Courses Offered (Fall 2021)

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.

Introduction to Marquette Core Curriculum

2011 Books That Matter WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory)

TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Brittany Pladek
TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Brittany Pladek

Course Title: Books That Matter: Outside History 

Course Description: To read is to travel to “a place where you found you were human” (Eavan Boland, “Outside History”). Every book admits us to a new world, a world from whose perspective we can see our own more clearly. Literature is a place “outside history” where we talk to ourselves about the things that matter most. ENGL 2011 is an invitation to that conversation.  

In this course, we’ll read a series of novels and poems that transport us to unfamiliar places—from distant ice planets to earth’s own past. As we read, we’ll talk about how and why fiction, itself an imaginary realm, helps us navigate (or at least deal with) reality. The premise of this course is that learning to read complex, important literature in an intelligent, effective way is a useful and even inspiring activity. ENGL 2011 will help students become curious, empowered, engaged readers and to find their own voices in an ongoing conversation with books. We will explore literature as a crucial form of cultural memory, and we will actively consider the enduring value literature and reading hold for us in the twenty-first century. This course will invite students to become writers inspired by and engaged with the texts they read in thoughtful, original ways.   

Readings: Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness; Thomas King, Green Grass, Running Water; Miriam Toews, Women Talking. Selected poems may include work by Patricia Smith, Ocean Vuong, John Keats, Garous Abdolmalekian, Rainer Maria Rilke, Yanyi, and Elizabeth Bishop. 

Assignments: Several short creative assignments; a reading journal; and lively participation. 

Marquette Core Curriculum: ESSV Courses

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

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Rebecca Nowacek

Course Title: Analyzing American Culture through the American Musical

Course Description: The genre of the American musical is nearly a century old and has always offered a fascinating lens on changing attitudes towards gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and what it means to be American.  This course will focus on at least four musicals from different historical eras, including Oklahoma! (1943), Cabaret (1966), and Hamilton (2015).  We’ll learn about how those musicals responded to their historical moments (channeling and sometimes challenging beliefs of the time) and discuss how subsequent productions sometimes changed substantially in new historical moments.  We’ll be thinking about how issues of gender and sexuality and race and ethnicity and what it means to be American get represented in the very American genre of the musical.  In short, our main activities will be close reading and critical analysis: the staples of most English courses. 

This is not a course that requires that you arrive with any particular knowledge about musicals or even be a big fan of musicals.  I will confess that (no surprise) I do love musicals—and if you actively dislike musicals this course may well give you a semester-long headache.  Nevertheless, our focus will be on analyzing a handful of shows closely and critically, so what matters most is that you develop the knowledge and the ability to analyze musicals in their historical and cultural contexts. 

2030 Global Literatures (ESSV 1)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Robert Bruss 

Course Title: Global Literatures: Zombies!

Course Description: Amid a global pandemic, this course examines one of the most common tropes of pandemic media: zombies! We will study zombies in literature, film, and television from around the world to understand how media influences the way we understand ourselves and the world around us. This class is global not only because zombies are a global phenomenon, but also because the zombie genre encourages us to adopt a more global perspective. We will see how zombies help us confront a range of collective fears, help us explore our sense of community and otherness, and even help us develop our sense of empathy and understanding others. Although we will be focusing on the zombie genre, this class is intended to equip you with methods, questions, and terminology that should help you to understand how texts respond to their particular time and place, to recognize how genres evolve and adapt, and to appreciate the significance of popular culture. Don’t become part of the horde of mindless consumers; take this class! 

Writing Courses

3210 Writing Practices and Processes (WRIT)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Jenn Fishman
102 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Jenn Fishman

Course Title: College Writing Writ Large
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Writing Practices and Processes requirement for ENGA and ENGW majors. Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.

Course DescriptionThis course invites students, as writers, to explore a series of big questions, including: How does writing shape what we know and how we know it? How do we shape writing, both individually and together? What makes us—or anyone—good writers? Also, how and why do our ideas about good writing change over time?

To address these questions, we'll start the semester with a comparative look at college writing in the 2020s and 20 years ago. Both now and then, college writing took place in relation to historic events, namely the coronavirus pandemic and 9/11. Keeping context in mind, we'll test our own and others' ideas about what college writing really is and what it has been over time. Spoiler alert: While "college writing" and academic writing can seem like synonyms, class readings and the hands-on research we will complete before midterms will suggest otherwise.

The second half of the course belongs to you, the students who enroll. Through projects you design, pitch, and carry out, you will demonstrate what college writing is and what it—and college writers—can do. Past projects include blogs, podcasts, and webtexts; popular and academic essays written for real audiences; children's books, photo essays, social media campaigns, and more. Participants in this course should be ready to be brave, work hard, and participate in a community of writers that will read, talk, and write about difficult subjects, including violence, war, racism, and loss. 

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

Assignments: Regular reading, writing, and peer exchanges via D2L, Perusall, and video conferencing; a multi-stage project involving inquiry and regular reflection as well as a final, sharable piece of writing or portfolio of writings.  

3222 Writing for Health and Medicine (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Elizabeth Angeli
102 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Elizabeth Angeli

Course Title: Writing for Health and Medicine

Course Description: What do health sciences, nursing, biomedical sciences, and humanities majors have in common? You are all writers, both here at Marquette and in your future workplaces, and you all can have vibrant careers in healthcare. 

If you’re studying to be a healthcare provider or you’re a non-science major who wants to make a difference in healthcare, this class is for you. 

Written communication is the lifeforce of the healthcare workplace, and healthcare providers aren’t the only people who write in this workplace. Writing connects providers, patients, and key stakeholders together across time and space, and these key stakeholders include medical writers, educators, social workers, medical examiners, attorneys, firefighters, and law enforcement officials. If you’re on one of those career paths, this class is for you, too. 

Ultimately, written communication is an essential part of providing high quality patient care, and writing involves much more than typing up a patient healthcare record. Decision making, emotional literacy, and training informs patient-provider-stakeholder interactions. Put another way, how healthcare providers and stakeholders “show up” mentally and emotionally to a patient’s room, on scene, or in a meeting impacts decisions made, care provided, and records written. 

To that end, in this class, you will:

  1. Develop the habits of mind that lead to effective written communication, including active listening, reflection, sensory and situational awareness, collaboration, inquiry, curiosity, ethics, and discernment
  2. Learn and practice the rhetorical skills that underlie effective healthcare communication
  3. Research how writing is used in your future workplace
  4. Craft your own “Writing Philosophy” that illustrates how you will communicate in the healthcare field 

Readings: Include pieces written by rhetoricians of health and medicine (they’re experts in how language facilities action in healthcare) and articles students bring to class discussion 

Assignments: Tailored to students’ professional and personal goals, assignments include analyses of healthcare documents, a document lifecycle report, a redesign of patient education documents, class presentation about students’ healthcare fields of interest, and the “Writing Philosophy.” 

103 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Lilly Campbell

Course Title: Writing for Health and Medicine

Course Description: While most would agree that healthcare is a basic need and right, simply providing access to healthcare does not guarantee equitable treatment for populations with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Language and communication are frequently at the heart of discrepancies in healthcare – whether it be a condescending doctor who overlooks a female patient’s pain symptoms or a well-meaning public health professional who cannot account for the ways her cultural biases interfere with her care of patients. By focusing on writing in health and medicine, this course encourages both future health professionals and future communication professionals to critically reflect on the importance of their language choices in shaping how various populations can access and use healthcare.

Learning goals include:

  • Identifying key characteristics of medical rhetoric and writing in the health sciences
  • Understanding how different disciplines (and future professions) interface with health science writing
  • Leveraging rhetorical tools to understand how meaning is constructed in the health sciences and to engage in health science writing practices
  • Recognizing the importance of critical reflection as both future health science writers as well as users of medical and scientific writing.

If you are a humanities student interested in technical communication in the health industry, this course will provide an opportunity to explore and better understand the field. If you are a science student thinking about a career in the health sciences or graduate school, this class will help you hone your public and technical communication skills. **No scientific background required.**  

Assignments: Medical Narrative, Rhetorical Analysis of Scholarly Articles, Health Education Materials, Final Genre Analysis and Production Project. The final project is open-ended to meet a variety of goals, needs, and interests.

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

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Tyler Farrell
104 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Tyler Farrell

Course Title: Introduction to Creative Writing

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 Online Professor Elisa Karbin
103 Online Professor Elisa Karbin

Course Title: Introduction to Creative Writing 

Course Description: A multi-genre introduction to the craft of creative writing this course is designed to acquaint students with the complexities of creative writing as a craft across the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Through analysis of each genre’s representative works, we’ll explore literary conventions and cut our teeth as critical readers and writers, engaging in the ongoing practice of writing our own texts across a variety of literary forms.  

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

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title: Crafting the Short Story

Course Description: This section of “Crafting the Short Story” blends together literary study and the creative writing workshop to produce what I hope will be a singular and formative intellectual experience for its students. The first segment of the course is built around the approach to the short story outlined by Tom Bailey’s anthology On Writing Short Stories (2nd edition), which combines a vibrant anthology of twentieth-century short stories with writerly reflections on the mechanics of short story construction and the craft of creative short story composition. After that, students in this class will write, workshop, and revise their own short stories. Students will share their stories with me and their peers in a supportive workshop environment, receive both due praise and constructive critical feedback, and then craft revisions of their stories that they feel proud of for their final portfolio. Along the way we will also be looking at, and writing, flash fictions (very short stories of under 500 words).

Readings: short stories; essays on writerly craft (all readings provided via D2L)

Assignments: enthusiastic class discussion; thoughtful and generous workshop participation; two short stories (approximately 8-15 pages); flash fictions; final portfolio


102 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Megan Paonessa
104 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Megan Paonessa

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 write their own short story as well as study the form and function of fiction. Each week, students will explore a concept of craft alongside a story that exemplifies or challenges the shape and techniques of craft. Each story will be examined critically for its form as well as its representation of social, cultural beliefs and values, economic or global conditions, and environmental circumstances. Students will investigate how the form supports the expression of story within its formative context. Every student will produce their own creative short stories and participate in response to their peers’ work in a workshop format, which allows for an active discussion of student work.

Readings: Steering the Craft by Ursula Le Guin; Story Prize Anthology, by Larry Dark, editor; and supportive essays from other authors and craft sources.

Assignments: Students will participate in leading class discussions and write craft exercises, a critical craft essay, workshop reviews, and several original short stories in different forms. 

4222 Feminist Rhetorics (WRIT, ESSV2)

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Lilly Campbell

Course Title: Feminist Rhetorics

Course Description: Women (and men) have long been using language to make sense of a woman’s place in the world. Rhetoric—or the art of persuasion—has been a resource for spurring movements devoted to women’s advancement in society and negotiating what it means to treat women as equals to men. This class will take feminist rhetorics as its topic of study, using women’s writing throughout history as a means for understanding a variety of rhetorical theories and strategies. We’ll proceed chronologically, beginning with ancient writing and ancient rhetorical theory and working our way up to contemporary texts and frameworks. As we develop strategies for recognizing persuasion at work in feminist writing, we’ll also have our sights set on the big questions:

  • How does feminist communication change in relation to context and audience?
  • What connections do we see between historical and contemporary feminist rhetorics? How might we explain these consistencies and disconnects across time?
  • How do these differing perspectives align with your own values and worldviews?

Readings: Ritchie, Joy, and Kate Ronald, eds. Available Means: An Anthology of Women's Rhetoric(s). University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001.

Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Waveland Press, 2011.

Assignments: Informal reading responses, Midterm, In-class debate, and Rhetorical Analysis Paper

4223 The Rhetoric of Black Protest (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Cedric Burrows

Course Title: Theorizing the Rhetoric of the Antilynching, Black Power, and Black Lives Matter Movements

Course Description: This course will examine the rhetorical strategies African Americans have used to fight for their civil and human rights in the United States. We will pay particular attention to three historical movements that have either received renewed attention in society (Anti-Lynching Movement and the Black Power Movement) and one contemporary movement (Black Lives Matter). To help ground our discussion, we will examine the movements with the following questions: 1) What historical factors led to the development of the particular social movement? 2) What rhetorical devices did African Americans use to respond to the historical moment? 3) How did the development of these rhetorical devices connect to the next social movement related to Black protest? These questions will help us to review the rhetorical strategies in each social movement and will culminate into students writing a research paper theorizing the rhetorical strategies of African American protest.

Readings: Some of the authors we will read include Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Walter White, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and Sybrina Fulton, and Alicia Garza.

Assignments: Three essays and one seminar paper 

4250 Creative Writing: Fiction (WRIT) (NOTE: due to high demand, this course will not count for the Discovery Tier for the 2021-2022 academic year).

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor CJ Hribal

Course Title: Creative Writing: Fiction

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 plus a final reflective paper will be due at the end of the semester.


102 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Megan Paonessa

Course Title: Creative Writing: Fiction

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. Every student will produce their own creative stories. Part of the class will be managed in a  workshop format, which allows for an active discussion of student work.

ReadingsMaking Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern; The Best American Short Stories (2019), edited by Anthony Doerr.

Assignments: Students will participate in leading class discussions and write craft exercises, a critical craft essay, workshop reviews, several original short stories in different forms. A final portfolio due at the end of the semester will be a representation of each student’s best work.

4260 Creative Writing: Poetry (WRIT)

101 MWF MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Angela Sorby

Course Title: Creative Writing: Poetry

Course Description: This course introduces writers to the field of contemporary poetry and encourages them to find their voices within it.  Students will read widely in addition to writing new poems every week.  We will explore a range of sub-genres from documentary verse to formalism to spoken word.  Most of our class sessions will follow the Iowa Workshop model, which involves peer feedback within the context of a deliberately supportive community. This course will be a hybrid course. 


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. A reflective paper will be included in a portfolio of the student’s best work from the semester.

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

4110 Exploring the English Language (Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Steve Hartman Keiser

Course Title: Exploring the English Language

Course Description: The aim of this course is to wow you with the wonder of language:  its complexity, systematicity, and diversity.  We will take a scientific approach to the investigation of language, that is, we will collect data, analyze it, and consider testable hypotheses to account for it.  In the process you will evaluate your beliefs and attitudes about language and human beings as language speakers.

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Describe the features of human language that differentiate it from animal communication. (CMI outcome)
  2. Collect and transcribe language data from natural conversation.
  3. Analyze the structure of sounds, words, and sentences in English by describing the relationships between the units that compose them. (CMI outcome)
  4. Describe the systematic, rule-governed features of several important language varieties in the US, including ASL and African American English (CMI outcome)
  5. Critically evaluate statements and attitudes—including your own—about language and human beings as language speakers.

4140 Sociolinguistics (Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Steve Hartman Keiser

Course Title: Sociolinguistics: Language in the City

Course Description: Milwaukee”, “Gathering place by the water”, “The German Athens of America”, “Mawaukee”, “Cream City”—the many names reflect a few of the many cultures that have made this corner of the world their home. We will explore the languages of our city as a key component of its social geography, including the history and current status of

  • Native American languages such as Ojibwe, Ho Chunk, and Oneida
  • Early immigrant languages such as German, Italian, and Polish
  • Recent immigrant languages such as Spanish, Hmong, and Arabic
  • Anglo- and African-American English
  • Deaf culture and ASL
  • Legislation related to language use

Upper Division Literature Courses

3000 Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies (WRIT)

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Amy Blair
102 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Amy Blair

Course Title: Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies
ENGL 3000 fulfills the foundation course requirement in the major sequence for ENGA, ENGL, and ENGW majors.

Course Description: This course serves as an entry point to advanced study in the discipline of English literature. We will read a variety of literary texts—poetry, short fiction, drama, novel, graphic novel, film, television—and will talk about formal, theoretical, and historical approaches to literary interpretation. We are not going to be overly concerned about themes common across these texts (though we might discover some!) but will always be thinking self-consciously about the ways we approach texts with particular expectations that can be fulfilled, frustrated, or exceeded…sometimes all in the same text. This course will help students develop fluency with academic discourses and habits of literary criticism that will serve them in their upper-division courses at Marquette, as well as develop their skills as writers and thinkers in their own right.

Readings: Texts will include: Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home; Octavia Butler’s Kindred; Tony Kushner’s Angels in America; Claudia Rankine’s Citizen; a variety of poems; and a smattering of television episodes.

Assignments: weekly discussion board, creative assignments, a review, and a public-facing “thinkpiece.”


103 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Jacob Riyeff

Course Title: Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies
ENGL 3000 fulfills the foundation course requirement in the major sequence for ENGA, ENGL, and ENGW majors.

3301 Here Be Monsters (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries)

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Elizaveta Strakhov

Course Title: Here Be Monsters
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Pre-1700

Course Description: In this course we will be exploring the unknown and its monsters—or is the unknown and our monsters? From our very childhood when we beg our parents to shut the closet door at night, we have filled dark, empty spaces with the terrifying creatures of our imagination, as if to leave it empty would be worse. This course will explore the monster myths of medieval Europe: from that perhaps most famous of medieval monsters, Beowulf’s Grendel, to the first medieval European werewolf story, to Arthurian romance, to texts that use monstrosity in inventive ways to think through sociopolitical issues. Working through medieval monster myths, we will consider a variety of questions: how did monsters allow medieval Europeans to construct socially accepted ideas of masculinity and femininity? How did they represent and deal with physical disability? How did they foster the condemnation of ethnic and religious difference? And, finally, can the uses to which monster myths were put in the medieval period shed any light on our contemporary social and political attitudes towards ethnic, religious, and sexual difference?  

Readings: Texts including but not limited to: Beowulf, Marie de France, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Mélusine, and The Book of Margery Kempe.  

3740 Film Studies (Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Jodi Melamed
102 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Jodi Melamed

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

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 

3780 Water is Life (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Samantha Majhor

Course Title: Water is Life: Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates: 

Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, Multicultural American Literature, American Literature

Course Description: This course focuses on Native American and Indigenous efforts to address changing climates with a focus on water protection. We will delve into the history of water relations by looking at various indigenous and non-indigenous texts, stories, poetry, maps, artworks, and cultural materials that speak to the history and ongoing water relationships in the region. Our inquiries will reveal how this vital element has shaped our relationships to each other and to the state. The course will include experiential learning opportunities and the possibility to connect, collaborate, and present research with fellow undergraduates at other universities who are exploring the same topic.

3841 Global Hip Hop (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries)

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

Course Title: Global Hip Hop
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, Multicultural American Literature

Course Description: This course examines the literary qualities of hip hop across different world contexts. Drawing insights from literary and cultural studies, the course will open with a series of questions such as: What is literature? What is genre? How are ideas about literature and literariness shaped by “ideology,” audience reception, canonicity, temporality, and spatiality? And, more importantly, how does a popular musical genre such as hip hop enter the discourse of literary studies? In this class, we will engage in a rigorous close reading of hip hop lyrical and filmic texts from different countries and continents (e.g., U.S., Nigeria, Ghana, France, Canada, Britain, Germany, Jamaica, Brazil, Cuba, Senegal, Kenya, South Africa, Hong Kong, etc.), studying them comparatively in terms of their rhetorical strategies, narrative structures, and reinvention of oral literary traditions. Beyond questions of verbal artistic and literary inventiveness, this course will also explore the leitmotif of global hip hop productions, which Halifu Osumare systematizes through her theoretical formulation of “connective marginalities.” In this part of the course, we will consider how hip hop artists (and other hip hoppers) mobilize the symbolic force of hip hop to engage with marginalities that are connected to race, place, ethnicity, class, culture, language, gender and sexuality, and age.

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?

4331 Shakespeare (WRIT)

101 TuTh 8:00-9:15 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.

4351 Milton

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor John Curran

Course Title: Milton
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Pre-1700

Course Description: An examination of Milton’s life, times, art, and thought, this course concentrates heavily on Paradise Lost. While we will work with specimens of the minor poetry and prose and with Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, our primary task is to wrestle with the problems and questions emanating from Milton’s great epic.

Readings: Paradise Lost, selected minor poems, selected major prose

Assignments: Three papers and a final exam

4453 Romanticism and Nature (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Brittany Pladek

Course Title: Romanticism and Nature
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900, American Literature

Course Description: What do you think of when you hear the word “nature”? Whatever it is, chances are your ideas were influenced by Romanticism. The Romantic era saw an explosion of interest in the concept of “nature”—and momentous changes in what that idea meant. At the same time that poets like William Wordsworth were promoting an early version of ecotourism and philosophers like F.W.J Schelling were hymning Nature as a mystical metaphysics, the Industrial Revolution was spurring fears of human-caused climate change and British imperialism was upending the human and natural world on three continents. The questions raised by Romantic thinkers in reaction to these changes revolutionized the western world’s attitude towards “nature”: Do we have ethical obligations towards the natural world (and if so, what are they)? Are humans natural beings (and what does “natural” mean)? What are the pros and cons of aestheticizing nature? How do humans account for their effects on non-human life? In a very immediate way, today’s arguments about climate change, animal rights, and ecology are products of contradictions first brought to light by Romanticism.  

In this course, we will read nature writing from Romantic writers and their inheritors, from the nineteenth through the twenty-first century. As part of our own grappling with what “nature” means, we will make several visits to the Riverside Urban Ecology Center, a local nonprofit dedicated to conservation, sustainability, and promoting “urban nature” in Milwaukee. Students will then write about their experiences at the UEC.     

Readings: Include works by Dorothy Wordsworth, John Muir, Charlotte Smith, Aldo Leopold, Kimberly Blaeser, and others.

Assignments: Several short creative papers; weekly reading quizzes; class participation.

4715 Children's Literature (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Amy Blair

Course Title: Children's Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, American Literature

Course Description: This course will focus on changing conceptions of and trends in British and North American literature “for” children from the eighteenth century through the present. Using archives and primary sources, we will examine early alphabet books, primers, fairy-tale collections and poetry, thinking about how these materials, which were sometimes meant to instruct and sometimes to entertain (and sometimes to terrify), reflected social ideas about who children were and how they should or should not fit into the adult world. We will talk about the roles of children’s librarians and publishing houses in the creation and promotion of children’s literature as we turn to the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries, while studying novels such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet The Spy, Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming, and Thanhhà Lai’s Inside Out and Back Again, as well as a number of picture books such as Gwendolyn Brooks’ Bronzeville Boys and Girls and Jon Stone’s The Monster at the End of this Book. We will also look at film and television adaptations of many of these texts and think about the multimedia fandoms of children’s literature and film. There will, inevitably, be discussion of Harry Potter and various Disney franchises, and you will have a chance to write about a text you choose independently. We will also make a field trip to the wonderful children’s room at the Central Branch of the Milwaukee Public Library.

Assignments: weekly discussion board, creative assignments, a review of an independently-chosen children’s text, and a public-facing “thinkpiece.”

Please note: This course also counts toward the Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexualities Studies (INGS) major and minor.


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

Course Title: Children's Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirements: Post-1900, American Literature.  Counts toward INGS major / minor

Course Description: This course surveys key texts and transitions in the development of English and American children’s literature from the seventeenth century to the present while introducing critical and theoretical approaches to the analysis of children’s literature. Bringing together significant works of fiction, poetry, and illustration with literary-historical and critical texts, course readings explore the role of memory, cognition, and the adult perception of the child’s mind in the shaping of children’s literature. Class discussions will be guided by the following questions: How does children’s literature negotiate the divide between the desire to instruct and entertain juvenile readers? How do the texts accommodate and contribute to changing notions of children and of childhood? How does the relationship between words and images operate in illustrated texts? How does children’s literature respond to contemporary social issues? How do the texts construct gender, race, ethnicity, age and ageing, disability, and class? How does children’s literature respond to children as marginalized “others”? How does writing for children address the power differentials upon which this marginalization rests?

Readings: Primary texts will include fairy tales, poems, picturebooks, adaptations in film and other media, and the following novels: Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (Part One); Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island; Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House; Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game; Varian Johnson, The Parker Inheritance.

Assignments: Several brief reflections, weekly journal entries, a blog post, and a critical essay.

Please note:  This course counts toward the “Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence” Discovery tier theme of the Marquette Core Curriculum and also satisfies the MCC Writing-Intensive requirement.  In addition, it counts toward the Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexualities Studies (INGS) major and minor.

4716 Science Fiction/Fantasy (Discovery Tier - Expanding our Horizons)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title:  Classics of Science Fiction
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, American Literature

Course Description: This course engages the subfield of science fiction studies by looking at widely recognized classics in the genre from the postwar period in the United States, beginning in 1945 and running through to the present. Some of these texts exist within the hybrid genre sometimes called “slipstream,” variously read by different audiences as both genre fiction and “serious literature”; others fall much more squarely within the oft-derided category of “pop culture.” We will study these texts alongside scholarship that theorizes both genre classification in general and science fiction in particular, and devote particular attention to how to think and write about works that may not fit comfortably within the prestige economy of traditional literary studies. We will also explore how periodization and canonization operate in literary studies, as well as explore how texts intended for consumption by mass-market audiences can help us index the hopes, anxieties, and social transformations of a given cultural moment.

Readings: I will poll the class for their particular interests once registration is done but core authors I have taught in this course in the past include Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, Kim Stanley Robinson, Kazuo Ishiguro, N.K. Jemisin, and Ted Chiang. The text will also include film, television, and comics alongside prose fiction. 

Assignments: enthusiastic class discussion; two papers and one final project; online discussion posts; presentations

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

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

Course Title:  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 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Al Rivero

Course Title:  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. 

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

101 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Paul Gagliardi

Course Title: The Lost Generation

Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, American Literature

Course Description: In the aftermath of the First World War, the term "Lost Generation" applied to the men and women who felt disillusioned from the trauma of war and began to challenge many social norms and traditions. In literature, "The Lost Generation" applies to American writers of this generation, many of whom congregated on the Left Bank of Paris during the 1920s. This course will explore aesthetic and cultural context of the literary Lost Generation, focusing on how these writers dealt with a variety of themes including decadence, rejection of gender norms, and problematic histories. We will also explore the social and historical influences on these writers: World War I, the Influenza Pandemic, Prohibition, racism, the economic boom of the Roaring Twenties, and the onset of the Great Depression. 

Readings: Texts may include F. Scott Fitzgerlad's The Great Gatsby, Djuna Barnes's Ladies Almanack, John Dos Passos's Three Soldiers, The Sun Also Rises and short stories by Ernest Hemingway, essays and letters from Claude McKay, Gertrude Stein, and Sylvia Beach, and poetry from Edna St. Vincent Millay, Alan Seeger, and EE Cummings.

Assignments: Short essay, final project, class participation. 

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

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

Course Title: The Jury Project

Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, American Literature

Course Description: A vigorous democracy relies on the ability of its citizens to engage in collective deliberation on complex issues. In this class, students will be working together with classmates to solve shared problems while negotiating conflict and difference. Through in-class discussion and debate of three cases that have appeared before the Supreme Court, you will learn about what it means to argue for a particular audience about what you believe. The oral and written communication you practice in this course will help you develop skills in arguing, critiquing, analyzing, summarizing, visualizing, and listening to difficult conflicts and concepts. This course is not about the jury system in America or constitutional law, nor is it a class dominated by mock trials. This is, ultimately, a writing course—one meant to expand your idea of what it means to be a writer within a community and perhaps too what it means to be an engaged citizen of a democracy. 

Readings: Texts will include the petitioner, respondent, and amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court for three cases.

Assignments: Will include four written assignments for each of the three cases: summary of brief, synthesis map, dialogue, and final opinion.  In addition, each class participant will serve as the “advocate” to represent one brief at some point in the semester, and all participants will be expected to actively participate in class-wide deliberations.

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

102 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Grant Gosizk

Course Title: Literature and Medicine

Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900, American Literature

Course Description: This section of “Literature and Medicine” focuses on how fiction, theatre, poetry and prose participate in the cultural act of defining the limits and meanings of illness and wellness. To focus this inquiry, we will be taking one particular illness as a case study: addiction. We’ll spend the semester exploring the various ways that addiction has been defined by American doctors (and how this has changed throughout history), how these definitions have been embraced, denounced, and analogized by literature, and how the metaphorization of addiction has had profound political consequences.

4786 Women Writers (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

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

Course Title:  Women Writers: Gender and the City
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, British or American Literature

Course Description: This course centers the voices of women writers of Britain and the United States across the twentieth century. In the first part of the course, readings will revolve around one city—New York—during a single decade (the 1920s) as we explore women’s writing in different historical periods extending from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. In the second part of the course our focus will shift to a second city—London—at various points in time as experienced and written about by modernist and postmodernist women writers. Guiding questions for the course include: What is the effect of women’s social and cultural positions on their literary aesthetics? How has the diversity of women’s experiences contributed to a multiplicity of styles, genres, and literary traditions? And how do intersecting identities, including gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, disability, and age, shape both lived experience and the writing of women—both individually and collectively. To further guide our reading, a range of theoretical approaches will be introduced, with an emphasis on those that have been most generative to feminist literary criticism.

Readings: Authors studied will likely include Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, Nella Larsen, Elizabeth Bowen, Muriel Spark, Toni Morrison, and Zadie Smith.

Assignments: Several short papers and one longer one, completed in stages; a blog post; a journal; lively, informed participation in in-class discussions; and a collaborative presentation.

Note: Counts as elective in Gender and Sexuality Studies major / minor

4810 Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Tosin Gbogi

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

4997 Capstone (WRIT)

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

Course Title: Capstone – History of the Book
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Capstone, Pre-1700

Course Description: What is a book? Traditionally we answer this question by thinking about characters, plot, genre, etc. The discipline known as "book history" however, answers this question rather differently. Book historians look at the book’s pages and their size, its cover (soft or hardbacked), the quality of its ink and illustrations, the tightness of its binding (how hard is it to crack open?), and all the other details that make the book a physical object before we start asking ourselves questions about characters, plot, and genre. This research seminar will teach you the history and development of the book from the earliest origins of oral culture through our modern-day online reading culture, paying special attention to the origins and evolutions of the technologies of reading and writing. In addition to history, you will also learn the practical side of working with literary objects: deciphering medieval and Renaissance handwriting, for example, and understanding the physical mechanisms of page-gathering and book-binding. In the process, we will be reading literary texts that thematize books as physical objects worthy of study and interpretation and/or that constitute landmark developments in the evolution of the book (like the the serialized novel or the graphic novel). We will also attend sessions as the MARVL lab, as well as the Haggerty Museum of Art and Raynor Library Special Collections, in order to experience texts as objects in a variety of beyond-the-classroom settings, both material and digital. For their capstone, each student will complete a research project tailored to their literary interests that will be centered on a physical book, or books, within Raynor Library Special Collections and University Archives.

Readings: Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Mark Daniliewski’s House of Leaves, and the “Dear David” Twitter thread.

Graduate Seminars

 6800 Studies in Genre

101 W 5:00-8:00pm Professor Angela Sorby

Course Title:  Practicing Contemporary Poetry

6820 Theory and Methods

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Elizabeth Angeli

Course Title: Theory and Methods: Public-Facing Humanities

6931 Topics in English

101 Tu 5:00-8:00pm Professor Samantha Majhor

Course Title: Native American Literature and the Indigenous Archive

Course Description: This course explores texts by Native American writers that draw on, expand, and critique the traditions and practices of Western archival collection. We will focus on this decolonial re-writing of the archive in Native fiction and poetry, and we will also consider the ways in which traditions of textuality are both taken up and challenged in these narratives. Course texts may include novels by Louise Erdrich, LeAnne Howe, and David Treuer and works from a number of poets. Students will have the opportunity to consider texts beyond the book as we look at several museum objects that tell stories, record history, and keep memory in their own unique ways. Assignments will allow options for archival research and creative writing projects as well as traditional research and analysis essays.