Courses Offered (Fall 2020)

Undergraduate Courses

First-Year English (UCCS Rhetoric Requirement)

1001 Foundations in Rhetoric (Foundation Tier)

Various days and times, see Snapshot
English 1001, Foundations in Rhetoric

Students learn to:

  • Critically engage scholarly communication by identifying and analyzing the main rhetorical features of variously mediated texts used by scholars to express ideas in academic settings;
  • Pursue inquiry with rigor and responsibility by formulating feasible and meaningful research questions and revising them while conducting thorough, ethical inquiries using appropriate available resources;
  • Understand writing as a purpose-driven, audience-oriented, multimodal activity that involves writers in making continuous ethical and informed choices;
  • Develop writing by engaging in overlapping phases of invention, synthesis of ideas and information, and revision undertaken in response to others' feedback and self-critique;
  • Deliver writing by making full use of appropriate available media, genres, formats and styles;
  • Write with exigence by addressing issues of importance with the goal of increasing one's own and others' understanding as a foundation for future action of various kinds;
  • Develop an appropriate ethos by meeting academic audiences' expectations for credibility, consistency, and integrity.
  • For additional details, including unit-by-unit syllabi, contact either Dr. Rebecca Nowacek or Dr. Amelia Zurcher.

 UCCS Literature and Performing Arts Requirements

Pre-2018 University Core Literature Courses (ENGL 2000 and 2010)

ENGL course numbers 2000 and 2010 fulfill the University Core of Common Studies requirement in Literature/Performing Arts (LPA) for students enrolled prior to Fall 2018.

2000 Literature, History, and Culture

103 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Jacob Riyeff

Course Title: Dreams, Visions, Western Culture

Course Description: We have dreams and (at least some of us have) visions, but the ways these are experienced and interpreted are heavily influenced by the cultures, societies, and interpretive communities to which we belong. In this course, we will take a sweeping oneiric journey through the last millennium of western culture—with an emphasis on Anglophone literature—to see how literary and visual artists have explored self, society, the divine, language, and art itself through their treatment of dream and vision. After glancing back to the biblical and classical antecedents, we will study dream visions from the tenth through twenty-first centuries in association with historical context and major ideas from contemporary thinkers to see how these are reflected in and critique the various shifts and turns of western culture. Works studied will include the Old English Dream of the Rood; works by Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Jack Kerouac; and films such as David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. In this course you will gain greater understanding of the cultural history of the west, learn a number of strategies literary and visual artists employ to explore pressing questions, and develop communication skills you can employ to both interpret such works and articulate your own contribution to the ongoing and wide ranging discussion of contemporary culture. 

2010 Literature and Genre

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Stephanie Quade

Course Title:  Coming of Age on Screen

Course Description:  Classic literature, epic poetry, TV sitcoms, award winning films: the coming of age story is one of the most durable of narratives.  But why? Does it illuminate a particular era or culture? Does it help us understand ourselves better:  Coming of age stories in contemporary and house films as well as world cinema will be analyzed using the genre conventions of film and also through the perspectives of adolescent development.  Students will learn about film techniques and in particular how directors craft stories.  Both narrative and documentary films will be considered in terms of their abilities to shed light on human development.

Readings and Films: Films that will be studied may include works by Wes Anderson, Francois Truffaut, Greta Gerwig, Spike Lee and Ang Lee.  Text: Film Studies: An Introduction by Sikov.

Assignments: Two 5-7 page papers; reading and film quizzes; midterm and final exams; group presentation. 

Marquette Core Curriculum: ESSV Courses

2020 Text, Social Systems, and Values (ESSV 1)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Amber Strother

Course Title:  Beyond the Anthropocene: Imagining the Future of Our Planet

Course Description: What does the future of Earth look like? What consequences do the actions of humans have on the world around them? What potential threats to our environment does technology and progress contain? What social inequities can result from drastic changes to our society and environment? This exploration of the genres of science fiction and environmental writings will engage with these questions in order to better understand the ways in which literature considers the impact of developing technologies, changes to the environment, and society on Earth’s future. This course will consider how these works offer alternative visions of how humanity and our society will be impacted by technology in ways that define the future of our environment. By examining the cultural and historical contexts of the works, we will also consider the ways in which narratives about the future and our environment engage with social issues involving gender, race, class, ability, and equality/inequality.

Readings: Our texts may include non-fiction, poetry, short stories, novels, film and television, and comics. Possible texts include Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Paulo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, Alex Garland’s Annihilation, or Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne.

Assignments: Participation in class discussions, reading responses, research project, and creative project.

103 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Cedric Burrows

Course Title: I Am We: Memoirs of the Civil Rights Movement 

Course Description:  This course will focus on narratives written by participants in the Civil Rights Movement (1955-1975). We will study how these participants used their narratives to give voice to those who are often overlooked in mainstream narratives about the era. The course will also investigate how the authors used their accounts to respond to common perceptions (and misperceptions) about the movement. In the process, we will explore the Civil Rights Movement as a grassroots movement occurring in several locations that created a national movement. 

Readings:  Readings will include: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It—JoAnn Gibson Robinson; March Trilogy—John Lewis; Negroes with Guns—Robert F. Williams; The Autobiography of Malcolm X—Malcolm X; Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community—Martin Luther King, Jr.; Revolutionary Suicide—Huey P. Newton 

Assignments:  Reading Responses; Quizzes; Midterm; Final; Class Participation


104 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Rebecca Nowacek

107 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Amber Strother

Course Title:  More Human Than Human: Technology and the Body 

Course Description: What does it mean to be human? How are the lines between human and nonhuman blurred in science fiction? How do current and future technology shape our bodies? In what ways does science fiction focus on social issues to call for action and revolution? This course will engage with these questions to better understand the ways in which science fiction reflects societal fears about the shifting definition of what it means to be human. We will consider how these works offer alternative visions of gender and sexuality, developing technologies, future societies, and images of the posthuman. We will also look at the real-life developments of technologies like genetic engineering, cloning, and artificial intelligence to understand how science and science fiction are influenced by one another. By examining the cultural and historical contexts of the works, we will consider the ways in which science fiction engages with social issues involving gender, race, class, ability, and equality/inequality. 

Readings: Our texts may include non-fiction, poetry, short stories, novels, film and television, and comics. Possible texts include Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, BBC America’s Orphan Black, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, Octavia Butler’s Dawn, or Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca

Assignments: Participation in class discussions, reading responses, research project, and creative project.

2030 Global Literatures (ESSV 1)

103 Online, Professor Sherri Hoffman 

Course Title: Pandemic Literature

Course Description: This course is the study of literature that depicts or responds to a pandemic of disease or illness. These are the stories of zombies, vampires, and otherworldly beings who become representative of the sick, afflicted, and disabled. It explores the response by cultural and social structures, the consequences to the affected population in terms of the economy, its shared resources—both human and material—as well as the physical, emotional, and spiritual impacts to the individual. Students will analyze how the texts engage issues of social structures, competition, protest, culture, gender roles, diversity, and racial and ethnic values, among others. Readings are diverse and will explore how cultural relationships with disease and illness reflects, reframes, resists, or reinforces different beliefs and values. Each text is an invitation to explore aspects of humanity as taxed by a pandemic force. Supporting materials for historical and cultural context include essays, video clips, and book excerpts. 

Readings: Two novels, two novellas, short stories and essays, excerpts of select books, and a documentary are selected for a broad international and intercultural representation. Authors represent a variety of race, gender, and culture. Several of the works will be in translation. Support materials for historical and cultural contexts include essays, video, literary theory, and secondary criticism. Texts include (in full or part): The Iliad, by Homer; Decameron (Boccaccio); I Am Legend (Richard Matheson); Dark Horse, Dark Rider (Katherine Anne Porter); Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez); Zone One (Colson Whitehead); The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai (John Tayman); Pathologies of Power (Paul Farmer); and others.

Assignments: Over the course of the semester, students will participate in group presentations and discussion responses to the readings, write three short critical responses (2-3 pages each), and one critical analysis project (10-12 pages plus additional creative options). Evaluation also includes a written midterm exam and several in-class or group writing exercises.

105 TuTh 2:00-3:15

106 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Paul Gagliardi

Course Title: Social Issues and the Global Musical

Course Description: This course examines musicals from various historical and cultural traditions from across the globe that address issues of equality and inequality. Throughout the semester, we will explore the development of the musical as a dramatic form as well as its generic elements, and how the musical is interpreted by playwrights from different countries. We will also consider how issues of equality and inequality -- including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class -- shape musical texts and, by extension, individual performances. In addition, we will consider how the problematic elements of musicals addressing social issues, including issues of representation, narrative complications, and commercial factors. We will also examine how to address the issues of these texts in our communities, and whether the musicals present viable solutions to social problems. 

Readings: Texts may include Showboat, Threepenny Opera, Kat and the Kings, Oh, What a Lovely War!, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge 

Assignments: Mid-term, Performance Review, Final Exam, Short Writes, Participation 


109 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Paul Gagliardi

Course Title: Social Issues and the Global Musical

Course Description: This course examines musicals from various historical and cultural traditions from across the globe that address issues of equality and inequality. Throughout the semester, we will explore the development of the musical as a dramatic form as well as its generic elements, and how the musical is interpreted by playwrights from different countries. We will also consider how issues of equality and inequality -- including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class -- shape musical texts and, by extension, individual performances. In addition, we will consider how the problematic elements of musicals addressing social issues, including issues of representation, narrative complications, and commercial factors. We will also examine how to address the issues of these texts in our communities, and whether the musicals present viable solutions to social problems. 

Readings: Texts may include Showboat, Threepenny Opera, Kat and the Kings, Oh, What a Lovely War!, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge 

Assignments: Mid-term, Performance Review, Final Exam, Short Writes, Participation  


Writing Courses

3210 Writing Practices and Processes (WRIT)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Jenn Fishman

Course Title:  Writing What We Know, 2001-2021
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Writing Practices and Processes requirement for ENGA and ENGW majors. Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.

Course Description: In this section of English 3210, we will take the 20th anniversary of 9/11 as the occasion for examining how writing shapes what we know, how we know it, and how we share our knowledge with others. In the first half of the semester, we will explore writing and knowing after September 11th, asking how different methods of writing research and different kinds of writing help us address questions about 9/11 and its aftermaths (e.g., how did college students experience 9/11, how did 9/11 become part of college culture as well as everyday life, how does 9/11 inform our lives today). The second half of the semester will be dedicated to hands-on research: Everyone will have the option of contributing to a collaborative class project or pursuing a project of their own (i.e., a scholarly essay, a documentary podcast or video, a teaching guide, a 'zine). Participants in this course should be prepared to read, talk, and write in a supportive environment about difficult topics, including violence, war, racism, terrorism, death, suicide, and loss. 

Readings: Include the textbook Bad Ideas about Writing (online, free), Steal Like an Artist by August Kleon (online or hardcopy, approx. $20), and selections from the Stanford Study of Writing digital archive (online, free). 

Assignments: Regular reading, writing, peer exchanges, and reflection; a multi-stage project developed over 8 weeks.

102 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Jenna Green Azab

Course Title: Multimodal Workshop 

Course Description: This workshop-based course is designed to help you develop your habits and skills as a writer in a digital age. Writing now includes many forms of creation in multiple modes and genres. This course will introduce you to theories of rhetoric and writing, provide opportunities to experiment with new writing processes and practices, and help you create a portfolio of nonfiction writing in multiple genres. 

We will analyze the ways writers compose texts by examining how meaning is constructed across genres through the use of text, images, sounds, and medium. The course is designed around the workshop method to allow frequent chances to write, revise, collaborate, and both give and receive feedback.


  • Ball, Cheryl E., Jennifer Sheppard, and Kristin L. Arola Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. Bedford/St. Martins, 2018.
  • Your own writing and the reading and discussion of your classmates' writing

Assignments: Assignments include brief writing assignments, style exercises and active participation in peer review workshop, and a portfolio including 4 selections of revised, multi genre writing. Portfolios may be individualized to meet student goals, needs, and interests.  

3220 Writing for Workplaces (WRIT)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:15 Professor Elizabeth Angeli

Course Title: Writing for Workplaces
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description:  How will you use your Marquette experience in the workplace and in the community? Are you looking for an internship, a job, or a graduate program? Have you struggled with writing and want to improve? 

This course introduces you to the written communication practices you’ll use off-campus, also known as professional communication. Professional communication is essential to succeeding in workplaces and organizations of all types where effective communicators adapt their writing for a variety of audiences and purposes.

This class, in content and form, models successful professional communication practices so that you become confident in your own skills. You will learn effective strategies to communicate by working individually and collaboratively to complete course projects that are tailored to your personal and career goals.

The course covers the following principle topics:

  • Develop the mindset and habits of an ethical, effective professional communicator
  • Discern how the skills and knowledge you’ve learned at Marquette have prepared you to be a competitive job/graduate school applicant regardless of major
  • Learn workplace research methods, including interviews, survey design, and usability testing
  • Craft your document design skills and learn design software, like InDesign
  • Hone your writing skills by planning, drafting, revising, and editing workplace documents, like proposals, presentations, reports, and instructions

Readings: Johnson-Sheehan, Richard. Technical Communication Today. 6thed., Pearson/Longman, 2018.

Assignments: You will create a professional career portfolio that includes a cover letter or personal statement, résumé, documentation/instructions, reports, and reflections. All projects are individualized to meet students’ individual goals, needs, and interests.


3240 Introduction to Creative Writing (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Tyler Farrell
104 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Tyler Farrell
105 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Tyler Farrell

Course Description: Learn to write creatively in multiple genres. Vladimir Nabokov once wrote, “Literature belongs not to the department of general ideas, but to the department of specific words and images.” In this course, students will learn to read and write short/flash fiction, poetry, and a short drama/screenplay. We will focus on our writing community and place attention on word choice, sound, voice, subject matter, style, and revision in all of our work. All students will read and write weekly while also engaging in workshops to critique and offer/receive guidance. Time and space to practice writing and learn technique is our constant aim. A supportive community of writers will help to cultivate a helpful atmosphere and a final portfolio of work in at least two genres. Go writing! 

102 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Sherri Hoffman

3241 Crafting the Short Story (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Sherri Hoffman

Course Title: Structures of the Short Story

Course Description: This course is the study and application of the craft of the short story, which offers students the opportunity to produce creative writing as well as scholarly interpretative work. Both modes of writing are blended to offer a unique perspective on the form and function of fiction. 

Texts include craft pieces from John Gardner, Ursula Le Guin, Robert Boswell, Tobias Wolff, Raymond Carver, George Orwell, Jamaica Kincaid, and others. Fiction will be selected from a required anthology along with select works by upcoming and newly recognized authors. Readings are a diverse selection of authors as examples of the diversity of both craft and voices. Required texts and supporting materials include short stories, essays, video clips, and book excerpts. 

Each week, students will explore a concept of craft alongside a story that exemplifies or challenges that concept. As well, each story will be examined critically for its representation of social, cultural beliefs and values, economic or global conditions, and environmental circumstances. Students will investigate how the form reflects or resists its formative context and respond in a critical, analytic form. 

Every student will also produce their own creative short story and participate in response to their peers’ work. The workshop format allows for an active discussion of student work. 

Assignments: Over the course of the semester, students will give a class presentation, and write craft exercises, critical and interpretive essays, workshop reviews, and an original short story.


4221 The Rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X (WRIT)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Cedric Burrows

Course Title: Rereading Martin Luther King and Malcolm X
Fulfills English Major Requirement: UCCS Diverse Cultures, American Literataure, and post-1900

Course Description: Contemporary narratives often frame Martin Luther King and Malcolm X as polar opposites of each other, which results in King being viewed as the dreamer of an integrated society while Malcolm X is the nightmare counterpart to that dream. This course, therefore, will explore the rhetoric of King and Malcolm X within their historical contexts. To that end, we will read the original texts and speeches of both men along with learning the historical and cultural worlds that influenced their rhetorics. Also, we will compare the original texts and speeches with contemporary narratives about King and Malcolm X. In the process, students will study how society shapes narratives about historical figures— especially when that figure is part of a marginalized group—and how those narratives influence future generations.


Martin Luther King

  • Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story
  • Why We Can’t Wait
  • Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? 

Malcolm X

  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X 

Assignments: Reading responses, midterm, and research paper 

4250 Creative Writing: Fiction (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence)

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Sherri Hoffman
103 TuTh 8:00-9:15 Professor Sherri Hoffman

***Please note that this section is reserved for students who are not English majors.

Course Title:  Creative Writing: Fiction
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement

Course Description: The Seminar in Fiction is the study of the craft of fiction within the context of the culture in which it is produced. This course investigates how storytelling represents, reflects, reframes, and resists or reinforces cultural beliefs and values. The workshop structure allows for an active discussion of student work. Readings are a diverse selection of authors as examples of craft and the diversity of voice. Supporting craft materials include essays, video clips, and book excerpts, which invite the study of language and story reimagining our world.

Readings: Steering the Craft by Ursula Le Guin; Story Prize Anthology, by Larry Dark, editor; and supportive essays from Raymond Carver, George Orwell, Robert Boswell, Jamaica Kincaid, Steve Almond, Neil Gaiman, and others.

Assignments: Over the course of the semester, students will give a class presentation, and write craft exercises, workshop reviews, three pieces of original fiction, and a craft essay.


102 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor CJ Hribal

**Please note that this section is reserved for English majors.  Section 101 is for nonmajors.  

Course Title: Creative Writing: Fiction
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement

Course Description: This course gives students an opportunity both to exercise their narrative imagination and to harness it productively.  Some student work will be generated by assignment; some will be self-generated.  The emphasis in both cases will be on learning craft. The class will be organized as a workshop, with lectures as necessary.  Students will learn the mechanics of writing fiction by reading, discussing, and analyzing fiction from a technical, practitioner’s perspective, and by writing it themselves. Students will learn to describe and interpret fiction’s various styles, techniques, and effects through annotations and writing exercises focused on the specifics of craft: characterization, setting, voice, narrative structure, etc. Through writing fully-developed stories, and through workshopping and revising and reflecting on those stories, students will both refine and integrate those techniques while furthering their understanding of the creative process.

Readings: On Writing Short Stories (Oxford, 2nd edition), Tom Bailey, ed. + student work generated during the semester.

Assignments:  In addition to writing several exercises (2-4 pages each) covering the basics of craft, students will write at least one short story, approximately 8-15 pages.  They will also write three short annotations examining some aspect of narrative craft on stories from On Writing Short Stories.  A portfolio (15-20 pages) of their best creative work will be due at the end of the semester. 


4260 Creative Writing: Poetry (WRIT)

101 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Tyler Farrell

Course Title: Creative Writing: Poetry

Course Description: Modeled on Jack Spicer’s Poetry as Magic Workshop, this creative writing course helps students discover magic in language. The goals are two-fold: 1. Introduce writers to a wide range of contemporary poets and poetry for discussion and 2. Contemplate works to inform and encourage exploration in (y)our own poetry. This workshop class will place specific poetic attention on word choice, sound, voice, subject matter, and style for writing poems and ways to understand the enlightening power of poetry. All students will read and write weekly while also engaging in workshops to critique and offer guidance. Time and space to practice writing poetry is our constant aim. A supportive community of writers will help to cultivate a helpful atmosphere and a final portfolio of work. Go poetry! 


4954 Seminar in Creative Writing (WRIT)

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor CJ Hribal

Course Title:  Seminar in Writing: Fiction: Telling the Truth By Making Stuff Up

Course Description: “Tragedy is when I cut my finger.  Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” So says that great theorist of narrative craft, the filmmaker Mel Brooks.  Of course, most of life (and most of the fiction that tries to reflect the complexity of life) falls all along the spectrum between (and including) those two poles.  Life is both tragic and comic. Or as the Yiddish proverb has it, “Man plans.  God laughs.”

This seminar will give students an opportunity to develop narratives that reflect that complexity. To paraphrase the Czech writer Milan Kundera, most people would rather believe a simple lie than a complex truth. This is a course in learning how to write complex truths by making stuff up. In this seminar, which will be run as a workshop, students will develop proficiency with those techniques (many of which they first encountered in ENGL 4250) that will help them do that. They’ll also add additional techniques to their repertoire, examine narratives from technical (as well as critical) viewpoints and develop fluency in discussing fiction writing from the practitioner’s viewpoint, with the ultimate goal of writing better prose and better narratives.

Readings:  The Story Behind The Story, Barrett and Turchi, eds. + student work

Assignments: In addition to a few writing exercises, students will produce 20-25 pages of prose fiction by semester’s end (and will do significant revision of those pages.) They will also write and present a number of brief craft-oriented responses to the assigned readings and to the work of their peers. 

4986 Writing Internship

The Writing Internship Course, English 4986, enables both English Literature majors and minors and Writing-Intensive majors and minors to earn three hours of academic credit (“S” or “U”) for "real-world” writing experience. Such internships may be paid or unpaid. For more information, visit our internships page.


Language Courses

4140 Sociolinguistics (Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Steve Hartman Keiser
102 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Steve Hartman Keiser

Course Title: Sociolinguistics

Course Description:  Every day, simply by speaking, we reconstruct the world and our place in it: our age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, place of origin, and more. Speaking is an act of identity. Language—our voice—is perhaps the most fundamental way we identify ourselves to each other and the world. (And by “speaking” we must include visual/gestural languages like ASL.) This course will consider how language variation is correlated with social variation, and it will engage social justice by critiquing the ways that linguistic discrimination is often a stand-in for racism, classism, and sexism.

Readings: Introducing Sociolinguistics and articles.

Assignments:  Discussions, reflections, collection and analysis of conversational language data, research and proposal for public awareness of language and justice

This course is a Discovery Tier course (Basic Needs and Justice) and an ESSV 2 course for the Marquette Common Core. 

Upper Division Literature Courses

3000 Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies (WRIT)

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title:  Utopia in America

Course Description: 2020 marks the 505th anniversary of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, which inaugurated a genre of political and social speculation that continues to structure our imagination of what is possible. This course serves as an entry point for advanced study in the English discipline, using depictions of political utopias from antiquity to the present as a way to explore how both literature and literary criticism do their work. We will study utopia in canonical historical literature, in contemporary pop culture, and in the presidential election, as well as utopian critical theory from major thinkers like Fredric Jameson, Donna Haraway, Margaret Atwood, and Ursula K. Le Guin — but the major task before us will be exploring the role utopian, quasi-utopian, dystopian, and downright anti-utopian figurations have played in the work of major authors of the 20th century, among them Gabriel García Márquez, Vladimir Nabokov, Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison, Octavia E. Butler, and Philip K. Dick.

Assignments: Class participation, including individual and group presentations; discussion posts; three papers. Students will also construct their own utopian manifesto.

3740 Film Studies (Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries)

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Jodi Melamed
102 MW 5:00-6:15 Professor Jodi Melamed

Course Title:  Refugee Experiences and Global Capitalism in 21st Century Film
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900

Course Description: One of the most important dynamics structuring our contemporary world system is the contradiction between the movement of capital and the movement of people. Finance capital itself is borderless, but in order for it to turn over and increase, finance capital needs to keep borders alive. Even as global connectedness increases exponentially in some areas (information, technology, trade), national borders are highly securitized and policed. While so-called “global citizens” of economic means make the entire world their home, people who are dispossessed, migrants, refugees and many others face new dangers. If the novel helped people to imagine themselves as part of nations and empires in the 19th and 20th centuries, today in the 21st century, we think the globe through film. Film, unlike English language texts, crosses class, language and national boundaries, symbolizing a new transnational commons, perhaps. In this course, we will examine 21st century films that provide tools for honing our critical thinking about migration, refugee experiences, borders, and global capitalism. In doing so, we will learn how to analyze films in a rigorous manner and to write convincing arguments about films in all their aesthetic, narrative and cultural political complexity.

Readings/Films: Ed Sikov, Film Studies: An Introduction; possible films include Stephanie Black, Life and Debt, Charles Ferguson, Inside Job, Neill Blomkamp, District 9, and Adam McKay, The Big Short.

Assignments: Reading, participation, attendance, quizzes, short writes, group presentation: scene analysis, film technique analysis, literary analysis essay, final research essay, final exam 


3860 Russian Novel and the Search for Meaning (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Expanding our Horizons)

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Leah Flack

Course Title: The Russian Novel and the Search for Meaning
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900

Course Description: This course will read three of the greatest novels ever written: The Brothers Karamazov (by Fyodor Dostoevsky), Anna Karenina (by Leo Tolstoy), and The Master and Margarita (by Mikhail Bulgakov). These novels are universally admired because they make enormous and unusual promises to readers: if you read these novels thoughtfully, you will not only discover the meaning of life, but you will have an opportunity to reflect on how we make sense of ourselves, others, and life's big unanswered questions: what does it mean to live a good life? why must human beings suffer? how can we maintain faith in a world where terrible things happen to good people? why are we here, and what are our obligations to one another? And finally, what role might literature play in helping us to find meaning? A word of caution: these novels are also famous for being long, but they are worth it, and we will help each other arrive safely to the ends of all of them, richer for the experience. 

3762 Disability and Literature (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Jason Farr

Course Title:  Disability and Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  American Literature, post-1900

Course Description: This class will examine the writing and representation of disabled people in fiction from various time periods, regions, and genres. In our reading of disability narratives, we will contemplate questions of ethics and social justice as they relate to the lived experience of disability. Students will be asked to think and write critically about accessibility, social justice, and intersectionality, among other disability-oriented themes. 

4303 Studies in Medieval Imagination (WRIT)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Elizaveta Strakhov

Course Title: Castles in the Clouds: Studies in the Medieval Imagination
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Pre-1700 requirement

Course Description: The origin of the very discipline we now call “English”, in its emphasis on “close reading” and “critical thinking”, lies with medieval habits of reading events in the Bible allegorically for the figurative meaning behind the literal words on the page. As they transferred these habits of reading to other types of literature, medieval readers talked about cutting open the surface skin of the text to get at its entrails, or washing off the dung to get at the gold hidden within. Then as now, medieval bookworms sought to get “into” the text, to uncover the hidden truths that lay just below its surface. This course will explore medieval allegorical texts and their buried mysteries. Starting with perhaps the most famous medieval allegory of all, Dante’s Inferno, we will delve deeply into works by Dante’s immediate successor in England, Geoffrey Chaucer, before continuing on to some of the weirder mystical and philosophical meditations of the medieval period, ranging on topics as diverse as war, love, sex, and, of course, death and the afterlife. In the process, as we learn to read like medieval readers, we just might find our own modern reading practices enriched and illuminated by practices of a past that is not quite as dusty as it may seem.

Readings:  Included but not limited to:  Dante’s Inferno, Chaucer, William Langland’s Piers Plowman, and the Romance of the Rose 

4331 Shakespeare (WRIT)

101 Online Professor Al Rivero
102 Online Professor Al Rivero

Course Title: Shakespeare’s Major Plays
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Pre-1700, Shakespeare

Course Description: We will read such representative plays as Hamlet, The Tempest, and King Lear, drawn from the four major genres: tragedy, history, romance, and comedy. Our class discussions will focus on the plays, their language, themes and dramatic techniques.

Readings: William Shakespeare, The Norton Shakespeare, Essential Plays/The Sonnets (Norton)

Assignments: One oral presentation; one researched term paper (ca. 10pp.); midterm examination; comprehensive final examination; class participation; and regular attendance.


4717 Comics and Graphic Narrative (Discovery Tier - Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence)

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title:  Watchmen
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900, American Literature

Course Description: This course surveys the history, reception, and artistic form of comics and graphic narrative in the United States, with primary exploration of a single comic miniseries that has had a massive influence on the comics industry and on the way we think about superheroes: Alan Moore and David Gibbons’s Watchmen (1986-1987). This semester ENGLISH 4717 will function almost like a single-novel “Text in Context” course; after grounding ourselves in the pre-1980s history of American superhero comics over the first few weeks of the course, we will focusing almost exclusively on Watchmen and its long afterlife in prequel comics, sequel comics, parody comics, homages, critiques, film adaptations, and, most recently, the critically acclaimed HBO sequel series (2019-2020). What has made Watchmen so beloved, so controversial, and so very influential on the larger superhero-industrial-entertainment complex? Why has DC Comics returned to Watchmen again and again, even as one of its original creators has distanced himself further and further from the work? What have different creators done, or tried to do, with the complex but self-contained narrative framework originally constructed by Moore and Gibbons? With superheroes and superhero media more globally hegemonic than ever before, what might Watchmen still have to say to us today?

Assignments: Class participation, including individual and group presentations; weekly reading journal; discussion posts; several out-of-class film screenings; one long seminar paper, several shorter papers, or creative/curational project


4734 The Epic (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Expanding Our Horizons)

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor John Curran

Course Title:  The Epic
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Pre-1700

Course Description: Epic poetry is one of the oldest literary genres, and in the western literary tradition it has always been intimately associated with exploring the unknown - whether far-off oceans, the edges of the theological universe, or the dark territory of the self.  Surveys four of the most important literary epics in the western tradition: Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Milton's Paradise Lost and Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh. All four document how exploring distant realms always, at the end of the day, means exploring yourself. These epics ask their heroes where they came from and where they're going as ways of forcing them to understand who they are.


102 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Jacob Riyeff

Course Description: Though often thought of as elite and hard to understand, epic poems drive powerfully toward the heart of the human condition with sustained attention and, when done well, immersive artistic complexity. They are fraught with paradoxes. Sometimes seen as archetypal tales tapping into patterns of cosmic importance for early societies, they are also seen as the cultural tools of imperialists. Though they find their origins in the pre-literate oral past of heroes, gods, and goddesses, they also pass through the centuries as finely-wrought major achievements of high literary culture. Epics tap into audiences' emotional responses to particular characters even as they set up worlds so expansive that they highlight the impersonal forces in all our lives.

In this class, we will read the epics Gilgamesh, The Iliad, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and The Mahabharata, along with samplings of others, to fill in the great vistas opened up by the genre. The “big” human questions concerning suffering, mortality, the individual’s relationships and obligations to society, and humanity’s relation to the divine will be our primary concerns as we track how the “epic” form has changed and remained constant over thousands of years. 

4736 Fiction (Discovery Tier - Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence)

102 TuTh 2:00-3:15pm Professor Amber Strother
103 TuTh 3:30-4:45pm Professor Amber Strother

Course Title: Echoes of the Lost Generation: Literature of Memory and War
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, American Literature

Course Description: What are the cultural costs of war? How has war impacted America in the 20th and 21st centuries? How has literature tried to grapple with the memories of war, with the individual costs of war, and with the ways in which various American wars have permanently shaped our society? This course will engage with these questions in an attempt to better understand the ways in which literature considers the impact of war on the individual, on communities, and on American culture. We will begin with writers from the Lost Generation whose works were shaped by the worldwide impact of the first world war before considering the ways in which future generations depict their experiences with war by focusing on World War II, the Vietnam War, and the continuing involvement of America in various wars into the 21st century. By examining the cultural and historical contexts of these works, we will also consider the ways in which narratives about war engage with issues of war, trauma, and memory and examine the ways in which authors create characters who are dealing with the lifelong consequences of war.

Readings: Our texts may include non-fiction, poetry, short stories, novels, film and television, podcasts, and comics.  Possible texts include William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time, Djuna Barnes' Nightwood, Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, Art Spiegelman's Maus, N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn, Tim O'Brien's In the Lake of the Woods, and Gimlet Media's Homecoming.

Assignments: Participation in class discussions, reading responses, research project, and creative project.


4755 Law and Literature (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Melissa Ganz

Course Title: Crime and Punishment in English Fiction
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900 requirement

Course Description:  From thieves and murderers to bigamists and terrorists, criminals have long figured prominently in English fiction.  In this course, we consider the centrality of crime and punishment to the novel tradition, while exploring the ways in which novels can help us understand the causes and consequences of illicit acts.  We pay particular attention to the implications of criminality for literary form, while sampling recurring debates about the effects of reading and writing about vice.  Along the way, we consider topics including the value and limits of transgression; the origins of the human capacity for evil; the role of gender, class, and race in representations of criminality; and the relationship between law and literature. 

Readings: Novels and stories by authors such as Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad, and Margaret Atwood. 

Assignments:  Two essays; a reading journal (“crime log”); a final exam; lively participation; short writing and other assignments.

**Note:  This course satisfies the 1700-1900 literary history requirement for English majors and counts toward the Basic Needs and Justice Discovery Theme as well as the Writing-Intensive requirement of the Marquette Core Curriculum.  In addition it counts toward the minor in Law and Society.


4761 Literature and Medicine (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Brittany Pladek

Course Title: Literature and Medicine
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900 requirement

Course Description: This course introduces students to key concepts in the expansive and growing interdisciplinary field of Literature and Medicine, with a particular focus on Narrative Medicine and the genre of the "illness story." Through a study of medical narratives in multiple genres that span the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries, we will explore these questions (among others): What forms do we choose to relate our tales of sickness - individually and culturally? What are the differences between how doctors, patients, family, and other witnesses tell the story of an illness? How does the way that we choose metaphors for different maladies shape how we think about them? How do literary forms like novellas, plays, poems, and creative nonfiction give us different perspectives on the illness stories they tell? What can illness stories tell us about embodiment? How do factors like gender, race, and class affect the way illness stories are told?

Assignments: Several papers and active, informed participation.

4810 Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Tosin Gbogi

Course Title:  Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Multicultural American Literature, UCCS Diverse Cultures, post-1900

Course Description: Central to constructions of race and ethnicity are vexed questions of identity that pivot on difference, differentiation, sameness, and similarity. Although historically and socially constituted—and performatively produced in specific contexts—racial and ethnic identities are nevertheless “real” for those who “embody” them. Thus, the expression, mocking, or the suppression of these identities produce not only physical violent encounters but also symbolically oriented ones (such as microaggressions) that are a feature of everyday life. 

Focusing on selected literary texts produced by authors from a broad range of multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic, and multinational  backgrounds (e.g. Native American, African American, European American, Caribbean American, Continental African (diasporic), and Arab American), we will explore in this course how issues of race and ethnicity within the U.S. intersect with racialization/racism, ethnicization/ethnocentrism, civil rights, colonialism/neocolonialism, war, genocide, and trauma, migration/immigration, language discrimination, religious discrimination, gender and sexuality, gentrification, and market/imperial globalism. Apart from individual assignments, we will work in groups, paying particular attention in the process to how literary production addresses racial and ethnic problems in selected sites within the U.S.  

Readings: May include Alice Walker’s The Color Purple or Meridian; Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman; Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Islands of Decolonial Love; Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents; and NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names. May also include selected poems from Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric; Niyi Osundare’s City Without People: The Katrina Poems; and Suheir Hammad’s Born Palestinian, Born Black.

Assignments: Weekly reading responses, two critical essays, one site-specific group project, engaging class participation, and final exam paper.   

4825 Native American Literature (WRIT, ESSV 2, Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Samantha Majhor

Course Title: Native American Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, Multicultural American Literature and UCCS Diverse Cultures

Course Description: This course introduces students to a variety of texts by Native American writers and makers. We will develop a sense of context and continuation in Native American literature by looking at both traditional and non-traditional texts across a span of centuries, but our focus will be on contemporary Native writing from the late 20th and early 21st century. This course takes a particular interest in major themes in Native writing: sovereignty, gender, human-nonhuman relationships, Indian law, and transnational indigeneity.

Readings: Our texts will include novels by Louise Erdrich, Tommy Orange, Linda Hogan along with a selection of poems, short stories, and objects.

4997 Capstone -- Check out a video preview of this course here!

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Sarah Wadsworth

Course Title: Capstone: The Afterlives of Texts
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Capstone, post-1900


Course Description: This capstone course explores the “lives” of texts as they journey through decades and across continents to be adapted and assimilated by forms, media, and reading communities beyond what their authors could have anticipated. At the center of the course are selected works of Henry James and Virginia Woolf—two writers who redefined the novel as an art form in the early twentieth century by exploring the nature and representation of consciousness itself. Paired with them are contemporary writers whose creative work is in direct conversation with theirs. Along the way, we will examine the complex relationships among textuality, temporality, and theories and practices of reading while exploring the boundaries between real life, life-writing, storytelling, and the evolving project of literary realism.

As a capstone course, English 4997 is designed to enable each student to integrate knowledge and skills from previous experiences and coursework, both within the major and throughout the undergraduate curriculum; complete a substantial independent project involving sustained research, critical thinking, reflection, originality, and writing; and help to bridge the transition between college and the beginning of a career by extending and synthesizing skills and knowledge developed over the duration of the undergraduate years. The focus of this seminar on life journeys, temporality, and “afterlives” will afford each student the opportunity to engage in critical inquiry and reflection to meet these objectives.

Readings: Readings will likely include Michael Cunningham, The Hours; Henry James, selected essays and short fiction; Gregory Blake Smith, The Maze at Windermere; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway and selected essays and short fiction; and film adaptations of James’s novels, especially The Wings of the Dove.  

Assignments: Several short assignments and informal presentations; lively in-class participation; and a substantial, sustained capstone project shaped around individual student interests and goals.   

Graduate Seminars

6215 16th and 17th Century Literature

MW 9:00-10:15 Professor John Curran

Course Title: Transformations in Renaissance Humanism

Course Description: If there was a "Renaissance" in and around the sixteenth century, it had much to do, for intellectuals then and for students of the period since, with humanism. In this course we will discover some of the ways humanism, in a strictly defined but also in a much wider sense of the concept, changed and was changed by English writers. Taken strictly, humanism refers to the new engagement with the Classics, especially in philological, educational, philosophical, and artistic spheres; broadly, "humanism" connotes much what it does today: the positing of the centrality and potentiality of the human. We will ask how humanism animated and troubled the work of Erasmus, More, Marlowe, Sidney, and Jonson.


6600 Studies in American Literature From the Beginning to 1900

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Sarah Wadsworth

Course Title:  Studies in American Literature From the Beginning to 1900: Writing in the 1850s

Course Description: Both a period course and a methods course, this seminar introduces students to the History of the Book as a field of study and scholarly approach while focusing on U.S. literature during the cultural watershed of the 1850s. Tracing the emergence of modern authorship and publishing on a national scale, we will examine the overlapping trajectories of popular and belletristic writing at the height of the American Renaissance—a period of remarkable literary achievement punctuated by many “firsts.” Course readings will be anchored by texts that have come to form the foundation of both traditional and revisionist literary canons and include the first national “bestsellers,” the first novel by a Native American writer, one of the first African American novels, a sampling of the era’s periodicals, popular verse of the Fireside Poets, and early works of two proto-modernist U.S. poets: Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Along the way, we will pay attention to the political and cultural climate of the decade following the Seneca Falls Convention (first women’s rights convention) and falling between the U.S.–Mexican War (Intervención Estadounidense en México) and the U.S. Civil War, as we examine the shifting dynamics of the maturing literary marketplace and the rich cultural record of the mid-nineteenth century.

Readings: William Wells Brown, Clotel; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno; John Rollin Ridge, The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Henry David Thoreau, Walden; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, and the earliest poems of Emily Dickinson.

Assignments: A few short assignments; several presentations; lively participation; a substantial seminar paper shaped around individual student interests; class conference / conference panel.  

6965 Practicum in Teaching Writing

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Lilly Campbell

Course Title: Practicum in Teaching Writing

Course Description:  Prepares doctoral students to teach in the Foundations in Rhetoric program. Students discuss pedagogical theory and practice, are paired with a faculty mentor, and design their own syllabi for the spring term.