J-Session 2020-21 Courses

2000 Literature, History, and Culture 

101 Online Professor Leah Flack
103 Online Professor Elisa Karbin

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 

101 Online Professor Gerry Canavan
103 Professor Stephanie Quade

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: Section 101: Four weeks, fully online (Dec. 16-Jan. 12); Section 103: In-Person

2951 British and Irish Drama on Stage (Study Abroad)--CANCELLED

Professor: Tyler Farrell
Course Title: British and Irish Drama on Stage

December 14, 2020-January 15, 2021 – In December meet at MU and online. We will be in London during January dates with a short break between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1.

Course Description: This J-Session course will introduce students to drama live, on stage and take an in-depth critical look at how theater is interpreted in all forms from written and spoken mediums. Students will see roughly 5 to 7 plays at various theaters in the historic theater district of London and reflect through writing, critical interpretation, and class discussion. We will also take theater tours of some of London’s famous theaters including: Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, The Royal National Theater, The Old Vic, The Harold Pinter Theater, and the Kenneth Branagh Theater Company at the Garrick. Plays will be based on availability. Based on what dramas we see, the class will discuss drama from its beginnings until present day and look at conventions of how and why drama took shape in the world as well as its impact on literature and art. We will examine Aristotle’s six definitions of tragedy and inform our thinking about many conventions of drama such as: plot, character, dialogue, and conflict. We will also address questions about the spoken tradition of drama and act out/discuss scenes from various plays to hear words/ideas expressed aloud, to hear and see the world created in a given play. The class will utilize discussion questions about each play to expand our thinking as well as methodologies of literary criticism to understand the symbolic nature of works of drama. We will also examine literary history and look at ways in which social contexts and literary traditions helped shape the theater of different eras. We will partner with the City University, London or King’s College, London for housing and classroom space for students and faculty. We will also experience London itself through walking tours and tube travel.

Contact hours will be met with in-class work and discussions, writing assignments, theater trips, play going, and lectures.

Assignments: Two critical papers, presentation, daily reading and writing assignments, daily discussion, tours and activities, group projects, and a final writing project that will involve both critical and creative components.


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

101 Online Professor Angela Sorby

Course Description: In this course, students will learn to read and write flash fiction and lyric poetry. The structure of the course requires intensive writing, peer workshops, and revision exercises.  The culminating project is a portfolio of finished pieces in two genres, plus the opportunity for publication in the online journal Phantom 3240.

This course is part of the Discovery Tier "Individuals and Communities."