Courses Offered (Spring 2024)

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.


Introduction to Marquette Core Curriculum

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

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Ibtisam Abujad

Course Title: Books That Matter: Migrant Literature: Global Migration Politics, in our Own Words 

Course Description: In this class, we will examine migration politics through the activist literature of migrant writers and cultural producers. We will think about how twenty-first century experiences of migration-- the crossing of borders and ideological boundaries-- are informed by political, social, and economic contexts. This will help us critically examine how these experiences are impacted by colonial histories of dispossession and displacement and the contemporary global flows of power. We will read novels and non-fiction essays that resist assimilation and marginalization, also engaging with visual texts and articles that help us examine race, religion, gender, and class in these complex experiences of migration.  

Readings: Texts include Samira Ahmed’s Internment, Ibi Zoboi's American Street, and Neema Shah’s Kololo Hills, stories by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, and essays, film, and sonic texts that facilitate critical thought

Assignments: Engagement and active participation in class discussions and critical and creative activities, short responses, two think pieces, and your own research-based activism project   

102 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Susan Jones-Landwer

Course Title:  Books that Matter:  Women's Protest History in the United States  

Course Description:  This course will be guided by the questions - how has women's protest literature changed in the United States, and how has it remained the same?  In this class, we will explore protest literature beginning in the early 19th century through the 21st century that surveys speeches, lectures, and other published works.  We will take a look at the context to which each literary artifact is delivered, how each protest artifact is organized, and why that particular artifact was used to institute change.  

Readings:  Narrative in the Life of Nancy Prince by Nancy Gardner Prince, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem, and Sexed Up by Julia Serano.  List not all inclusive and will include multiple short readings on D2L. 

Assignments:  Several short writing assignments; a reading journal; and classroom participation. 

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

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Tyler Farrell
102 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Tyler Farrell

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

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

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

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

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


Writing Courses

3210 Writing Practices and Processes (WRIT)

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Jenna Green
102 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Jenna Green

Course Title: Multimodal Workshop
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Writing Practices and Processes requirement for ENGA and ENGW majors. 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.

3220 Writing for Workplaces (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Jenna Green
102 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Jenna Green

Course Title: Writing for Workplaces
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Fulfills ENGL major Elective requirement.

Course Description: Professional communication is essential to the workplace, and this course helps you become an effective professional communicator. Professional communication is the presentation of workplace material in written and visual formats, and as communicators, you must write, design and speak across multiple audiences and for multiple purposes; professional fields require these skills. This class, in content and form, models these successful communication practices, and will help you learn effective strategies to communicate by working individually and collaboratively to complete course projects that are tailored to your personal and career goals. 
The course covers the following principle topics: 

  • Nature and importance of ethical, effective professional communication
  • Workplace research methods, including interviews and usability testing
  • Planning, drafting, revising, and editing workplace documents, like proposals and reports
  • Elements of organization and document design
  • Design and delivery of documents and oral presentations
  • Style in multiple mediums and genres

Readings: Textbook to be determined with additional readings on D2L.  

Assignments: You will create a professional career portfolio that will include deliverables such as a cover letter or personal statement, résumé, proposal, documentation/instructions, reports, memos, and reflections. Students will partner with community organizations and collaborate in writing documents requested by the organizations. All projects are individualized to meet students’ individual goals, needs, and interests. 

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

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Laura Misco
102 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Laura Misco

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

Course Description: The poet Mary Oliver wrote, "To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work." In this course, students will pay attention to their different realms and realities and bring those observations to writing and revising fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. This course helps students tap into their own creativity, express their ideas in clear, lively prose, and understand the vital connection between reading comparatively and writing well. 



103 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Tyler Farrell

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

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

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

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Katherine Zlabek
102 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Katherine Zlabek
103 MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor Katherine Zlabek

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

Course Description: Students will produce fresh, original writing that appeals to an audience’s imagination in this intermediate-level journey into short fiction. In it, we will be discussing the various elements of fiction, including concrete and specific detail, voice, atmosphere, and plot, to name a few. Students will explore the formal elements of writing alongside fiction that exemplifies or challenges these formal elements. Each story will be examined critically for its form as well as its representation of social, cultural beliefs and values, economic or global conditions, and environmental circumstances. In a workshop setting, we will critique one another’s creative writing, and discuss strategies for revising creative writing effectively.   

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

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

3242 Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Expanding our Horizons)

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Ben Pladek

Course Title: Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy: Short Speculative Fiction
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

Course Description: In this course we will explore the unique joys and challenges of writing less-than-totally-realist short fiction through a combination of literary study, discussions of craft, and peer workshops. The class will begin by analyzing speculative short stories from the 20th and 21st-centuries, with bias towards recent works from what’s been called the post-2000s short speculative fiction renaissance. We’ll talk about what differentiates “realist” fiction from “not-totally-realist” fiction (it’s both less and more than you’ve been told!), as well as common genre formats and expectations. Students will write brief in-class exercises that let them practice key storytelling techniques: world-building, inhabiting a point-of-view, building characters, plotting, and scene-setting. Students will then write, workshop, and revise their own short stories. In a supportive workshop environment, students will offer one another feedback that they will use to 1) better understand themselves as writers, and 2) improve their work—both by revising stories they’ve already written and becoming more intentional and attentive when writing new ones. At the end of class, students will submit a portfolio of their revised stories.   

Readings: All readings will be posted on d2L. Exercises will be drawn from Matthew Salesses’s Craft in the Real World and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft; short stories may include work from Ted Chiang, Sarah Pinsker, Sofia Samatar, Angela Carter, Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado, Charlie Jane Anders, and others. 

Assignments: Lively participation; in-class writing exercises; one flash story; one longer short story; and edit letters for fellow writers in workshop. 

3245 Creative Nonfiction (WRIT)

101 MWF 10:00-10:50 Professor Katherine Zlabek

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

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

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

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Megan Paonessa
102 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Megan Paonessa
103 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Megan Paonessa

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

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


104 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Sebastian Bitticks
105 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Sebastian Bitticks
106 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Sebastian Bitticks

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

Course Description: This class breaks down barriers, between the campus and community, between "creative" and "analytical" disciplines, between nonfiction and other creative writing forms. In this course, we will read and write lived stories, both our own and those of people close to us. In our notebooks, we will explore memory, imagination, representation and records, reading memoir, personal essays and hybrid forms. We will also work to represent the stories of other people through interviewing and shared experiences, reading profiles, participant narrative and oral histories.

4222 Feminist Rhetorics (WRIT, ESSV2)

TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Lilly Campbell

Course Title: Feminist Rhetorics
Fulfills: Humanities requirement for Gender and Sexualities Studies

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

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

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

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

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

4230 Writing Center Theory, Practice and Research (WRIT, ESSV2)

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

Course Title: Writing Center Theory, Practice and Research
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement.

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) (NOTE: due to high demand, this course will not count for the Discovery Tier for the 2023-2024 academic year).

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

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

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

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

4260 Creative Writing: Poetry (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Individual and Communities)

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

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

Course Description: This course encourages writers to engage with the field of contemporary poetry and 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. 

4932 Topics in Writing (WRIT)

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

Course Title: Marquette Literary Review
Fulfills English Major Requirement: ENGA and ENGW writing elective requirement and ENGL major elective requirement 

Course Description: Students in this course participate in the production of the Marquette Literary Review. Everyone will gain hands-on work experience; options include textual editing, digital marketing, visual art/design, event planning, and communications leadership. The group will also build a supportive creative community through shared activities and readings.

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.

4988 Practicum in Literature and Language Arts (ESSV2)

101 F 9:00-10:30 Professor Sarah Wadsworth

Course Title: Practicum in Literature and Language Arts
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Writing Elective

Course Description: This experiential learning course couples biweekly seminars with students’ on-the-job activities in internship or internship-like placements in nonprofit agencies. Two different “strands” are offered: a Publishing Experience track and a Story Experience track. In both tracks, students work in their placement sites for 5-6 hours / week. Readings, seminars, and related assignments help build practical, transferable skills, while discussions extend to how students’ work in the fields they are participating in engage with different social systems and value structures. One of the primary objectives of the Practicum is to help prepare students to contribute to current and future work environments in ways that are equitable, inclusive, and collaborative, while prioritizing working for the greater good and acting as people for and with others.

  • The Story Experience Program brings UWM and Marquette students into year-long or semester-long partnerships with Milwaukee-based nonprofit organizations to facilitate story-work in a range of forms from oral histories and interviews with community members to arts-based workshops and story-circles. Organizations and their members work with students to design projects according to their own goals, and the culminating projects can be collected into a public archive of Milwaukee stories. Skills students learn include mapping and building on assets of organizations, interviewing, facilitating individual and group storytelling, organizing and preserving story data, time management, and story-project design and implementation. This is a unique opportunity for deep experiential learning and relationship building, putting humanities and arts skills into practice to build community. Story Fellows earn a stipend of $750 / semester for their work. Participants in the 2023-2024 academic year will be part of a larger, grant-funded initiative aimed at alleviating the effects of poverty in Milwaukee. Further information can be found at the Story Experience Program link on the Center for the Advancement of the Humanities website.
  • Students involved in the Publishing Experience Program gain experience in various branches of the not-for-profit sector of the publishing industry, learning editorial and marketing skills while engaging in timely explorations of and conversations about the current state of the field. Areas of focus in the seminar component will include issues surrounding gender equity and diversity in the workplace as well as the contributions publishing companies and specific publications can make to represent marginalized groups, amplify diverse voices, and publish content that contributes to the effort to advance social justice.

This course is by permission of instructor only. Interested students should email Dr. Sarah Wadsworth ( by Nov. 17, 2023 to set up a brief meeting. Students with career aspirations in publishing and / or nonprofit work are especially encouraged to apply.


Language Courses

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

101 MWF 1:00-1:50 Professor Gitte Frandsen

Course Title: Sociolinguistics
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Language study

Course Description: The special topic this semester, “Linguistic Justice”, focuses on how language and writing are tied up with identity, privilege, and power. We study this through the lens of race, ethnicity, and citizenship. Developing a critical language awareness will allow us to see – and challenge – how some writers’ and speakers’ language is valued while other writers’ and speakers’ language is devalued. We also examine how we can move towards greater linguistic justice by disrupting implicit bias and oppressive ideologies that may be present in our own and others’ attitudes and actions. 

4120 The Anatomy of English

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

Course Title: The Anatomy of English
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  
Language study

Course Description: In this course we will look closely at (and be wowed by) the structure of the sounds, words, and sentences of American English.  We will apply our analytical skills to develop a working model for representing the knowledge we each have as speakers of English—this will also require a certain amount of memorization of the terms needed to describe language structure.  We will consider how some of the conventions of standard edited English are or are not motivated by our model as we work to establish a basis for making informed decisions about style, usage, and grammar pedagogy.  Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Explain the evidence that:
    1. All languages are rule-governed.
    2. The rules of any particular language are acquired through everyday social interaction (and not through explicit instruction or attempts to learn a prestige language).
    3. Any stigma or prestige accorded a language is not predictable from the language itself, but rather from the social evaluation of its speakers.
  2. Analyze the structure of sounds, words, sentences, and conversations in English by describing the relationships between the units that compose them.
  3. Engage in productive conversations with people who have not had the opportunity to learn these course objectives (i.e., 1 and 2 above):
    1. Critique ideologies of (standard) language that shape public commentary on speaking and speakers.
    2. Critique prescriptive/evaluative statements about style, usage, and grammar pedagogy

4130 History of the English Language 

101 TuTh 9:30-10:45 Professor Steven Hartman Keiser

Course Title:  History of the English Language 
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  
Language study

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 Introduction to Literary Studies (WRIT)

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Melissa Ganz

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

Course Description:  This course introduces you to the skills and methods of literary study while tracing developments in British writing from the late eighteenth century to the present day.  Focusing on the motif of protest and rebellion, we consider the ways in which writers working in a range of genres give expression to political, moral, psychological, and aesthetic dimensions of dissent.  From William Wordsworth and Jane Austen to Emily Brontë and Oscar Wilde to W.H. Auden and Kazuo Ishiguro, imaginative writers take up many pressing controversies, addressing questions concerning gender roles, familial life, industrialization, economic inequality, higher education, colonial expansion, and world war.  In addition to considering how writers respond to and participate in such social and political debates, we examine their rebellions against—and revisions to—the literary tradition.  Over the course of the term, you will explore the range and richness of British writing since the Romantic era while honing your close reading and critical writing skills.  At the same time, the course will introduce you to different approaches to literary criticism and give you an opportunity to add your own voice to the interpretive debates.  The course ultimately aims to show you the value and pleasures of literary study while giving you a set of reading and writing skills that will serve you well in the years ahead.

Readings:  Primary texts will likely include Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day; essays by Matthew Arnold, Thomas Henry Huxley, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o; poems by William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Wilfred Owen, W.H. Auden, Claude McKay, and more!

Assignments:  Two essays (with drafts and revision); a reading journal (with opportunities for literary-critical and creative responses); a final exam; short writing and other assignments (such as discussion posts on D2L); and lively participation.


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

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

Course Description: This course serves as an entry point to advanced study in the discipline of English literature. We will read a variety of literary texts across many genres—poetry, short fiction, drama, novel, graphic novel—though these texts will often play with the notion of genre itself.  We will always be thinking self-consciously about the ways we approach texts with expectations that can be fulfilled, frustrated, or exceeded…sometimes all at the same time.  We will practice many varieties of literary critical interpretation, looking closely at language, intertextuality, and literary history to explain how we elicit and/or make meaning from our reading. This course will help students develop fluency with academic discourses and habits of literary criticism that will serve them in their upper-division courses at Marquette, as well as develop their skills as writers and thinkers in their own right.

Readings: Texts will include: Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette and Douglas; Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home; Octavia Butler’s Kindred; Tony Kushner’s Angels in America; a variety of poems; and a smattering of short stories.

Assignments: weekly short assignments (discussion board posts and responses, textual annotation exercises, mini research assignments); active participation in class discussions; frequent individual conferences and reflection writings; open-topic, open-modality culminating project.


103 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Paul Gagliardi

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

Course Description: This course serves as an entry point for the advanced study in the discipline of English literature. While the course is oriented toward new majors and minors, it is also open to anyone interested in honing their critical skills in the interpretation and evaluation of works that fall under the purview of literary studies. Our readings will range mainly thru twentieth and twenty-first century works of literature, poetry, drama, film, and television, and we will also consider these works through various critical, theoretical, and scholarly lenses. This course will consist of a series of various multi-media projects, informal writing assignments, as well as more formal academic essays, that will develop critical reading and writing skills that draw from a range of perspectives.

3302 Crossing Over (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Crossing Boundaries: The movement of people, goods and ideas)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Elizaveta Strakhov

Course Title: Crossing Over
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Pre-1700

Course Description: What happens at the crossroads? Do you sell your soul? Do you find your way? In this course, we are going to explore the trope of questing, passing, and crossing over. We will read a variety of medieval texts that challenge the boundaries between life and death; animal, human, and non-human; self and society; male, female, queer, and nonbinary; and Western and non-Western. 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 thus ask: what exactly is “English” literature?

Readings: included but not limited to Old English poetry, Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer, medieval Arthuriana, medieval saints’ lives and visions of heaven and hell, and premodern queer and trans literature

Assessment: papers, group team teaching assignments, creative writing

3410 Drama (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory)

101 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Paul Gagliardi
102 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Paul Gagliardi

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

Course Description: This course will explore American theater of roughly the last sixty years, focusing on aesthetic change of the stage and theater's changing cultural status, as well as its capacity for social commentary. We will examine a range of genres and approaches to theater, ranging from the blockbuster musicals of the 1980s to surrealist drama of the 1990s to more social-realist fare from Annie Baker and Samuel Hunter. We will also consider contemporary issues of theater, including discussions of representation, financial instability of the art form, and the corporatization of Broadway. 

Plays to be discussed may include Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Anna Deavere-Smith's Twilight Los Angeles, 1992, Suzi Lori-Parks' Top Dog/Underdog, Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb's Chicago, Samuel Hunter's The Whale, and Annie Baker's The Flick.

Assignments: Will consist of short responses, a creative or scholarly final project, and a performance review.

3462 Introduction to Gothic Fiction (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Expanding our Horizons)

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Jannea Thomason
102 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Jannea Thomason

Course Title: Introduction to Gothic Fiction: Reflections on the American Experiment: the 19th Century Gothic Short Story
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900, American Literature

Reflections on the American Experiment: the 19th Century Gothic Short Story 

Course Description: What does it mean to be “American?” The Gothic genre offers an interesting look at how authors have wrestled with what that meant to them. This course focuses on 19th-century American Gothic short stories paired with 21st ones written by BIPOC writers. The 19th century offers a period of intense change in the American identity with Expansion and The Civil War. In this course, our four units will cover the century. Starting with 1800-1820, we will explore the impact of historical memory on the American legacy, and then extending to 1850, we will explore guilt and the connection between power and responsibility. From there, we will explore the impact of the Civil War on the Gothic genre and visit Civil War cites near campus. Finally for 1881-1900, we will consider how literature writes back to grapple with collective trauma. In this course, you will be able to identify how American authors wrested with the American identity through the Gothic genre. You will be able to discuss the impact of this legacy and how BIPOC authors write back to it. 

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

101 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Professor Tyler Farrell

Course Title: Modern Irish Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  Post-1900

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 - Cognition, Intelligence, and Memory)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Al Rivero

Course Title: Jane Austen
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900

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 Austen’s six novels with the close critical attention they demand and deserve. 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: Norton Critical Editions of Northanger Abbey; Sense and Sensibility; Pride and Prejudice; Mansfield Park; Emma; and Persuasion.

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

3740 Film Studies (Discovery Tier: Crossing Boundaries)

101 W 5:00-7:30pm Professor Paul Gagliardi

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

Course Description: This course will explore the art and discourse surrounding cult films or cult classics – films that have developed passionate fan bases that have formed their own unique subcultures. Over the course of the term, students will be given historical, aesthetic, and theoretical contexts for studying cult films, while also considering the political and cultural transgressions of many of the films we examine. We will also explore the development of cult fandoms, as well as manufactured cult cinema of the modern media environment. Films to be discussed may include Serial Mom (John Waters, 1994),  They LiveJohn Carpenter, 1988), Valley of the Dolls (Mark Robson, 1967), Ganja & Hess (Bill Gunn, 1973), and Saving Face (Alice Wu, 2004).

Assignments: Will consist of film responses, and a creative scholarly mid-term and final project. 

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

101 MWF 9:00-9:50 Professor Grant Gosizk
102 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Grant Gosizk
103 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Grant Gosizk

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

Course Description: Susan Sontag said that ‘Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. […] Yet it is hardly possible to take up one’s residence in the kingdom of the ill unprejudiced by the lurid metaphors with which it has been landscaped.’ In other words, the experience of being ill is often complicated by prejudices, stereotypes, and moral/ethical meanings that are attributed to illnesses within particular cultural contexts. This section of “Literature and Medicine” focuses on how fiction, theatre, poetry and prose participate in the cultural act of defining the limits and meanings of illness and wellness. To focus this inquiry, we will be taking one particular illness as a case study: addiction. We’ll spend the semester exploring the various ways that addiction has been defined by American doctors (and how this has changed throughout history), how these definitions have been embraced, denounced, and analogized by literature, and how the metaphorization of addiction has had real world political consequences.

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

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

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

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

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

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Sarah Stanley

Course Title: LGBTQ+ Narratives: Literature, Film, Theory
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, American Literature. Also fulfills humanities requirement for Gender and Sexualities Studies

Course Description: As attacks on LGBTQ+ rights continue escalating, it is more important than ever before for individuals on the queer spectrum as well as for allies to become better versed in the history of queer oppression and the legacies of political activism against it. However, it is equally important to highlight queer hope, especially for younger generations, as well as to revel in the breadth of queer diversity and fluidity. In this course, we will read broadly across the spectrum of queer identities, exploring narratives connected to as many “letters of the rainbow” as possible.

The semester will introduce you to the core concepts of queer theory through engagement with an array of texts across numerous formats, including graphic novels, YA novels, and films. Through reading, writing, and discussion, you will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, an interpretive toolbox, and a deepened awareness of the spectrum of queer identities. As a class, we will interrogate the innerworkings of interwoven systems of oppression including heteronormativity, transphobia, racism, and sexism so that together we may imagine interventions against their perpetuation.

Readings: Likely texts include: Queer: A Graphic History, Like a Love Story, Ash, Loveless, Felix Ever After, Just Ash, Elatsoe, and/or Ramona Blue.

Assignments: There will be one formal Media Research Paper, which asks you to look beyond our required texts to explore LGBTQ+ representation in any pop culture text or franchise from any period and any modality (novel, poem, film, comic, videogame, etc.). There will also be one Creative Research Project, which asks you to imaginatively communicate what you’ve learned using a medium of your choice. There will be no exams or quizzes. Instead, for each class period expect to write a Reading Response of approximately 150-words, which will strengthen your understanding of the assigned texts and provide a starting point for in-class discussions.

4303 Studies in the Medieval Imagination (WRIT)

101 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Professor Elizaveta Strakhov

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

Course Description: The origin of the very discipline we now call “English”—with its emphasis on “close reading” and “critical thinking”—was born in the Middle Ages. Medieval readers talked about cutting open the surface skin of the text to get at its entrails, or washing off the dung on the surface to get at the gold hidden inside the text. Then as now, medieval bookworms sought to get “into” the text, to uncover the hidden truths that lay just below its surface. This course will explore medieval texts and their buried mysteries, known as allegories. We will read about Dante’s vision of hell, Chaucer’s parody of Dante’s hell, a bizarrely proto-Marxist pilgrimage narrative, and the thirteenth-century tale of a cis-woman raised as a man who must choose a gender identity as an adult. Because the medievals understood allegory as both something you read but also something you write, we will do several creative writing projects over the course of the semester.

Readings: included but not limited to The Romance of the Rose, Dante, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Romance of Silence, and William Langland's Vision of Piers Plowman

Assessment: papers, group team teaching assignments, creative writing

4331 Shakespeare (WRIT)

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 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. 

4472 British Literature of the Victorian Period, 1837-1900 (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

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

Course Title: British Literature of the Victorian Period, 1837-1900: Victorian Fiction and Social Reform
Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900

Course Description:  The novel rose to prominence as a genre in the Victorian period in response to a host of social, cultural, and political developments. In this class, we read some of the most influential and innovative works of Victorian fiction, considering how novelists respond to and participate in the era’s social and political debates. We will read works chosen from among authors such as Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Robert Louis Stevenson, Wilkie Collins, and Thomas Hardy, alongside selections from social and political thinkers such as John Stuart Mill, Henry Mayhew, and Matthew Arnold. We will consider how our authors weave together love stories with broader accounts of social and political change, focusing on depictions of gender, marriage, and the family; industrialization and market culture; crime and violence; law and justice; political revolution; and (especially) social reform. We consider, too, how social, political, and legal developments fuel formal (literary) innovations. The course should appeal to students who enjoy reading novels, who wish to learn about developments of the Victorian era, and who are interested in examining how literature gives expression to and shapes social, political, and legal change.

Assignments: Two papers (with drafts and revision); a reading journal (with opportunities for literary-critical, creative, and research-based entries); short discussion posts; and lively participation. 

4523 Modernism (Honors for All)

TuTh 12:30-1:45 Professor Leah Flack

Course Title: Modernism: Make it new
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900
Note: This is an Honors course open to all undergraduates, and enrollment is by permission number.

Course Description:  "Make it new" has long been known as the slogan of Modernism, a brash, innovative literary and artistic movement that emerged in the wake of the devastation of World War I, which left artists working across Europe to conclude that traditional forms of literature and art no longer sufficed to capture the realities of twentieth-century experience. 

      The leading artists we associate with modernism—in literature, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, etc. and Stravinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Eisenstein, etc in music, visual arts, and cinemastill loom as artistic giants who produced monumental art. The Waste Land and Ulysses are often characterized as literary Mount Everests for the most daring and accomplished readers who earn bragging rights for life after mastering them.

      This class will be a collaborative journey to make this well-worn story about modernism new. We will learn why seeing reading as a form of acquiring mastery over difficulty is wildly out of sync with the creativity of modernist writers confronting an era of overwhelming uncertainty. 

      We will study four of the best-known works of Modernism: James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and Ezra Pound's Cantos, with particular attention to the first Cantos and the Cantos he composed while imprisoned in a military camp in Italy.

      As an "honors for all" class in a small, seminar style format, this class will teach students to read in a way that will be new to them. After reading each text, we will study how each text came into being by looking at the scraps of paper, notes, drafts, manuscripts, and editorial revisions that tell a buried story about modernist creativity. We will study the creative and editorial choices in historical context so we can see how different these works might have been.

      This course will be perfect for students interested in experimental writing; the creative process; the era of the World Wars; censorship; writing the human mind; and the interaction between literature and politics. Its unique focus and its inclusion of creative choices for assignments will also make it a great class for creative writers. 

      The course will require engaged, informed participation; four papers; and a willingness to think playfully about "masterpieces" as a set of choices that might have been different.

4631 Toni Morrison (WRIT, ESSV2, Discovery Tier - Basic Needs and Justice)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Heather Hathaway 
102 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Heather Hathaway

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

Course Description: Toni Morrison has been a formidable force shaping 20th (and now 21st) century American literary history. As an editor at Random House, she played a pivotal role in selecting contemporary fiction for publication and mentoring a generation of young African American writers, in particular. As a literary critic, she worked toward transforming scholarly understandings of how race functions in fiction. As an educator, she helped students understand the richness, depth, and changing nature of the American literary canon. Most importantly, as a writer, she provided the reading public with novels, short fiction, drama, children’s literature, a libretti, and non-fiction novels—an oeuvre for which she was awarded the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes for literature and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In this course we will study Morrison’s role in American literary history by studying on her primary texts, both fictional and critical, within the historical, cultural and political contexts framing their production.

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

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

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

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

Readings: Primary texts will include fairy tales, poems and rhymes, picturebooks, adaptations in film and other media, and the following novels: Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (Part One); Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden; Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House; Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game; Varian Johnson, The Parker Inheritance. Secondary texts will incorporate literary history, literary criticism, and theory.

Assignments: In addition to participating regularly in class discussion, each student will produce brief informal written reflections / responses, three short essays, and a longer paper, developed in stages. 

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

101 MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Sarah Stanley

Course Title: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900

Course Description: Science Fiction and Fantasy continue to dominate box offices, streaming services, and video games, through the power of immersive “secondary worlds.” Imagining futures and pasts that are both better and worse than our own present, these far-flung settings function as spaces for negotiating shared cultural anxieties regarding the ever-evolving state of our world and our places within it. From the sands of Arrakis to the snowfields of Hoth, the shifting paths of Fangorn Forest to the waves of the Narrow Sea, despite their nuances the most enduring secondary worlds create opportunities for interrogating systems of oppression, exploring intersections of identity, and envisioning institutional change. In this course, we will read broadly across the intertwining traditions of Science Fiction and Fantasy, whose shared roots emerge from the late-Victorian Romance Revival.

The semester will introduce you to the core concepts of these interwoven literary traditions through an array of texts across numerous subgenres and formats, including short stories, novels, and films. Through reading, writing, and discussion, you will develop analytical and critical thinking skills, an interpretive toolbox, and an eye for identifying narrative tropes across time periods. As a class, we will dissect the meaning and appeal of secondary worlds as narrative vehicles for both spectacle and social experimentation.

Readings: Likely texts include: The Lefthand of Darkness, The Buried Giant, Neverwhere, Cemetery Boys, Iron Widow, An Unkindness of Ghosts, and/or Black Sun.

Assignments: There will be one formal Media Research Paper, which asks you to look beyond our required texts to choose, analyze, and research a piece of Science Fiction or Fantasy media from any period and any modality (novel, poem, film, comic, videogame, etc.). There will also be one Creative Research Project, which asks you to imaginatively communicate what you’ve learned using a medium of your choice. There will be no exams or quizzes. Instead, for each class period expect to write a Reading Response of approximately 150-words, which will strengthen your understanding of the assigned texts and provide a starting point for in-class discussions.

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

4762 Neuroscience and Literature 

101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Grant Gosizk

Course Title: Neuroscience and Literature
Fulfills English Major Requirement:  American Literature

Course Description: Neuroscience and literature have more in common than you might think. In their most general definition, both are forms of humanistic inquiry: both are interested in revealing aspects of our lives that are otherwise invisible. Neuroscience uses biomedical study to provide insight into subjects like consciousness, cognition, personality, memory, sense, and more. By contrast, literature criticism examines language and story in an effort to better understand the conditions of our lived experience. This can include things you might be familiar examining in literature classes, like social and historical ideals. It can also include lived experiences like neurodivergence, transcendence, psychopathy, perception, and other ways that the mind engages environment. 

In this class we are interested in the intersections between literary and neuroscientific study. Can literature illustrate neurological condition? Can neuroscience help us understand aesthetic experience. Why are we moved by certain works of literature? What is beauty? Is there a science to it? Answering these questions will involve reading neuroscientific literature from various periods of medical history alongside works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. 

Readings: Course materials: all readings will be provided as digital scans on D2L.

4765 Material Cultures (Discovery Tier - Expanding our Horizons, Honors for All)

101 MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor Amy Blair

Course Title: Material Cultures: The Midwest
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Post-1900, American Literature

“Flyover Country.” “The Heartland.” “Chicagoland.” There are lots of synonyms for the region of the U. S. also known as the “Midwest,” each of which implies a definition of and attitude towards “midwestern” people and places.  In this course we won’t necessarily define this place for ourselves, but we will look at how it has been represented in literature and material culture from the 18th through the 21st centuries. We will consider the ways that Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Detroit were figured as urban spaces that were supported by and reached into the rural spaces (or “hinterlands”) of the “Great West.” We will see how the Midwest was imaginatively and literally constructed as a hub for goods, people, and culture between the coasts. We will begin with the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, during which Chicago laid its claim to twentieth-century significance by encompassing the world (and erasing its material past).  We will read poetry, short fiction, and novels that consider the possibilities and dangers of the metropolis for women, immigrants, African Americans, Native Americans, and East-coasters. We will also read contemporaneous magazines and newspapers for cultural images of the Midwest. Along the way we will talk quite a bit about architecture, wheat, pigs, trains, rivers and shoes.

As an Honors for All class, we will also be emphasizing experiential learning; this will take the form of a number of site visits, both during class time and at other times to be determined.

Readings: Will include but are not limited to: L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Zitkála-Sá’s collected works; Laura Ingalls Wilder, On the Banks of Plum Creek; Upton Sinclair, The Jungle; Ida B. Wells Barnett’s journalism, Eve Ewing, 1919

Assignments: Will include a final critical paper or creative project; weekly sandbox posts on D2L; enthusiastic participation in seminar and in site visits.

4997 Capstone (WRIT)

101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Jenn Fishman

Course Title: Capstone: The Long and Short of It: Essays at the End of English
Fulfills English Major Requirement: Capstone

Course DescriptionThis capstone is for English majors and minors nearing the end of their undergraduate studies as well as ADPs and MAs. It is an invitation to spend the semester reveling in Englishy-ness as readers, thinkers, and writers. Our collective merrymaking will involve good fun as well as serious play with our own and others' words, ideas, hopes, dares, and more—all through the study and production of short- and long-form essays.

Wait! Don't panic, especially if you saw the word "essay" and broke into a cold sweat. Rest assured. It's going to be okay—or better.* This class is not about Xtreme source lists and excessive word or page counts, and it is definitely not about that made up, mutt genre "the research paper." For common ground, we'll read photo essays, sonic essays, and manifestos against "the essay" alongside both renowned examples and recent ones coauthored by AI. We'll also write** with the goal of emerging from the semester with a collection of work we feel proud of: Essays at the End of English, Vol. 1.

Course materials will include a variety of electronic sources, all free and available via D2L. Please set aside approximately $30 for end-semester publishing costs.

Coursework will follow a steady flow of in-class discussions, workshops, and work sessions (Mondays and Wednesdays); readings and reading responses (due Tuesdays); and writing (due Sundays). Anyone with an essayistic project in-progress should talk with me about continuing to work on it; anyone with preliminary ideas or questions should contact me:

*If, when you read the word "essay," your heart rejoiced, I see you and look forward to working with you.

**We'll define "writing" quite broadly, and we'll work across media and essay types as available resources (e.g., time, tech, wherewithal, knowhow) allow. 

Graduate Seminars

6800 Studies in Genre

101 MW 5:00-6:15 Professor Ben Pladek

Course Title: Studies in Genre: Queer Historicisms  

Course Description: In Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History, Heather Love notes that queer readers “tend to see ourselves as reaching back toward isolated figures in the queer past in order to rescue or save them,” and it is “hard to know what to do with texts that resist our advances”—texts that see queer history as the site not of salvation, but of ambivalence, provocation, or refusal. In this course, we’ll examine how contemporary queer writers, and specifically transgender writers, use fiction to explore pasts that resist their advances, pasts where gender and sexuality look very different than they do today. The course’s four central novels, all written in the last six years, use experimental forms to interrogate what challenges, provocations, and unexpected joys queer people can find when they “feel backward.” This somewhat narrow focus will allow us to ask larger questions about the relationship between literature, history, and identity. For example: how do we identify with history, and how does this shape how we identify with fiction? Is “queer” an identity, a genre, a form, all of the above, or something else entirely? How is identity shaped by history and vice versa? What aesthetic and ethical questions are raised by historical fiction—writing it and reading it? While the course will focus on fiction, we’ll spend its first three weeks in a multi-disciplinary introduction to queer theory, for students who might be unfamiliar with it.  

Readings: Primary texts: James Frankie Thomas, Idlewild (2023), Jeanne Thornton, Summer Fun (2021), Shola von Reinhold, LOTE (2020), and Jordy Rosenberg, Confessions of the Fox (2018). 

Assignments: Regular class engagement, a few shorter assignments, and one long, research-based final project.  

6830 Studies in Literary Criticism

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

Course Title: Studies in Literary Criticism: Literature, Disability, and the Health Humanities

Course Description: This class will offer an introduction to the Health Humanities through a Critical Disability Studies lens. We will read and apply theory from these interdisciplinary fields to literature with the objective of reevaluating categories such as health, illness, and disability. The literature will be drawn primarily from the Anglo-American tradition beginning with the 18th century–a period when our modern ideas about health and disability emerged. We will also read modern literature and theory about the AIDS crisis, systemic racism, public health, and the COVID era, among other things.

6931 Topics in English

101 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Professor Leah Flack

Course Title: Countermyths

Course Description:  Helen is best known in Greek myth for two things: for her unmatched beauty, which made her the unfortunate prize in an after-dinner contest among the Greek goddesses and as the femme fatale who caused the Trojan War. 

      From our vantage point, we can immediately spot the problems of pinning a decade-long war on a woman's beauty. If we dig a little, we can see that this scapegoating has acquired particular force in the past few centuries and that the ancient imagination held more complex views about Helen. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey dominate our readings of the Trojan War, but the ancient world was replete with other versions of the story, such as the Palinode by Stesichorus, which claims that Helen was actually in Egypt during the Trojan War and that the men at Troy fought over a phantom of Helen. 

      This class will focus on what I am calling countermyths, subversive versions of well-known stories from the ancient world. We will study the artistic, political, social, and ideological relationship between the variants people know and those that remain in the back alleys of literary history.

      Our work will culminate in an intensive study of works written within the past decade (many in the past year). That we live in an intensely mythic moment is hardly surprising: the history of mythological writing from the ancient to contemporary worlds shows a correlation between political, economic, and social crisis and the popularity of writing that engages with Greek and Roman myth. 

            A glimpse at the past two decades and, more particularly, the past five years shows that the most important voices in contemporary mythological writing belong to women, LGBTQ+ writers, BIPOC writers, and writers from countries that were once a part of European empires. The movement becomes more pronounced each year. Rather than explain how unusually prolific our moment is, I invite you to Google "2023 books about myth."

      This class will give students the methodological tools they need to contextualize this emerging cultural phenomenon within mythological, literary, and sociopolitical history. Students will become conversant in conversations in classical reception studies and Translation studies. 

      Assignments: Will include: leading a discussion, a paper proposal and 7-10 page paper; and a review of a book published in the past year aimed at publication in a journal.

6961 Career Discernment Workshop

MW 2:00-3:15 Professor Elizabeth Angeli

Course Title: Career Discernment Workshop

Course Description: Students explore career paths in and around the humanities, both inside and outside of the academy. Using the principles of Ignatian discernment and guided by cura personalis, students consider who they are because they have studied the humanities and discern how that informs their life after graduation and their career opportunities. Includes preparation of career application materials for students planning to enter both the academic and non-academic job market.

Approved 5000 level courses

Please see the 4000 level courses for course descriptions

5120 - The Anatomy of English
5130 - History of the English Language
5230 - Writing Center Theory, Practice and Research
5260 - Creative Writing - Poetry
5303 - Studies in the Medieval Imagination
5472 - British Literature of the Victorian Period, 1837-1900 
5523 - Modernism
5715 - Children's Literature
5765 - Material Cultures
5932 - Topics in Writing
5988 - Practicum in Literature and Language Arts
5997 - Capstone