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English - Spring 2017

ENGL 101E
College Writing and Research: Theme: “So they say...”
4 credits
Askeland, Lori

“That’s what she said,” is, of course, a punchline—an oft-repeated phrase that can turn almost any innocent statement into a mildly bawdy joke. It works by turning the innocent statement into a conversation, a quotation. The joke reminds us that even when one person alone seems to be talking, even at length—say in a long lecture—they are actually responding to things that others have said. In academic work, writers frequently test things that “they say,” things that have been said so repeatedly that we have come to see as “truth” or “common sense.” Even if we end up disagreeing with the writer’s challenge to conventional wisdom, the process of any belief (one that we may not have even realized that we shared) makes our thinking better, more self-aware—we have a better sense of why we believe what we believe.  That process is, in effect, critical thinking. The writing we’ll be doing all term will help you to make your writing more relevant and engaged as you come to see your writing as part of an on-going conversation with other writers and thinkers in our world. You’ll write 3 papers, complete a midterm revision portfolio, and revise one of your papers into a longer paper that incorporates independent research. Writing Intensive.

English 101E
College Writing and Research:
Writing Through and About Popular Culture
4 credits
Battle, Sha’Dawn

Some of the prevailing categories of mainstream Popular Culture to date include social media, advertisement, music, and television. This course examines the way in which writing through and about mainstream Popular Culture fosters a basis for learning modes of critical analysis, argumentation and research writing, and narrating our own life experiences. That is, students will rhetorically analyze magazine advertisements and argue about / research the subject of Cultural Appropriation in Hip Hop. Additionally, through narrative writing, students will discover how their own identities and experiences are mediated and constituted by Popular Culture representations in television and / or social media.

English 101E
College Writing and Research

4 credits
Davis, Robert
This course is an introduction to composition. We will cover many of the foundational skills of expository writing in class, and we’ll work with style and revision exercises from writing handbooks. But ultimately better writing comes from practice, practice, and more practice. Writing is not a matter of chance or good luck. It’s not a matter of first-draft inspiration. Successful prose in all disciplines is based on specific techniques any writer can master. We discover these techniques, in part, by analyzing prose we admire and by applying what we learn in that analysis to our own developing style. For this reason, I’ll urge you to become an active reader as well as an active writer and to study the essays and narratives in the course as a source for techniques you can use yourself.

ENGL 101E
College Writing and Research

4 credits
Fallon, D’Arcy

“Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.”—Renowned gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1825 Food. We all eat it. We all need it. Whether our favorite meal is tofutti ice cream or a big beef burrito from Chipotle’s, food is the engine that keeps us alive. But how much do we really know about what we’re putting in our bodies? It’s complicated. As the filmmakers note in the award-winning documentary film Food, Inc., “The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000.” In “Food for Thought,” we’ll look at the role food plays in agriculture, big business, ethics, culture, gender, politics, and cooking shows.

ENGL 101E
College Writing and Research
4 credits
Hinson, Scot

Taking intellectual and emotional risks lies at the heart of writing. Testing your limits, stretching your intellectual and creative abilities, expanding the boundaries of your intellectual and emotional lives—this is the writer’s project. You will only realize your full potential as a thinker and writer by doing more and better work than you ever thought possible, and, above all, by learning to take risks. This course provides you the opportunities and the environment in which to take the risks necessary for thinking analytically and writing well. English 101 is a composition course designed to give you intensive practice in the art of expository writing. The course emphasizes the writing process and the development of clear and purposeful, well-focused writing, which addresses a well-defined audience. English 101 will call on your analytical and organizational skills, as well as provide opportunities for you to enhance your ability to design and structure writing and to improve your technical expertise. The course will focus on the conventions of academic discourse and selecting, integrating, and documenting sources. This course is also designed to teach you how to read and write effectively at Wittenberg. Also, it will help you to discover that reading and writing are not separate activities, but closely related ones. The course is founded on the belief that learning to read, see, and think analytically is essential to becoming a proficient, accomplished writer. Writing Intensive.

English 101E
College Writing and Research: Writing in a Global Community   
 
4 credits
Incorvati, Rick

This writing course takes up Bryan Stevenson's book Just Mercy as a way of raising critical questions about our criminal justice system and the ways that apparently reasonable policies can have unintended consequences. The thorny issues described by Stevenson will set the stage for various kinds of academic writing as we search for some truth and for some practical solutions to the problems that we encounter. As we embark on these writing tasks, we'll ask questions that will help us be effective communicators, questions about the values held by our intended audience, the prospect for finding common ground with that audience, and the rhetorical options available to us as we build our arguments. In this writing-intensive course, we'll read a steady stream of articles, we'll tackle five papers that test our argumentation skills, and we'll regularly seek out feedback from our peers as we venture farther down the path toward informed and engaged global citizenship. This course is writing intensive.

ENGL 101E
College Writing and Research
4 credits
McClelland, Michael

This course will teach the writing process through essays, extensive class discussion and workshopping, reading, and journal-keeping. Students will improve their academic writing skills, including grammar and punctuation, and will learn that there is much more to successful writing than the dreaded five-paragraph essay. Along the way, students should learn more about themselves, their world and the many different values of writing, including the revolutionary concept that writing can be fun. Class requirements include six papers, class attendance and participation, regular journal writing and frequent in-class writing.

ENGL 101E
College Writing and Research: The Digital Humanist 
4 credits
Polak, Katharine

This course will examine what it means to be a human, and a humanist, in the digital age. By approaching a range of texts and conceptions of what it means to interact textually and culturally, we will explore the interplay between the physical and digital landscapes we encounter daily. By offering an introduction into writing across different types of media, we will engage with how we position our own identities differently in digital and physical space, we will lay the groundwork for discussions of how we receive, interpret, and produce both digital and traditional texts. As this is a Composition course, writing will be our primary emphasis, but we will pay particular attention to the ways in which compositions take shape in a variety of ways across media.

How does our unique personality, background, and perspective influence the way we consume digital media? What do we do with that media? How do our choices in searches and the way we present ourselves online constitute rhetorical choices? How do these choices in turn influence our future? What use is a traditional text in the digital age? When are the tools provided by a digital text preferable, and when are they unnecessary? How have reading and writing in a digital environment changed the way we see ourselves?

We will consider these questions and others as we explore Digital Humanities with a focus on writing clear, interesting, precise, evocative essays that can be adapted to both traditional and digital formats. We will use our inquiry about the interface between humanity and technology to explore poverty and privilege.

ENGL 101E
College Writing and Research: Memory, Memorial, and Restitution
4 credits
Richards, Cynthia

All writing is an act of memorial. When we write, we record what has happened, give shape and meaning to the past, and name what often feels elusive in the immediacy of the present. This course will use this natural connection between the act of writing and the act of remembering as a broad thematic rubric for developing the skills in writing you will need to succeed in college, and even more importantly, begin to make meaning out of the experiences of your life. The course will include a personal essay, an interpretative/analytical essay, a research paper preceded by a formal debate, and finally the writing of a descriptive essay that will memorialize some person, place or object of importance to you.

Along the way, we will read compelling essays and works of literature, including essays by Edward Said and Patricia Hampl, the novels The Dew Breaker and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and various articles that explore the nature of memory and the act of memorializing. We will also debate issues surrounding the theme of restitution; how do we make right the past, particularly when some injustice has occurred?  In the process of exploring these themes, you will be asked to reflect on your own process of writing, to work through several drafts of each paper, and to remember the value of careful editing in all writing projects. We will meet in conference, work together in small groups, participate in class discussions, and engage in daily in-class freewriting exercises. The goal of this course is nothing less than persuading you that you are all writers and that writing is essential to shaping a meaningful life.

ENGL 180
Literature and Madness
4 credits
Davis, Robert

Prerequisite:  ENGL 101E
If it’s haunted, freaky, surrealistic, or strange, it’s probably in this course. In “Literature and Madness” we’ll study depictions of mental illness by American writers and examine literature that mixes terror and beauty—an idea that’s shaped American notions of spirituality, subjectivity, and creative power since the 18th century.  We’ll study literary representations of depression, addiction, suicide, schizophrenia, and combat trauma. We’ll read a brand of horror story H. P. Lovecraft calls “the weird tale” and consider how modern writers use tales of madness to explore experiences of trauma that are too hot to handle in the daylight world of reason and sense. But we’ll also stretch the notion of “the weird tale” to include poetry, photography, and film. No previous experience with American literature is necessary, but it helps if you like to read. Prepare to be surprised, fascinated, and possessed.

ENGL 180A
Demons, Devils and Hellfire
4 credits
Incorvati, Rick
Prerequisite:  ENGL 101E

One way of grappling with the problems of irrational malice, unwarranted suffering, and general wrong-doing is to imagine a force of evil at work in the universe, and in the Western tradition, there is no more vivid way of conjuring up such a notion than with images of hell and its resident demons. Once we've labeled and put a devilish face on these energies, though, a peculiar thing happens: despite their associations with all things abhorrent (or perhaps because of those associations), some of us find ourselves more than a little fascinated with these diabolical ideas, and this preoccupation with things devilish has consequently been responsible for unleashing some conspicuously exuberant works of literary imagination. This class brings together texts preoccupied with demons, devils, and hellfire including works from the medieval world (Dante's Inferno), the early modern age (John Milton's Paradise Lost), the Romantic period (William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell), and the 20th century (Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit); we will also consider the substantial inroads that diabolical forces have made in some contemporary films. Throughout this course, we'll use these various depictions of devils and the underworld to see how writers have attempted to account for some thorny aspects of human experience, and we'll also devote part of our semester to learning the conventions associated with a variety of literary forms (poetry, novels, plays, film) and to sharpening our skills as readers of these types of expression. There will be reading quizzes and three exams (including a comprehensive final) in this course.

ENGL 180A
Making Romance
4 credits
Richards, Cynthia
Prerequisite:  English 101E

A love story, the oldest story—yet the least understood? What are the narratives of love? Their conventions, structures and familiar gestures? Their deep underlying meanings? Their psychological ramifications? And how do these stories vary according to the one telling the story? In particular, how does the gender of the author influence the nature of these narratives and, in turn, how do these narratives influence our understanding of gender and the roles we play as men and women?

This course will provide a historical overview of the Romance, beginning with the highly-scripted “luf-talking” of the Arthurian Romance and progressing to the fragmentary forays into love found in the postmodern novel. The course will pair male and female authors, continually asking how these gendered narratives both differ and concur. We will read such authors as Chretien de Troyes, Marie de France, William Shakespeare, Mary Wroth, Aphra Behn, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, and Chuck Palahniuk. Along the way, we will also explore the primary poetic device for declaring one’s love, the sonnet, and the ubiquitous prosaic one for realizing love’s happy ending, the fairy tale. The course is writing intensive and discussion based. The course includes three papers and a take-home final exam.

ENGL 190A/C
Sorcery, Shape Shifters, and Spirit Children: Magical Realism, Fabulism, and the African Novel
4 credits
MacDonald, Ian

Prerequisite: ENGL 101E
Many African novels have traditionally fallen into camps that can generally be described as realist or fabulist. The former tradition typically follows the script of the realist novel. Protagonists navigate their internal emotional responses to complex political atmospheres in the colonial regimes which controlled much of the continent until the 1970s or the realities of independence as well as the frequently failed promises of the new political class. The other broad tradition peppers the “real world” with the uncanny: spirits and charms related to pre-colonial orature. These are worlds in which magic often reflects an allegory of political critique. This course will focus on key texts from this latter tradition. We will investigate the larger history of the colonial project in several regions of Africa and the individual traditions and post-independence trials of the modern states emerging from that history, tracing the mythic architecture that informs the magical worlds the authors create as well as issues surrounding race, nationality, systems of inclusion, problematics of reading and readership, and the ever-present threat of exotification relevant to the individual modern African states in which the literature was produced. 

ENGL 240
Introduction to Creative Writing

4 credits
Fallon, D’Arcy
Prerequisite: ENGL 101E
This course will introduce students to the essential elements of good writing, focusing on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Throughout the semester, students will read representative texts and study the fundamental elements of all these genres. This course is centered around the “workshop,’’—essentially informal peer critique of student work as well as close reading and class discussion of selected texts. We’ll read and analyze, discuss and critique, but most of all we’ll be a community of people who write. Students will produce pieces in all four genres. There are no exams, but there may be an occasional quiz. The grade is based on a writing portfolio of one’s best, revised work, which will be handed in at the end of the semester. The rest of the grade will be based on a journal/writer’s notebook and class participation.

ENGL 241
Beginning Journalism
4 credits
McClelland, Michael
Prerequisite: ENGL 101E

This course provides a basic introduction to the practice and principles of journalism, with an emphasis on writing for newspapers. We will discuss news, features, entertainment stories, opinion and sports writing, as well as interviewing skills, ethics, copy-editing, headline writing, and other related topics. Students will be expected to meet deadlines, do frequent in-class writing exercises, and to thoughtfully and constructively respond to their classmates’ stories. Grades will be based on stories produced, occasional quizzes, and class participation.

ENGL 242
Writing Center Theory & Practice
4 credits
Mattison, Michael

Prerequisites: ENGL 101E and Permission of Instructor
This class, designed primarily to prepare writing advisors for the Wittenberg Writing Center, will offer an introduction to writing center theory: what strategies and pedagogies guide conversations in one-to-one sessions; what conflicts exist in the field; how is research conducted and discussed? The course will also require students to spend time in the Writing Center, shadowing veteran advisors and eventually holding sessions of their own. By permission of instructor only—students must apply through the Writing Center. Writing intensive.

ENGL 270
Literary Form and Interpretation
4 credits
Hinson, Scot
Prerequisite:  ENGL 101E
Few things compare to the exhilaration, the mystery, and the promise of turning the first page in a new book. This course is designed to intensify that delicious feeling while at the same time introducing you to a more intentional textual awareness. Literary studies is restless, always challenging fundamental assumptions about readers, writers, and texts. Literary studies perennially grapples with other fundamental questions about why we read, what we read, and how we read. We will not exhaust these questions any time in the near future, and that, of course, is part of the excitement. This course will introduce you to those questions currently shaping our thinking about literature and how it makes meaning. We will focus primarily on honing close reading skills, but will also be introduced to a number of critical theories or schools and study the materials and methods of research in the discipline. Finally, it is difficult in most cases to figure out what attracts us to literature—what reading and engaging literature does for us and to us. In part, this course is designed to help you understand why you want to, and why you must, study literature. This class can be taken concurrently with a literary genealogy course (English 280A, English 290A) if the student has already taken English 180A or English 190A/C. Writing intensive. See also the general course description for English 270 online.

English 280A
British Literary Genealogies: Of Monsters and Other Extraordinary Humans
4 credits
Richards, Cynthia

Prerequisites: ENGL 180A, ENGL 190A/C or ENGL 270A
In this course, we will read, discuss, and write about representative texts from the Old English epic Beowulf to the iconic early nineteenth-century novel Frankenstein. We will also seek to locate these texts, spanning five different centuries, within the historical and ideological conditions which helped to determine their meaning for their contemporary readers. We will also remain attentive to how these early British texts build upon the work of their literary predecessors and also how they deliberately alter their message to meet the changing expectations of their culture. In the process, you will acquire a basic knowledge of literary terms, styles, forms, critical concepts, and significant dates.

The course will take as its organizing question what it means to be human. It will do so by looking at “monsters and other extraordinary humans,” or in other words, villains and their conquering heroes. Examining these exaggerated or simplified versions of what makes individuals noble or ignoble makes possible a complex understanding of what makes the ordinary extraordinary, and how literary narratives give voice to our common aspirations and fears.  This theme will also help organize and familiarize a diverse, historical body of literature that can often feel quite foreign to the modern reader.

Finally, we will step back from these concerns to reflect and theorize on how English is made and why it is that we read these particular works as representative. Assignments include frequent response papers, two formal papers, a midterm exam and a final exam. Writing intensive.

ENGL 290A
American Literary Themes and Traditions: American Gothic
4 credits
Hinson, Scot
Prerequisite: ENGL 180A or ENGL 190A/C or ENGL 270A

Through an examination of the American Gothic, its origins and its contemporary manifestations, we will explore the difficult, bloody, and painful birth of American literature as well as its continued fascination with and terror of what Melville called the “power of blackness” and the sublime mixture of terror and beauty. This course is driven by America’s fascination with Gothic literature, and with what can accurately be described as a Gothic revival in American culture. What is it about the shadowy, diseased, the grotesque, and sublime that so attracts us? What scares us and what spectral shapes do those fears inhabit in our literature? This course in the American Gothic is definitely not for the squeamish and requires frequent reading quizzes, one short and one longer researched essay, a midterm and a final, and a group presentation and bibliography.

ENGL 321
Advanced Journalism/Feature Writing
4 credits
Fallon D’Arcy
Prerequisite: English 241

Welcome to the world of feature writing. What are feature stories? They are the human side of journalism. As your textbook Feature Writing for Newspapers and Magazines points out, a feature story is “a journalistic article that is typically both original and descriptive. Some feature stories are geared toward entertainment with little information. Other features inform, but entertain little. The best combine both aspects.” Students should expect to write about nine to ten feature stories over the course of the semester, with lots of revision.

ENGL 335
Mapping the Mad Season: Approaches to Digital Humanities
4 credits
Polak, Katharine

Prerequisite: ENGL-270A and either ENGL-280A or ENGL-290A. Non-majors by instructor permission.
How do digital and physical spaces intersect, interface, collide, and conflict with one another? This hybrid course will combine the elements of seminars and methodology in order to explore recent developments in digital humanities mapping and composition in order to analyze how digital tools can assist in our conceptualization of lived space. Using works placed within a diasporic context, in which authors are explicitly working across borders, students will learn how to employ mapping software to develop projects that analyze cultural flows across nations and continents. Building on the question of mapping, we will develop strategies to engage with the variety of stories that come out of transnational contexts in order to create podcasts and research projects that analyze cultural hybridity and nationality.

ENGL 340
Advanced Fiction
Writing
4 credits
McClelland, Michael
Prerequisite: ENGL 240

Do you have a novel inside you that's just aching to get out? This course will help you get started. We will study the techniques of fiction, with an emphasis on the special demands of the long form. Students will continue developing the skills and techniques introduced in Beginning Creative Writing through readings, discussion, workshopping, revision, and lots of writing. By the end of the course, you will have written at least several chapters of your novel or novella, and have a clear idea of how to continue.

Course requirements include writing a minimum of 15,000 words (that's about three short stories), active participations in discussions and workshops, and occasional quizzes.

ENGL 364A
Shakespeare
4 credits
Buckman, Ty
Prerequisites: ENGL majors: 270A or 280A recommended; non-ENGL majors: Junior standing & completion of one 100-level ENGL course required

Shakespeare survives as the only ‘single-author’ course regularly offered in the English Department at Wittenberg. This version of English 364 is not, however, designed primarily as a Shakespeare survey to introduce students to a writer they surely have already met many times before. The course will endeavor, rather, to build on the knowledge students have already accumulated from previous encounters with Shakespeare to pursue goals broadly in keeping with those of all advanced courses in the English major. The goals of the course, in descending order of importance, include the following: To develop skill in writing and constructing sophisticated arguments. To analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view. To broaden a student’s understanding of literary and aesthetic judgment by extensive reading in the work of one author. And finally, to acquire a basic knowledge of Shakespeare’s life, his plays and their genres, and the culture in which he lived. The various classroom activities and writing assignments have been designed to meet these goals. Students will be expected to prepare for class faithfully, take part in a number of collaborative activities, compile a “commonplace book” of their reading responses, take a midterm exam, and write two papers and a film review.

ENGL 371C
Caribbean Literature
4 credits
MacDonald, Ian
Prerequisites: ENGL 270A and ENGL 280A or by instructor permission.                    

The trade embargo with Cuba is lifting, but how did it begin? Haiti has been devastated by another tropical storm, but what instigated its deep poverty? Spring break package tours display alluring white-sand Bahamian coastlines and colorful reefs off Trinidad built for snorkeling, but where are the residents? Who are they? What are the histories, the stories that animate the islands that lie between North and South America? This course will introduce students to the history and literature of the Caribbean—what has been known at various times as the West Indies, the Lesser and Greater Antilles, and the Windward Isles—in terms of slavery, colonialism, diaspora, and creolization. Too often seen in the U.S. either as a series of tourist destinations for the wealthy or as a repository of tragic news reports, the Caribbean's literature provides a very different picture, pointing to the hybrid cultures developed over centuries of slavery and migration and forging a distinctive aesthetic from the region’s complex past. The course will cover four “periods”: the era of “discovery,” the Haitian revolution, anti-colonial resistance, and the contemporary period. Assignments will involve historical texts, slave narratives, political theory, poetry, drama, and fiction, as well as film and music. As the course unfolds we will find there is no one literature of the Caribbean but rather a varied collection of voices and concerns, and the class will attempt to cover as much of these traditions as is possible in a single semester. Authors might include Aime Cesaire, George Lamming, Sam Selvon, Jamaica Kincaid, Edouard Glissant, Kwame Brathwaite, Edwidge Danticat, C.L.R. James, Nalo Hopkinson, and Earl Lovelace, among others.

ENGL 380
The Beat Generation
4 credits
Davis, Robert
Prerequisites:  ENGL 270A and 290A

This course explores the primary works of the Beat Generation, a counter-cultural movement in literature and the arts that began in New York in 1944 with the friendship of three struggling writers—Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs—and spread west to include a group of poets in Berkeley and San Francisco, most importantly, the Zen poet Gary Snyder. The early Beat writers were united by a dedication to what they called “new consciousness”—a rejection of American materialism and mechanization and a deep commitment to people outside the social and sexual mainstream. Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust and the atomic bomb, the Beats rejected what they saw as the superficial pieties of mainline religious institutions and looked for spiritual inspiration on the margins of American culture, among hustlers and hoboes, drunks and drag queens—the “desolation angels” of Beat literature. The primary texts of the course—Kerouac’s On the Road and Dharma Bums; Ginsberg’s Howl; Burroughs’s Naked Lunch; Joyce Johnson’s Minor Characters; Gary Snyder’s Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems; and Diane DiPrima’s Loba—all grow out of this commitment and explore, in the midst of suffering and despair, new ways of being alive in the world.

ENGL 404
Senior Tutorial
2-4 credits
Incorvati, Rick; Askeland, Lori

Prerequisites: ENGL 270A, ENGL 280A, ENGL 290A, at least 12 hours of 300 level lit. seminars & English major.
This capstone course requires students to use a previously completed 300-level English course as the foundation for an independently researched 20-25 page project. The course is writing intensive. Only education licensure students are eligible to take the course for two credits. Prerequisites: English 270, English 280A, English 290A, at least 12 hours of 300-level literature seminars, and a declared English major. Writing intensive.

ENGL 405
Senior Exercises
1 credit
Incorvati, Rick; Askeland, Lori
Prerequisites: Senior standing and Department Permission

Guided by the learning goals of the English major, this one-credit capstone experience consists of a series of workshops designed to prepare graduating English majors for a symposium presentation and for a portfolio assessment consisting of writing samples, a resume, and a self-reflection. Students will also prepare an abstract of their symposium projects for distribution to the department and the broader campus community.

ENGL 406
Capstone in Creative Writing
1 credit
Fallon, D’Arcy

Prerequisites: Senior standing and Department Permission
Revision of major work or collection of shorter works from previous creative writing course and participation in a public reading. Includes preparation of a portfolio of writing within a single genre, multiple genres, or blended genres (fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, and/or creative nonfiction). Students will work individually with creative writing faculty to develop and polish their writing for publication submission and movement toward further study and/or career options. Required of and open to senior creative writing minors only.

 

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