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AddRan College of Liberal Arts

Department of English

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Courses

Fall 2020 Courses

10000-and 20000-level courses are listed here only if they have special topics. For a complete list of courses, see TCU Class Search.

Jennifer Griffith

MWF 10:00-10:50

Core: LT, HUM

English Majors: Elective

 

This class introduces students to works of British and American utopian and dystopian literature from the Renaissance to the late 20th C. Utopian literature and ideals serve as critiques of contemporary societies as well as provide visions for the future. As such, they’re driven by hope—hope that humanity can be better, or in the case of dystopian fiction, that it can avoid a catastrophic future. Throughout the centuries, the focus and source of this hope change as belief systems and technologies change. Art—specifically literature—remains a space to imagine, expose, understand, and critique developments shaping human societies. For this course, students will read excerpts from John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Thomas More's foundational text Utopia. They will also read the following novels/novellas: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. They will also read short stories by Octavia Butler and Ursula K. LeGuin and miscellaneous poems. Graded work includes reading quizzes, three exams, participation, and a group presentation.

Kristen Lacefield

MW 3:30-4:50

Core: LT/HUM

 

This course will explore themes of horror and transcendence in cinema. Each week, a film will be paired with several hours of complementary readings in fields such as film studies, philosophy, psychology, and religious studies. Be aware that this course will include a number of horror films with disturbing content. You should also be prepared for some challenging reading assignments. The professor's goal is to expand the students' understanding of a range of perspectives and paradigms. 

Kristen Lacefield

MW 5:00-6:20

Core: LT/HUM

  

This course will include a range of films and readings exploring important moments in world history. This is not a history-of-cinema course, but rather a history-through-cinema course. We will start with the film 300 (about the Battle of Thermopylae) and continue through history until we finish with films exploring our current international landscape (the "War on Terror," post-Cold-War relations, etc.)  Along the way, we will watch movies about the Roman Empire, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, WWI and II, and the Vietnam War. While this is a film course, there will be a significant reading component. Students will read texts across a range of disciplines, including history, philosophy, and psychology; some of these readings will be quite challenging, and students should be prepared for an intellectually rigorous and rewarding course. Students should also understand that history is often violent and that a number of disturbing themes will be covered.  

Chantel L. Carlson

MWF 1:00-1:50

Core: FAR

English Majors: Elective

Writing Majors/Minors: Creative Writing

 

In this course we will read and analyze plays, experimental collaborative performances, and both traditional and slam poetry, specifically focusing on the construction of identity through the written word and performance. We will study how these modes of creative expression act as a means of personal expression, social discourse, and cultural communication. We will investigate the creative potentials to reflect, critique, construct, and enact a performing artist’s emergent identity, including how one defines/identifies with race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Then, students will write and perform 1) an original slam poem, 2) a series of monologues revolving around gender and/or sexual identity, and 3) an experimental dramatic scene revolving around a major social/political/race-related issue. Students will also take part in a collaborative workshop environment where each person should receive constructive feedback on his/her work through written and oral responses. In addition, students will be asked to complete reading assignments, take quizzes, and complete writing exercises. Your final project will be a collaborative performance piece that implements the themes and techniques we have discussed over the course of the semester.

Joddy Murray

TR 11:00-12:20

Core: HUM and CSV pending

English Majors: Elective

Writing Majors: Design & Editing, Digitally Intensive

 

An introduction to authoring with multiple digital modes: image, sound, and video. By incorporating rhetorical concepts such as audience, context, and persuasive appeals, students gain a basic experience of multimodal composition while investigating and/or advocating as citizens. This course does not require any previous experience with these modes or digital technologies. Course projects include: Image Argument on a Social Value, Citizenship & Advocacy Interviews, and a Citizenship & Advocacy Documentary.

Jennifer Griffith

MW 2:00-3:20

Core: GA, HUM

Writing majors: Rhetoric and Culture; Digitally Intensive

 

This class explores writing as technology with far-reaching ramifications for both the individual society and wider global community. We will look at societies that rely on oral versus written language and their cultural differences. As we move through the semester, we will consider our current knowledge economy and its reliance on both reading and writing. Computer literacy and technology make this economy possible, and we will consider the interconnection of literacy and IT that shapes our world, heightens the stakes and criteria for literacy, and amplifies voices in unique ways. Students will complete a variety of readings from fiction to scholarship. Graded work will include regular reading and short writing assignments (such as textual responses), class participation, one exam, two short essays related to the course material, in-class workshop activities, and a final research project.

Brandon Manning

TR 12:30-13:50

Core: LT, HUM

English and Writing Majors: Elective

 

This course will study the more direct ways that Black America has wrestled with the idea of the American Dream. This course thinks through 20th and 21st century texts to see how black writers and cultural producers represent racialize violence, disenfranchisement, and dispossession to create alternatives to the American Dream. We will move from the Jim Crow Era to the present to consider how black folks create sites of black resistance, freedom, and joy against the backdrop of the myth of meritocracy. We will focus on the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability to examine various works of literature, film, and visual art. 
David Colón

TR 11:00-12:20
Core categories: CA or LT, HUM
Attributes:  Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, Latin American Studies
English majors: American Literature
Writing majors:  Elective

Since the early sixteenth century, when Spain began to colonize what is now the U.S., the Western narrative of encountering America unfolded with fear, hope, and wonder. Over the centuries, the cultural transformation of peoples in the Americas has been recorded most clearly in literature, a literature comprised of a variety of forms so diverse that, in this course, it will be regarded as the primary site in which we will explore an introduction to the study of literature itself. Chronicles, memoirs, poems, plays, short stories, novel excerpts, and song lyrics pertaining to people of Latina/o (i.e. Hispanic American) descent will be examined for both their cultural exigencies and their literary merits. Most assigned readings will come from a single anthology, The Latino Reader; we will also read a collection of short stories by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz titled Drown and a landmark book of Chicana studies, Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. Written exams will be scheduled to align with the conclusions of thematic units, and shorter assignments will be included for deeper comprehension. Spanish proficiency is not required: all readings will be in English (with the occasional Spanish gesture).

Layne Craig

MW 2-3:20

Core: HUM, CSV

English and Writing Majors: Lower-Division Elective

 

This course introduces students to disability studies, a discipline at the intersection of humanities and social sciences. Disability studies introduces questions such as:

  • How is disability defined in our culture and by disabled individuals?
  • How have art, activism, and language represented disability and the experiences of disabled people?
  • How does understanding of disability help us to reconsider terms like “normality,” “health,” and “identity”?

Readings for this class will come from social scientists, activists, and memoirists who write about disability on a personal and political level. Because intersectionality is central to disability studies, the ways in which race, gender, social class, sexuality, and other identity markers affect disabled individuals and cultures are central to its inquiries. This class carries a WGST attribute, so readings, lectures, and assignments will often focus on how disability, gender, and sexuality interact.

Adriane Bezusko

TR 8:00-9:20/TR 9:30-10:50/TR 11:00-12:20

Core: WCO2

Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies: Lower-division elective

 

As an Intermediate Composition course, this class will focus on reading, creating, and analyzing arguments, specifically those related to mass incarceration. We will engage texts, podcasts, and films that explore the historical, political, and social conditions that have given rise to increasing rates of incarceration in low-income communities and examine the relationship between schools, communities and prisons. These investigations will be interdisciplinary and will allow students to identify specific problems of interest to them/their discipline and argue for meaningful interventions. In addition to this final research essay, students will complete daily writing and reading assignments, an argument analysis essay, and a research portfolio supporting their final essay.

Neil Easterbrook        

TR 9:30-10:

Core: WEM

English majors: Theory

Writing majors: Literary and Language

                                                    

This course will introduce the dissonant, challenging ideas developed in the last 50 years within a disciplinary field known as literary theory—an eclectic and perspicacious mix of philosophy, poetry, politics, psychology, and several other words that begin with ‘p’ (although there are some humorless folks who'd say that it's a matter of one compound noun that begins with ‘b’ and rhymes with ‘it’). Consequently, this course will be a philosophical investigation into literary language, one that will attempt to force everyone (including the instructor) into a careful and rigorous reevaluation of those categories we use to analyze literature in particular and culture in general—literature, interpretation, reading, language, agency, tradition, genre, history, identificationrepresentation, and so forth. While this course focuses on conceptual problems rather than schools of criticism or practical criticism, a portion of the course will examine how theoretical questions emerge from even the most common and naïve readings of literary texts.

Required reading: For a course in English, there is only a small amount of reading, since the focus will be on thinking and on writing. The reading will be Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Jonathan Culler); The Theory Toolbox (Jeffrey Nealon and Susan Searles Giroux); three chapters from a book on reserve—Reading Texts: Reading, Responding, Writing (Kathleen McCormick, Gary Waller and Linda Flower); four or five pdf essays by key twentieth century theorists; poems by Amy Clampitt, William Carlos Williams, Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, and Jorie Graham; short stories by Jorge Luis Borges and Pamela Zoline. We will also read a single book of theory, probably Interpretation and Overinterpretation (Umberto Eco).

Recommended reading: The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Theory (J.A. Cuddon, 4/e) and the Dictionary of Critical Theory (David Macey).

Required Writing, etc.: Three 6+ page papers, one of which must be carefully revised and resubmitted. Six quizzes—with questions given in advance! No exams. Regular attendance and informed, active participation. Occasional editing exercises, such as worksheets (not graded).

Linda K. Hughes

TR 3:30-4:50

Core: LT, HUM

English majors: British Literature

Writing majors: Literary and Language

 

Our survey of genres, literary tradition, and cultural contexts in British literature from 1790-1950 will focus on life stories originating from within Britain’s global empire and in the postcolonial, multicultural U.K. by both white authors and writers of color. Interest in life stories and organisms’ life cycles attracted increasing attention from the early nineteenth century into the twentieth. Among examples, we will look at Book I of William Wordsworth’s The Prelude, or Growth of the Poet’s Mind (1805; reissued 1850); The Horrors of Slavery (1824) by the mixed race London radical Robert Wedderburn, the offspring of an Edinburgh doctor and Jamaican enslaved woman; and Charles Dickens’s serialized coming of age novel David Copperfield (1849-50). From among twentieth-century British writers we’ll examine work by W. B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, colonial fiction writer Jean Rhys, and Caribbean and South Asian writers of color ranging from Louise Bennett and Derek Walcott to Sarojini Naidu and Salman Rushdie.

Layne Craig

MWF 10:00-10:50

Core: LT, CA

English majors:  American Literature

Writing majors:  Literary and Language

 

Puritan leader John Winthrop (in a line later quoted by Presidents Kennedy, Reagan, and Obama, among many others) called the United States a “City Upon a Hill” in a 1630 sermon to early English colonists as they boarded a ship to Massachusetts. In this class, students will examine literature, popular media, and cultural criticism, mostly from the twentieth century, that depicts the American city, sometimes as the shining example that Winthrop  invoked, but more often as a place in which the American Dream comes into conflict with economic, social, and political realities. We’ll look at diverse literary and cultural representations of two quintessential American cities, New York and Los Angeles, as well as one example of an American writer’s representation of Paris: authors discussed include Edith Wharton, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, Raymond Chandler, and others. Grades will be based on discussion board participation, close reading and research papers, two exams, and in-class participation. 

Sharon A. Harris

TR 12:30-1:50

Core: CSV, WEM

English majors: Theory, Early Literature & Culture

Writing majors: Rhetoric and Culture

 

Can “rhetoric” ever be anything but nasty or empty? Who speaks the gift of the Muses today? Do the Muses speak to Asian rhetors? What about the rhetoric of Nigeria or other African nations? Surely in the last 2500 years, ideas, issues, and individuals have arisen to shape our discourse in helpful ways. In WRIT 30253, we will listen to some of the earliest voices of rhetorical traditions to discover how they contributed to the formation of democracy, but we will also examine how culture and religion have pushed and pulled on speech and writing from world cultures to generate openings for voices previously silenced. In addition to discussions, writers in the course will respond to the readings from Bizzell and Herzberg’s survey work The Rhetorical Tradition, Shirley Wilson Logan’s We Are Coming: The Persuasive Discourse of Nineteenth Century Black Women, Angela Lunsford’s collection Reclaiming Rhetorica: Women in the Rhetorical Tradition, and other texts. Projects will include an examination of a rhetorical theory and a close analytical reading of a contemporary text—cartoon? a rap? a political speech? By the end of the course, you’ll have some new ideas about human nature and about how we make sense of our place in the world.

Matthew Pitt

TR 9:30-10:50

Core: WEM
English Majors: Writing
Writing Majors: Creative Writing

Artful fiction manufactures events, displays dialogue never uttered, describes settings no foot ever set foot in, and concocts characters out of whole cloth. Yet its crafted worlds are so deftly explored, calibrated, and arranged, readers often close books with a more honed view of the actual world. “I feel that when I’m really working on something,” wrote Eudora Welty, “I’m not aware of anything but the story.” In this course we will seek to attain that same awareness through regular writing prompts assigned in and out of the classroom, through crafting original fiction, and, as a class community, discussing peer work with dogged care. By doing so, and by poring over an array of ambitious published stories, you will learn how each made-up moment matters, and how you might make your own imagined moments matter more.

Nathanael O’Reilly

TR 12:30-1:50

Core categories: WEM

English majors: Writing

Writing majors: Creative Writing

 

A poetry writing workshop class for students with some experience in creative writing. Students will compose original works of poetry, experiment and challenge themselves. We will discuss poetry and poetics, share our work with each other, study poetic forms, read a diverse range of work from published poets, and provide constructive feedback re each other’s writing. Students will complete a minimum of ten poetry exercises and produce a final portfolio. In addition to composing their own poetry, students will study collections from the following poets: Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Carol Ann Duffy, Terrance Hayes, Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin and Ada Limón.

Joddy Murray

TR 2:00-3:20

Core: WEM

English majors: Writing

Writing majors: Creative Writing; Digitally Intensive

 

What is electronic literature? How do our assumptions about literature and creative writing shift when we study and produce literary texts that are “born digital”? This course will explore the composition of creative work using digital technologies – collage, graphic narratives, multimedia poetry/fiction, and creative short animations. The course emphasizes concepts in creative writing, multimedia, and authorship in digital environments. Students design and compose a variety of multimodal products incorporating typography, image, animation, and other modes.

Curt Rode

Thursdays 3:30-4:50

English Majors: Elective

Writing Majors: Internship

 

The Thursday section of Writing 30390 is a 1.5 credit-hour course intended for students with an interest in video production. In this course, students will collaborate to produce short videos promoting the English department's majors, minors, and events.  Students will receive, as needed, practical training with recording equipment and editing software. The course may be repeated for credit.

Curt Rode

Tuesdays 3:30-4:50

English Majors: Elective

Writing Majors: Internship

 

The Tuesday section of Writing 30390 is a 1.5 credit-hour course intended for students with an interest in literary magazine publication and basic web design. Students in the course will work in every stage of the production of the semester’s print issue of eleven40seven, TCU’s undergraduate journal of the arts, and its web edition (www.1147.tcu.edu). Specifically, students will gain knowledge of and experience in (1) the history and purpose of the student literary magazine, (2) the selection, editing, and proofing of the semester’s submissions, (3) the journal’s print layout and the design of the issue’s web edition, and (4) the distribution and promotion of the completed issue. Students will also receive, as needed, practical software training. The course may be repeated for credit.

Sarah Robbins

MW 3:30-4:50

Core: CA, WEM

English majors: Writing

Writing majors: Rhetoric & Culture

 

WRIT 30613 responds to increasing calls in multiple career fields for written and oral communications to be sensitively attuned to cultural differences. We will write in multiple genres and formats (including visual, oral, and multimedia ones) designed for persuasive communication in a multicultural world. To support our own writing, we will study many examples and consider how to adapt and refine rhetorical strategies that recognize how our individual identities and group affiliations shape our interpretations of texts and associated social issues.  

 

David Colón

TR 2:00-3:20
Attributes:  Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, Latin American Studies classes, Latina/o Studies
English majors: American Literature, Global & Diasporic Literature
Writing majors:  Literary and Language


Description of the course: This course, part lecture and part seminar, will explore the work of U.S. writers who self-identify as Latina/o. Our focus will be on reading literature of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries, consistently discussing how we see cultural discourse impact literary forms. We will examine a wide range of issues that inform both “close reading” and “distant reading” Latina/o cultural production, including race, class, history, politics, economics, gender, feminism, and theory. The assigned readings will include work by authors such as Ana Castillo, Junot Díaz, Maceo Montoya, Ana Menéndez, Tomás Rivera, John Rechy, Carmen Giménez Smith, Arturo Islas, John Murillo, and J. Michael Martínez (final reading list TBD). These readings may be supplemented by secondary readings in criticism, as needed. Written assignments will be varied; seminar presentations will be required. Spanish proficiency, however, is not required; all texts are in English (with the occasional Spanish gesture).

Anne Frey

TR 2:00-3:20

Core: HUM, WEM

English majors: Elective

Writing majors: Literary and Language

                          

In this class we will analyze the way in which literature debated the capacities of the British and American constitution to evolve or change. Britain and the United States have different constitutional structures: Britain’s constitution is unwritten, evolving gradually through legislation and court decisions whereas the American constitution was codified. But in the nineteenth century both constitutions faced challenges in evolving to meet social change. In Britain, power was passing from the aristocrats to a new middle class at home, and a new administrative class was exploring the limits of individual power as they conquered and ruled an Empire abroad. In the United States, abolitionists asked how to make a constitution that acknowledged slavery accord with a moral system that told them slavery was immoral. We will examine how genres including the gothic, historical fiction, closet drama, and the sensation novel arose in response to these challenges, reading literary works alongside the legal texts they debate. Authors may include Horace Walpole, Percy and Mary Shelley, Phyllis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Work for the class includes several short exercises, two papers, and a final exam.

Rima Abunasser

MW 2:00-3:20

Core: LT, HUM

English majors: Global & Diasporic

Writing majors: Literary and Language

The history of Arab and North African diasporic literature is over a century old, yet it is rarely recognized as part of the ethnic literary landscape of the United States. This course will introduce students to the political and social histories of these diasporic communities, paying close attention to how they address creativity, cultural preservation, and ideas of home. Throughout the semester, we will explore various questions: What is Arab American literature? How does it engage issues of gender, sexuality, race, migration, and war? What does it mean to be Arab American before and after 9/11? Course materials will include short stories, novels, poetry, and memoir in addition to films, stand-up comedy, and music videos. Readings may include works by authors such as Suheir Hammad, Naomi Shihab Nye, Randa Jarrar, Edward Said, Diana Abu-Jaber, among others. Films and television programs may include The Planet of the ArabsAmreekaDetroit UnleadedRamy, and Mo Amer: The Vagabond. Class discussion will be grounded in critical race theory & cultural, constructivist approaches to literature, culture, and creativity. Students will be expected to develop an understanding of Arab and North African communities in the United States and their self-representations and to learn how to read creative texts critically and to develop and refine analytical and research skills.   

Theresa Gaul

TR 11:00-12:20

English majors: American Literature, Early Literature and Culture

Note: Writing majors/minors may not enroll in this course without special permission.

 

A complex meditation on free will, obsession, gender, race and ethnicity, U.S. politics, imperialism, coming of age, the environment, artistic experimentation and more, Moby-Dick is perhaps the American novel most likely to have been heard of but never read. Enrolling in this course will change that, ensuring that from now on you, at least, will be able to claim the status of having read Herman Melville’s 1851 novel. As we read the book, we will examine its relationship to historical, social, and political contexts of the mid-nineteenth-century and its continuing influence on American culture, reading it alongside writings by other authors publishing in the early 1850s and adaptations of the novel in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The major course projects will be:  1) a long research paper based on your choice to independently pursue one aspect of Moby-Dick or its contexts, reception, or subsequent cultural influence or afterlife, and 2) a professionally oriented project that will require you to connect your learning as an English major with your career goals. This course will extensively employ class discussion, group work, and a process-based approach to research and writing.

 

Charlotte Hogg

MWF 1:00-1:50

Writing Majors: Major Seminar (REQUIRED for students who declared in or after Fall 2014)

Note: English majors/minors may not enroll in this course without special permission.

 

This course is designed for Writing majors and minors as a course for you to take stock of your academic endeavors so far, and to launch you into possibilities as you complete and move on from college. To that end, the course has five goals: 1) to investigate opportunities for careers in writing; 2) to gain a stronger sense of writing studies (technology, literacy, creativity, and culture) as a field; 3) to strengthen your research and writing skills through an in-depth, independent research project; 4) to gain greater knowledge about your own writing habits and practices; and 5) to develop an online, professional presence that integrates your ideas, work, and experiences. Likely texts include Researching Writing, Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks, and more. Prerequisites: Writing majors and minors only; students must have junior or senior standing and must have completed one 30000-level ENGL or WRIT course.

Chantel L. Carlson

MW 3:30-4:50

Core: WEM

English Majors: Writing

Writing Majors: Creative Writing

 

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

SAMUEL BECKETT, Worstward Ho!

In this dramatic writing workshop, students should become familiar with the possibilities of the modern stage through the exploration of experimental playwrights (and filmed adaptations of these plays): the world of Margaret Edson, Tony Kushner, and Suzan-Lori Parks to name a few. Students will study the rise and fall of the character and the ever-changing identity/role of the actor. During the semester, students will also see what's going on in the world of theatre today, including theatrical adaptations, experimentations, and collaborations. Students will not only apply the principles of dramatic writing (including character and plot development, stage directions, and writing dialogue), but will also become familiar with how experimental playwrights challenged these predefined notions of theatre and created new possibilities for the stage. Because this is a writing workshop, students will be able to take advantage of a collaborative environment by receiving constructive critiques on their own written work. In addition to quizzes, students will be required to write (and perform) several dramatic exercises/scenes, as well as complete a final project. Film students are also encouraged to apply.

Ann George

MWF 9:00-9:50

English majors: Elective

Writing majors: Design & Editing; Digitally Intensive

 

Editing and Publishing introduces students to the practice of copyediting manuscripts intended for publication. Topics include the editorial process (both academic and commercial), the ethics and politics of editing, the editor’s role in publishing, and current issues in the publishing business. Students will engage in extensive practice editing journal and/or book manuscripts.

NOTE: This course is not recommended for ENGL/WRIT/CRWT minors unless they have a strong background in grammar.

Required Text: Chicago Manual of Style. 17th ed. U of Chicago P.

Likely supplemental texts include:

Einsohn, Amy. The Copyeditor’s Handbook, 3rd Ed. U of California P, 2011.

Saller, Carol Fisher. The Subversive Copy Editor, 2nd ed. U of Chicago, 2016.

 

Jill C. Havens

MWF 10:00-10:50

English Majors: British Literature, Early Literature & Culture

Writing Majors: Literature & Language

 

“Women have been saying ‘Me too’ for centuries.” -Lucia Akard, “A Medieval #MeToo”

While Geoffrey Chaucer is often regarded as the “Father of English Poetry,” few people know that he was accused of “raptus” early in his literary career. While this Latin term could mean many things (rape, abduction, kidnapping), and scholars are still in bitter disagreement as to what really happened, it is hard to ignore this information when reading the women Chaucer writes into his stories. To understand Chaucer’s women, we need to recognize that women in the Middle Ages were described not by their occupations or their social status, but by their sexual and marital status. Every woman was a virgin, a wife or a widow. These roles for women in the medieval period were shaped by a misogyny deeply rooted in a patriarchal church and society. And the women Chaucer creates in his texts are arguably products of this misogyny. In this course, we will explore the depiction of women in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, placing these tales within the context of medieval language, law, and history. And we will also read works by women writers like Marie de France and Cristine de Pizan, a contemporary of Chaucer’s, to hear medieval women’s voices. Coursework will include shorter essays responding to scholarly criticism and a longer research project related to the broader focus of women’s lives in the Middle Ages.

Stacie McCormick

TR 12:30-1:50

Core: WEM

English majors:  American Lit, Global & Diasporic

Writing majors:  Literary and Language

 

Toni Morrison has left an indelible mark on American Literature and literature more broadly. In light of her recent passing in August 2019, the course will be dedicated to exploring multiple aspects of Morrison's legacy. We will consider Morrison's enduring influence in the arts and letters. Topics will include but are not limited to Morrison's influence in the areas of: performance, Black feminism, racial discourse, slavery, and geography studies. We will be interrogating the many layers of Morrison's cultural impact and what her work means for us today. 

Joseph Darda

MW 5:00–6:20

Core: LT, HUM

English majors: American Literature, Global and Diasporic Literature

Writing majors: Literary and Language

 

“Our flag,” Mark Twain reflected in 1901. “We have worshipped it so; and when we have seen it in far lands––glimpsing it unexpectedly in that strange sky, waving its welcome and benediction to us––we have caught our breath, and uncovered our heads, and couldn’t speak, for a moment, for the thought of what it was to us and the great ideals it stood for.” But he wondered, as the United States waged an imperial war in the Philippines, a war that would overthrow the short-lived Philippine Republic, what flag it would raise on the Pacific islands. Twain suggested a modified American flag: “our usual flag” but “with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.”

This course asks how American authors, including Twain, have written with and against (and more often ignored) that pirate flag. From nineteenth-century westward expansion to the turn-of-the-century annexation of the Philippines, Cuba, Guam, Hawai‘i, and other overseas territories to the post–World War II construction of some eight hundred military bases in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, the United States has struggled to reconcile a republican ideal with an imperial reality––the stars and stripes with the skull and cross-bones. This course looks to the literature of imperial America, including the writing of S. Alice Callahan, W. E. B. Du Bois, Jessica Hagedorn, and Mohsin Hamid, to explore how the United States built an empire and hid it from itself.

Brandon Manning

TR 9:30-10:50

English Major: American Lit 

Writing Major: Literary and Language

 

This course will study the various representations of black masculinities through cultural, social, and political movements from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The course draws its critical energy from contemporary black feminist thought, black masculinities studies, queer theory and affect theory. The course will focus on contemporary issues like the race man, toxic masculinity, hotep as a pejorative term, misogynoir, hypermasculinity, black boy joy, compulsory heteronormativity, sports culture, hip hop, and the Black Lives Matter Movement. We will read texts like Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, and Kiese Laymon’s Heavy and films like Moonlight, and Fruitvale Station to see the range of black masculine representation, performance, and expression. By examining representations and performances of black masculinities, we will pursue questions such as: How has dominant society attempted to define black masculinities, and in what ways have black men undermined these narratives and redefined themselves? How do racial stereotypes about black men’s sexuality inform representations of black masculinities? Moving beyond heteropatriarchy and gender binaries, what is the future for black masculinities?