Courses Offered (Spring 2020)

Undergraduate Courses

First-Year English (UCCS Rhetoric Requirement)

1001 Foundations in Rhetoric  (Foundation Tier)

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

Students learn to:

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

1002 Rhetoric and Composition 2

Various days and times, see Snapshot
English 1002, Rhetoric and Composition 2

Students learn to:

  • Critically engage public discourse by identifying and analyzing the main rhetorical features of variously mediated publicly circulating texts;
  • 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—and exceeding—public audiences' expectations for credibility, consistency, and integrity.
  • For additional details, including unit-by-unit syllabi, contact either Dr. Rebecca Nowacek or Dr. Amelia Zurcher.


UCCS Literature and Performing Arts Requirements

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

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

2000 Literature, History and Culture

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Ron Bieganowski, S.J.

Course Title: Story of American Literature 2

Course Description: “What does it mean to be American?” This course will trace the outlines of the continuing story of what it means to be American as told in fiction, drama, and poetry by Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Edith Wharton, Henry James, Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Robert Frost, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, Amy Tan, and Bernard Malamud, along with others such as Denise Levertov, T. S. Eliot, and August Wilson. The diverse range of action, characters, setting, narrative perspective, irony, and imagery — all help tell the story.

Readings: Readings will include, among others, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, “Daisy Miller,” The Hairy Ape, “Neighbour Rosicky,” “Roman Fever,” “The Bear,” “Big Two-Hearted River,”Fences," and “Sonny’s Blues.”

Assignments: Two papers (4-5 pp.), several “Reflections” (1 p. each), a few quizzes, and final exam (essay) will be required. Class will be primarily discussion format because “it takes a whole class to get at what stories are about.”

102 TuTh 12:30-1:45 - Cancelled section


103 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Jessie Wirkus Haynes

Course Title: From Page to Screen

Course Description: What happens to texts as we continuously rediscover them through adaptation and reinterpretation? Beginning with the classic fairytale and ending with the New York Times' bestselling novel The Magicians, this course will trace the evolution of a variety of texts as they journey from page to screen. We will start each exploration with the original work before watching the screen adaptations. Throughout, we will reflect on what it means to be "original," considering both intertextuality and the ways that society repackages familiar stories to more closely exemplify its current ideas and values. 

Readings:  We will read the originals and watch screen adaptations for a variety of texts, including (but not limited to) several versions of the Snow White fairytale, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, excerpts from Dracula by Bram Stoker, and select parts of The Magician's Trilogy by Lev Grossman.  We will also view episodes from ABC's Once Upon a Time and Showtime's Penny Dreadful.  

Assignments: Assignments will include weekly readings, class discussions and discussion posts, one presentation, and a final course paper. 


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

Course Title: 20th Century Poetry as Witness

Course Description: Through the lens of five twentieth century poets we will look at how poetry relates to, and is possibly defined by, influence and place. A poet’s muse can appear in a variety of forms – family, religion, background, upbringing, environs, famous or historic people, other poets, writers, publishers, artists, and friends. This class will look at how poets are formed, what part of the world they are from, who was included in their immediate circle of friends, and which influences were allowed entrance far enough to inform a particular poetic voice.

The five poets we will be concerned with most are: W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), Frank O’Hara (1926-1966), Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) and James Liddy (1934-2008). However, we will also look at poems by Walt Whitman, Hart Crance, 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.

This class will focus on analysis, active discussion in small and large groups, and  writing informed by deep consideration of primarily 20th century poetry and the surroundings in which poets wrote.

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


105 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Tyler Farrell

Course Title: The British and Irish Stage

Course Description: This class will investigate the renowned world of British and Irish Drama from its infancy to the present day. We will examine some of the finest dramas from both sides of the Irish Sea beginning with the late 15th century morality
play Everyman, and concluding with a relatively new (and oft challenging) Irish playwright. This class will involve readings and discussions of what are generally considered to be the finest plays (perhaps masterpieces) of major English and Irish dramatists from the last five centuries. Along with Everyman we will read and discuss the following authors and plays: Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, G.B. Shaw’s Saint Joan, Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Brian Friel’s Translations, Marian Carr’s Portia Coughlan, and Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman.

Assignments: Two critical papers, group presentation, weekly reading and writing assignments, quizzes, midterm and final exam.


701 TuTh 5:00-6:15 Professor Kathryn Hendrickson

Course Title: Vigilantes, Crime, and Justice

Course Description: “A vigilante is just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification. He can be destroyed or locked up. But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can’t stop you, then you become something else entirely, Mr. Wayne.” In this quote, Ra's al Ghul distinguishes between the kind of justice he pursues, and what he defines as the motivations of a vigilante. Is there any real difference? This course examines the figure of the vigilante in literary history. We will consider that figure not just as a transgressor — a breaker of the law — but also as an enforcer whose actions work to uphold a different form of law, or morality. What does that figure, in its different iterations over the years, reveal about different social conceptions of justice and law? Who makes the laws? What does it mean to break the law? When do societies forgive law-breaking?

This class will examine traditional vigilante figures such as Batman and Robin Hood, as well as less canonical characters, focusing primarily on 20th and 21st century texts. Because of the widespread appeal of the vigilante, we will read that figure through a number of mediums — books, film, graphic novels, and other assorted genres. Potential texts include Mad Max: Fury Road, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and assorted hard-boiled short stories.

Assignments: Active class participation, short presentations/discussion leading, regular reading assignments, reflections, and two papers.



ESSV Core Requirements

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

101 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Paul Gagliardi
102 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Paul Gagliardi

Course Title:  Work and American Society

Course Description: This course will investigate the concept of work and its impact on American society and culture from the founding of the country to the present day by reading a variety of fictional and nonfictional texts. We will examine the intellectual roots of norms like the Protestant work ethic and then chart the historical changes to "ideal work" from the Colonial Period through the Industrial Revolution and to the Digital Age.  Students will also explore forced labor through slave narratives from the nineteenth century, as well as the impact other forms of work have had on marginalized people. This course will also consider other forms of work, including other work traditions, as well as rejections of the working life. We will also consider the future of work and how to deal with continued inequities in the working environment.  

Readings: Readings will likely include Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Daniel Rodgers, The Work Ethic in Industrial America, Frank Higbie, Indispensable Outcasts, Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, Ottessa Moshfregh, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. 

Assignments: Short written responses, mid-term exam, oral presentation, final argumentative project.


103 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Cedric Burrows

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

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

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

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


104 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Thomas Simons

Course Title:  Countercultures: Art, Community, and Resistance from the Beat Generation to the Grateful Dead 

Course Description: In The Making of a Counter Culture(1968), Theodore Roszak characterizes “the counter culture” as resisting “the final consolidation of a technocratic totalitarianism in which we shall find ourselves ingeniously adapted to an existence wholly estranged from everything that has ever made … life … an interesting adventure.” The “emerging technocratic paradise” attempts to “denature the imagination by appropriating to itself the whole meaning of Reason, Reality, Progress, and Knowledge.” Our adventure will start from the emergence of the Beat Generation in the Eisenhower Era of the 1950s, continuing through the decades of the traveling psychedelic circus of the Grateful Dead and the legion of Deadheads. Along the way, we will also encounter the music of Bob Dylan and the emergence of New American Cinema. Our course will follow the formation of countercultural communities and their efforts to reclaim and renew the imagination by exploring the ways they use art to challenge the status quo and re-envision reason, reality, progress, and knowledge.

Readings: Our texts will include fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry, music, and film: selected works of William Wordsworth; Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) and The Dharma Bums (1958); selections from The Portable Beat Reader; the music of Bob Dylan; Mike Nichols, The Graduate (1962); Abbie Hoffman, Revolution for the Hell of It(1968) (selections); Haskell Wexler, Medium Cool (1969); Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider (1969); The Grateful Dead Reader; Peter Richardson, No Simple Highway; Ulf Olsson, Listening for the Secret: The Grateful Dead and the Politics of Improvisation; episodes from Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary Long Strange Trip (2017); and the music of the Dead.

Assignments: engaged participation in class discussions, discussion board posts, research paper, and midterm and final examinations.


105 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Samantha Majhor

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

Course Description: This course focuses on Native American and Indigenous efforts, particularly located in the Mid-West and Plains regions of the United States, 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. 


106 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Hunter Deiglmeier

Course Title: Introduction to Disability Studies

Course Description: How is disability created by our society and culture? This course will introduce students to central concepts in Disability Studies. In this class, students will engage in historical, cultural, and intersectional approaches to disability through a Disability Studies theoretical and critical framework. Key concepts include disability and gender, disability and race, and disability and representation. This course offers students the opportunity to cultivate a disability-forward rethinking of our society and culture through their applications of Disability Studies in reading, writing, and research.


2030 Global Literatures  (ESSV 1)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Jackielee Derks

Course Title:  Contemporary Women’s Voices

Course Description: Contemporary women writers from around the world are reshaping literature as we know it by challenging conventions and transgressing boundaries. From rewriting history to imagining possible futures, women writers are asserting their voices through innovative and transformative narratives. In this course we will study a variety of genres including novels, short stories, essays, graphic novels, and multimodal texts by late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century women from diverse locations and cultural backgrounds. By reading texts by and about women, we will explore how modern authors are confronting systems of inequality and oppression while carving out space for their own unique identities. 

Readings: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi, Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, and short stories by Nalo Hopkinson, Ch’oe Yun, and Alifa Rifaat.


102 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Sherri Hoffman

Course Title: Sports Literature

Course Description: This course is the study of literature that springs from the platform of Sport. It explores Sport as game, expression of movement, athletic prowess, identity, and representation. Students will analyze how the texts engage issues of social structures, competition, protest, culture, gender roles, diversity, and racial and ethnic values, among others. Readings are diverse and will explore how cultural relationships with sports reflect, reframe, resist, or reinforce various beliefs and values. Each text is an invitation to explore what drives competition, physical limitations, loyalty, and other aspects of humanity. Supporting materials for historical and cultural context include essays, video clips, and book excerpts.

Readings: Three novels, several short stories and essays, poetry, and a documentary are selected for broad international and intercultural representation. Authors represent a variety of race, gender, and culture. Several of the works will be in translation. Support materials for historical and cultural contexts include essays, video, literary theory, and secondary criticism.

Assignments: Over the course of the semester, students will give several oral presentations in response to the readings, write three short critical responses to the texts (2-3 pages each), and write one critical analysis research paper (10-12 pages). Evaluation also includes a written midterm exam and several in-class writing exercises. 


Writing Courses

3210 Writing Practices and Processes (WRIT)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Jenn Fishman
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.

Course Title: Public Writing

Course Description:  For the last two decades, scientists have gathered annually on the Edge, an online publication, to discuss ideas that need to die: popular notions or widely held beliefs that, one way or another, hinder scientific pursuits. In a similar vein, members of this advanced rhetoric and composition class will gather to discuss—and counter—bad ideas about writing. During the first half of the semester, our textbook will be the recently published open-access book Bad Ideas about Writing. Supplemental readings will allow us to peer "behind the scenes" to examine some of the research and scholarship that informs this nonacademic publication. During the second half of the semester, students will respond by proposing and developing their own inquiry-based projects in order to share their knowledge of writing with others and challenge widely-circulating bad ideas about writing. Possibilities include academic essays and documentary-style videos, lesson plans, policy statements, and creative work.  

Assignments: Regular reading, writing, peer exchanges, and reflection; a multi-stage project individualized to meet students’ individual goals, needs, and interests.  

102 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Jenna Green Azab
103 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Jenna Green Azab
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.

Course Title: Multi Genre Workshop 

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

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


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

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

3220 Writing for Workplaces (WRIT)

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

Course Title: Writing for Workplaces
Fulfills English Major Requirement:

Course Description: This course builds self-awareness, habits of mind, and strategies for writing efficiently and effectively in professional contexts. Specific workplace genres are taught in relation to these larger concerns, not as isolated skills to master. The course cap is small, supporting a learning community for collaborative writing and peer feedback – a frequent tenet of workplace communication.

Learning goals include:

  • Developing rhetorical flexibility and critical understandings of workplace writing;
  • Translating academic writing skills into professional writing skills;
  • Building knowledge of and experience with communication practices in the working world; and
  • Exploring how we construct personal and social meaning through work and writing.

To accomplish these goals, we will read scholarship in writing studies that addresses the work lives of writers and the need for rhetorical flexibility in modern workplaces. Each class member will create an online professional portfolio and related job search materials, including a targeted résumé, cover letter, and biographical statement appropriate to a particular job announcement or position description. We’ll revise these materials throughout the semester, working toward final versions ready to share with employers, graduate admission committees, and others. Students will also regularly reflect on course their experiences, developing a philosophy of workplace writing.
Assignments: Job portfolio, professional website, group project, reflective philosophy on work and writing, and class participation. Assignments are flexible to meet a variety of goals, needs, and interests. 

4210 Writing, Literacy and Rhetoric Studies (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Cedric Burrows

Course Title: The Rhetoric of the Black Freedom Movement

Course Description:
 This course examines the rhetorical strategies African Americans have historically and currently use to resist, reform, and renew the ideals of American democracy and human rights. To frame our discussion, the course will study the historical periods that helped shape the rhetorical strategies. These periods range from the Abolition Movement and Reconstruction to the Civil Rights/Black Power Movements and the present. In the process, students will gain an understanding of the historical and cultural development of black America, most notably how African Americans shaped an identity that was created by both the community and the larger society, and how African Americans formed and fostered a culture that has sustained them from slavery to the twenty-first century. As well, students will learn how the historical and cultural development of African Americans informed their rhetorical strategies to members within and outside their communities.

Readings: Foner, Philip S. and Robert Branham. Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1901. Tuscaloosa: University Alabama Press, 1997.

Assignments: Two rhetorical analysis papers; midterm; final

4230 Writing Center Theory, Practice and Research (WRIT)

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Rebecca Nowacek
601 F 12:00-12:50 (Discussion) Professor Rebecca Nowacek

Course Title:
Writing Center Theory, Research, and Practice

Course Description: Participants in this course will study the theoretical and practical aspects of peer tutoring of writing—a topic that may have relevance not only in the short term (for students looking to gain employment at Marquette’s Ott Memorial Writing Center and other campus programs that hire peer writing tutors) but also in the long term (for students looking to cultivate written and oral communication skills attractive to employers in a wide range of professions). Topics of inquiry include the complex processes involved in written, oral, and multi-modal composition; the exploration of the different genres and contexts of writing; the theory and practice of providing feedback on work in progress; and writing center scholarship more broadly. Observation, examination, and reflection upon our own experiences as writers and tutors is a central dimension of the course. Permission of the instructor after a process of application is required for registration. Please contact Dr. Rebecca Nowacek (Director of the Ott Memorial Writing Center) at

Readings: Texts will include scholarly sources made available through electronic reserve as well as original texts composed by current and previous participants in the course.

Assignments: Will likely include two reflective papers, a longer inquiry project, and 15 hours of participation in a “writing center internship” in Marquette’s Ott Memorial Writing Center.

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

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Sherri Hoffman
102 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Sherri Hoffman

Course Title: Creating Writing: Fiction 
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.

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

Readings: Steering the Craft by Ursula Le Guin; Triggering Town (excerpt) by Richard Hugo; various fiction from an anthology edited by Tobias Wolff, featuring authors such as Dorothy Allison, Leonard Michaels, Denis Johnson, Tim O’Brien, Jamaica Kincaid, Raymond Carver, and Richard Ford, among others, as well as support materials by James Baldwin, Anton Chekov, Breece D’J Pancake, Leo Tolstoy, Alice Walker, and others; additional essays on craft by various authors. 

Assignments: over the course of the semester, students will give a class presentation, write several short critical responses to short stories, write workshop reviews, and produce a portfolio of fiction (30-40 pages).

103 MWF 3:00-3:50 Professor Sebastian Bitticks

Course Title:  Writing Creative Nonfiction
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.

Course Description: Maybe you’ve wanted to tour a city like Anthony Bourdain, but couldn’t convince a TV crew to follow you. Or maybe you’ve filled pages with thoughts and reflections, but can’t quite find the form to fit them. Maybe you’ve read Roxanne Gay or Rebecca Solnit and thought: yes, this is what we need more of. Creative nonfiction is for you. Covering travel and food writing, memoir/autobiography, New Journalism, personal essays and hybrids that blur the borders with poetry and fiction, CNF is literature’s eclectic, big-tent genre. In this class, we will learn the habits, methods and writing techniques to tell true stories well. We will go out into the world and deep into our memories, explore new literary forms to express unique experiences, and learn how to take an idea from a vague feeling in our guts to a polished piece of writing. 

4260 Creative Writing: Poetry (WRIT)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Angela Sorby

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.


102 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Tyler Farrell

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

4954 Seminar in Creative Writing (WRIT)

101 MW  2:00-3:15 Professor C.J. Hribal

Course Title: 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 workshop 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.

102 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Sherri Hoffman

Course Title: Structures of the Novel

Course Description: This seminar is the study of the craft and structure of the novel as a form of fiction. We will read one novel and evaluate the structures of three others. This course investigates how the long form works to reflect its contemporary culture and or history. The workshop structure allows for an active discussion of student writing, excerpts of longer assignments, plot outlines, and character development. Supporting craft materials include essays, video clips, and book excerpts.

Readings: The Art of the Novel, edited by Nicholas Royle; Montana 1948 by Larry Watson. Additional materials will be available on D2L or online.

Assignments: over the course of the semester, students will address the structural form through various writing assignments: one class presentation; one short critical response to a novel structure of choice; several directed writing assignments to address the parts of a novel, such as  place, character, or conflict; and a final outline of a long-form project (20-30 pages).

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

4130 History of the English Language

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

Course Title: History of the English Language

Course Description: Marauding Germanic tribes in a corner of Europe in the 5th century established an island society whose native tongue is now spoken by billions around the world as the language of business, technology, and diplomacy. This is the story of English from before Ælfric to present-day Zimbabwe. Explore the nature of linguistic change, major developments in the structure and use of the English language, and current variation in English worldwide.

Assignments: Learn to pronounce Old English and Middle English. Analyze language patterns. Lead class discussion. Midterm and final exams. 


Upper Division Literature Courses

3000 Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies (WRIT)

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor John Curran

Course Title: Ways Stories Mean.

Course Description: This course provides an introduction to different schools of thought, in modern and postmodern literary study, with regard to interpretation, and an opportunity to practice using them. We will review various kinds of interpretive methods and movements that have been important in literary study, and this will give us a sense of the different possibilities—a sense of how we can look at literature from a great diversity of perspectives. And we will develop this sense by taking different kinds of looks at a specific array of rich and fertile texts: Hamlet; Gulliver’s Travels; Frankenstein; Huckleberry Finn; Their Eyes Were Watching God; and The Marriage Plot. We will also be relying on the Oxford Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature.


102 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Amy Blair

Course Title: How to Read and Why

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. 

Readings: We will read poetry by Phillis Wheatley, Jorie Graham, and Walt Whitman; Claudia Rankine’s  multimodal Citizen; Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home; Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America; Octavia Butler’s novel Kindred; and short fiction by Edith Wharton, Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, and/or others. We will watch Rear Window and select episodes of television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friday Night Lights, and The Good Place

Assignments: Students will write frequent shorter analysis papers, discussion posts, and two longer analysis papers. 

4311 Themes in Medieval Literature

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

Course Title: Make Love, Not War   

Course Description: Late medieval England witnessed the emergence of a new group of poets writing poetry about swooning lovers and fair ladies for the English royal court. Dominated by Geoffrey Chaucer, author of the well-known Canterbury Tales, English courtly love poetry exploded into immense popularity. In the same period, England was gaining ground in a wholly different way: the Hundred Years War, a disastrous 110-year long conflict between England and France, saw the rise of English military might, the birth of what we might now call terrorism and guerrilla warfare, the invasion of French territories, and the rise of the “nation,” in its modern political sense. Chaucer was himself a veteran of the Hundred Years War, as were many poets in his closest literary circles. Starting with the key sources in classical antiquity that informed English poets’ discussions of both love and war, this course examines the rise of English courtly love poetry in the context of this devastating and drawn-out conflict that would forever alter England’s cultural and political climate and set the stage for the birth of English nationalism: the pre-condition for the eventual formation of the British Empire and for the birth of “English” itself as an academic discipline in the university. 

Readings: Including but not limited to Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, medieval war chronicles, anonymous medieval war poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Christine de Pizan. 

Assignments: Three papers with scaffolded research component, in-class discussion leading, and final presentations 

4331 Shakespeare

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

Course Description: This course is an introduction to Shakespeare’s art and some of its major themes. The course will include representatives of Shakespeare’s four major dramatic genres - comedy, romance, history, and tragedy.

Readings: A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, As You Like It, The Tempest, Richard II, Henry IV, Macbeth, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and King Lear.

Assignments: Students will be expected to come prepared to discuss specific problems they discern in the plays, read passages aloud in class, and serve as discussion leaders on at least three occasions. Further assignments will include three analytic papers (5 pages each) and ten response paragraphs. 

4402 The Novel to 1900 (Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities, retroactive)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Jason Farr

Course Title:  "Disability in British Novels, 1700-1900"

Course Description: Deaf prophets. Disfigured philosophers. Gouty gentlemen. Radical feminist amputees. Pistol-dueling women. This list encapsulates just a smattering of the variable representations of embodiment that may be found in eighteenth-century British novels. While these narratives’ emphasis on physicality may (or perhaps may not) seem “strange” to us today, such close attention to the flesh, and to impairment generally, was actually quite typical of the period. In this course, we will examine variably-embodied characters in eighteenth-century fiction, and we will discuss what such representations tell us about the cultural history of disability. We will also think about how other categories—especially gender and sexuality—intersect with disability to shore up corporeal codes during this period. Finally, we will think about how the novel form stages vital debates about the body that are still relevant to us today.

4472 British Literature of the Victorian Period, 1837-1900

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Christine Krueger

Course Title: Victorian Literature and Culture

Course Description: A century after the death of Queen Victoria, the culture that bears her name is alive and well in contemporary society, from critical and political discourse to the popular media and consumer culture. This course investigates current uses of Victorian culture in the following areas: Architecture, Fashion and Taste; Human and Animal rights; Wealth, Class, and Philanthropy; Childhood; Feminism; Homosexuality; Law and Policing; Empire, Race and Post-Colonialism; and Satire and Popular Entertainment in mass culture.

Readings:  Longman Anthology of British Literature: Victorian period, Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, Anna Sewell, Black Beauty, Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (Norton), Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Norton), Arthur Conan Doyle, Stories (Bedford), Gilbert and Sullivan, Plays (Norton)

Assignments:  Class participation (10 pts.), three group presentations (@ 10 pts each), three thesis statements and annotated bibliographies (@ 15 pts each), and a cumulative research project are required (15 points). 

4513 Irish Literature (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence, retroactive)

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Leah Flack
Fulfills English Major Requirement:
 Post-1900 requirement

This course explores some of the most important literature, film, and music to emerge in modern Ireland, an era when Irish artists have grappled with changing questions surrounding what it means to be Irish. In the process of reckoning with what Yeats called the “terrible beauty” of a violent Irish history, Irish writers seized a space on the world stage for their art. In so doing, they challenged a damaging cultural logic that demanded the sacrifice of the individual for the future sovereignty of the community. Likely artists include: W.B. Yeats, J.M Synge, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, Eavan Boland, and the Pogues. 

4553 US Literature after World War II

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

Course Title: The Speculative South
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900 requirement 

Course Description: What does it mean to be Southern? How do Southern authors construct narratives about the South? How do those outside of the region depict the South? How were 20th century Southern authors influenced by the haunted castles and ghost stories of 19th century Gothic novels? How has Southern Gothic changed during the last century? This course on Southern literature will provide an overview of the ways in which Southern narratives consider what it means to be from and/or live in a South that is haunted by ghosts, creatures from beyond, and memories from the past. Southern literature often focuses on stories that blur the boundaries between life and death, reinforce the strength of family, uncover oppression, and explore issues of poverty and abuse. We will examine issues of race, gender, and class from differing perspectives throughout the 20th and 21st centuries and consider the ways in which these narratives shape our understanding of Southern literature, culture, and family. 

Readings: Readings will offer various perspectives of Southern culture from different regions of the South – from the Ozark mountains to the Mississippi delta to the swamps of Florida. We will explore different genres of fiction including Southern Gothic and contemporary Southern literature from various types of media such as short fiction, novels, films, comics, television and film, and even podcasts. Possible authors include William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Karen Russell, Octavia Butler, Jesmyn Ward, and Daniel Woodrell.


4611 Jane Austen (Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities, retroactive)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Al Rivero

Course Title: Jane Austen 

Course Description: We will read and discuss Jane Austen’s six novels in various historical and critical contexts. Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able, among other things, to assert with a certain degree of confidence that Pride and Prejudice is actually a book and Colin Firth is not really Mr. Darcy.  

Readings: Norton Critical Editions of Northanger AbbeySense and SensibilityPride and PrejudiceMansfield ParkEmma; and Persuasion. 

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

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

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Sarah Wadsworth
102 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Sarah Wadsworth

Course Title: Children’s Literature

Course Description:  This course is both a selective survey of the canon of English and American children’s literature from the seventeenth century to the late twentieth century and an introduction to critical and theoretical approaches to the analysis of children’s literature. Combining classic works of fiction with literary-historical and critical texts, readings for the course will be guided by the following questions in conjunction with its focus on memory, cognition, and the adult perception of the child’s mind: How does children’s literature negotiate the divide between the desire to instruct and entertain juvenile readers? How do the texts respond to controversial social issues? How do the texts reflect and accommodate changing notions of children and of childhood? How does the relationship between words and images operate in illustrated texts? How do the texts construct gender, race, ethnicity, age, 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: Readings will likely include selected fairy tales, poems, and rhymes; Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland; Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (Part One); Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island; J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan; J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Jacqueline Woodson, Harbor Me; and  critical readings.

Assignments: Two research papers of about 8 pages each, a blog post, an oral presentation, occasional reading quizzes, several brief reflections, and a final exam.

Please note:  This course counts toward the “Memory, Cognition, 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 major and minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

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

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Melissa Ganz

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

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

Readings: Primary texts will likely include Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist; Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret; Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet; Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Oscar Wilde, “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime”; Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent; and Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace. 

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

Please note:  This course counts toward the “Basic Needs and Justice” Discovery theme of the Marquette Core Curriculum and also satisfies the Writing-Intensive requirement.  In addition it counts toward the minor in Law and Society.

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

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

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

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

Assignments: Several papers and active, informed participation.

4820 Studies in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

101 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Samantha Majhor

Course Title: Global Indigenous Literature and Trans-Indigenous Methodologies

Course Description: This course explores literature from Native American and Indigenous people around the globe. In reading both traditional and non-traditional texts from Indigenous groups of North and South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and Pacific Islands, we will map the emergence of trans-indigenous methodologies, exploring the fine differences as well as the shared concerns expressed by Indigenous peoples around the world. Indigenous peoples are often found at the forefront of environmental protection policies and religious and human rights movements, and so the class will explore these efforts in depth.

4830 Africana Literature

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Tosin Gbogi

Course Title: Afro-Atlantic Movements: Harlem Renaissance and Négritude

Course Description: This course examines Harlem Renaissance and Négritude as a network of Afro-Atlantic exchanges of ideas and/or two continental variations on similar sociocultural engagements. Using the two movements as entry points to exploring the connections between Africa and its diasporas (including Europe, the Caribbean, and North America), the course will examine the major cultural, racial, colonial, and identity issues that informed both movements. While a wide range of historical, philosophical, artistic, and aesthetic concerns will be engaged in making sense of these movements, the major emphasis of the class will be on the literary issues and figures that defined both movements. Possible authors to be read include W.E.B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, Claude Mckay, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Lorraine Hansberry, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Aimé Césaire, Léon Damas, David Diop, Birago Diop, and Wole Soyinka (whose “tigritude” critique of négritude provides a useful counterpoint to the movement’s major concerns).

4997 Capstone (WRIT)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Amy Blair

Course Description:  As a capstone course, English 4997 is designed to enable each student to integrate knowledge and skills from previous experiences and coursework, both within the major and throughout the undergraduate curriculum; complete a substantial independent project involving sustained research, critical thinking, reflection, originality, and writing; and bridge the transition between college and the beginning of a career or a graduate program by extending and synthesizing skills and knowledge developed over the duration of the undergraduate years. 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 and will workshop the stages of the research project.  We will conclude the semester with a class conference to present our work to the University community.

Graduate Seminars

6210 Studies in British Literature, the Beginnings to 1500

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

Course Title: Chaucer and “English”

Course Description:  Although we have two full volumes of government records for Geoffrey Chaucer’s busy life as customs official and minor diplomat, oddly enough no English contemporary of Chaucer’s ever mentions his no less voluminous poetic output. The only contemporary acknowledgment of Chaucer’s poetic success comes from an unlikely source: Eustache Deschamps, a French poet from the Continent, himself not known to have been an English speaker, praises Chaucer for having been a “great translator” ... whatever that means. By the mid-fifteenth century, however, Chaucer was proclaimed as the “father” of later poets and “lode-star of the English language,” a lofty position he has not lost since in the Western canon. And yet, the term “great translator,” odd as it may sound, is not a bad representation of Chaucer’s literary enterprise. Chaucer absorbed material from an astonishing array of sources: classical epic and Late Antique philosophy; the Church fathers and saints’ lives; scholastic philosophy and theology; the Italian poetry of the great masters Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio; the French lyric of Guillaume de Machaut and Jean Froissart; English and French romance; scientific works; morality treatises, and on and on. This question – of what it means to call Chaucer a “great translator” and “lode-star of the English language” – will be the object of our enquiry. In studying Chaucer and his various literary sources and analogues, we will further gain a sense of the extraordinary richness of medieval literary culture.

Readings: Will include but not be limited to: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and their sources and analogues