Introductory English Courses Spring 2024


ENGL 209: Introduction to Fiction

Instructor: Brian Daldorph
45404 | MWF 10:00-10:50 AM | WES 4035 - LAWRENCE
47101 | MWF 11:00-11:50 AM | WES 4035 - LAWRENCE

The purpose of English 209 is to introduce you to the basic elements of fiction through the exploration of fiction of different forms and periods. This is not a chronological survey. As we read the fiction assigned for this course, bear in mind two questions: Why do people write stories? How does this story relate to me? Good fiction should thrill, scare, challenge, delight, entertain, and educate you, perhaps all of these things—and more--at once. We are interested in fiction because the stories we read and hear tell us about ourselves and about others. All the stories we’ll read together this semester are about aspects of the human experience such as dealing with illness, finding and losing love, going to war, facing up to death, adventuring in Paris, etc. I hope that you will see fiction as a marvelous way to illuminate the human experience and help us to learn about ourselves and others. Some of the aspects of fiction we’ll be considering this semester: characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, point of view, etc. I’d like to discuss these aspects in relation to the stories we’ll be studying rather than in abstraction. For example, how does Tolstoy introduce and develop characters in “The Death of Ivan Ilych,” and how does he develop plot even though we’re told by the title what will happen in the story?

Instructor: Monica Briggs
57036 | By Appointment | Online (Jan 16-Mar 8) - LAWRENCE

In this eight-week online course, students read, critically analyze, and write about fiction. We will focus on ways of interpreting fiction: the kind of interpretation 1) a reader does when explaining the meaning of a story; 2) an author does of personal, historical, or cultural context when writing a story; 3) a reader does when composing creative revisions of a story; and 4) a reader does when considering a story in the context of other stories. Our lessons will include analyzing and interpreting stories, researching context for stories, and writing creative responses to stories. The course is conducted through Canvas, and students will participate in discussion board conversations, produce critical written assignments, write short creative fiction in response to our texts, and review drafts for peers. There will be three main papers in the class and a final exam.

Open book

ENGL 210: Introduction to Poetry

Instructor: Ryan Skrabalak
56591 | MWF 10:00-10:50 AM | ST 334B - LAWRENCE
56592 | MWF 11:00-11:50 AM | ST 334B - LAWRENCE

Why do people write poetry? Poetry often feels inaccessible, stuffy, and inscrutable. To make poetry, though, is to transform but also actively make and form the world. To read poetry is helpful—perhaps even necessary—in imagining existences, subjectivities, and modalities of living on Earth that are otherwise difficult or impossible to articulate in traditional structures of language and prose. We will explore and analyze the many facets of poetry and poetic practice, including fundamental poetic elements and techniques, as well as the creative process through a poetry-specific lens. We will explore these facets and then apply them through the production of a weekly poetry journal, where we'll think through important concepts, critically analyze poems and poetic theories, and perhaps even produce some poems of your own. We will spend the majority of our time reading, discussing, and writing about individual poems. Lastly, we'll read a number of essays written about poetry, considering the various critical approaches to the study of the genre and connections to larger cultural issues.

Open book

ENGL 220: Introduction to Creative Writing

Instructor: Logan Jorgenson
54245 | MW 11:00-12:15 PM | WES 4021 - LAWRENCE
56033 | MW 12:30-1:45 PM | WES 4033 - LAWRENCE

This course is a study of creative writing across multiple genres including poetry, playwriting/screenwriting, fiction, and nonfiction. Throughout the semester, students will read, analyze, and respond to exemplar work to develop an understanding of the constraints and conventions that govern each genre. In addition to studying these genres, students are expected to produce four (short) original creative pieces, one for each genre. Students will choose two of these to work with more extensively. The class will also include a workshop component where students will provide oral and written critiques for their peers. The culmination of this class is a final portfolio, which includes a revision of one piece, a revision plan for another, and a reflective essay.

Instructor: Landon McGee
53738 | TuTh 1:00-2:15 PM | FR 207 - LAWRENCE

In this course, students will read and write poetry and short fiction. In the poetry section of the course, we’ll ask serious questions about the craft of poetry and the practice of seeing and engaging with the world as poets. In the short fiction section, we’ll use contemporary speculative fiction as a primary lens for exploring storycraft. To end each section of the course, students will participate in workshops, with the goal of creating a genuinely transformative critical atmosphere in which we help shepherd good writing into existence through care and attention. At the end of the semester, students will do a deep revision of their most successful writing. The primary goal we’ll set ourselves all semester is this: to approach both reading and writing with radical generosity.

Instructor: Kevin Mulligan
53739 | TuTh 2:30-3:45 PM | FR 207 - LAWRENCE

In this course, students will study the practices of creative writing in three genres: short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Through rigorous inquiry, discussion, and creative experimentation, students will gain a strong understanding of each genre’s conventions, strategies, and contexts--and then will put that knowledge into practice to produce original writing. Writing assignments in the course will be split between critical work, which analyzes the technique and function of various creative pieces and allows students to read creative works as potential models or sites of learning opportunities, and creative work, which allows students to develop their own creative philosophy as it applies to each genre they work within. In lieu of a final exam, students will submit a portfolio of their revised work, along with a short reflection paper.

Old typewriter with blank page on blue background

ENGL 300: Introduction to English Studies

Instructor: Doug Crawford-Parker
52164 | MW 11:00-12:15 PM | WES 4023 - LAWRENCE

Where do texts come from? What kinds of relationships do they have with each other? How do writers relate across texts and across time? English 300 will introduce students to the main areas and methods of English studies—literary studies, creative writing, and rhetoric—by examining how texts relate, how they rewrite, retell, steal from each other. Pondering these relationships will allow us to contemplate the conditions of reading and writing across contexts, genres, and rhetorical situations. They help us think about what it means for a text to be fictional, poetic, persuasive, convincing, creative, engaging, boring, or even true. Students will write three main assignments and as well as several shorter assignments and a final project, comment on readings in Microsoft Teams, and create a short presentation. Students will finish the course with a fuller sense of what it means to be an English major or minor. Texts include 'The Tempest' (Shakespeare), 'Hag-Seed: William Shakespeare's The Tempest Retold: A Novel' (Atwood), 'Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Written by Himself' (Douglass), and 'Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself' (Jacobs).

Instructor: Abby Breyer
53488 | By Appointment | Online - LAWRENCE

Mural of Shakespeare

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