While spring semester often comes with rainy walks to campus, wet jeans, and damp textbooks, English majors have an exciting course selection to look forward to despite the changing seasons. Find out the specifics about the interesting course offerings so that you can make careful selections as you register for classes this fall. Here we go!
Advanced Writing with Father Patrick Hannon
Summary of course. English 311 provides an opportunity for English majors to practice their creative writing skills. Students will draw on their imaginations and previous experiences to create “flash essays” and other creative nonfiction.
What students will create. Students will be writing three major creative nonfiction pieces (4-5 pages each) and a series of 4-5 smaller “flash essays” (1- 1 ½ pages each). They will all comprise a portfolio at the end of the term.
Studies in Women Writers with Dr. Genevieve Brassard
Summary of course. This course surveys diverse voices of arguably feminist writers. Dr. Brassard explains, “My main goal is to include voices and perspectives previously marginalized in the literary canon.” Students will start the semester by reading A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, and this text will be used as a reference point for the other readings in the semester. Other texts include Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tail and Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus amongst others.
What students will create. Dr. Brassard’s final exam asks “students to engage in ‘speculative literary criticism,’ in the form of using ideas from A Room of One’s Own as a lens to interpret the work of a contemporary author from our reading list.” Students will also “stretch their empathetic muscles” as they read texts about troubled protagonists facing trying obstacles.
Literature of International Travel and Mobility with Dr. Lars Larson
Summary of course. Students will read an “eclectic set of fiction and nonfiction” centered around the “notion of crossing national borders.” Texts include Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, Luis Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (a Dr. Larson favorite). During the course, students will consider the “notion of a nation-state” by examining depictions as ancient as Homer’s The Odyssey.
What students will create. By nature of the 400-level seminar, students will practice research skills and pursuing a narrow literary focus in their writing. Dr. Larson hopes that students will consider “the role of mobility in human life and the varieties of such circulation, the temporality and fluidity of social units, and the value of seeing reality across time and space.”
Studies in Drama with Dr. Cara Hersh
Summary of course. Dr. Hersh is excited to teach the English Department’s only drama class, and she hopes that students will gain a deeper appreciation for medieval and Renaissance plays. She adds, “According to historical records, medieval spectators and playmakers didn’t use the terms ‘drama’ or ‘theater.’ Instead, they typically used the term ludus, which was understood to mean “play”—this could refer to different activities including music, dancing, play, and game. This course, which will introduce students to the plays of medieval and early modern England, will embrace this concept of “play” as we take a playful approach to our study of these literary texts. We will be reading a wide range of early British plays—selections will include some cycle, mystery, and morality plays from the medieval period and some awesome non-Shakespearean early modern plays such as the Duchess of Malfi, Doctor Faustus, and Volpone (it’s hard for me to choose a favorite from these!).”
What students will create. In Studies in Drama, students will learn about the performance histories of the course’s texts. Dr. Hersh notes that “embodying the concepts of play and games that these early dramas nodded to, we will playfully explore these texts by watching clips, performing some of the plays, and then at the end of the semester, joining forces with Dr. Cross’s theater class, ‘Renaissance Drama’ as we together read Dekker’s Game of Chess and ‘game-ify’ it with an enacted debate regarding its potential censorship on the Early Modern stage.”
American Lit. Survey I: Beginnings to 1900 with Dr. John Orr
Summary of course. “Ever wonder where the idea of American exceptionalism comes from? Or how the aesthetic relationship of American artists have with Europe is filled with contradictions? Explore these and other questions that are at the foundation of who we are as a people in this survey course.” (Taken from 2020 Course Descriptions)
What students will create. Short and long writing projects will be assigned throughout the semester, which will give students an opportunity to write about the readings from the course.
Modern and Contemporary Arabic Literature with Professor John McDonald
Summary of course. “Study of several modern Arabic novels, memoir, and short stories collections. Emphasis on historical and cultural contexts, post-colonialism, forced migration, the Bildungsroman, Bedouin culture, and women in Arab cultures.” (Taken from 2020 Course Descriptions)
Senior Capstone Seminar with Dr. Molly Hiro
Summary of course. “Seminar course required of all majors, with emphasis on applying and mastering all major skills (close reading, critical thinking, integration of sources, and persuasive writing) through the development of individual research project from portfolio of prior course assignments. English majors only.” (Taken from 2020 Course Descriptions)
What students will create. 20-30 page research paper on a topic of your choosing.