Featured Topics Fall 2024


ENGL 203: Professional Communication

Instructor: Lydia Benda
27232 | By Appointment | Online (8-week)
27234 | By Appointment | Online (8-week)

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ENGL 203: Literature of Sports

Instructor: Philip Wedge
15680 | By Appointment | Online (8-week)

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.'

Assortment of sports books

ENGL 205: Ways of Seeing

Instructor: Mary Klayder
20529 | MWF 10:00-10:50 AM | Wescoe 4020 - LAWRENCE
17730 | MWF 11:00-11:50 AM | Wescoe 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 328: 20th Century American Noir

Instructor: Mark Luce
26649 | Th 7:10-10:00 PM | Best 215 - EDWARDS

In this exploration of American noir fiction, we will study classic and contemporary novels, short stories and films with an eye toward the on-going fascination with crime in American life. From the eve of the Depression through the tremors of the Post-World War II, from the Harlem of Chester Himes to the neo-noir nastiness of Megan Abbott, what accounts for the popularity of these novels, and what social need, if any, do these authors fulfill? In addition, we will examine how increasing economic dislocation and a lack of faith in public institutions play out in these texts. In the process we will learn of the social, political, and ideological forces that help give rise to this distinctly American way of addressing crime, violence, gender roles, and paranoia throughout the 20th century.

Black and white noir detective in smoke

ENGL 329: Fanfiction

Instructor: Monica Briggs
27231 | By Appointment | Online

In The Fanfiction Reader (2017), Francesca Coppa writes that “fanfiction is made for free, but not ‘for nothing.’” If fanfiction is not “for nothing,” what is it for? What does it do? And why is it, as critic Anne Jamison puts it in the subtitle of her book Fic (2013), “taking over the world”? Students will examine some of the definitions and characteristics of the genre, the history and controversies that have surrounded it, and the critical work that it does and that it has in turn inspired, particularly (but by no means exclusively) around gender, sexuality, and storytelling. Students will be encouraged to think and write critically about fanfic in general and about published fanfic in the fandoms in which they are most interested, although there will be a few selected examples of fanfiction provided. The course will be conducted through Canvas, and students will participate regularly in a course discussion blog as well as produce some written responses to readings, craft two critical essays, and write a (short) piece of fanfiction based on a selection of prompts.

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ENGL 360: Writing the Science Essay - Making Art out of Science

Instructor: Doug Crawford-Parker
26521 | MW 11:00-12:15 PM | Wescoe 4023 - LAWRENCE

Science can sometimes be viewed as dry or impenetrable to the nonscientist, yet there is much writing about science that is lyrical and engaging. This course will introduce students to the essay form and its suitability for writing about science in creative, lively, and insightful ways that engage both the writer and reader. We will read and write to get a sense of the possible and discover new ways to craft essays that are artful and perceptive.

Digital graphic of an atom

ENGL 360: Queer Ecologies

Instructor: Megan Kaminski
23295 | MW 2:00-3:15 PM | Learned 1136 - LAWRENCE

Queer Ecologies is a writing and arts course that uses literature, the arts, and an eco-cultural lens to think about our eco-futures. We’ll consider “queering” as a means to refuse binary thinking and consider expansive interdisciplinary eco-arts practices that have evolved from LGBTQ+ movements, feminist science studies, environmental justice, decolonial thinking, disability studies, and science fiction. In so doing, we will explore how gender, sexuality, race, and species shape understandings of the environment. Through readings, discussion, field work, and creative projects, our work together will orient towards new thinking about the challenges of planetary and climate change. This project-based course welcomes students to explore the themes of the class within and across their own fields of interest, experience, practice, and study. This course is cross-listed with EVRN 420.

People sitting on blankets and in lawn chairs in a circle outside among grass, plants, trees

ENGL 570: American Fascist-Takeover Novel

Instructor: Joseph Harrington
26525 | TuTh 11:00-12:15 PM | Wescoe 4020 - LAWRENCE

Ever since the birth of the Republic, Americans have worried that a tyrant or oligarchy would bring our democratic “experiment” to an end. US writers in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have explored this anxiety in the form of speculative novels that imagine a takeover of all or part of the United States by an authoritarian, especially fascist, regime. We will read and examine seven of these dystopian tales, as well as writings about actual historical fascism in Italy, Germany, and the United States. By studying fiction, we can gain a better understanding of the relation of literature to political culture in the modern U.S. and help us put our current uncertainties and anxieties into historical perspective.

Men marching on steps carrying American flags

ENGL 580: Neurorhetorics

Instructor: Sean Kamperman
26526 | TuTh 2:30-3:45 PM | Wescoe 4020 - LAWRENCE

How does the human mind work? What are its powers and limitations? The disciplines that seek scientific answers to these questions—cognitive neuroscience, psychology, neurobiology—have greatly advanced our understanding of human thought, affect, and behavior. But like all science, neuroscience isn’t carried out in a cultural vacuum. The values of the scientists who do this work, the language they use to describe their findings, even the machines they build to access the brain’s circuitry are influenced by the cultures they grow up and live in. In short, the cultural, social, material, and communicative processes whereby we come to know about the brain determine, in part, how we think about brains—and, by extension, how we think about ourselves. Are you neurotypical or neurodivergent? Mentally well or mentally ill? More of a right-brained or a left-brained kind of person? In a society obsessed with science, health, and personal achievement, such questions increasingly define us. In this class, we will explore how public figures from scientists and surgeons to artists and activists make meaning about the brain through a variety of media: memoirs, graphic novels, scientific reports, and films, to name a few. We will engage these texts with particular attention to their rhetoric. How do claims about the brain normalize certain ways of behaving, thinking, and being in the world?

Black and white scans of human brain

ENGL 598: Rhetorics & Politics of Horror

Instructor: Pritha Prasad
21185 | MW 12:30-1:45 PM | Wescoe 4037 - LAWRENCE

In this seminar, we will discuss and interrogate the ways horror has been used in film and television to forward political and cultural commentary, particularly surrounding identity and power (i.e. race, gender, class, nation, and dis/ability). We will cover a range of historical and contemporary examples of horror film and television, focusing specifically on subgenres like racial horror, feminist horror, body horror, and psychological horror. We will supplement and contextualize our analyses of these texts with interdisciplinary readings from film and media studies, rhetorical criticism, critical race theory, feminist and queer studies, and popular culture studies. What makes something “scary,” and how might dominant fears and anxieties be underpinned by gendered, racialized, sexualized, and/or ableist cultural narratives? As a genre that uniquely relies upon the creative, multimodal use of visual, aural, spoken, and textual elements, what kinds of “arguments” does horror make about culture, politics, society, and history? Throughout the semester, students will be required to complete regular reading and viewing assignments, as well as a series of writing assignments, including a final analytical research paper.

Black and white image of woman staring up staircase, shadowed person looming