, subjects, and themes as a writer. To this end, our work will be two-fold: we will read selections from collections of short fiction to examine how important contemporary short story writers in English pursue particular themes, return to and re-examine various topics, and develop a recognizable style or aesthetic. You will simultaneously produce three complete short stories, each of which will be workshopped either as a full class or in a small group. Additionally, toward the end of the semester you will participate in the production of a class anthology that explores a particular theme, genre or subject. Each student will write an introduction to the anthology, exploring the points of connection and resonance among the stories and the editorial choices that went into creating the anthology.
Attributes: Creative Writing
ENGL 346 JANE EYRE: AFTERLIVES AND COUNTERPOINTS*
Priti Joshi - MW 3:30-4:50
When Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre appeared in 1847, it took the English-reading literary world by storm. Over the years, it has entranced many, irritated some, and spawned many imitators and rewritings, some parodies, some pastiches, some satires, others, directly or indirectly, reworking its themes. As Jane Eyre initiated a conversation about women's disempowerment and status, and we will begin by locating it in its complex historical moment, a moment convulsed by rapid industrial changes, revolutionary ideas, working-class demands, the abolition of the slave trade, slave uprisings in the British colonies, new ideas of race, and an expanding empire. We will study the relation of Jane Eyre's nascent feminism to radical movements of its day and consider its appropriations as well as displacements of these movements. Alongside the novel, we will read seminal 20th c feminist responses to Jane Eyre (Adrienne Rich, Gilbert & Gubar, Mary Poovey, Gayatri Spivak, Eve Sedgwick). Next, we will consider the many afterlives and counterpoints to Brontë's novel, attending to texts that intertextually draw on its tropes of schooling, upward mobility, the governess, the madwoman, colonial careers, independence, marriage. These texts come from the 19th century as well as the 20th; from Britain, the US, Africa; from colonial and postcolonial perspectives; from print and visual media; each text highlights something the original suppressed or neglected, offering us new approaches to reinterpreting Brontë’s text and simultaneously examining novel approaches to the empowerment plot. In short, we will examine both Jane Eyre's continuing popularity as a trope for women's lives and rebellion, as well as the various ways the novel and myth have been critiqued and transformed.
We will read/watch some combination of the following: Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, M. E. Braddon’s Lady Audley's Secret, select Sherlock Holmes stories, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India, Zitkala-Ša’s American Indian Stories, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy, Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Yvonne Vera’s Butterfly Burning, My Fair Lady, Pretty Woman, I Walked With a Zombie.
Requirements: two creative rewritings, weekly Canvas postings, one or two argument papers.
Attributes: Literature; IHE pathway “Challenging Inequality, Leading Social Change: Issues of Gender”
*Students who wish to study this topic in order to satisfy a 400-level requirement for the English major must enroll in ENGL 432. This will not overlap with or repeat a previous section of ENGL 432 if taken with a different topic. See note at top.
ENGL 347 GOTHIC AMERICA*
Alison Tracy Hale - TTh 11:00-12:20
A course in the American Gothic, by definition, inhabits the dark sides of American identity, society, and history. Conventional narratives contend that US national identity is based on progress, reason, and optimism; the literature you will read in this course intentionally undermines that narrative, revealing the American dream as instead an American nightmare. While the gothic genre was once derided as an escapist form of sensational fiction, scholars now see gothic texts as central to the expression, articulation, repression, and management of significant tensions in American culture and identity. We will explore the very idea of an American gothic through both literature and theory: how is a genre first associated with the haunted castles, demonic noblemen, and ancient mysteries of Europe re-envisioned in particularly "American" ways and in accordance with uniquely American anxieties? In addition to reading conventional texts from the gothic tradition, we will explore how writers of color have substantially re-envisioned and recreated a genre deeply implicated in colonialist, imperialist, and racist ideologies in order to address their own perspectives and experiences. Course texts will range from the 18th to the 21st Century and include challenging theoretical works along with primary sources. The course requires short critical and creative assignments and a presentation on a critical text, as well as a longer final essay.
*Students who wish to study this topic in order to satisfy a 400-level requirement for the English major must enroll in ENGL 431 - Section A. This will not overlap with or repeat another section of ENGL 431 provided it is taken with a different topic. See note at top.
ENGL 371 THE HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE*
John Wesley - MF 12:00-1:20
This course examines the development of the English language from its roots in Indo-European to the present day. Our exploration will be divided into three units of study, each one speaking to the others. The first part of the course will be devoted to acquiring the methods and vocabulary needed to describe the language and its changes. Here, students will be introduced to a number of concepts from linguistics and the philosophy of language, including where these fields intersect with discourse analysis and poststructuralism, which will help us think critically about the constructive hypothesis about language. The second part of the course will resemble a course in foreign languages and linguistic anthropology: we will trace the development of the language from Indo-European to the Old English of King Alfred and Beowulf, the Middle English of Chaucer, the Early Modern English of Shakespeare and the King James Bible, and the development of a conception of ‘correctness’ in the eighteenth century, as represented by Samuel Johnson's Dictionary. In the third and final part of the course, we will return to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and study a selection of contemporary sociolinguistic issues. Here, readings and discussions will address topics related to the English language and race and racialization, gender and sexuality, socio-economic class, the new standards of correctness, as well as the consequences of its globalization for other languages and cultures. Students are assessed by their performance on tests, reviews of scholarly material, and a final research paper.
Attributes: Media and Non-Literary Analysis; Literatures and Cultures Before 1800; KNOW; IHE pathway “The Global Middle Ages”
*Students who wish to study this topic in order to satisfy a 400-level requirement for the English major must enroll in ENGL 433. This will not overlap with or repeat another section of ENGL 433 provided it is taken with a different topic. See note at top.
ENG 381 THE IMMIGRANT AUTHOR IN AMERICA*
Laura Behling - MWF 9:00-9:50
“The United States are essentially the greatest poem,” Walt Whitman wrote in the mid-19th century, “Here is not merely a nation but a teeming nation of nations.” And some of these masses of people, from seemingly every land under the sun, became writers, capturing their experiences of being an immigrant in America. But for every narrative of a dazzling new world were stories suggesting a more complicated reality. In the late 20 th century, author Julia Alvarez, herself an immigrant (from the Dominican Republic) now in America, writes how “lucky we were to have our papers, to be free” to journey to the U.S. But “For weeks that soon became months and years, I would think in this way. What was going on right this moment back home? I would remember the big house in Boca Chica, the waves telling me their secrets, the cousins sleeping side by side in their cots, and I would wonder if those papers had set us free from everything we loved” (“Our Papers,” 16).Through readings of historical and contemporary literature placed within relevant historical and cultural contexts and informed by theoretical perspectives, this course will critically examine the idea of the “immigrant author” as a major author in the American literary canon. Just who is an immigrant author? What are the aesthetic conventions of immigrant authors’ works? How has the immigrant author responded to the American experience over time? And how do we, as sophisticated and informed readers of immigrant authors, envision the worlds they have, and continue, to create? The major project for this course is development of a modified National Endowment for the Humanities public humanities grant proposal. Students interested in learning about grant writing or public humanities work are especially invited to enroll.
Attributes: Literature; IHE pathway “The Artist as Humanist”
*Students who wish to study this topic in order to satisfy a 400-level requirement for the English major must enroll in ENGL 431 - Section B. This will not overlap with or repeat another section of ENGL 431 provided it is taken with a different topic. See note at top.
ENGL 383 AMERICAN FRONTIERS*
Tiffany MacBain - TTh 9:30-10:50
At the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, historian Frederick Jackson Turner delivered the speech, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History.” In it, Turner relies upon well-trodden (and still-familiar) images to describe the American frontier: it is a tabula rasa, the “outer edge of the wave” of westward expansion, “the meeting point between savagery and civilization.” While Turner ultimately declares that “the frontier has gone”—closed, retreated—he argues that it leaves behind “the striking characteristics” of the “American intellect” that it forged. Today the idea of the North American frontier, a component of the American West, continues to loom large in the United States cultural imaginary. While contemporary scholars reject elements of Turner’s thesis, they remain convinced that frontier experiences were, and continue to be, formative.
This course examines literature from the 19th century and earlier to trace the development of national ideologies and mythologies indebted to experiences and imaginings of the North American frontier. Rather than limit ourselves to popular representations of a mid-19th-c space west of the Mississippi, we cross temporal, spatial, and cultural borders to achieve a fuller understanding of the literary frontier. We consider the ways in which texts that articulate a variety of experiences connect with and complicate each other. Primary texts include pre-contact oral narratives, western exploration narratives, captivity narratives, pioneer narratives, and frontier fiction. While the majority of course materials concern iterations of the frontier prior to 1900, in the final unit of the semester students consider the ongoing nature and utility of the frontier.
Attributes: Literature; IHE pathway “Empire, Colonialism, and Resistance”
*Students who wish to study this topic in order to satisfy a 400-level requirement for the English major must enroll in ENGL 431 - Section C. This will not overlap with or repeat another section of ENGL 431 provided it is taken with a different topic. See note at top.
As summer registration is also coming up, you may also be interested in the following:
ENGL 214 SCIENCE WRITING**
Laura Behling - Summer Session 1, MTThF 3:00-5:00 - Remote
“For better or worse, modern life demands a certain amount of sophistication about science, if we are to function properly as individuals and as members of the polity.”
Discoveries about Covid-19, climate change, CRISPR, and the Webb Telescope all demand thoughtful translators between the science that has produced the research and the public that is curious about the findings. This is the task of the reporter and writer who covers the science and environment beat. Throughout the course, we will be developing these skills of translation and interpretation: how to identify, report, and write stories about science, medicine and health, and the environment for a general audience. The course also will grapple with major contemporary science stories as well as with some of the philosophical and ethical issues raised by reporting scientific research to a lay audience.
Attributes: Humanistic Approaches core
**Note: This course does not satisfy an elective for the English major or minor.