Courses Offered (Fall 2022)

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)

102 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Sebastian Bitticks


103 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Paul Gagliardi

Course Title: American Historical Fiction

Course Description: In this course, we will explore American literature from the 1960s to the present and consider what “contemporary” literature has to say about the past, present, and future. As we explore texts that look to various time periods of American history, we will ask do these periods appear from the retrospective position of the present? What issues are the texts attempting to address and reconcile about the past and how are those views of history shaped by history itself? We will also consider how these texts attempt to address the issues of their contemporary context and use the past to talk about the present. We will also explore how historical fiction can address issues of the future – especially in terms of environmental change.  

Readings: Texts may include: Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five; Colson Whitehead, Underground Railroad; Jordan Harrison, Maple and Vine; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Michael Zapata, The Lost Book of Adana Moreau


104 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Holly Burgess

Course Title:  African American Youth Culture and Literature

Course Description: Tupac Shakur stated, “I’m not saying I’m gonna rule the world or change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world." This course will study poetry, novels, and music written by 20th and 21st century African American writers. We will explore how African American youth culture and activism influence literature and music. This course will discuss how hip-hop artists like Tupac Shakur and his musical contemporaries influence the current generation of Black activists and artists in The Black Lives Matter Movement.

We will study how African American authors utilize young adult literature and science fiction to examine race, gender, sexuality, trauma, grief, and violence. As we read, we will consider: how literature and music reflect reality, how Black writers use literature to teach Black history and cultural memory, and how authors utilize their writing as an act of social protest. This course will also engage in the current scholarly discussions on police brutality, book banning, and making space for joy when trauma is ever-present. ENGL 2011 will aid students in becoming engaged, compassionate readers who utilize their literary, poetic voices to critically engage with the course’s texts and engage in lively classroom discussions.

Readings: Tiffany D. Jackson’s Let Me Hear a Rhyme, Janelle Monáe’s The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, Tupac Shakur’s The Rose That Grew from Concrete, and Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. Selected poetry may include works by Reginald Dwayne Betts, Nikki Giovanni, Gil Scott-Heron, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Sonia Sanchez, and Margaret Walker.

Assignments: Online discussion posts, short writing assignments, and a reading journal

2012 Well-Versed (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Tyler Farrell

Course Title: Well Versed: Poetry, Myth, and Life

Course Description: This course is for anyone who has ever struggled with poetry—with understanding it or liking it—as well as for anyone who already loves poetry and wants to deepen their appreciation. We’ll survey a variety of poetic forms while practicing the basics of poetic reading: focusing tightly on language, including how words look and sound; learning key figurative devices; and (often but not always) using rhyme and meter to analyze meaning. Learning how to interpret poetry will help you become a better reader of prose, since a poem’s condensed language teaches you to focus your attention simultaneously on a work’s broad and small movements. Finally, reading poetry is a deeply joyful process. This class will encourage the delight that comes from engaging with poetic language in a focused way and hopes that you’ll leave with at least one new favorite writer. We’ll be reading a wide range of poets, from medieval to modern, and practicing listening and reading poetry together in class—from ancient Greek poets to Contemporary Spoken-Word artists, poetry can be appreciated in many forms. After all Poetry is the oldest written art form and can address almost any subject. Poetry is also powerful and can awaken an awareness of ideas of history, love, lessons, politics, war, society, and revolution. Poetry can As Carolyn Forche writes, “[A poet’s] voice is the saying of the witness, which is not a translation of experience into poetry but is itself experience.” Go poetry!

Readings: We will look at a wide range of poets including: W.B. Yeats, Lorine Niedecker,, Frank O’Hara, Allen Ginsberg, James Liddy, Terrance Hayes, Carolyn Forche, Jorge Luis Borges, Ernesto Cardenal, Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes, Marie Louis Kaschnitz, Roberto Bolano, Juana Ines de la Cruz, Oscar Wilde, Emily Dickinson, Nicholas Moore, Osip Mandelstam, Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, William Blake, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Philip Levine, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, John Berryman, Charles Baudelaire, Jack Spicer, George Oppen, Alice Notley, James Wright, Jim Chapson, and many others. We will also look at poems written about the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and look deeply at how this myth informs the voice of poets from many backgrounds and eras.

This class will focus on analysis, active discussion in small and large groups, and writing informed by deep consideration of poetry from many eras.

Assignments: weekly reading assignments and short (1-2 page) reflections, group presentation, class discussions, two formal critical papers, midterm and final exam.

Writing Courses

3210 Writing Practices and Processes (WRIT)

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Rebecca Nowacek
102 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Rebecca Nowacek


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

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Lilly Campbell

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

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. *No scientific background required.* 

Assignments:  Will include a reading journal, a Health Narrative, a Rhetorical Analysis, a Document Life Cycle Report, a Redesign, and a Health Writing Reflection. Assignments are open-ended to meet a variety of goals, needs, and interests.

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

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Sebastian Bitticks

Course Title:Introduction to Creative Writing 
Fulfills English Major Requirement:
ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: This class will introduce you to the ways language and creative forms help writers not just say what they need to, but learn what they need to say. We will write many rough poems and many narrative sketches in a low-pressure environment, emphasizing the discovery of things you didn’t know you knew and the pleasures of language. We will revise a few poems several times, and fashion a complete fiction or nonfiction narrative through several stages of drafting. We will share our work and learn from one another. Our focus will be experimentation and exploration--you already have everything you need to begin!

102 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Elisa Karbin

Course Title: Introduction to Creative Writing 
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

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. 

103 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Megan Paonessa

Course Title: Introduction to Creative Writing
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: Students will learn to describe, interpret, write, and revise works in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction’s styles through annotation and writing exercises focused on the specifics of craft: imagery, voice, narrative structure, point-of-view, etc. Together, we will read and write weekly, engaging in the discussion of published works and in workshops of our own work. The aim is to introduce students to diverse styles of writing, give them time and space to create, and provide an encouraging community of writers who will help cultivate a final portfolio of work in at least two genres.

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

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Katherine Zlabek
102 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Katherine Zlabek
103 TuTh 8:00-9:15 Professor Katherine Zlabek

Course Title:  Crafting the Short Story
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: Students will produce fresh, original writing that appeals to an audience’s imagination in this intermediate-level journey into short fiction. In it, we will be discussing the various elements of fiction, including concrete and specific detail, voice, atmosphere, and plot, to name a few. Students will explore the formal elements of writing alongside fiction that exemplifies or challenges these formal elements. 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. In a workshop setting, we will critique one another’s creative writing, and discuss strategies for revising creative writing effectively.   

Readings:  Stories and craft essays will be posted on D2L. 

Assignments: Thoughtful attention to published work, and the work of peers; considerate workshop participation; short stories; outside reading and short presentation; final portfolio.

3245 Creative Nonfiction (WRIT)

102 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Katherine Zlabek

Course Title:  Creative Nonfiction

Course Description: ENGL 3245 is a creative writing workshop exploring literary nonfiction with attention to style, form, and the gray areas of the genre. Students will be considering the effects of style in revisions, and grow comfortable with their own writerly voice. The workshop will study the principles of clear and fluid sentence-level prose, as well as the connection between sentence-level choices and the author's voice. This course is provided in a workshop format, focusing on production, critique, and revision of student work, and supplemented with distinctive work from contemporary authors. 

3250 Lifewriting, Creativity, and Community (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier - Cognition Memory, and Intelligence)

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Megan Paonessa

Course Title: Lifewriting, Creativity, and Community

Course Description: In this course, students will analyze a diverse array of life-writing forms such as memoir and the personal narrative, discussing how each work attempts to convey an author’s lived/real/felt self. We will explore questions of language and representation, memory and imagination, creativity and authenticity, and individual and group identities. At the same time, students will practice writing their own memories into narrative, exploring the complexities, ironies, contradictions, and poetry wrapped into their identities and the places and spaces they share with others.

3261 Poetry and Community (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier: Individuals and Community)

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Angela Sorby

Course Title: Poetry and Community

Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: Lyric forms (traditional verse, spoken word, verbal/visual collage) can offer us powerful ways to find and share our authentic voices with one another. In this course we will practice a range of lyric forms as we seek to build a generative creative community through poetry. 

701 Wednesday 6:00-8:30pm Professor Angela Sorby

Course Title: Poetry and Community
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: Lyric forms (traditional verse, spoken word, verbal/visual collage) can offer us powerful ways to find and share our authentic voices with one another. In this course we will practice a range of lyric forms as we seek to build a generative creative community through poetry. The course, sponsored by the EPP program, is held at Marquette and open to both traditional undergraduate students and to re-entry students impacted by the criminal justice system.

Interested MU students should apply here for admission to the course:

4221 The Rhetoric of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X (WRIT, ESSV2)

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Cedric Burrows

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

Course Description: This course examines two of the most well-known figures from the African American civil rights movement of the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. In contemporary society, most narratives typically frame both figures as opposites of each other, which results in King being viewed as the dreamer while Malcolm X is viewed as the nightmare of that dream. This course, then, will study 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 the historical and cultural worlds that produced their rhetorics.   

The class will also focus on how language affects community building and how rhetorical practices shape social movements. Therefore, we will review specific periods of King’s and Malcolm X’s careers. For King, we will focus on events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Birmingham campaign, and the Poor People’s Campaign. For Malcolm X, we will focus on events such as his Nation of Islam years, the development of the Organization of Afro American Unity, and his human rights campaign. 

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, Martin Luther King 
• Why We Can’t Wait, Martin Luther King 
• Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? Martin Luther King 
• Autobiography of Malcolm X
Other readings will be available on D2L. 

Assignments: Reading responses, two short essays, and a research paper 

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

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Megan Paonessa
102 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Megan Paonessa

Course Title: Creative Writing: Fiction

Course Description: This course in short fiction will focus on generating new material, critically analyzing that material from both a craft and cultural perspective, and revising our work in relation to what we’ve learned in our analysis. Our example readings will include works of surrealism, magical realism, unreliable or unhinged narrators, guidebooks, letters, and horrors. By heavy-handedly forcing frames and forms onto our stories in the writing prompts I provide, we will distance ourselves, however slightly, from the emotional ties of our work so we can better understand the techniques and tools available to us as writers and form intentional fictions. 

Assignments: In addition to weekly writing prompts and reflections, students will be expected to produce 10-15 pages of polished work in a final portfolio. This can consist of one or two longer short stories, or a small collection of flash fictions. 

4954 Seminar in Creative Writing (WRIT)

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Angela Sorby

Course Title: Lyric forms
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Capstone requirement for ENGW

Course Description: Serious writers working in any genre will benefit from this deep dive into diverse forms of lyric writing, including documentary poetry, poetry comics, narrative microfiction, and long- and short-form lyric poetry.  We'll read contemporary magazines and a few important recent poetry collections; we'll discuss publishing; and of course we'll workshop original pieces.  By the end of the semester students will complete an original chapbook or other culminating project.  Prior writing experience (in courses or independently) is assumed.

4986 Writing Internship

101 Days / Times TBD Professor Sarah Wadsworth

Course Title: Publishing Internship
Fulfills English Major Requirements: Writing Elective

Course Description: On-the-job experience in publishing, guided by publishing staff and mentored by English faculty member. Student will gain familiarity with internal organization of publishing operations and knowledge of editorial and production workflow; learn and apply principles of copyediting; contribute to special editorial projects and / or marketing and publicity efforts; and increase proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and / or Adobe Creative Suite. Students with career aspirations in publishing are especially encouraged to apply. Please contact Dr. Sarah Wadsworth at by Monday, April 4 for further details about the internship and application and selection processes.

Language Courses

3140 Sociolinguistics (ESSV2, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

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

Course Title: Sociolinguistics
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Language study

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.

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

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Steve Hartman Keiser

Course Title: Exploring the English Language
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Language study

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.

Upper Division Literature Courses

3000 Introduction to Literary Studies (WRIT)

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

Course Title: Introduction to 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.”


102 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Jason Farr

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

Course Description:  This course is designed to equip new majors and minors with the tools necessary for success in the field of English, with a focus on literary studies. Also welcome are students from a range of disciplines interested in developing their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. In particular, we will learn to read and respond critically to literature in a range of forms, including short story, poetry, drama, novel, and film. In the process, we will think about the relationship between these varying forms and their content through close reading and exposure to social justice principles (i.e. antiracism, feminism, anticolonialism, and gender and queer theory). The course will consist of a combination of short lecture, group discussion, outside research, and individual writing assignments (discussion posts, collaborative annotations, and formal academic essays).  In the process, will develop critical reading and writing skills that draw from a range of perspectives.


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

Course Title: Introduction to 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: John Peck and Martin Coyle's Practical Criticism. Other readings will be posted on d2L. 

Assignments: discussion posts (close reading), a midterm paper, an oral presentation, and a final research paper

3740 Film Studies (Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries)

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Jodi Melamed
701 TuTh 5:00-6:15 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 

3761 Literature and Medicine (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Grant Gosizk

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

Course Description: Susan Sontag said that ‘Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. […] Yet it is hardly possible to take up one’s residence in the kingdom of the ill unprejudiced by the lurid metaphors with which it has been landscaped.’ In other words, the experience of being ill is often complicated by prejudices, stereotypes, and moral/ethical meanings that are attributed to illnesses within particular cultural contexts. 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 real world political consequences.

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

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 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.

3785 LGBTQ+ Narratives: Literature, Film, Theory (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Jason Farr
102 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Jason Farr

Course Title: LGBTQ+ Narratives: Literature, Film, Theory
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, American Literature

Course Description: Jose' Esteban Munoz writes, "We have never been queer, yet queerness exists for us as an identify that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future."  Here, Munoz identifies queerness as an identity that is elusive-as something for which we continuously strive.  He also suggests that queerness is the product of pasts that collapse upon our present moment, and that due to such fluid temporalities, we can use cultural production (such as film and literature) to imagine queer futures. How can film and literature in particular help us to imagine queerness in this way? How can the work of queer authors and directors reframe our understanding of queer identifies, and how can we interpret these works to understand gender and sexual variability in more capacious ways?  How can queer theory help us to critique and rework widespread cultural assumptions that uphold the violence of ableism, heteronormativity, racism, sexism, and transphobia? In this class, we will address these and other related questions through analysis of films and literary texts that represent diverse LGBTQ+ identities as central to narrative form.  We will view films such as Paris is Burning, Moonlight, and We Were Here.  We will also read literature written by E.M. Forster, Janet Mock, and others.  In our supplemental reading of queer and trans theories, we will learn to write about LGBTQ+ identify, to conceptualize sexual and gender subject formation in film and literature, and to speculate about what queer futures hold for us.

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

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 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.

4331 Shakespeare (WRIT)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 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.

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

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor B. 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, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Percy Shelley, Charlotte Smith, Aldo Leopold, and others. 

Assignments: Several short creative papers; weekly Perusall posts; class participation.  

4612 J.R.R. Tolkien (Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

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

Course Title: J.R.R. Tolkien
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900

Course Description: The last decade has seen the hundredth anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s earliest writings on Middle-Earth (The Book of Lost Tales, begun in 1917) alongside the completion of Peter Jackson’s career-defining twenty-year project to adapt The Lord of the Rings for film (1995-2015). This course asks the question: Who is J.R.R. Tolkien, looking backward from the perspective of the twenty-first century? Why have his works, and the genre of heroic fantasy which he remade so completely in his image, remained so intensely popular, even as the world has transformed around them? Our study will primarily trace the history, development, and reception of Tolkien’s incredible magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings (written 1937-1949, published 1954-1956)—but we will also take up Tolkien’s contested place in the literary canon of the twentieth century, the uses and abuses of Tolkien in Jackson’s blockbuster films, the special appeal of Tolkien in politically troubled times, and the ongoing critical interests and investments of Tolkien fandom today. As Tolkien scholars we will also have the privilege of drawing upon the remarkable J.R.R. Tolkien Collection at Raynor Library, which contains the original manuscripts for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Farmer Giles of Ham, as well as this semester’s groundbreaking exhibit at the Haggerty Museum of Art.

Note: No prior knowledge of Tolkien is required. The course is designed for a mix of first-time readers, frequent re-readers, and people who are returning to the books for the first time as adults after many years away. 

Readings: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and selected additional readings 

Assignments: Final critical paper or creative project; weekly sandbox posts on D2L; enthusiastic and informed class participation

4615 Text in Context: Les Miserables

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor B. Pladek

Course Title: Text in Context: Les Miserables
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  1700-1900

Course Description: Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (1862) is one of the masterpieces of French literature. Translated into over 20 languages, it’s inspired an award-winning musical, multiple movies, TV shows, and even an anime. The book’s encyclopedic sweep recounts Paris’s failed 1832 June Rebellion through the eyes of Jean Valjean, a man unjustly jailed for stealing bread during a famine, who is trying to rebuild a life with his adopted daughter, Cosette. But the novel is also a meditation on the major themes of nineteenth-century European history, as Hugo devotes hundreds of pages to the Battle of Waterloo (politics), Parisian slang (culture), and Paris’s municipal sewer-system (technology), among other topics. In this class, we will read the entirety of the unabridged novel, approaching it through the multiple critical lenses it invites: as a late triumph of European Romanticism; as a stylistic hybrid of sentimentalism, naturalism, polemic, and essayistic nonfiction; as an unflinching exploration of poverty and class dynamics; as a political treatise on revolution; as a theory of history; as a moral philosophy of justice, forgiveness, and grace; and as a deeply human story of one found-family just trying to survive the momentous events of nineteenth-century French history. We will also examine some of the modern adaptations of the novel: definitely the 1980 musical, and likely one or two of the movies. Please note: This is a reading-heavy class! The unabridged Les Misérables is over 650,000 words long, and we’re reading all of it—even the bits about the sewers.   

Readings: The unabridged Les Misérables (translated by Christine Donougher, Penguin Classics edition), plus some critical essays (available on d2L). 

Assignments: Several short papers; a final research-based project; class participation. 

4617 Ulysses (Discovery Tier - Expanding our Horizons) 

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor James Pribek, S.J.

Course Title: Ulysses
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900

Course Description: Much could be said about the prominence of James Joyce’s Ulysses: it is consistently rated among the most influential works of the 20th century, and scholars have written more about its author than about Shakespeare.  Though Joyce’s work may correspond loosely to Homer’s Odyssey, it belongs to no clear genre, form, or movement.  It is less a literary work, traditional or modern, as it is an attempt to record one day on paper, using words, music, symbols, and sensations.  Do not expect a plot: there is none.  What the book features is a wonderful place—Dublin—and three extraordinarily compelling main characters whose minds and souls we enter in a direct way.  In doing so, we see their chance encounters prove momentous.  But we also observe and experience much of what it means to be human: to love, to grieve, to feel regret, to philosophize, to fantasize, to argue, to age, and ultimately to say “yes” to life, in all its poverty and grandeur.  Not many human deeds, from the most earthy to the most exalted, do not find their way into this book.  If you love a place and people—if you love words—if you love life, chances are good that you will love this book!  Join a lively group for biweekly discussion and occasional writing, as Joyce’s Ulysses fosters humanity and builds community.

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

101 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.

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

102 MWF 10:00-10:50 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. 

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

101 TuTh 11:00-11:50 Professor Melissa Ganz

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

Course Description: From thieves and murderers to bigamists and terrorists, criminals figure prominently in nineteenth-century literature.  In this course, we consider the centrality of crime and punishment to Victorian fiction while exploring the ways in which novels can help us understand the causes and consequences of illicit acts.  We read a range of favorites from the Victorian period (such as Oliver Twist and Jekyll and Hyde), ending with Margaret Atwood’s marvelous reimagining of the era’s fiction in Alias Grace.  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.  As an upper-level English class, this course places special emphasis on close reading and critical writing.  There will be opportunities to participate in mock trials and debates and to consider texts and discussions in this class in relation to those in other classes in the Basic Needs and Justice theme.  By the end of the course, my hope is that you will have gained a better understanding of perennial problems of criminal justice, a sense of the range and richness of nineteenth-century fiction, and a set of reading and writing skills that will serve you well in the years ahead.

Note:  This class satisfies the 1700-1900 literary history requirement for English majors and counts toward the minor in Law and Society.  In addition, the course counts toward the Basic Needs and Justice theme of the Marquette Core Curriculum (MCC)’s Discovery Tier and satisfies the MCC Writing-Intensive requirement.

Readings: Novels and short fiction by authors such as Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, and Margaret Atwood, as well as selected works of literary criticism and legal/cultural history.

Assignments: Two papers; a “crime log” (reading journal); a final (take-home) exam; and lively participation. 

4765 Material Cultures (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Expanding our Horizons)

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Cedric Burrows

Course Title: African American Travel and Leisure
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, American Literature, Multicultural American Literature

Course Description: For Black America, traveling in the United States has been a complex journey. They experienced threats such as sundown towns, lack of accommodations, and travel advisors when going to areas deemed not friendly to African Americans. Yet, Blacks also created resort areas, hotels, restaurants, and other amenities that reflected both their growing buying power and their desire for areas reflective of their culture. This course, then, examines the material cultures of Black travel and leisure in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will study areas and themes of Black travel such as the chitlin’ circuit, Freaknik, and Essence Festival while examining the recent phenomenon of Black Heritage Tours, which are trips designed to study elements of African American history and culture and center museums dedicated to the Black Freedom Movement. The final project will culminate with the production of a modern-day Green Book designed to promote Black travel and tourism.

Readings: Readings will be available on D2L

Assignments: Brief reading responses, two major papers, and a portfolio project

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

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

Course Title: Women Writers: Virginia Woolf and the Legacy of Female Genius

Course Description: In 1929, modernist rebel Virginia Woolf wondered what a history of female artistic genius might look like and what would have happened if Shakespeare had a sister whose talent was nurtured and whose material circumstances were secure. This kind of visionary imagination runs through her fiction, which broke and remade the novel as a form capable of escaping the limits of normative models of identity, culture, and history. 

This class will take up Woolf's challenge to explore the history of female artistic genius in the work of Woolf and in its twenty-first century manifestations. We will look to some expected sources--writers influenced by Woolf, such as Zadie Smith, Ali Smith, Eimear McBride, and Maggie Gee (whose novel humorously brings Woolf pack to life in a New York City Public Library). We will also look in some unexpected places, across genres and media to artists like Beyonce, Yayoi Kusama, Janelle Monai, and Chila Kumari Singh Burman.We will also leave some space for the interests of members of the class. 

Assignments: Class requirements include an active, living sense of curiosity and willingness to form and nurture a creative learning community; 3 projects; weekly moderated discussions with classmates; and an oral final exam. 

4820 Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Heather Hathaway

Course Title: Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900

Course Description: Biology tells us that differences based on concepts such as “race” and “ethnicity” are not grounded in scientific reality because all humans share 99.9% DNA. But these concepts have served as the foundation on which immense violence has taken place. In this course, we will examine literature that reveals how socially-constructed concepts distinguishing “self” from “other”—whether socially, biologically, politically, culturally, or ideologically, as examples—have led to history’s greatest injustices.

4825 Native American Literature (ESSV2, WRIT, Discovery Tier: Crossing Boundaries)

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

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

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, language, human and other-than-human relationships, Indian law, trauma, and tribally specific concerns.

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

4997 Capstone (WRIT)

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

Course Title: The Researched Passion Project
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Capstone Requirement for ENGL, ENGW

Course Description: What is your Intellectual Passion Project? The Big Question that has dogged you throughout your undergraduate (and high school? And before?) life? Are you unsure whether you have one? Excited to get credit for some work discerning and launching it? As a capstone course, English 4997 is designed to enable each student to pull together knowledge and skills from previous experiences and coursework, both within the English major and throughout the undergraduate curriculum. During this class, which will be run like a writing workshop, you will imagine and complete a substantial independent project involving research, critical thinking, reflection, originality, and writing.  This course is structured to bridge the transition between college and the beginning of a career or a graduate program by pulling together and honing skills and knowledge developed over the duration of the undergraduate years and building habits for long-term independent work. We will talk about mindset, time management, and stress management. Students will begin working on their own independent project from the first day of the semester, building individual primary reading lists based on the proposed and approved project. Seminar meetings will discuss shared readings on methodology, will be jam sessions for writing and percolating ideas, and will workshop writings at various stages of the research project.  Your instructor will be writing alongside you on her own project! We will conclude the semester with a class conference to present our work to the University community.

Graduate Seminars

6220 Shakespeare

101 MW 12:00-1:15 Professor John Curran

Course Title: Shakespeare and Greatness

Course Description: In this seminar we investigate the issue of greatness as it seems to be reflected in Shakespeare’s drama. The idea of individual human greatness has accounted for much of the attention Shakespeare’s characters have enjoyed, but more recently they have been deemed interesting to the extent he undermines or interrogates this concept. Does Shakespeare cast his characters as “great?” What is greatness? What theoretical, political, or theological implications does it carry? In considering these questions with regard to Shakespeare’s characters, we also consider his own greatness. What makes him stand apart in our minds from his fellow Renaissance dramatists? Does he capture greatness better than they? Or does he rise above them for complicating the idea in ways they cannot? We will concentrate on Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies, examining each play in tandem with an analogous selection from another dramatist. Selections will include plays by Marlowe, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Middleton, Chapman, Massinger, and Webster.

6931 Topics in English

101 MW 3:00-4:15 Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title: Histories of Anti-Capitalism

Coure Description: “We live in capitalism,” Ursula K. Le Guin once said. “Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” This course will take a long view of anti-capitalist thought, from the Luddite revolt of the early nineteenth century to the ongoing climate strikes of Greta Thunberg—investigating where resistance to capitalism has flourished and where it has failed, as well as where it has intersected with important trends in feminist, antiracist, anticolonial, LGBTQ+, ecological, and disability activism. We will also explore the speculative literary genre of utopia, and explore how its utopian, quasi-utopian, heterotopian, dystopian, and downright anti-utopian figurations have reflected, inspired, and critiqued the left’s centuries-long struggle against capitalist realism.

Readings: We will consider a wide mix of literary, historical, and critical-theoretical documents of anti-capitalist and counter-hegemonic thought from the last two-hundred-plus years. A final reading list is still being constructed (and very open to suggestions!), but major literary authors could include such figures as Edward Bellamy, Samuel Butler, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Chinua Achebe, Gene Roddenberry, Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, and Kim Stanley Robinson, and major theorists could include Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Fredric Jameson, Mark Fisher, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, bell hooks, Vandana Shiva, Enrique Dussel, Donna Haraway, David Graeber, and José Esteban Muñoz, among many others.

Assignments: Final critical paper or creative project; symposium presentation; weekly sandbox posts on D2L; enthusiastic and informed class participation


Approved 5000 level courses

Please see the 4000 level courses for course descriptions

ENGL 4210 - Writing, Literacy, and Rhetoric Studies

ENGL 4612 - J.R.R. Tolkien

ENGL 4615 - Text in Context (Les Miserables)

ENGL 4755 - Law and Literature 

ENGL 4765 - Material Cultures

ENGL 4786 - Women Writers

ENGL 4820 - Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

ENGL 4825 - Native American Literature

ENGL 4932 - Topics in Writing - The Story Experience