English Course Offerings

The English Department's course offerings vary by semester. We offer 100-level composition courses, 200-level introductory courses, 300-level intermediate courses, 400-level advanced courses, and 500-level graduate courses. For a listing of everything in the departmental catalog, please visit:


For a listing of courses offered in a given semester, please visit PAWS. Enter the catalog term you wish to search and select "English" as the subject on the following page.

Fall 2015 Undergraduate Course Offerings

The Nineteenth-Century British Novel - EH 354 | Ellen Burton Harrington

The prolific periodical culture of the nineteenth-century and its rapidly increasing literacy rate produced a boom in published fiction that resulted in a rich array of novels and stories, at turns Gothic, sentimental, domestic, realist, decadent, and naturalist.  We will begin with Jane Austen’s Emma (1815), examining the novel’s treatment of “surplus women,” gender, and society. We will move to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), considering the novel as a kind of prototypical Victorian text engaged with gender, class, and morality and redemption, then we will read Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (1860-61) through its presentation of Victorian childhood, social welfare, and manhood.  Next, we will consider George Eliot’s novella Silas Marner (1861) and its treatment of sexuality, class, gender, and inheritance, then Mary ElizabethBraddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862), perhaps the most famous of the sensation novels of the 1860s. We will read Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) in relation to aesthetic value, decadence, and sexuality. We will move to Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) to examine Hardy’s scathing critique of Victorian hypocrisy about religion, gender, and sexuality. In addition, the class will watch Mira Nair’s film of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (2004). Students will be asked to participate enthusiastically in the class and in small groups, make a brief presentation, write two papers that analyze specific topics, and take two exams.

British Novel since 1945 - EH 365 | Justin St. Clair

EH 365 is a discussion-based course, the primary objective of which is to provide a broad overview of the British novel since 1945. There are nine required primary texts in this course: George Orwell’s 1984 (1949), Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958), John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus (1984), Julian Barnes’s A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (1989), Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990), Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000), Tom McCarthy’s Remainder (2005), and David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks (2014).

Modern Short Story - EH 369 | Ellen Burton Harrington

This class introduces students to the short story by examining a wide variety of authors and styles of short fiction in relation to cultural and historical contexts. We will start with a general anthology, then read such varied and fascinating collections as Joyce’s The Dubliners (1914), O’Connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965), Carter's The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (1979), Butler’s A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (1992), Evans's Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (2010), Díaz's This Is How You Lose Her (2012), and Munro's Dear Life (2012). Students will be encouraged to examine an author’s relationship to his or her writing in a series of stories or story cycle, as well as the relationships between the various authors, styles, and themes covered in the course of the semester. This course is intended to be a dynamic and interactive exploration of these texts; students will present their ideas and interpretation in class discussion, responses, group sessions, presentations, and papers.

Approaches to English Grammar - EH 371 | Nicole Amare

This course is designed for individuals who want a working knowledge of grammar in order to (1) teach it to others and (2) function within the discipline of English studies.  In addition to learning grammar and usage concepts, we will explore different approaches to teaching grammar.  You may also choose to read articles (on reserve) about the changing role of grammar in the English curriculum to help you contextualize these concepts within the larger debate of English studies and the teaching of grammar.

Technical Writing - EH 372 | Nicole Amare

Technical writing is the study and practice of how best to convey information to multiple audiences with different goals and needs. In this class, you not only will learn how to research, organize, and present information but also how to write effectively, participate in e-group discussions, and use various technologies to support your communication efforts.  The course is designed to help you to accomplish the following:

  • Understand and analyze writing situations and technologies and invoke the roles and strategies necessary to produce effective writing in localized and globalized contexts.
  • Improve your understanding of how writing practices and genres (memos, email, proposals, reports, and websites) function within and across organizations, including how various readers read, where readers look for information, and what multiple purposes documents serve inside and outside particular organizations.
  • Produce more effective visual, textual, and multimedia documents.

Technical Writing - EH 372 | Larry Beason

This section of EH 372 prepares students to write and edit documents associated with workplace discourse, especially documents related to “technical” issues in a given field.  Such technical issues might deal with science, medicine, and engineering—but all academic fields, including English, call for situations when a writer has to compose documents that involve specialized knowledge, formal stylistic choices, and specific genres of writing that a writer is expected to follow.  As one means of achieving these goals, this section of EH 372 will have students compose a formal proposal for a public memorial dedicated to an under-appreciated person or group.  For English majors and minors interested in one day having a job associated with editing or workplace writing, this course offers valuable academic training and instruction.

Horror - EH 379 | Annmarie Guzy

Do scientific, political, cultural, and technological developments alleviate our deepest fears, or do they create new ones? How do we express and confront these fears through literary and cinematic works? In this course, we will investigate ways in which the horror genre has developed from and in turn has shaped our culture. Through active class discussion, formal oral presentations, and written papers, students will learn to analyze and critique aspects of the horror genre and to relate horror works and themes to areas of personal and professional interest. Readings will include both fictional texts and scholarly commentary on the genre; video clips and feature-length films will also be viewed and discussed.

Teaching Composition - EH 401 | Larry Beason

EH 401 is intended for English majors who are seriously considering or definitely planning to teach English at the secondary-school level. The course offers theoretical, practical, and hands-on experience to prepare one for teaching students how to write effectively in diverse genres and situations. If you are not really considering a job teaching English in the secondary schools, consult the teacher before enrolling.

Literary Criticism to 1900 - EH 421 | John Halbrooks

This course will survey some of the major debates about literature beginning with Gorgias, Plato, and Aristotle. What is literature? What does it do, and what is its function? What is the relationship between literature and the world? How do we define and categorize literary form and genre? What is the responsibility of the writer? How can women respond to a predominantly male literary canon? What might constitute productive strategies of literary interpretation?

As we will see, these debates have been ongoing for 2500 years and continue to this day, and these are not merely abstract issues. As funding for education in general and the humanities in particular is on the wane, it is vital for those of us in the field to articulate arguments about the value of what we study. An historical understanding of literary criticism and theory also will enable us to think more deeply about the texts we read and our relationship to them.

Literary Criticism after 1900 - EH 422 | Justin St. Clair

The primary objective of EH 422 is to provide a broad overview of literary theory since 1900. We will begin with various formalisms, wend our way through a succession of -isms, schisms, and camps, and finally conclude with a unit on cultural studies. As we traverse topics ranging from deconstruction to psychoanalysis, from gender studies to post-colonial theory, we will develop a better understanding of the critical approaches literary scholars employ.

The Spirituals and 20th Century Black Novel - EH 492 | Kern Jackson

This course explores the themes of desperation to return and loss of meaning in one’s life expressed in the songs known traditionally as “Negro Spirituals.” Students explore these themes through the Spirituals, slave narratives and other prose in order to develop an understanding of an aesthetic that began on the decks of the ships that brought enslaved Africans to North America.  Students apply how these songs are central in the works of four prominent descendants of the sorrow song singer prophets Zora Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin and Toni Morison.  The course will explore how these modern artists continue the tradition using the same aesthetic principles that can be discovered in the Spirituals, and utilizing these artistic principles for the same reasons: to lead their companions on that dreadful journey out of the wilderness and into homeland.  

Fall 2015 Graduate Course Offerings

Graduate Writing for English - EH 502 | Becky McLaughlin
W, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Humanities 0146

EH 502 is required of all M.A. students in their first year of course work.  The purpose of this course is to prepare students for research and academic writing at the graduate level, and thus the course will be writing intensive.  Graduate-level study of English means a direct engagement with the academic conversations, discourses, institutions, and practices that circulate around and through the study of literature.  In this course, for example, we will be focusing on the relationship between cinema (text) and psychoanalysis (theory) or what Derrida calls the "Science of Ghosts."  Put colloquially, we will do a little Jacques Lacan filtered through New Lacanian Bruce Fink and a lot of David Lynch as we address the question of how narrative deals with reflection that is image- rather than word-based.

Teaching College Writing - EH 505 | Patrick Shaw
MW, 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm, Humanities 0264

This course examines issues in contemporary composition theory and interrogates what it means to do pedagogical theory.  Students will use this knowledge to develop course material appropriate to teaching first-year composition.  Topics may include: syllabus design, lesson planning, course management, teaching in the linguistically and culturally diverse classroom, and assessment. Pre-requisite/Co-requisite: EH 502. 

Early Romantics - EH 532 | Cristopher Hollingsworth
T, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Humanities 0264

This course explores aspects of the shift in English letters from an aesthetic emphasis on light and line to one on suggestion and shadow; in generic terms, this shift was one from sentiment and social drama to psychology and the drama of the individual’s self making. Through close attention to selected works including Rousseau’s Reveries of a Solitary Walker, Wordsworth’s Prelude, De Quincey’s Confessions and Dacre’s Zofloya, students taking this course will discover for themselves, and discuss and write about, the complex, contradictory and often Gothic-inflected project of inventing the Romantic subject and his/her art of being. Evaluation will include a project proposal, oral report and response, and research essay.

Modern American Fiction - EH 572 | Christopher Raczkowski
R, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Humanities 0264

Recent scholarship tends to view Anglo-American modernism as a diverse phenomenon, a cultural movement whose multiple expressions permeate and crossover standard artistic mediums, genre divisions, cultural categories and political formations.  In this class, we will study four central veins of modernism in American fiction: the elite or experimental modernist novel; the popular modernist novel, the left or proletarian modernist novel and the Harlem Renaissance modernist novel. Through close readings of primary literary texts supplemented by essays in criticism and theory on modernist literary production, we will investigate these different modernisms with an eye for both what makes them aesthetically/politically distinct from each other—indeed, at times, deeply hostile towards each other—and what makes them identifiable or coherent as part of a broader modernist literary engagement with the social-historical tumult of American modernity in the first half of the twentieth century.

Graduate Fiction Writing Workshop I & II - EH 583 & 584 | Carolyn Haines
M, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Humanities 0144

Students will write and critique short fiction, chapters, or on-going projects. The course is writing intensive, and the goal is to produce publishable work in the student’s preferred fiction genre. Students will sharpen their writing skills while learning the elements of good fiction with an emphasis on plot and structure.

Graduate Poetry Writing Workshop I & II - EH 585 & 586 | Mira Rosenthal
T, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Humanities 0266

Many poets writing today have an overarching poetic project that unifies their work, be it a series of sonnets on farming or a scientific inquiry into the natural world. In this workshop, we will discover what poetic preoccupations propel us as writers: cadence, image, memory, association, idea, narrative, or lack thereof. The quirkiness of a writer's preoccupations and voice draw us in as readers. Dean Young’s associative ramblings, Billy Collins’ humor, Kay Ryan’s quick wit—a distinctive voice represents the poet’s gift at its most inventive and inspiring. We will investigate not only the traditions and techniques that define writers’ voices, but also how they surprise us and remain innovative at the same time. We will do the same in giving feedback on the work of our peers with an eye toward focusing on the resonances between a given author’s poems—how they might work in unison to build a voice. Our readings are drawn from recent first books and books in translation to give us a glimpse of new voices in the field of contemporary American and world poetry. We will also research avenues for continuing the writer’s life after the MA.

The Spirituals and 20th Century Black Novel - EH 592 | Kern Jackson
M, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Humanities 0142

This course explores the themes of desperation to return and loss of meaning in one’s life expressed in the songs known traditionally as "Negro Spirituals." Students explore these themes through the Spirituals, slave narratives and other prose in order to develop an understanding of an aesthetic that began on the decks of the ships that brought enslaved Africans to North America.  Students apply how these songs are central in the works of four prominent descendants of the sorrow song singer prophets: Zora Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison.  The course will explore how these modern artists continue the tradition using the same aesthetic principles that can be discovered in the Spirituals, and utilizing these artistic principles for the same reasons: to lead their companions on that dreadful journey out of the wilderness and into homeland.  

Thesis Hours - EH 599

Please see Dr. Harrington if you would like to register for thesis hours and have not already discussed your committee, graduation requirements, etc.