Featured Topics Spring 2023

ENGL 203: Book Tok and 21st Century Reading

Instructor: Abby Breyer
56061 | TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM | WES 4023 - LAWRENCE
56062 | TuTh 1:00 - 2:15 PM | WES 4021 - LAWRENCE

Since the rise of the modern novel, casual readers and literature scholars alike have debated when, where, why, and what people should be reading. This course asks students to consider these conversations in the context of the digital age, specifically looking at how book lovers use digital literary spaces. The course as a whole will draw on theories related to literature, affect, fan studies, and post-criticism to give students a scholarly foundation regarding reading in the 21st century. It will also ask students to examine public digital spaces like BookTok, GoodReads, and fanfiction sites like AO3, and read some of the most popular novels featured on these sites. Finally, students will practice reflecting and responding to these conversations in multimodal genres for both formal and informal audiences through 3 essays and a final project. By the end of the course, students will have a new understanding of what it means to read a book, what it means to love a book, and how digital spaces can change both.

Book covers arranged against yellow background. Texts include 'The Song of Achilles,' 'The Midnight Library,' 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,' 'The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue'

ENGL 203: The Art of the Podcast

Instructor: Randall Fuller
43470 | TuTh 1:00 - 2:15 PM | WES 4023 - LAWRENCE

The podcast is less than twenty years old, but it has already become one of the leading purveyors of narrative and information in the new millennium. In this class, we will consume, study, discuss, write about, and ultimately produce our own podcasts. Series will include Serial, S-Town, 60 Songs that Explain the 90s, and others.

Microphone in foreground with audio recording images on blurred screen in background

ENGL 203: Intro to Science Fiction

Instructor: Jasmine Holthaus
56063 | MW 11:00 - 12:15 PM | SUM 407 - LAWRENCE
56064 | MW 12:30 - 1:45 PM | SUM 407 - LAWRENCE

Study of science fiction and current social issues. Students will analyze, explore, and find solutions for current and future social problems using science fiction as a guide and ask the questions: What is significant about science fiction? What are the literary and rhetorical elements of science fiction that makes the genre more than just “popular fiction”? Texts will include short stories by authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, and Misha Nogha. Students will also have the opportunity to analyze science fiction films/TV, including Black Mirror and the film Donnie Darko.

Space wormhole

ENGL 203: American Protest Literature

Instructor: Sarah E. Ngoh
56068 | TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM | WES 4050 - LAWRENCE

In this interdisciplinary course we will examine the rich tradition of protest literature (which we will define broadly as everything from early treatises from the American Revolution to contemporary hip hop lyrics and YouTube/TikTok videos of spoken word poetry), focusing on the production and consumption of dissent as a site from which to critique prevailing power structures and ideologies, and as a place from which to call for social change. We will operate under the assumption that, like Baldwin, most protest writers write from a place of love for their country/nation and are driven by their dreams of a better world.

Though we will read a few of the defining/well-known authors of protest literature (cool, old, white guys), we will also focus a good deal of our time on writers whose personal identities have worked to marginalize them socially and politically. By examining the ways in which each work assaults the status quo of an often inhumane and brutal society, we will trace a tradition of protest literature that runs parallel to and challenges hegemonic discourse in an effort to identify how authors have channeled their anger at injustice into rhetorical and discursive love.

Black and white image of a demonstration in Hamburg

ENGL 203: Literature of Sports

Instructor: Philip Wedge
48018 | By Appointment | Online – LAWRENCE JAN 17-MAR 10
48035 | By Appointment | Online – LAWRENCE MAR 20-MAY 12

*8-week Online Course
In the Literature of Sports course students will study and write essays on a significant body of sport literature, examining such topics as sports as character-building, sports hero types, hero- worship in fans, violence in sports, corruption in sports, the translation of sport literature to film, and so on. Required coursework consists of 3 major Essays and a revision assignment (50%), and a comprehensive Final (20%). Homework (30%) includes group work and short writing assignments. Class participation is also of considerable importance. TEXTS: Eric Greenberg, The Celebrant; Clifford Odets, Golden Boy; Angie Abdou, The Bone Cage; Anne Lamott, Crooked Little Heart; August Wilson, Fences; F.X. Toole, Million Dollar Baby; H.G. Bissinger, Friday Night Lights

open book with various sports equipment inside, including boxing gloves, helmet, tennis racquets, basketball, football, and golf driver with ball. reads 'literature of sports' above.

ENGL 205: Ways of Seeing

Instructor: Mary Klayder
53571 | MWF 10:00 - 10:50 AM | WES 4020 - LAWRENCE

The course will focus on the concepts of perception, perspective, and vision in literature. How do we see things? How do we view the world? How does literature show our different ways of seeing? We will consider different perceptions of art, nature, gender, race, and culture; we will investigate various cultural and personal perspectives; and we will address the notion of vision as a metaphor in literature. In addition to literary texts, we will look at how other disciplines intersect with literature regarding these issues. There will be three critical papers, a final exam, a perception project, and assorted playful response assignments throughout the semester. Texts: Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors We Live By; Donne, Selected Poetry; Dickinson, The Collected Poems; Edson, Wit; Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Woolf, To The Lighthouse; Haig, The Midnight Library; and selected essays and poetry handouts.

two cartoon eyes against blue background

ENGL 205: Medieval Marvels

Instructor: Misty Schieberle
55758 | TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM | WES 4051 - LAWRENCE

Medieval literature has always been lively and inventive, and recent translations and scholarship demonstrate that even now, medieval texts explore quite modern interests in fantasy, gender roles, consent, animal studies, and post-colonialism. As a guiding principle, we will explore what seems “marvelous” in works from the Middle Ages – strange monsters, unusual beasts, fairy kings and mistresses, shapeshifters, wondrous lands in the Eastern or fairy kingdoms, and superhuman knights. Such figures and elements could represent social or cultural threats, people who departed from cultural norms, ethnic or racial “others,” or idealized representations humanity. Course goals are to analyze medieval literature; develop a sense of how marvelous events, settings, and characters allow medieval writers (and us) to confront issues of the utmost cultural importance; and practice skills in drafting essays that develop and support arguments about literary texts. Readings will include recent translations of Beowulf (2020) and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2008); medieval fairy, werewolf, and shapeshifter stories; tales of knightly adventures, including ones that take place in the Middle East; and other short selections. Course requirements include both short and mid-length (5-6 pages) writing assignments; class participation; quizzes; one individual presentation; and one presentation.

Medieval knight fighting snail

ENGL 305: World Indigenous Literatures

Instructor: Robert Warrior
54035 | TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM | WES 1003 - LAWRENCE

Stack of books in a green meadow with animals

ENGL 317: Literature of Slavery and Abolition

Instructor: Laura L. Mielke
49860 | TuTh 1:00 - 2:15 PM | WES 4076 - LAWRENCE

The war over slavery in the U.S. was waged with words as well as weapons. In this course, we will study a broad range of works produced between the late-eighteenth century and the start of the Civil War that ask whether slavery should persist in a country founded on human equality. In addition to examining how authors of slave narratives, speeches, novels, and dramas framed their arguments concerning slavery, we will explore how the literature of slavery preserves the experience of enslaved people. Throughout the semester we will consider the legacy of this literature for contemporary social justice movements.

Image citation: James C. Beard, "The Fifteenth Amendment," Library Company of Philadelphia, https://www.librarycompany.org/

Commemorative print celebrating the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment depicting a large central scene of the May 19, 1870 Baltimore parade surrounded by several portraits and vignettes. A float of young African American girls leads the parade in view of the city's Washington Monument. The parade consists of African American Zouave drummers, men in top hats on horseback, and ranks of troops. The portraits of African American civil rights supporters framing this scene include President Grant, etc.

ENGL 360: Ecology and Writing

Instructor: Megan Kaminski
54200 | MW 3:00 - 4:15 PM | WES 4020 - LAWRENCE

In this course we will explore writing as a practice to encounter, engage with, and explore the larger ecologies of which are a part. Our writing (and reading) 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 kinship, community, and sustainability. More specifically, the class will focus on writing that counters extractive and exploitative values and relationships with land and peoples (human and otherwise).

Our shared readings will range in genre, including nonfiction, poetry, speculative fiction, and somatic practices. While our reading list and collective investigations will be collaborative, students will carve out their own research paths and explorations in this project-based class. There will be many opportunities to connect with existing trajectories of exploration in botany, geology, philosophy, writing, the arts, social work, environmental studies, and social justice work, among other disciplines and frameworks.

In addition to class discussions of assigned course reading, your own written assignments will take the form of weekly writing responses, and three short writing assignments, all in genres of your own choosing. You will also get your hands into soil and find out about local environmental challenges through field work.

Cross-listed as EVRN 420 and EVRN 720

Group of people sitting outside in a circle in the grass

ENGL 381: Writing for Nonprofits

Instructor: Sean Kamperman
55761 | TuTh 1:00 – 2:15 PM | WES 4020 - LAWRENCE

This course offers an introduction to the principles of professional communication in nonprofit organizations. Throughout the semester, we will work closely with local nonprofits to produce professionally written documents that meet the nonprofits’ needs. Students will learn how to analyze and create a range of documents central to the operation of a successful nonprofit—grant proposals, brochures, newsletters, and annual reports, among others. There will be opportunities to take on multimodal projects as well, such as promotional videos and podcasts.

Red pen resting on white paper with black, typed text. Text shows red pen marks.

ENGL 390: Cuban/Cuban American Literature & Culture

Instructor: Marta Caminero-Santangelo
57284 | By Appointment | Study Abroad - Spring Break

March 10-19, 2023. Meets with LAC 302/602.

Photograph of street in Old Havana, Cuba

ENGL 390: Literature of London 20th and 21st Century Fiction

Instructor: Mary Klayder
55762 | MW 11:00 - 12:15 PM | WES 4020 - LAWRENCE

The class will explore the literature of 20th and 21st century London following the first world war and examining the expansion of London as a global and diverse capital. We will experience the many voices that make up London and give it such richness. Through the literature we will examine the breadth of cultures that make up metropolitan London and tie it to the rest of the world.

London skyline

ENGL 479: The Literature of Graphic Novels

Instructor: Mark Luce
55763 | Th 7:10 - 10:00 PM | REGN 154 - EDWARDS

While many have demeaned anything drawn with panels as little more than comics, there has been a boom in the quality and quantity of graphic novels in the last three decades. These works continue to grow in sophistication – tracing the horrors of the Iranian Revolution, serving as adaptations of novels, tackling questions of violence and vigilantism, and even serving as a different from of memoir. Such texts certainly require a particular brand of visual literacy and raise questions of how, exactly, to write and think about visual literature. We will survey some of the major writers and works in the genre to explore such issues.

Wall of graphic novels being sold in store

ENGL 492: The London Review

Instructor: Mary Klayder
43121 | W 4:30 - 5:50 PM | WES 4023 - LAWRENCE & ABROAD

The London Review will allow students to plan and research a visit to London, to spend Spring Break of 2023 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 2023. Each student will be responsible both for writing reviews and for helping to put together the journal.

London skyline