Courses Offered (Spring 2021)

Undergraduate Courses

First-Year English (UCCS Rhetoric Requirement)

1001 Foundations in Rhetoric  (Foundation Tier)

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

Students learn to:

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


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

102 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Jannea Thomason (online, synchronous)

Course Title: The Body in Anglophone Literature

Course Description: We can accomplish great feats with our bodies, yet we are also constrained by them. It is often what we think about our bodies that is most limiting. This course focuses on Anglophone (English-speaking) literature of the 19th century. The 19th century produced a shift in thought about the body as it increasingly became public business and a center for scientific exploration. In this course, we will look at three aspects of the body in literature. First, we will look at how the body is defined, then we will explore the moralization of the body, and finally we will end with death. In this course, you will be able to recognize the connection between the language we use to talk about the body and what we think and feel about the body, death, and embodiment. You will be able to take how the body is written about in the nineteenth century and apply that to recent texts in order to explore how ideas have evolved.

Readings: Recommended Texts: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Birthmark” by Nathanial Hawthorne, “Night” by Louisa May Alcott, “The Outcastes of Poker Flat” by Bret Hart, “The Raven” Edgar Allen Poe

Assignments: Creative writing short story, explorative paper based on a course text, textual analysis of a recent news piece


104 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Jessie Wirkus Haynes (online, synchronous)

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 Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, 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/screenings, online class discussions and discussion posts, and a final course project. 


ESSV Core Requirements

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

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Rebecca Nowacek (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Analyzing American Culture through the American Musical

Course Description: The genre of the American musical is nearly a century old and has always offered a fascinating lens on changing attitudes towards gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and what it means to be American.  This course will focus on four musicals from different historical eras: Showboat (1927), Oklahoma! (1943), Cabaret (1966), and Hamilton (2015).  We’ll learn about how those musicals responded to their historical moments (channeling and sometimes challenging beliefs of the time) and discuss how subsequent productions sometimes changed substantially in new historical moments.  We’ll be thinking about how issues of gender and sexuality and race and ethnicity and what it means to be American get represented in the very American genre of the musical.  In short, our main activities will be close reading and critical analysis: the staples of most English courses. 

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


103 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Sarah Stanley (online, synchronous)

Course Title: “Elementary, My Dear”: Detecting Fictions of “Law & Order”

Course Description: Why do we delight in stories about crimes and their culprits? Why have fictional investigators such as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot attained mythic status? Why are we drawn to mysteries, and which elements are required to make their “puzzles” satisfying? What is at stake in the ways we portray cops and criminals, detectives and ne’er-do-wells? In exploring fictions about the process of “detecting,” what fictions surrounding “law and order” can we actively detect emerging within our imaginative representations of crime? Throughout this course, we will interrogate the diverse ways in which crime fictions represent questions of justice, equality-under-the-law, and social order. How do these ideals shift throughout differing eras and/or between cultures? Whom do these ideals include and protect; whom do they exclude and pathologize? Such questions will drive our discussions of classic crime thrillers ranging from the golden age detective novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, through the dark noir of the disillusioned postwar era, to more modern incarnations of the craft. Examining the cultural and historical contexts of these works, we will consider the ways in which narratives about breaking the law reinforce or subvert societal attitudes regarding which activities—and which individuals—should be protected or suppressed. We will examine the ways in which representations—of gender, race, sexuality, social class, (dis)ability, etc.—complicate the seemingly cut-and-dry nature of good guys vs. bad guys. Extending our discussions to encompass documentaries and current events, we will also examine the impacts narratives of detection have upon the lived experiences of ordinary people. Ultimately, we will attempt to understand the role that fictional portrayals of crime-and-punishment might play in our real-world assumptions about, and unequal applications of, “justice.”

Readings: Our texts will be drawn from a range of mediums, including non-fiction, poetry, short stories, novels, film and television, videogames, and comics. Possible texts include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of the Four, Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, Mat Johnson’s Incognegro, Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith, Attica Locke’s The Cutting Season, and/or Kanae Minato’s Penance. Possible films include Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity, Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective, Carl Franklin’s Devil in a Blue Dress, Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs, Chris Nolan’s Memento, Shane Black’s The Nice Guys, and/or Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.

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


104 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Elisa Karbin (online, synchronous)

Course Title: The Contemporary Elegy 

Course Description: In this course, we will look at the contemporary iterations of the elegiac tradition and explore the elegy as a poetic form rooted in the language of loss. 

This course will compromise a range of elegiac works from contemporary living poets, including: Natasha Trethewey, Claudia Rankine, Jorie Graham and Danez Smith. These texts, and others, will inform our understanding of the ancient form’s contemporary presence as poetry capable of harnessing the power of loss and grief to reconcile and remember.


106 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Amber Strother (online, synchronous)

Course Title: More Human than Human: Figures of the Other in Science Fiction

Course Description: What does it mean to be human? How are the lines between human and nonhuman blurred in science fiction? What does the future look like for humanity? This course will engage with these questions to better understand the ways in which science fiction is a reflection of societal fears about the shifting definition of what it means to be human in the 21st century. The texts for this course will include a variety of novels, short stories, films, comics, and television episodes that focus on figures who challenge the categories of human and nonhuman such as clones, cyborgs, zombies, and aliens. By examining the cultural and historical contexts of the works, we will consider the ways in which science fiction engages with social issues involving gender, race, class, disability, and equality/inequality.

Readings: Possible texts include Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, M.R. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, and Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti.


109 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor David Kenney

Course Title: Irish Literature of Social Change

Course Description: The opening decades of the twentieth-century was an explosive time in Ireland, a time that saw dramatic political and cultural revolutions accompanied by an extraordinary literary output. This course will examine works of Irish fiction that express a variety of reactions to societal changes, some filled exhilaration over new possibilities in a changing world, others apprehensive over disappearing traditions and values. Examining works produced before, during, and after Irish independence, we will consider the unique interplay of history, culture, and art found in Irish literature, looking at authors who present a diverse array of perspectives on the costs and opportunities of civil unrest and social change.  

Readings: Primary texts should include but are not limited to Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth, Cathleen ni Houlihan by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, John Bull’s Other Island by George Bernard Shaw, Juno and the Paycock by Sean O’Casey, “Guests of the Nation” by Frank O’Connor, How Many Miles to Babylon by Jennifer Johnston, Translations by Brian Friel, and “The Dead” by James Joyce.  


112 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Amber Strother (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Revolutions, Rebellions, and Uprisings: Resistance in Science Fiction

Course Description: Rebellions, revolts, and revolutions are key elements in many science fiction narratives which can inspire us to envision different futures for our own society and world. In what ways does science fiction engage with social issues and revolution? How are these fictional rebellions inspired by oppression in our own world? How are these texts a call to action for readers? This course will look at the ways in which science fiction depicts uprisings against oppressive governments, corporations, and systems and attempt to answer these questions. The texts for this course will include a variety of novels, short stories, films, comics, and television episodes that focus on rebellion against oppressive institutions. By examining the cultural and historical contexts of the works, we will also consider the ways in which science fiction engages with social issues involving gender, race, class, disability, and equality/inequality. 

Readings: Possible texts include Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, and Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

2030 Global Literatures  (ESSV 1)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Paul Gagliardi
102 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Paul Gagliardi
105 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Paul Gagliardi

Course Title: Global Detective and Crime Fiction 

Course Description: Without question, detective fiction and crime stories are two of the most popular genres of writing in the world. This course will explore the genres of both, their development, and how writers from around the globe deal with not only detective characters, criminals, and cases, but also the larger issues of these works. What social function do these works serve, and how does their meaning change from culture to culture? Why are they so appealing to readers? Do these works reinforce certain ideological positions at the expense of others? Can these novels, plays, films, and documentaries promote social justice or political change? 

Readings: Texts may include Anne Holt's Blind Goddess, Anthony Horowitz's Moriarty, Hideo Yokoyama's Seventeen, You Jeong-Jeong's The Good Son, and documentaries like l'affaire du petit Gregory, podcasts like Criminal, and a range of web series like Buzzfeed Unsolved 

103 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Robert Bruss
107 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Robert Bruss

Course Title: Global Literatures: Zombies!

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

109 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Jodi Melamed (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Refugee Experiences and Global Capitalism in 21st Century Film

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 Ai Wei Wei, Human Flow, Stephen Frears, Dirty Pretty Things, Adam McKay's Big Short, and Folayan and Davis's Whose Streets? 

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

111 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Ibtisam Abujad

Course Title: Intersectional Approaches to Critical Reading: Race, Gender, and Class in American Muslim Communities

Course Description: This class will enable you to analyze how race, gender, class, and sexuality are mutually constitutive, functioning sometimes as structures of exclusion and at other times forms of communality and empowerment. This class will center twenty-first century cultural productions and narratives of selfhood by transnational Muslims in the United States, including personal narratives, short fiction and novels, media and music. You will use reflective and critical activities and assignments to think intersectionally about the subject positions, communities, and practices discussed within Muslim texts, while also engaging in an intersectional analysis of your own subject position and social positioning.

Assignments:  Will include a creative multimodal component, short response assignments, a praxis assignment, and a critical research paper


Writing Courses

3210 Writing Practices and Processes (WRIT)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Jenna Green

Course Title: Multimodal Workshop 
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.

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.  

102 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Jenn Fishman (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Writing What We Know 
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.

Course Description: In this section of English 3210, we'll explore different writing practices and processes in relation to some big questions: How does writing shape what we know and how we know it? How do we shape writing, both individually and together? What makes us—or anyone—a good writer? To get perspective, the first half of this course concentrates on college writing, which is a category full of surprises—and a whole lot more than just academic assignments. In Spring '20, we'll look specifically at the pressures that college writing and college writers are under, drawing examples from the present and the 2020 pandemics as well as the past, including the immediate aftermaths of 9/11. The second half of the course belongs to you, the students who enroll. Through a project you design, pitch, and carry out, you will devise the experiences have as a writer, the learning you will have the opportunity to do, and the work you get to share with others. Past projects include blogs, podcasts, and webtexts; popular and academic essays for real audiences; photo essays, social media campaigns, and more. Participants in this course should be ready to participate in a community of writers, where we will read, talk, and write about difficult topics, including violence, war, racism, and loss. 

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

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

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

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Lilly Campbell (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Writing for Health and Medicine

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

Learning goals include:

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

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

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

102 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Elizabeth Angeli (online, synchronous)

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

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

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

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

To that end, in this class, you will:

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

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

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

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

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Sebastian Bitticks (online, synchronous)
102 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Sebastian Bitticks (online, synchronous)
104 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Sebastian Bitticks (online, synchronous)

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!

103 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Elisa Karbin (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Introduction to Creative Writing 

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

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

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

101 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Sherri Hoffman (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Structures of the Short Story

Course Description: This course is the study and application of the craft of the

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

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

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


102 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Miranda Trimmier

Course Title: Crafting the Creative Essay

Course Description: This creative nonfiction class is structured around the geographer Shiloh Krupar’s notion of transnatural ethics: a practice of living cooperatively and creatively with not just people but the plants, animals, and inanimate objects that populate our worlds. We’ll follow units themed accordingly and work throughout the semester to think and write about the full range of our relationships, not just human ones. We’ll also be talking about what creative nonfiction is and exploring craft strategies, of course. To frame the course in terms of ethics is to keep us thinking about how and why our writing matters in a big-picture sense. 

103 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Elisa Karbin (online, synchronous)
104 MWF 3:00-3:50 Professor Elisa Karbin (online, synchronous)

4230 Writing Center Theory, Practice and Research (WRIT)

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

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

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Sherri Hoffman (online, synchronous)
102 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Sherri Hoffman (online, synchronous)
103 MWF 12:00-12:00 Professor Sherri Hoffman (online, synchronous)

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

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

ReadingsMaking Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern; The Best American Short Stories (2018), edited by Roxane Gay. Supportive essays include works by Robert Boswell, Ursula Le Guin, Jerome Stern, Mary Milstead, and others. 

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

104 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Miranda Trimmier

105 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Sebastian Bitticks (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop:

Course Description: Maybe you’ve wanted 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 11:00-12:15 Professor Angela Sorby (online, synchronous)

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

102 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Tyler Farrell
104 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! 


103 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Elisa Karbin (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Creative Writing: Poetry 

Course Description: A hybrid course built upon both reading analysis and generative workshop seminar, this class will focus on exploring a range of strategies utilized in composing contemporary poems emerging from the lyric tradition. Throughout, our focus will be on analyzing the long poem as a form, attending to the ways in which the architecture of the poem frames its content. Students should expect weekly reads to include work from both established and emerging poets including, Ross Gay, Ada Limón, Natasha Trethewey, and sam sax, among others. Class time will be divided between engaging in a survey of craft approaches, as modeled by the assigned texts 21st-Century American contemporary poems, and workshop time dedicated to improving student writing craft. 

4954 Seminar in Creative Writing (WRIT)

101 MW  2:00-3:15 Professor C.J. Hribal (online, synchronous)

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

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

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

4986 Writing Internship

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


Language Courses

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

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

Course Title: Exploring the English Language

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

 4140 Sociolinguistics (ESSV 2, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

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

Course Title: Language & Gender

Course Description: Every day, simply by speaking, we reconstruct the world and our place in it as gendered beings: feminine, masculine, androgynous, straight, lesbian, gay, bi, trans, cis, questioning. In this course we investigate the communicative practices that form the culture of everyday life (our conversations, the media) to uncover the links between language and cognition and the ways that language both reflects and creates social organization—including categories such as gender, ethnicity, and class. 


Upper Division Literature Courses

3000 Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies (WRIT)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Tosin Gbogi (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Critical Reading
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 3000 

102 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Jason Farr (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Introduction to Literary Studies

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—and 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. 

103 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Jacob Riyeff (online, synchronous)

3302 Crossing Over (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Elizaveta Strakhov (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Crossing Over

Course Description: What happens at the crossroads? Do you sell your soul? Do you get lost? Or do you find your way? In this course, we are going to explore the theme of questing, passing, and crossing over in medieval and Renaissance literature. We will consider the boundary between life and death with medieval rewritings of the Bible; between salvation and damnation with Marlowe’s famous devil pact in Dr Faustus; between animal and human, and human and fairy, with Marie de France; between self and society in medieval Arthur legends and Geoffrey Chaucer; between male and female, Muslim and Christian, black and white with Aucassin and Nicolette; between historical periods in Shakespeare’s history plays; between racial boundaries in the early days of the transatlantic slave trade in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko. Throughout, as we read “English” texts that were not always originally composed in English, we will also think about England itself as a place of crossroads. England is a country that once spoke a Celtic tongue, that was invaded four times in its early history, and that still registers the heavy mixing of its Germanic and French populations in its language today. We will ask: what exactly is “English” literature? 

3513 Modern Irish Literature (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory)

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

Course Description: This class will focus on Irish Literature through the lens of place. The Irish use the word “dinnseanchas” or “dindsenchas” which translates into the “lore of places.” We will examine deep and symbolic aspects of place or location through the lens of major Irish authors and films. Every class will engage in reading and discussions reflecting on how Irish artists portray themselves and examine how where we are is who we are. The starting point for both our reading and writing will be our personal responses to the texts, both as works of literature and film and as windows into the Irish world. The class will also focus on how these writers use their native land and its inhabitants to inform their writing, the use of place and surroundings to show and create a certain mood and overarching moral. Discussion format with critical analysis of works.

Readings: Authors we will read will include: W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, Kate O’Brien, Michael Hartnett, Eavan Boland, Leland Bardwell, Edna O’Brien, Brian Friel, Philip Casey, Christy Brown, Angela Bourke, and James Liddy. Also, we will be watching the following Irish films in class: In Bruges – 2008, Odd Man Out, 1947, and My Left Foot, 1989 along with some short films. 

Assignments: Will include: class discussion, group assignments, presentation, short reflections, 2 critical papers, and a final research project.

3611 Jane Austen (Discovery Tier: Individuals and Communities)

101 Professor Al Rivero (online, asynchronous)
102 Professor Al Rivero (online, asynchronous)

Course Title: The Cinematic Jane Austen Online Experience

Course Description: Jane Austen is huge these days. Dozens of television, film, and theatrical adaptations of her novels have appeared and will continue to appear. Merchandise featuring her image or the images of her characters is everywhere. Only Shakespeare exceeds her in cultural capital. The downside of our current obsession with Austen is that the novels themselves are often trivialized or not read with care. In this course, we will read four of Austen’s novels—Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion—with the close attention they demand and deserve. But we will also watch and discuss cinematic adaptations because they enrich our appreciation of her works and help us better understand her role as cultural icon.

Whether Austen was a feminist in our modern sense is debatable. What is beyond dispute is that her novels aim to represent the plight of women in a patriarchal society rigged against them. Austen’s novels are not the fantasy machines for which they are often mistaken but pedagogical interventions in a culture which, while ostensibly valuing women, kept them from achieving their full human potential. This is a truth not universally acknowledged either in Austen’s time or in ours.

Readings: Although I’d prefer that you use Norton Critical Editions of the novels because of their reliable texts, annotations, and critical materials, I’ll not require that you buy them. If you have access to other editions of the novels, please check with me to make sure that they acceptable.

Assignments: Reading the four assigned novels and watching films and TV adaptations of them. There will be short weekly writing assignments and a comprehensive take-home final examination. 

3740 Film Studies (Discovery Tier: Crossing Boundaries)

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Thomas Simons
701 TuTh 5:00-6:15 Professor Thomas Simons

Course Title: The Western: Borderlines on the Frontier 

Course Description: If you think Westerns are just B-movies about black-hatted bad guys and white-hatted good guys, you might want to think again. The Western was a favorite of many preeminent American directors and was the most popular genre from the Silent Era through the 1960s—and in spite of the form having been repeatedly declared “dead,” filmmakers continue to produce them. 

The Western embodies the fundamental American myth of the frontier—westward expansion and the “progress of civilization.” In large part, the movies themselves created and refined the myth. On one level, the frontier is geographically defined as an open space promising freedom and embracing possibility. But as the frontier becomes more-and-more inhabited, other borderlines are drawn. The stories of gunfighters and marshals, homesteaders and cattle ranchers, robber barons and outlaws, establish and contest these boundaries. Furthermore, the borderlines also include the physical and cultural borders between the ever-expanding United States and Native American lands and Mexico. Additionally, as these various boundaries become established, marginal and liminal spaces related to race, class, and gender surface. The Western provides a flexible form that is also able to deal with pressing sociopolitical issues related a film’s own historical moment and our changing attitudes. In the words of John H. Lenihan, no cinematic “genre is more involved with fundamental American beliefs about individualism and social progress” than the Western. At its root, the Western explores the tensions between individuals and communities: “Western movies … contrasted the rugged hero’s freedom and natural virtues with the ordinary or artificial qualities if the townspeople”; while “at the heart of the Western,” we simultaneously find “the democratic preoccupation with individual freedom amid social constraint.” 

We will also consider the movies in relation to wider currents in film history and developments in cinematic technique: from the inauguration of the “adult Western” during Hollywood’s Classic Period—and how it metamorphosed in the aftermath of World War Two—through the influx of the Revisionist Western and the American New Wave, to the emergence of Chicano cinema and the Feminist Western. We’ll also learn film grammar and study how movies are constructed, as well as the language, techniques, and practice of film analysis. 

The featured presentations for the semester (all to be shown in class) will be John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939), My Darling Clementine (1946), and The Searchers (1956); Anthony Mann’s The Devil’s Doorway (1950); William Wellman’s Westward the Women (1951); George Stevens’s Shane (1953); Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969); Arthur Penn’s Little Big Man (1970); Clint Eastwood’s The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976); Robert M. Young’s The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982); and Maggie Greenwald’s The Ballad of Little Jo (1993). 

Readings: Sikov, Ed. Film Studies: An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York: Columbia U Pr., 2020. Other readings will be posted on D2L.  

Assignments: Reading assignments; regular attendance; engaged class participation; short essays (analyzing the image, analyzing camera movement, analyzing cinematography, analyzing shot-to-shot editing); research essay; midterm and final exams.  

3775 Literature and Place (Discovery Tier: Individuals and Communities)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Paul Gagliardi

Course Title: Midwestern Literature 

Course Description: As a region, the Midwest is uniquely situated within the American popular imagination. Often labeled as “flyover country,” this space and its inhabitants have been celebrated as comprising the “real” or “authentic” America, while also derided as a backwards, cultureless mass. Over the course of the twentieth century – and especially in recent years – such regional narratives appear in a wide range of textual objects and cultural forums. This course will explore the complex (and often contradictory) ways in which the Midwest has been imagined across a diverse assortment of materials. Along with works of American literature spanning from the turn of the twentieth century to the present, this course also features interdisciplinary materials that include films, television series, graphic novels, and supplemental readings on regionalism.  

Readings: Texts may include Eve Ewing's 1919, Sandra Cisenero's House on Mango Street, Emil Ferris's My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Sinclair Lewis's Elmer Gantry, short pieces from F. Scott Fitzgerlad and Hanif Abdurraqib, and episodes of television series like Fargo, Parks and Recreation, and Joe Pera Talks With You 

Assignments: Short writes, Participation, Mid-Term, Final Project

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

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Jason Farr (online, synchronous)

Course Description: José Esteban Muñoz once wrote, “We have never been queer, yet queerness exists for us as an identity that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future.” Here, Muñoz 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 re-frame our understanding of queer identities, 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 re-work 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, rather than as peripheral and pathologized. We will view films such as Paris Is Burning, Moonlight, and Pariah. We will also read literature from the likes of EM Forster and Janet Mock. In our supplemental reading of queer theory, we will learn to think and write about LGBTQ+ identity, to conceptualize sexual and gender subject formation in film and literature, and to speculate about what queer futures hold for us. 

4311 Themes in Medieval Literature (WRIT)

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Elizaveta Strakhov (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Themes in Medieval Literature

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 contemporary chronicle accounts of the Hundred Years War and 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.

4331 Shakespeare (WRIT)

101 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor John Curran

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

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 a final exam. 

4423 Legal Fictions of the Enlightenment (WRIT, Discovery Tier: Basic Needs and Justice)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Melissa Ganz (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Legal Fictions of the Enlightenment
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900 requirement

Course Description: From bigamy and robbery to treason and murder, eighteenth-century novels obsessively depict illicit behavior. In this course, we consider the centrality of law and lawlessness to early English fiction, while exploring the ways in which novels can help us understand the nature and consequences of illicit acts. Reading fiction alongside criminal biographies, statutes, and treatises, we examine questions concerning justice and judgment, crime and punishment, gender and marriage, testimony and evidence, and legal terror and popular violence. Our texts include the lively and checkered fictional autobiography of Moll Flanders, a four-time bigamist and successful thief who claims to have repented for her crimes even as she proudly narrates them; a novel by the founder of modern feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft, recounting the struggles of a young woman whose husband confines her in a madhouse; and one of the earliest works of detective fiction, itself an account of the abuse of police power. We will also examine Austen’s treatment of marriage and inheritance in Pride and Prejudice and view the 2013 PBS/Masterpiece film adaptation of P.D. James’s continuation, Death Comes to Pemberley. The course should appeal to students with interests in law and ethics as well as anyone with an appetite for stories of transgression, punishment, and revenge. 

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

Readings: Novels by authors such as Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Jane Austen; secondary readings by Martha Nussbaum, Douglas Hay, Michel Foucault, Jeremy Bentham, and others.

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

4503 British Literature Since 1900 (Discovery Tier: Cognition, Intelligence, Memory)

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Leah Flack (online, synchronous)

Course Title: British Literature Since 1900:  Women Writers
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900 requirement

Course Description: The last four years have returned us to questions that animated the early suffragette and feminist movements of a century ago. With the #metoo movement, the bravery of Christine Blasey Ford testifying of her assault in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the whole world, testimony that was ultimately ignored, and with legal changes threatening the physical autonomy of women, women’s writing has perhaps never been more important. In this class, we will become attentive readers of very contemporary women writers from the English-speaking world, including Bernadine Evaristo (Nigeria), Ali Smith (Scotland), Zadie Smith (England/Jamaica), and Sally Rooney (Ireland). We will also read part of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist and look at films and TV shows made by women writers and directors (for example Amazon’s Pen15). We will begin our study by reading the pioneering work of Virginia Woolf, a British writer of the 1920s who has exerted a profound and lasting influence on today’s women writers. We will ask ourselves what, if anything, has changed in the last century, and in what direction.  

Course requirements include: a weekly discussion board, creative assignments, a review, and a public-facing think piece. 

Note: This class satisfies the Post-1900 literary history requirement for English majors and counts toward the Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexualities (INGS) major and minor. In addition, it counts toward the Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence theme of the Marquette Core Curriculum (MCC) and satisfies the MCC Writing-Intensive requirement.

4563 Literature of the 21st Century

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Gerry Canavan (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Contemporary Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900

Course Description: Giorgio Agamben writes: “The poet—the contemporary—must firmly hold his gaze on his own time. But what does he who sees his time actually see? What is this demented grin on the face of his century? … The contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light but rather its darkness.” This course takes up major literary and mass-media works of the twenty-first century, including short stories, comics, novels, films, music videos, and games, with an eye towards understanding Agamben’s future-facing call “to perceive, in the darkness of the present, this light that strives to reach us but cannot.” The book list is still in flux (and suggestions are welcome!) but major texts will likely include Chris Ware’s Rusty Brown, Vol. 1, Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun.

Assignments: Final critical paper or creative project; weekly sandbox posts on D2L; two “thinkpiece”-style mini-papers; enthusiastic and informed class participation 

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

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Gerry Canavan (online, synchronous)

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.

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; two “thinkpiece”-style mini-papers; enthusiastic and informed class participation

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

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Sarah Wadsworth (online, synchronous)
102 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Sarah Wadsworth (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Children's Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900 
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 likely include fairy tales, poems, picturebooks, and the following novels: Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (Part One); Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island; Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game; Varian Johnson, The Parker Inheritance; E. L. Konigsburg, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler; Celia C. Pérez, Strange Birds; and Joseph Bruchac, Code Talker.

Assignments: Three papers of 5-6 pages each, a blog post, an oral presentation, reading quizzes, brief reflections and in-class writing, and a final exam.

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)

101 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor John Curran

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

Course Description: Epic poetry is one of the oldest literary genres, and in the west 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. Examines the Homeric epics, and then surveys four of the most important literary epics in the western tradition: Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Milton's Paradise Lost and Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh. All four document how exploring distant realms always, at the end of the day, means exploring yourself. These epics ask their heroes where they came from and where they're going as ways of forcing them to understand who they are.

4736 Fiction (Discovery Tier: Cognition, Intelligence, Memory)

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Grant Gosizk (online, synchronous)

Course Title: The Politics of Melodrama

Course Description: “Stop being so melodramatic!” To some people, “melodrama" is a dirty word. They see it as a form of expression that flies in the face of good taste. It speaks with the body when it should be understated; it “tells” when it should “show”; its villains all have mustaches and its heroes all wear white. That said, this genre has, for better or worse, been the primary mode by which American political discourse has spoken. Uncle Tom’s Cabin dramatically influenced the popular perception of abolition; The Drunkard; Or, the Fallen Saved indelibly changed the temperance movement; Under the Gaslight brought popular attention to suffragism. Do we still see American politics through the language of melodrama? This course will explore the important role that melodrama has played in shaping American politics. By looking at various examples of this genre in fiction, and its adaptations for stage and screen, we will better understand the formal characteristics of the mode, as well as its strengths and weaknesses as a form of political expression. Along the way we will consider distinctions between "high" and "low" art, how the body and sensation speak, excess as a form of expression, the political utility of morality tales, and the racial politics of sympathy.

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

101 TuTh 8:00-9:15 Professor Brittany Pladek (online, synchronous)
102 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Brittany Pladek (online, synchronous)

Course Title:  Medicine and Literature
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.  

103  TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Grant Gosizk (online, synchronous)

4820 Studies in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Jodi Melamed (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Race and Racism in Milwaukee: Cultural Critique

Course Description: How is it that Milwaukee, Wisconsin, today can be known as both “the All American City” and “The Most Segregated City in America”?  What makes Milwaukee both a paragon of multicultural America (“Festival City”)  and a symbol of the entrenchment of racialized privilege and inequality?  Focusing specifically on the post-World War II history, the course seeks to make the study of race and ethnicity intellectually rigorous and immediately relevant for students at Marquette University.  In particular, we will seek to understand racialization – a process that stigmatizes some forms of humanity and privileges others – as a complex factor that has deeply shaped the cultural, economic, political and social fabric of Milwaukee, as well as the experiences and consciousness of all its inhabitants. To do so, we will familiarize ourselves with the global and local histories of the city’s multiple social groups: white, African American, American Indian, Latinx, Asian and Arab American, and LGBTQ.  Rather than consider these groups as unified and static, we will consider how each undergoes constant change  and is constantly hybridized by a multiplicity of other factors, including national origin, class, gender, religion, and sexuality.  An equally important focus will be on the interaction between the literary text and the social text (the signs through which we “read” or make meaning of our social worlds). 

Readings: Will likely include:  John Gurda, The Making of Milwaukee; Allison Hedge Coke, Blood Run; Richard Wright, Twelve Million Black Voices; Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street;  Kathleen Tigerman, Wisconsin Indian Literature

Assignments: Two short essays (4-5 pages), one long essay (10-12 pages), one oral presentation, final exam. 

4825 Native American / Indigenous Literature (WRIT, ESSV2, 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 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Jenn Fishman (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Writing Education
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Capstone

Course Description: This course is for students who would like to cap the English major or complement their graduate work with a course dedicated to writing and its study. To start, we'll survey contemporary arguments about writing education that address what it should be and what it should be for. We'll draw from popular and scholarly sources, and we'll examine the arguments embedded in our own educational experiences. Next, we'll turn to the past and a series of significant educational changes: the study of vernacular languages at the university level; tug-of-wars between civics and civility within writing instruction; and disagreements about the place of writing within liberal (arts) education. Last, we'll look to the future and consider what comes next. Readings will dare us to think big; they will also ask us to be real regarding what it takes to sustain educators and educational systems and what is required for real change, whether modest adjustments or truly radical revisions.

Course materials: Will include a variety of electronic sources, all free and available via D2L.

Assignments: Will include participation in synchronous and asynchronous class discussions, regular short writing responses, and completion of a portfolio that includes a letter of introduction, a critical essay (or equivalent) about past writing education; a think piece (or equivalent) about future writing education, and a closing letter of reflection. Students will have the option at midterm of trading the portfolio for a personal project with a future focus (e.g., establishing an online professional presence, developing resources or piloting programming for writing education, completing a previous project for publication). 

Graduate Seminars

6800 Studies in Genre: Poetry

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Tosin Gbogi (online, synchronous)

Course Title: Postcolonial Poetry: Theory and Practice

Course Description: The processes of empire making thrived on narrative and discursive formations as much as they did on physical violence and subjugation. Whether to rationalize or to justify the “mission,” colonial discourses constructed the image of the Other who not only stood outside of history but also needed the intervention of Europe (or the West) to be reconciled with history. We will examine in this course how a broad array of writers and thinkers from former colonized territories respond to these discourses of race-making and expansionism. Our engagement will begin from the term itself: What is postcolonialism? Is the “post-” in postcolonialism the afterlife of colonialism or the counter-discourse to colonialism and imperialism? What is the relationship between postcolonialism, postmodernism, and decoloniality? Focusing on this set of questions, we will consider in the first part of this class the major theories, concepts, and debates in postcolonial studies. In the second part, we will focus on postcolonial poetry as a genre, exploring in detail some of the ways that postcolonial poets from different cultural and national contexts respond to concerns as wide ranging as modernity and the Enlightenment; colonialism, coloniality, and neocolonialism; difference, particularism, and universalism; exile, place, and displacement; hybridity, mimicry, and ambivalence; nationalism and postnationalism, among others.  

 6931 Topics in English: African-American Traditions

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Cedric Burrows 

Course Title: African-American Traditions

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.