Diverse Identities & Communities Courses Spring 2024

ENGL 306: Global Environmental Literature

Instructor: Ashley Wood
56030 | By Appointment | Online (Jan 16-Mar 8) - LAWRENCE
56031 | By Appointment | Online (Mar 18-May 10) - LAWRENCE

This 8-week online class is designed to introduce you to a wide variety of environmentally conscious texts from around the world. This includes novels, short stories, essays, and films. Over the course of this semester, you will learn different cultural perspectives towards the environment, and how these perspectives are represented fictionally, rhetorically and visually, using a range of genres, styles and ethical approaches.

Upward photo of yellow-leafed trees against blue sky

ENGL 317: Freedom and Bondage in the American Renaissance

Instructor: Paul Outka
48946 | MW 12:30 – 1:45 PM | Wescoe 4023 – Lawrence

This course will examine a number of texts written during the so-called “American Renaissance,” a period traditionally defined by the burst of creative work by Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, Hawthorne, and several others, published in the decades preceding the Civil War. At the same time, we will broaden this canonical focus to include writers who have not been traditionally included in the American Renaissance, including Harriet Jacobs, Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, David Walker, and Harriet Wilson. This broader context will allow us to view the extraordinary concern with individualism, self-creation, originality, and freedom in the canonical group through the prism of slavery, the issue that saturated the period’s political, cultural, and philosophical discourse. Rather than dismissing the canonical texts as simply escapist, or including the less canonical texts as mere variations on the central works, we will read this important literary period as fundamentally intersectional, as a profoundly interrelated series of meditations on freedom and bondage.

Frederick Douglass

ENGL 338: Introduction to African-American Literature

Instructor: A.D. Boynton II
55985 | TuTh 2:30-3:45 PM | WES 1003 - LAWRENCE

This course is a study of the cultural, socio-historical, and political roots and reach of writing from African Americans in the U.S. from the colonial period to today. In this reading and writing-intensive survey, we take a chronological journey across nearly 300 years of literary history that includes fiction, autobiography, essays, poetry, and plays. Together, we will explore major figures, movements, departures, revisions, and challenges in the history and study of African American literature. Subject matter will include but is not limited to: experiences with slavery and racism (with consideration to various marginalized intersections of gender, sexuality, disability, etc.); Black life in the post-emancipation era; migrations in both rural and urban locales; storytelling and narrative traditions; the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement; criticism and philosophies of/on Black aesthetics and genre; Black writers’ acceptances within and refutations of the “American canon”; and writers and resonances within our contemporary moment.

Collage of black and white photos of African-American writers

ENGL 390: Travel Writing & Costa Rica

Instructor: Marta Caminero-Santangelo
57345 | By Appointment | STUDY ABROAD

On this program, students will investigate a variety of current issues in Costa Rican politics, culture, ecology, and tourism through lectures, excursions, and individual writing projects. Students must apply through KU Study Abroad website (linked below) by October 15.

Students standing in front of mountain

ENGL 390: Happily Ever After: Romance Fiction as the Practice of Freedom

Instructor: Hannah Scupham
55912 | MW 3:00-4:15 PM | WES 1003 - LAWRENCE

Often maligned and misunderstood, popular romance fiction is both a best-selling and under-studied genre. In this course, we will explore the wide, wild, and wonderful world of the romance novels and its critical reception by scholars and readers alike with an emphasis on gender, race, sexuality, and disability. Our course begins with the bodice rippers of 1980s and 1990s and the early scholarship/critiques of the genre. We will then shift to discussing how romance media from the past 20 years depicts dating/relationships, pleasure, agency, joy, and readership. In our final unit, we will examine current trends in romance, readership, and publishing, including BookTok, Bookstagram, dark romances, the emergent New Adult genre, and fanfiction, just to name a few. Whether you’re a romance lover or a romance hater, this course is for you. Looking forward to exploring the delightful world of popular romance with you!

Romance Fiction as the Practice of Freedom

ENGL 492: The London Review

Instructor: Mary Klayder

The London Review will allow students to plan and research a visit to London, to spend Spring Break of 2024 visiting London, and to create a publication of reviews and essays about their stay. Students will spend the weeks in the semester before Spring Break deciding on the productions and exhibits they plan to visit. They will conduct research on those events, each student specializing in a particular aspect of the visit. They will also study the genre of the literary/arts review, examining audience and publication possibilities. After returning from London, the class will spend the remainder of the semester publishing The London Review 2024. Each student will be responsible both for writing reviews and for helping to put together the journal. Students must apply through the KU Study Abroad website (linked below) by October 1.

London skyline

ENGL 590: Travel Writing & Costa Rica

Instructor: Marta Caminero-Santangelo
57347 | By Appointment | STUDY ABROAD

On this program, students will investigate a variety of current issues in Costa Rican politics, culture, ecology, and tourism through lectures, excursions, and individual writing projects. Students must apply through KU Study Abroad website (linked below) by October 15.


ENGL 590: Indigenous Literature & New Media

Instructor: Robert Warrior
55914 | MW 11:00-12:15 PM | WES 1003 - LAWRENCE

This course focuses on the differences between various textual and visual forms through examples from contemporary Indigenous literature and media. The critical work of the course will come from working together to understand what we gain and lose from reading, viewing, hearing, and otherwise experiencing the Indigenous world through novels, films, videos, television, music, comic books, journalism, and other materials Indigenous people use to represent themselves through old and new media. Some of the authors and media makers we will encounter along the way are Terese Marie Mailhot (Heart Berries), Elissa Washuta (White Magic), Sterlin Harjo (Reservation Dogs, Mekko), Taiaka Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Sky Hopinka, Elizabeth Pensee, and Ryan RedCorn. Assignments will include responses to course materials, a group project, and a final project.

Owl flying over stack of books in field

ENGL 590: Care Practices: Restorative Ecology, Community, & Self

Instructor: Megan Kaminski
56781 | W 9:00-11:30 AM | MAL 3022 - LAWRENCE

This interdisciplinary course will explore practices to encounter, engage with, and care for the larger ecologies and communities of which are a part. We will explore our local ecologies through field work and community-engaged learning. Reading, writing, and contemplative practices will help us connect to our shared ecosystem as a source of knowledge and inspiration for strategies to live in the world, to navigate uncertainty—and to re-align thinking towards reciprocity, community, and sustainability. More specifically, the class will focus on care practices that counters extractive and exploitative values and relationships with land and peoples (human and otherwise).
We will get our hands into soil and find out about local environmental challenges through experiential learning and field trips. We will consider expansive ecological, community, and self-care practices that have evolved from environmental justice movements, decolonial thinking, LGBTQ+ movements, and disability studies. Assignments will take the form of a field notes journal, reflective writing, and a final project.

Students sitting in nature in a circle