English and the Marquette Core Curriculum

Foundation Tier Courses

In addition to ENGL 1001, Foundations in Rhetoric, the English Department teaches two Foundation-level ESSV courses (Engaging Social Systems and Values). We created courses especially for this requirement: ENGL 2020: Texts, Social Systems, and Values; and ENGL 2030: Global Literatures. Numerous sections—each taught by a different instructor with a different point of view and expertise in different times and places—are offered each semester. These courses will change every semester, so please check back to see the newest offerings!

Foundation Tier Courses

ENGL 2020: Texts, Social Systems, and Values

Professor Cedric Burrows

  • 101 TTH 9:30-10:45

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

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

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

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


ENGL 2030: Global Literatures

Professor Paul Gagliardi

  • 101 MWF 11:00-11:50
  • 102 MWF 12:00-12:50

Course Title: Global Literature: Literature of the City Course Description: This course examines novels, poems, plays, and films from different historical and cultural backgrounds that explore the concept of the city. We will consider how the idea of the city has changed from the late-nineteenth century to the present day, as well as how major social and economic movements -- mass production, mechanization, colonialism -- have impacted cites and the people who live in them. In addition, we will also consider how the urban space influences both shared experiences and depersonalization. We will trace these relationships between the city and its people across class difference, gender, race, nationality,and other concepts. In addition, we will discuss if and how these texts propose solutions to economic and social inequality in the city, and if such ideas can be adopted by us for social change.

Readings: Possible readings include Zadie Smith, White Teeth, Fydor Dostoyevsky, Notes from the Underground, Nathanael West, Day of the Locust, Teju Cole, Open City


ENGL 2030: Global Literatures

103 MWF 8:00-8:50
Professor Sherri Hoffman

Course Title: Global Literature – African Voices Course Description: In the past, the global perspective of African literature has been largely shaped by colonialist or European-centric authors as indigenous voices have been suppressed, dismissed, or rendered inaccessible without translation. This course will embrace authors indigenous to the continent, tracing the development of African literature in its own diverse voices. The scope of work reveals rich cultural traditions against the influences of colonialism, revolution, wars, modernizing technologies, and the developing globalized institutions of a rapidly changing world.

Readings: multi-genre—fiction, poetry, drama, film, and memoir—with works from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and others. Authors represent a broad variety of race, gender, and culture. Some of the works will be in translation.

Assignments: weekly reading responses, midterm exam, class presentation, two critical papers.


Discovery Tier Courses

Each student must take at least four courses in one Discovery Level theme; at least one of those courses must be a Humanities course, although students can choose to take two Humanities courses if they so choose. Students can apply up to two Discovery Tier courses to their majors and minors.

The English Department offers multiple discovery tier courses each term, in all of the Discovery Tier Themes. These offerings will change every semester, so please check back to see the newest offerings.

Discovery Tier Courses

Memory, Cognition, Intelligence


ENGL 4250: Creative Writing: Fiction

101 MWF 1:00-1:50
Professor Sherri Hoffman

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, reframes, resists, or reinforces cultural beliefs and values. The workshop structure allows for an active discussion of student work. Readings are a diverse selection of authors as examples of craft and the diversity of voice. Supporting craft materials include essays, video clips, and book excerpts, which invite the study of language and story reimagining our world.

Readings: Steering the Craft by Ursula Le Guin; Triggering Town by Richard Hugo; various fiction from Tobias Wolff, Dorothy Allison, James Baldwin, Anton Chekhov, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nina McConigley, Leonard Michaels, Breece D’J Pancake, Leo Tolstoy, Alice Walker, Denis Johnson, and others; additional craft essays by various authors.

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


ENGL 4715: Children’s LIterature

101 TTh 9:30-10:45
Professor Sarah Wadsworth

Fulfills English Major Requirement: 1700-1900, Post-1900, American Literature

“I don't know whether you have ever seen a map of a person's mind.” This quotation from Peter Pan by James M. Barrie captures an array of fundamental questions underlying all of children’s literature: How do children think? What do they remember? What do they understand? How do they learn? What amuses them? The ways writers have answered these questions vary from the seventeenth-century to the present, as this survey of British and North American children’s literature reveals. The course introduces students to canonical children’s literature from the seventeenth century to the present along with a variety of theoretical approaches that have aided scholars in interpreting how the language of children’s literature functions with respect to memory and other cognitive processes (emotion, nostalgia, empathy, creativity, the acquisition of knowledge) connecting the adult writer to the child reader.

Combining classic works of fiction with literary-historical and critical texts, readings for the course will be guided by the following questions in conjunction with its focus on memory, cognition, and the adult perception of the child’s mind: How does children’s literature negotiate the divide between the desire to instruct and entertain juvenile readers? How do the texts respond to controversial social issues? How do the texts reflect and accommodate changing notions of children and of childhood? How does the relationship between words and images operate in illustrated texts? How do the texts construct gender, race, ethnicity, 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?


Individuals and Communities


ENGL 3240: Introduction to Creative Writing

101 TTh 9:30-10:45
Professor Angela Sorby

Course Title: Introduction to Creative Writing.

Course Description: This course proceeds from the assumption that creativity can be learned and that it is broadly applicable to every life path. Students will read flash fiction, micro-essays, and lyric poetry. As they become skilled readers they will also produce and revise work in each of the three genres. The culminating course project is an online portfolio of curated and original writing.


ENGL 4210: Writing, Literacy, and Rhetoric Studies

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

Course Title: The Rhetoric of the Black Freedom Movement

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

Readings: Marable, Manning and Leith Mullings, editors. Let Nobody Turn Us Around: An African American Anthology. 2nd ed., Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2009.

Assignments: Rhetorical analysis papers; midterm; final


Core-designated Writing-Intensive Courses

Although almost all English courses involve a significant amount of writing and attention to the writing process, a select few have been designated “writing intensive” by the core, meaning they feature writing instruction and give students a chance to revise and improve their writing.

Core-designated Writing-Intensive Courses

ENGL 3240: Introduction to Creative Writing

101 TTh 9:30-10:45
Professor Angela Sorby

Course Title: Introduction to Creative Writing.

Course Description: This course proceeds from the assumption that creativity can be learned and that it is broadly applicable to every life path. Students will read flash fiction, micro-essays, and lyric poetry. As they become skilled readers they will also produce and revise work in each of the three genres. The culminating course project is an online portfolio of curated and original writing.


ENGL 4210: Writing, Literacy, and Rhetoric Studies

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

Course Title: The Rhetoric of the Black Freedom Movement

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

Readings: Marable, Manning and Leith Mullings, editors. Let Nobody Turn Us Around: An African American Anthology. 2nd ed., Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2009.

Assignments: Rhetorical analysis papers; midterm; final


ENGL 4230; Writing Center Theory, Practice, and Research

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

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 rebecca.nowacek@marquette.edu.

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.


ENGL 4250: Creative Writing: Fiction

101 MWF 1:00-1:50
Professor Sherri Hoffman

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, reframes, resists, or reinforces cultural beliefs and values. The workshop structure allows for an active discussion of student work. Readings are a diverse selection of authors as examples of craft and the diversity of voice. Supporting craft materials include essays, video clips, and book excerpts, which invite the study of language and story reimagining our world.

Readings: Steering the Craft by Ursula Le Guin; Triggering Town by Richard Hugo; various fiction from Tobias Wolff, Dorothy Allison, James Baldwin, Anton Chekhov, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nina McConigley, Leonard Michaels, Breece D’J Pancake, Leo Tolstoy, Alice Walker, Denis Johnson, and others; additional craft essays by various authors.

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


ENGL 4932: Topics in Writing

103 MWF 2:00-2:50
Professor Sebastian Bitticks

Course Title: Writing Creative Nonfiction

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


ENGL 4954: Seminar in Creative Writing

101 MW 3:30-4:45
Professor C.J. Hribal

Course Title: Seminar in Creative Writing: Fiction & Poetry

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 writing that tries to reflect the complexity of life) falls all along the spectrum between (and including) those two poles. Life is both tragic and comic. Or as the Yiddish proverb has it, “Man plans. God laughs.” This workshop will give students an opportunity to develop poems and 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 or 4260) that will help them do that. They’ll also add additional techniques to their repertoire, examine poetry and narratives from technical (as well as critical) viewpoints and develop fluency in discussing poetry and fiction writing from the practitioner’s viewpoint, with the ultimate goal of writing better poems and better narratives.

Readings: The Story Behind The Story, Barrett and Turchi, eds., Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within, Kim Addonizio, + student work

Assignments: In addition to a few writing exercises, students will produce 20-25 pages of prose fiction and/or poetry 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.


ENGL 4997: Capstone

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

Course Title: Capstone – History of the Book and Material Text

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

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


Second-Level Engaging Social Systems and Values (ESSV) Courses

Students can fulfill the second ESSV requirement in a number of ways, including courses taken in their majors.