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Detailed English Course Descriptions

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This page includes text selections and more detailed course descriptions than those available in the academic catalog. This is not a complete list of all courses offered each semester. View the most recent copy of the Academic Schedule and Academic Catalog  on the registration page for complete course offerings and descriptions. Click here to link to fall 2013 registration. 

Fall 2013 Special Offerings  

ENGL U387: Topics in Literature, Culture, and Difference - Kusch MW 2-3:15p.m.
Gender and Modernism. We have all heard of the roaring twenties with their jazz clubs, speakeasies, cars and liberal drinking, dancing, marriage, divorce, affairs, short skirts and love. Before the 1920s started to roar, the modernists were already discussing many challenges to gender roles and sexual norms that made the twentieth century a completely different world for men and women around the globe.

With women's suffrage and education, new legal definitions of homosexuality and decency, shortages of males due to two world wars and the birth of birth control, the first half of the twentieth century turned gender and sexuality on its head -- complicating the meaning and value of marriage and opening up a myriad of new possibilities for structuring intimate relationships.

Our course readings will focus on the changing and challenging representations of gender and sexuality from modernist writers. Texts include Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, Gertrude Stein's Q.E.D., E.M. Forster's Maurice, H.D.'s Asphodel, and several short poems and excerpts of prose by Marianne Moore, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Angelina Weld Grimke, Jean Rhys, Hart Crane, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.

NOTE: This course counts for the Cultural Difference and Diversity English requirement and the Minority Literature requirement of secondary education majors who have an English concentration.

Our Courses         

SEGL 208: Intro to Creative Writing - McConnell
This course could be subtitled "Writing Everything." Students will work in poetry, short fiction and creative nonfiction and read models in each genre. There'll be a variety of writing exercises in addition to our workshops and reading. A portfolio of revised work will be due at the end of the term. 

SEGL 208: Introduction to Creative Writing - Knight
Learn to develop your fiction beyond, "It was a dark and stormy night…," and your poetry beyond, "There was a young girl from Nantucket..." The author of our text advises us to "Read. Write. Listen. Don't give up. Have Fun!" We will do all those things as we study and practice the art and craft of creative writing. 

SEGL 252: Understanding Grammar - Marlow 
Taught by a dude who used to HATE grammar, students examine real sentences, apply rules to real-life errors, and explore how to use (and even intentionally break) rules to strengthen their writing. Two papers are required (3 and 5 pages). 

SEGL 275: Masterpieces of World Literature - Kusch 
Gilgamesh, Scheherazade, Odysseus, Penelope, Helen of Troy, Don Quixote, and many more. These famous characters from literature around the world have influenced and shaped many cultures for centuries after their authors first invented them. Similarly, today's world authors, including J. M. Coetzee, Chinua Achebe, Salman Rushdie, Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende, are offering us new ways to examine our own time. By studying world literature in English or in translation from ancient times to the present (from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America) students develop a new understanding of literary history and of the many cultures of the world. Readings include the Norton Anthology of World Literature Second Shorter Edition (ISBN 9780393933543), Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians and Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Emphasis will be placed on texts and authors of particular importance for secondary education teachers. 

SEGL 275: Masterpieces of World Literature - Canino
Read the best known works of world literature from the past few thousand years with an emphasis on ancient and classical texts that are the foundations of much literature today. This course is designed to introduce students to the major canonical and some non-canonical works from around the world, concentrating on seven works which have had a tremendous impact on Western Civilization. Assigned reading will include The IliadThe OdysseyThe AeneidThe InfernoThe Morte D'Arthur, and Paradise Lost

SEGL 279: Survey of American Literature I - O'Brien
Texts include many selections from the Heath Anthology of American Literature

SEGL 280: Survey of American Literature II - Kusch
American literature has always been multicultural. Our survey of short stories, poetry, plays, novels, and essays from 1865 to the present demonstrates how the most important writing engages challenges of diversity in terms of race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality and American national identity itself. In our course, we explore the definition of America as it transitions from a young country reeling from the trauma of civil war to today's global, economic, cultural and military superpower. We start reading American literature from a time when the world was not sure that America could produce anything called "literature" and witness the development of some of the most important international authors of the 20th century including many Nobel laureates. Texts include many selections from the Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition and Huckleberry Finn.

NOTE: This is a great course for education majors in English or language arts who would like college-level instruction in many of the most commonly taught authors of American literature.  

SEGL 289: Survey of British Literature I, Beginnings to 1800 - Williams
This course's reading list is filled with larger-than-life figures who travel to distant lands, seek fame and fortune, fall in and out of passionate love, betray others, find themselves betrayed and attempt to define who they are by what they are able to accomplish. Texts include BeowulfSir Gawain and the Green KnightOthelloParadise Lost and Gulliver's Travels.

SEGL 290: Survey of British Literature II - Murphy
In everyday speech we talk about "romantic adventures" and "Victorian morality," buildings that look "modern" and even cartoons that are "postmodern." In this class, we'll read the diverse literature from the periods that defined these now-common terms and study the larger social and cultural changes to which writers responded. The rise of the British Empire and management of its decline provide a powerful analogy to us in 21st century America, so in examining the literature from 1800 to the present, we study not just its past but our own present, and how it got that way. 

SEGL 291/391: Survey of African American Literature - Carson
In this course we will read works by African Americans from the 18th century to the present in all major genres from the slave narrative to rap lyrics and urban literature. Of the major works we will consider, among them will be poems and stories by Paul Laurence Dunbar, excerpts from Richard Wright's Native SonSula by Toni Morrison, Shange's For Colored Girls . . . (the original play and Tyler Perry's new film version) and more. SEGL 291/391 will be offered concurrently. At the 300-level, this course counts for the Cultural Difference and Diversity requirement for English majors, and at either level counts for the minority literature requirement for Education majors.

SEGL 300: Introduction to the Study of Literature
Everything you need to know about the study of English (including everything you don't know you need to know). We will cover the skills and knowledge necessary to research, write and talk about language and literature: literary periods and the literary canon, literary terms, genres, criticism, literary theory basics and research methods. 

SEGL 308: Intermediate Creative Writing - McConnell
English 308 is a continuation of English 208 (Introduction to Creative Writing) and will concentrate on short fiction, creative nonfiction, and verse using a workshop approach. We'll complete several short assignments and each contribute a chapter to a collective memoir online. 

SEGL 318: Writing in Digital Environments - Williams
Digital technology is changing writing and reading daily. Explore these issues in this course. 

English 319: Development of the Novel - Williams
Under what conditions did this most popular of literary forms appear and evolve? How are contemporary novelists influenced by (or responsive to) the writers who came before? Students in this course will engage in a critical and historical study of this genre by reading four pairs of novels, each pair consisting of one early and influential work and one later one that revises, reimagines or revisits the earlier. We will read the following: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and J. M. Coetzee's Foe; Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea; Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Julian Barnes' Flaubert's Parrot; and Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham's The Hours. Students will take a midterm and a final and will write three essays. They are expected to think for themselves, to form strong opinions, to disagree, to argue persuasively and eloquently when they speak and when they write. 

SEGL 319: Development of the Novel - Murphy
Fictions of Growth and the Growth of Fiction. Compared to poetry and drama, the novel is still a young genre. Because the novel itself has been growing up, it has often focused on the development of youthful heroes and heroines, who struggle both to "be themselves" and to fit in to the world around them. Taking these formative fictions as a starting point for what realist novels try to do, we will ask: How do these novels define what it means to mature as a character or as a genre? And what do we make of protagonists and novels that fail or refuse to develop according to the norm? Selected readings by theorists of the novel will inform our work on four or five novels of formation and deformation, fitting in and dropping out.  

SEGL 320: Development of Short Fiction - McConnell
We'll conduct a survey of short fiction from the 19th century to today, focusing on American and British authors and also some writers in translation. Students will take a midterm exam and write several brief papers and one long essay based on a collection of short stories. 

SEGL 322: Contemporary Literature - McConnell 
The course will begin with lessons focusing on close readings of shorter texts and progress to lessons on two novels written by living writers. Online asynchronous discussion and a long final paper will form the bulk of the graded assignments. 

SEGL 364: Fiction Workshop - Knight
Did your parents spank you when you were a little tyke for making up fantastic stories and even outright fibbing? If so, the Fiction Workshop may be the course for you. We'll refine those fibs into short stories or novel chapters, and we'll sit in a circle and discuss, praising each untrue story's inherent truth and kindly but honestly pointing out ways to make the piece the best that it can be. The prerequisite is SEGL 208 or SEGL 308. 

SEGL 368: Life Writing Workshop - McConnell
We'll read models of exemplary life writing (and students will write a short critical paper on a book-length biography or autobiography), but most of our time will be spent in workshop format critiquing student work on biographical and autobiographical projects. These works-in-progress will form a portfolio of polished compositions by the end of the semester. 

SEGL 368: Life Writing Workshop - Knight
When you make a new friend, what are the stories about yourself that you always share? Keep them in mind; in this fast-paced online summer session, you will write three creative pieces based on your experiences and share them with the other students in the class. You will also write brief critiques of the other students' work, discussing what works best in each piece and what might improve the piece. 

SEGL 370: Creative Nonfiction - Knight
Creative Nonfiction is a workshop style class, which means that we share our writing with each other, with the goal of making it the best it can be. Our textbook is Writing True by Sondra Perl and Mimi Schwartz, but our most important texts will be the creative works of the class members. 

SEGL 389: Gay and Lesbian Literature - Johnson
We will explore contemporary memoirs by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual authors with critically-acclaimed literary reputations -- from well-known names like Dorothy Allison and Paul Monette to recent innovators like Dianne DiMassa and Daphne Gottlieb. Themes include coming of age, coming out, gender nonconformity, sexual fluidity, being "out" in rural areas, LGBTQ activism and grieving the loss of a partner.  

SEGL 405: Shakespeare Survey - Canino
As a survey course, this class focuses on the "infinite variety" in Shakespeare's repertoire. We will therefore study plays from the early and later parts of his career, from an assortment of genres (comedies, "problem" plays tragedies, Roman plays, histories) and from a large range of authorial perspectives. Texts include Signet editions of Midsummer's Night's DreamMeasure for Measure, Antony & Cleopatra, Romeo & Juliet, Othello and Titus Andronicus.   

SEGL 411: British Literature, 1660-1740 - Williams
During these years, British literary culture changed in many significant ways. An unprecedented increase in the production of printed material led to new classes of readers, writers and literary genres. Audiences in the first 40 years of the period had the privilege of watching some of the best plays ever written in English, especially comedy. A new form of fiction emerged for the first time and became extremely popular: the novel. Periodicals -- first newspapers and then magazines -- began to be produced, providing a lively venue for debates about matters of public interest. And caustic political and social satire became amusing hobbies that also sought to effect real change. We will focus on these and other developments as we read a broad selection of material this semester. Students are expected to think for themselves, to form strong opinions, to disagree, to argue persuasively and eloquently when they speak and when they write. 

SEGL 417: Romanticism - Godfrey
This course will cover canonical and non-canonical works from roughly 1780-1830. As a class, we will formulate opinions about common characteristics of "Romanticism," and theorize about the ability, or inability, of this term to describe the literature of this period. We will connect texts to the unique social and political conditions in which they were constructed, and students will be expected to articulate specific arguments about the works we study. Texts: Jack Stillinger and Deidre Shauna Lynch, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. D. (New York: Norton, 2006); Mary Shelley. Frankenstein. Ed. J. Paul Hunter. (New York: Norton, 1996). 

SEGL 419: Victorian Literature - Godfrey
What do we do with a literary period that includes Oliver Twist, Charles Darwin, Alice in Wonderland and Dracula? And, despite all their clothes, why are Victorians so sexy? As a class, we will work toward developing our understanding of British literature from the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign through the early 1900s. We will investigate major characteristics (and misconceptions) of Victorians and theorize about the effects of historical and social changes on the literature of the period. We will read a wide variety of literature and reflect on the canon of 19th century writers. By the end of the semester, students should be able to describe general characteristics of Victorian literature and to identify specific traits and themes of individual writers and texts. Students should also demonstrate their ability to develop original theories that contribute to ongoing scholarly conversations about the literature we cover and should express them in research-supported written arguments. Texts: Christ, Carol T. and Catherine Robson, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol. E. New York: Norton, 2006. Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 1847. New York: Norton, 2000. 

SEGL 422: Modern Drama: Staging the New - Murphy 
In this course, we will study several Modern dramatists who tried to change the way plays were written, acted and viewed. Should plays entertain or teach?Should they take familiar forms or stretch the audience's ability to understand them? Should they place recognizable characters in "real-life" situations, or should they experiment with the abstract, the dream-like, the just plain weird? In addition to posing these questions about what drama can be and do, Modern Drama reflects many of the enormous social and political changes that rocked the 20th century. A class trip to a local theater production of a modern drama will be on the program. 

SEGL 424: British Literature 1950-Present - Murphy
DisUnited Kingdoms. In 2005 the London Times asked readers to define Britishness in five words. The winner was "No motto, please; we're British." How does the UK transform from the unity of its "finest hour" in WWII to the complexity of its motto-free present? We will begin with the post-war turn from military triumph to homelier realities in work by Muriel Spark and Philip Larkin. Burgess' A Clockwork Orange tests the limits of freedom in a post-industrial welfare state that may be more pathological than the novel's anti-hero, all in a vernacular as distant from standard English as the working-class Scots dialect in Irivine Welsh's Trainspotting. Both Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus confront us with a series of "posts"-postmodern, postcolonial, postfeminist-that suggest a radical break from a traditional British past, and yet Seamus Heaney finds the roots of the Northern Irish Troubles in ancient, even tribal identities. As we study this broader text of British culture, however, we'll be sure to scrutinize all of our readings as singular artifacts in what's still called, after all, the English language.  

SEGL 426: American Literature 1830-1865 - O'Brien
American Romanticism: Free Spirits, Free Labor and Free Love. During the period from 1830 to 1865, American literature and American citizenship underwent a series of radical revisions. Believing, as Romantics did, in the revolutionary potential of the human imagination, authors including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, Frances Watkins Harper and Margaret Fuller inspired their readers and challenged authority at every turn. This course will read a variety of American authors who introduce revolutionary ideas about sex, citizenship, work and religion to a nation suffering from repression, inequality and a suffocating Puritan heritage. We will explore different genres with an eye toward their historical and cultural context-an era that witnessed political and social movements advocating free love, free labor, spiritualism, emancipation and women's rights. 

SEGL 427: American Literature 1865-1910 - Kusch
LAW AND ORDER: Law and order are central concerns in American literature from 1865-1910. The realism and naturalism produced during this period question the social and natural order and respond to new laws regulating race relations, Native American territories, immigration, industry and workers rights. The literature covered in this class focuses on murder cases, race riots, immigrant stories and social climbing. Texts include Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, Charles Chesnutt's The Marrow of Tradition, Henry James's Daisy Miller, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, and many examples of short fiction from the period. 

SEGL 428: American Literature 1910-1950 - Kusch
Cultural Encounters. Modernist American authors describe their literary movements as a break from the standards and traditions of British and European literary culture. Their motto, as Ezra Pound describes it, is to "make it new," and these writers experiment with new ways to create and express a distinctly American literature and culture that can effectively describe the complicated problems of modern life. By reading texts about the cultural encounters and conflicts between rich and poor, popular and elite, masculine and feminine, immigrant and "native," technological and traditional, students will develop skills in close reading and analytic writing, and they will demonstrate those skills through class discussions, response papers, class presentations, research papers and exams. Texts include poems, novels and plays published between World War I and the Cold War, such as The Waste LandPassingThe Great GatsbyThe Sound and the Fury,The Professor's HouseAfter the Fall, and A Streetcar Named Desire.  

SEGL 429: The Harlem Renaissance - Carson
We will study fiction, poetry, drama and literary criticism from the first real literary movement in Black American Literary History, focusing principally on the 1920s and 30s. Since the literature was so closely tied with other forms of artistic expression during the period, some consideration will also be given to the music, dance and art (painting and sculpture) of the period. Primary Text: William Andrews, ed. Classic Fiction of the Harlem Renaissance. Students in English and English Education may count this course as their required Cultural Difference and Diversity course (English) or Minority Literature course (Education).    

SEGL 430: American Literature 1950-Present - Kusch
Students will read contemporary U.S. texts from the beats like Allen Ginsberg to the scandalous Thomas Pynchon and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison in order to define this still developing field. We will explore the ways these post-WWII, post-civil rights, and postmodern writers attempt to shape the direction of literature today. Texts include Delillo's White Noise, Morrison's Jazz, Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and several short works.

SEGL 437: Women Writers - Godfrey
Working from the understanding that much has changed about what it means to be a "woman," this course considers the psychological, cultural, historical, political and economic implications of this gendered identity through the lens of literature. Analyzing texts written from vastly different experiences of womanhood in light of multiple feminist critical perspectives, students will contemplate the complexity of this body of literature. Readings will include novels by Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins-Gilman, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Susanna Kaysen, and Azar Nafisi as well as poetry by Marge Piercy, Adrienne Rich, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath. Course requirements: reading quizzes, short essay, two longer essays, two exams. This course is also approved as part of a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. 

SEGL 447: Southern Literature - Knight
We won't be whistling "Dixie" when we discover the grim and gothic South many Southern writers have portrayed, often using dark humor and grotesque imagery to illustrate themes concerning race, class, a strong sense of place and attention to and ambivalence about the past. 

SEGL 451: Introduction to Linguistics - Marlow
Language is the basis for all science, literature and communication, and linguistics is the study of the basics of how language works. The format is interactive and designed to allow you to apply information from the text to your life. 

SEGL 453: Development of the English Language - Marlow 
Ever wondered why there are so many exceptions to the rules in English? Answers to these questions and more will be found as you study the history of English. 

SEGL 455: Sociolinguistics - Marlow
If you've heard that linguistics is like math formulas, patterns and symbols but have to take a course in it anyway, SEGL 455 is the course for you. Here we deal with the people side of language: dialect, race, gender, education, location. The projects for this class focus on applying the information we study to language in the Upstate or around the globe. 

SEGL 459: Theories of Composition - Shehi
This course will review the major theories that have informed composition studies, especially since 1966, and will focus especially on approaches to teaching composition. Textbooks include A Teaching Subject: Composition since 1966  (second edition) by Joseph Harris and Cross-talk in Comp Theory: A Reader(third edition) edited by Victor Villanueva, Jr and Kristin L. Arola. Assignments will include critical responses and a research project. 

SEGL 468: Advanced Creative Writing - Knight
Advanced Creative Writing is the capstone workshop for students whose major includes a concentration in creative writing or for students with a minor in creative writing; talented and experienced creative writers beyond these categories are certainly welcome. Students will select a genre to focus on (fiction, verse, creative nonfiction) and prepare a polished portfolio of works by the end of the term. 

SEGL 483: Theories of Literary Criticism - Kusch
The course will cover various theories of literary criticism with the aim of establishing standards of judgment and providing a framework for advanced literature students to identify their own place within contemporary theory debates. Consider the underlying assumptions of literary studies-What is literature? What core questions guide the methodology of literary study? What are the implications for the field in assuming one critical framework over another? Students will become familiar with major theoretical movements and core primary theory articles and will practice applying theories to original criticism of literary texts. This course is recommended for all English and English Education students considering graduate school, and it is one of the theory prerequisites for Senior Seminar. 

SEGL 490: Senior Seminar 
Please note the prerequisites for this course include senior standing (over 90 credits), SEGL 300, one theory course (SEGL 459, SEGL 483, SFLM 482), and 12 credits of SEGL or SFLM courses numbered 300 or above. For details about the senior seminar course, see the Senior Seminar and the Capstone Project Web page.

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