J-Session 2019-20 Courses

2000 Literature, History, and Culture (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities - Retroactive)

101 Online Professor Leah Flack
101 Online Professor Leah Flack

Course Title: The Art of War

Course Description: Nearly three millennia ago, the Western literary tradition began with Homer’s pair of epic stories about war and the agonizing return to peace. In our own era, we face the urgent problems of escalating global warfare, which prompts us to become informed citizens with a critical awareness of how war is represented and justified. To this end, we have much to learn from the literary tradition.  

This course will teach students to become empowered readers of war narratives through an intensive study of short stories, novels, and films about war and peace, most of which were written in the past 60 years. We will explore several features of representations of war in literature: the celebratory, commemorative, and protest functions of literature; representations of the body in war narratives; representations of various forms of psychological, physical, and cultural damage caused by war; the difficulty of return and recovery from war; and war’s challenges to traditional narrative forms as writers struggle to define, as Tim O’Brien writes, “how to tell a true war story.”  

2010 Literature and Genre: Crafting the Short Story (WRIT, retroactive)

101 Online Professor Gerry Canavan
102 Online Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title: Crafting the Short Story

Course Description: “Crafting the Short Story” takes advantage of the unique format offered by the four-week J-term pilot program to offer an experimental and hybridized version of the typical English 2010 course that takes place entirely online, offering its students the opportunity to experiment with producing creative writing alongside traditional scholarly prose. These two modes of writing, normally kept distinct in the English curriculum, will be blended together here to make this intensive four-week course a unique and formative intellectual experience for its students.

The course is built around Tom Bailey’s short-story anthology On Writing Short Stories(2nd edition), which combines a vibrant anthology of twentieth-century short stories with writerly reflections on the mechanics of short story construction and the craft of creative short story composition. For the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday assignments, students explore a particular core concept of the short story—character, plot, setting, voice, and mood—alongside a celebrated short story that exemplifies or challenges our understanding of that concept. Students will respond to the stories on MTW in a critical and analytic mode, using the D2L forums for extended discussion and scholarly debate. For the Friday sessions, students will compose short pieces that experiment with each concept from a more creative perspective, as well as compose a short reflective essay that describes how the process of artistic creation augmented and transformed the knowledge they received during the MTW scholarly readings.

Alongside their assigned reading, forum responses, and directed creative pieces, students will also spend the month of the J-Term drafting and revising an original short story of their own devising. In the final week of class, students will share their stories with me and their peers in supportive online workshop groups, receive both due praise and constructive critical feedback, and then craft a personal response to the workshop and a plan for revision of their story as their final exam.
Readings: Tom Bailey’s On Writing Short Stories (2nd Edition)

Assignments: D2L responses; creative assignments; original short story; workshop participation; workshop reflection and revision plan

Requirements fulfilled by course: UCCS Literature and Performing Arts (LPA); ENGL, ENGW, ENGA majors

Format: Four weeks, fully online (Dec. 16-Jan. 12)