CURRENT COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
This is an unofficial list of English courses that will be offered in SRPING 2014. It is strictly for the use of expanded course descriptions. For the complete official course offerings, please consult the UIC SCHEDULE OF CLASSES.
ENGL 101: Understanding Literature
Days: MWF 11:00 am-11:50 am
This course will examine literary forms in their historical contexts, including the rise of global capitalism and shifting views of liberalism throughout the twentieth century. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which the novel employs different narrative techniques and literary devices to respond to and mediate these contexts. Readings will include poetry, short stories, and novels, with particular interest in the novel and methods for determining literary meaning. Authors may include: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ishmael Reed, Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, and others.
ENGL 101: Understanding Literature
Days: TR 11:00 am-12:15 pm
In this course, students will seek to understand literature by examining texts from a number of different angles: plot, characterization, narrative, social context, figurative language, etc. in order to develop the tools to identify the meaning of texts through close reading. We will focus on the point of view and different ways in which events that happen in the narrative can be told. Readings for the course include texts by such authors as Vonnegut, Salinger, Chekhov, Vian and others. Students will have to do consistent and substantial reading. Assignments will include reading responses for every class, two papers, mid-term and a final exam.
ENGL 101: Understanding Literature
Days: TR 3:30-4:45
In this introductory course, we will read and learn how to appreciate great works of literature. We will study short stories, longer fiction, poetry, and drama.
ENGL 102: Introduction to Film
Days: M 3:00-4:50; W 3:00-5:45
This course is an introduction to the study and analysis of film, examining the major elements of cinema as an art form (camerawork, narrative, editing, sound design), a social and cultural institution, and an industry. Students will watch, discuss, and write about a variety of narrative, avant-garde, and documentary films from around the world, examining their formal aspects (how they are constructed), their meanings, and the historical contexts in which they were produced.
ENGL 102: Introduction to Film
T 3:30-6-15, R 3:30-4:45
Students will learn the basic skills of film criticism. This includes familiarity with the basic components of film as a medium—cinematography, editing, sound, visual rhetoric—as well as the narrative, technological, and historical production of films. Students will need to attend regular film screening, producing both informal and formal written analysis that connects the technical construction of films with their meaning. The course will include mostly science fiction films.
ENGL 104: English and American Drama
Days: TR 11:00-12:15
This course will focus on strategies for critically reading and writing about English and American drama. In addition to reading drama as literature, we will consider the relationships between written texts and live performances. In this way, the literary texts and techniques of playwrights will be complicated by the performers, theaters, and audiences that shaped their production. Although we will read plays from a wide variety of places and historical periods, this course will have a special emphasis on modern and contemporary drama that represents and enacts cities, particularly Chicago and London. This will allow us to examine the ways drama engages life in the modern city and participates in an ongoing conversation about the contested meanings of urban life.
ENGL 105: English and American Fiction
Days: T/TH 8:00-9:15 am
In this course we will examine writers associated with the “realist” tradition in late 19th Century England and America. The realist tradition followed the “romantic” era, which employed a sentimentality and more poetic approach to literature. In contrast, realist writers aimed to reorganize experience and invest it with new meaning through an unqualified objectivity and ethnographic obsession that corresponded to a type of scientific method transformed to a literary field. The notion of “truth telling” was raised to a doctrine and realist writers embarked on a quest for “unmediated experience.” Through a close reading of English writer Thomas Hardy and American William Dean Howells, we will establish a set of characteristics for a certain type of realism, and then we expand that definition to include the American “naturalist” writers—Jack London, Frank Norris, and Stephen Crane—who accused the new American realism as not paying enough attention to the “gritty” side of urban existence and the aggressive “natural” tendencies of all humans. In the process, we also examine which books have traditionally been left out of the realist canon and argue for their inclusion.
English 105: English and American Literature
Days: T/TH 9:30-10:45
In this course we will examine a variety of Gothic texts from the United States and Great Britain. Using the concept of the sublime to guide our reading, we will engage with such works as Northanger Abby, Frankenstein, Dracula, “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner,” “The Monkey’s Paw,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “A Rose for Emily,” Absalom, Absalom, short stories by Edger Allen Poe and Ambrose Bierce, and The House of Seven Gables among others. Using both text and film, we will work to understand the sublime quality of fear as it is expressed by the Gothic. Additionally, we will examine these texts with an eye to the political and historical moments in which they were written. This course will have a substantial writing component as well as both a midterm and a final exam.
English 105: English and American Fiction
Days: M/W/F 10:00-10:50
The central question we would like to raise in this course is regarding “crisis/apocalypse”. This term has been variously problematized throughout social and literary history. We are concerned with the topic not (simply) because we have witnessed the massive amount of apocalyptic fictions in recent years. Rather, our question arises primarily because apocalypse/crisis is such a central, though complicated, concept that a proper understanding of the problems surrounding the concept will enable us to clearly see what we call post-modernity and post-coloniality; that it, our own contemporary. We are not going to read popular and “light” fictions in the course. Instead, our focus will be “serious” literature and thus our reading will include Joseph Conrad, Samuel Beckett, Zoe Wicomb, J. M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Cormac McCarthy, Franz Kafka, and others.
Students are expected to have the necessary background in analyzing, discussing, and responding to literature, as well as the ability to write correctly documented research essays using MLA format. Students are also cautioned that this course requires extensive reading and daily response papers.
ENGL 106: English and American Prose
Days: MWF 10:00-10:50 a.m.
What are the limits of nonfiction prose today? Is it a personal, travel, or lyric essay? Or perhaps a cultural commentary, a piece of literary journalism, a memoir, autobiography, biography, a prose poem, a journal or diary, a personal film or documentary? From its more philosophical roots in the classical literary traditions of the essay, nonfiction today has become a mirror for our continuing cultural fascination with the writer’s experience or connection to what she or he is writing about. Nonfiction writers seek to find an honest voice in the “I” of the narrator and the “eye” of the observer, and as nonfiction readers, we seek to identify what truth comes to mean in this most malleable genre. In this course you will examine both aspects of nonfiction, from excerpts or essays, and some film clips, by primarily contemporary (twentieth century and beyond) writers. The writing requirements for this class include three written responses, an imitation, and your choice of a final paper or original nonfiction work of your own. You will participate in a weekly class blog, where you can post a question for discussion, or briefly box with authors, and ideas. Your reading/writing will also include one complete nonfiction book (to be selected), which you will read and present to the class in a creative collaboration with others.
English 107: Introduction to Shakespeare
Days: TR 12:30-1:45 pm
In Twelfth Night, Viola, disguised as a male youth, cries out: “I am the man” (2.2.23) when she realizes that Olivia is falling in love with her instead of with Duke Orsino. This line suggests many of the issues that permeate Shakespeare’s corpus and which we will consider in this class: gender and sexual identities, love and marriage, power and vulnerability, disguise and performance, and the complexities of familial, social, and political relationships. This course offers a survey of Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays, including the genres of comedy, tragedy, and history. We will examine Shakespeare’s use and adaptation of language and generic conventions, the historical and social contexts in which he lived and worked, and how his work is creatively reimagined for performance in new contexts. This course meets the general education requirements for the core areas Understanding the Past and Understanding the Creative Arts.
ENGL 107: Introduction to Shakespeare
Days: MWF 11:00-11:50 am
This course is an introduction to the life and works of William Shakespeare-actor, director, theatre manager, poet, and playwright. We will examine how Shakespeare and his works were a product of the turbulent times of 16th century England.
In addition to discussing the Sonnets, the genres of History, Tragedy, and Comedy, students will study Shakespeare’s use of language, of episodic plot structure, and of “dramatic conflict,” in order to examine the relationship of motive, behavior, and dramatic action. Students will also examine the Elizabethan age and Shakespeare’s life and times in order to investigate possible influences on his writing. Finally, students will discuss historical events referenced and/or presented in the plays, for the purpose of discussing the following quotation from Aristotle’s Poetics:
The distinction between historian and poet is not in the one writing prose and the other verse—you might put the work of Herodotus into verse, and it would still be a species of history; it consists really in this, that the one describes the thing that has been, and the other a kind of thing that might be. Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are of the nature rather of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.
By the end of this course you will have:
Studied and analyzed Shakespeare’s use of language, plot structure, and dramatic conflict.
Experienced first hand the physical requirements of performing Shakespeare.
Studied how creative works relate to the societies in which they are produced and received.
Examined the relationship between individuals and past events, their interactions, and the repercussions of these interactions.
ENGL 108: British Literature and Culture
Days: MWF 12-12:50 pm
British Literature and the Age of Revolution: This section of ENGL 108 focuses on British literary texts (Novels, Poetry, Political Essays) that deal with the subject of social and political revolution. We will begin by analyzing the way several authors respond to the French Revolution, which began in 1789. Here we will look to the way writers such as Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge expressed their hopes and fears regarding issues related to governmental, institutional and legal reform, individual rights, and the laws of custom. We will also consider authors who look back to the revolutionary period in order to address and think through their own contemporaneous moment, perhaps looking for both inspiration and guidance as well as a subject for critique. Jane Austen and Charles Dickens’ novels will certainly appear on our reading list. Along with a substantial amount of reading, assignments for this course will include one presentation, an argumentative paper, along with a midterm and a final examination.
ENGL 109: American Literature and American Culture
Days: MWF 9:00-9:50 am
“Love is cheap. You can buy it anywhere. Lives are cheap. It’s money that’s dear. You have to work days and sit up nights thinking how to make money”—John Dos Passos
“Whose dog am I?
The time clock’s dog.
Whose dog are you?”
This course will focus on the representation of labor and labor politics in American literature during the first half of the twentieth century. We will read popular works intended for mass consumption among the working people, but we will draw reading materials mainly from writers who declared their political allegiances to the left and who saw their literary work as a form of deliberate political engagement. These are muckrakers and social justice activists of whom Upton Sinclair, Theodore Dreiser, and Langston Hughes are perhaps best known. We will read them in the context of the social structures, such as labor unions, professional organizations, and press outlets, that cohered their efforts and sustained their politics, although we will also examine the politics of first-person authority as expressed in accounts of labor given by women, immigrants, and ethnic minorities.
ENGL 109: American Literature and Culture
Days: TR 12:30-1:45 pm
American Spy Fiction
Spy novels reach imaginatively into the international arena while also policing national boundaries. This course explores American spy fiction as a genre that both delineates and interrogates American national and cultural identity. As a part of this exploration, we will examine how works of spy fiction have reinforced and contested dominant ideas about gender, race, and class in the U.S. We will discuss a range of texts and film selections, with possible texts including Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, Americo Paredes’s George Washington Gomez, Sam Greenlee’s The Spook Who Sat by the Door, Gayle Lynds’s Masquerade, and The Bourne Ultimatum. This course will devote significant attention to the historical context of the texts, as well as the close reading skills required to understand the connection between aesthetics and political impact. Course requirements will include two literary analysis papers (4-6 pages each), a midterm exam, and a final exam; students will also be expected to read regularly and attentively, and to actively participate in discussion.
ENGL 111: Women and Literature
Days: MWF 9:00 - 9:50 am
Mary Anne Mohanraj
In this course, we will read literature which explores questions about gender and identity, about women’s roles within the family and community, and about how women have been perceived culturally and historically; we will also examine the writers’ artistic concerns, themes, images, and metaphors. By the end of the course, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the texts, the authors, literary and social movements that produced them, and the elements of those texts, such as symbols, themes, and points of view. Texts will include Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Alcott’s Little Women, Millay’s poetry, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Satrapi’s graphic novel, Persepolis, among others. Evaulation methods will include two short papers, a mid-term exam, and a final paper.
ENGL 111: Women and Literature
Days: TR 12:30-1:45 pm
M. Shelly Conner
In this course, we will examine themes present in queer literature by women. We we look at how gender and sexuality are constructed, mitigated and navigated in literature that privileges queer experience. Texts will include Bechdels’ Fun Home, Muhanji’s Her, Lorde’s Zami, and the newly released novel My Brother’s Name by Laura Krughoff, among others.
ENGL 113: Introduction to Multiethnic Literatures in the United States
TIME: TR 2:00 – 3:15 pm
Assimilation versus Authentification: How do foreign nationals become American ethnics? How do immigrants become writers? What do immigrant writers achieve for themselves and their groups by participating in national literary and rhetorical traditions? Since the late 1960s, during the period of immigrant settlement and indigenous dispossession, American ethnic writers have been concerned with the constitution of a unique American identity through their literary works. But if it is true that their writings can be understood as a ritual of Americanization, why do they attempt to define their American identity in relation to their authentic ethnic identities? How can dual or multiple identities coexist within themselves and within American national culture? In this course we will read fiction, poetry, and essays by 20th-century American authors who identify with African American, Asian American, Native American, Jewish, Latino and Chicano heritages. In addition to race, ethnicity, and identity, we will explore how class, language, gender, and sexuality figure into these writers’ images of an American self and community.
ENGL 113: Introduction to Multiethnic Literatures in the United States
TIME: MWF 12:00 – 12:50 pm
This course will examine contemporary multiethnic literature in the United Sates. Because multiethnic literatures in the U.S. (for example, African American, Asian American, Latina/o, etc.) emerge out of specific historical and cultural contexts, this course will mainly engage with texts published in the mid-early twentieth century to the present day. In critically engaging with “minority” literatures, we will explore the differences between the way in which authors writing in the 1930s, the 1960s, and a more recent generation of writers (publishing their first works in the late 1990s and early 2000s) use literary form and language as a way to produce works of literature around alternative histories of the nation, national identity, and belonging.
So while this course is concerned with what works of multiethnic literature have to say about second-class citizenship in the United States, identity formation based on factors
I encourage all hardworking students that are sincerely eager to improve their writing and reading skills to enroll in this class. Course requirements include writing multiple reading responses, one literary analysis paper (5-6 pages), leading one class discussion, and taking a midterm as well as a final exam. Students are expected to prepare for and participate actively in class discussion.
Please purchase your books from the UIC Bookstore, or figure out first which editions the bookstore has in stock before purchasing your books on Amazon. Not only are the editions that I am requesting particular to this course, but having the same edition as the rest of the class will best facilitate discussion and close reading.
ENGL 114: Introduction to Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures
Days: MWF 1:00-1:50
This course serves as an introduction to colonial and post-colonial literature, which is representative of the historical processes of colonialism and decolonization that have shaped the modern world. Our primary focus will be on twentieth-century writers from regions of the former British Empire. Our examination of texts from multiple geopolitical spaces, such as the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia, will necessitate a comparative and inter-relational analysis of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Our readings of novels such as Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Bapsi Sidhwa’s Cracking India will be informed by theoretical scholarship in the field that aims to address questions of national liberation, freedom, liberty, and citizenship.
ENGLISH 115: Introduction to the Bible as Literature
Days: MWF 9:00-9:50
This introductory class presents a literary perspective on the Bible. Texts from the Bible stand at the center of analysis, while accompanying textbooks will help students to contexualize biblical materials within history. Themes we will explore include creation, birth, the hero, the mountain, the community, the Temple, the scapegoat, and the apocalypse. As we place biblical texts in their historical contexts, we will consider the Bible as a literary work with distinct genres, themes and conventions. We will investigate the thematic connections between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, while focusing on similarities and differences in their style and message. While reading the Bible, we will develop a vocabulary for discussing literary texts as well as a vocabulary specific to texts from the ancient world. Students should expect to write a weekly in-class essay and four short analytical papers. Overall, the course will encourage students to read and discuss the Bible as a diverse collection of “living texts” that still resonate today.
ENGL 117: Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Literature
Days: MWF 2-2:50
Mary Beth Rose
In this course we will explore the representation of gender and sexuality in a range of English and American texts. We will be particularly concerned with the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with a variety of literary forms, including narrative, drama, and lyric poetry. In addition we will explore the interrelationship of gender, sexuality, and conceptions of politics, race, marriage, and heroism. The writers we will examine include Christine de Pisan, Shakespeare, Milton, Aphra Behn, Mary Astell, Oscar Wilde, and Tony Kushner.
ENGL 120: Film and Culture
Days: M: 3:00-5:45; W: 3:00-4:50
This course examines the interesting symbiotic relationship that Film and Culture have with one another. For our examination, we will be taking a historical and filmic look at Science Fiction films, both classic- such as 2001, and non-classic- like Tank Girl. Science Fiction, in its depiction of alternative futures and universes, can offer us a unique glimpse into our cultural and ask significant questions about our systems of belief. Along the way, we will also learn about the elements of film, discover a bit of history, and hopefully uncover the richness that underlies this populist art form. Students should expect to keep a film journal, write a number of short papers, prepare at least one short presentation, and engage in some research/viewing outside of class time.
ENGL 121/MOVI 121: Introduction to the Moving Image
Days: T: 3:30 - 4:45; TR 3:30 - 6:15
This course provides an introduction to the construction and dissemination of moving images. Focusing on feature-length Hollywood science fiction films, we explore the ways these texts question and critique socio-cultural formations and the bodies that construct and inhabit them. Although we will screen primarily US-made commercial films, we will also consider shorts, advertising, and gallery work. Students should expect to attend outside screenings and/or view work in galleries.
English 122: Understanding Rhetoric
Course title: Reading Rhetoric from Ancient Athens to downtown Chicago.
This course, as an “introduction” to rhetoric, will hold two questions as central navigation points. First, what is rhetoric? Returning to Greek thinking—and more specifically to the works of Plato and Aristotle—will ground our thinking, discussion and points of reference. Rhetoric, Plato argues, was a threat because while rhetoric (or sophistry to be more precise, “rhetoric” is a Platonic neologism) claimed to teach both public speaking and how to be a good or virtuous citizen, according to Plato rhetoric was far more concerned with persuading “the many” to do something regardless of the ethical or moral consequences. Because so much of our thinking today comes to us from Plato and Aristotle, it will be necessary to look at these texts with fresh eyes. Building on the readings from the first half of the semester, the later half sees us moving toward the 20th century when we attempt to anchor rhetoric as a field of study. Here we will read current rhetorical thinkers with particular emphases on the intersection of rhetoric and political economy. Here our general question is: what discursive structures allow us to be economic subjects? Our central concern here will be to examine rhetoric as a way of thinking about language as being always already mixed up with other fields (economics, politics… etc.).
ENGL 122 Understanding Rhetoric
Days: Tu/Th, 2:00-3:15
“Rhetoric and Action”
Scholars of literature ask, what is the MEANING of this text? But rhetoricians ask,what does this text (or speech, or gesture, or thing) DO? In that sense, rhetoric is obsessed with action, or with whatever is actualized in the world. We rhetoricians tend to be concerned with results. We want to know what works, both in writing and in life. We are, above all, concerned with effects; we may not dress in togas anymore, but we aim to cut an impressive figure. And above all, we know what it’s like to win people over through language, and wanting more of that, we study how to persuade people—we think, maybe by studying people’s rhetoric, we ourselves can become more adept at it. But even beyond polishing our personal style, rhetoricians also think that if we can become better at rhetoric, we can do a better job of improving the world; if rhetoric is all about effective action in the world, we see rhetoric as a tool for changing the world. And if language has consequences in the world, we want to harness that, as activists. But what is sacrificed when we approach language in this relentlessly results-oriented way? What potential realities or modes of being are stomped out by paying attention mostly to history or realities that have been actualized in the world? What does our culture and our politics overlook by being so action-oriented? In this class, we’ll engage with all of these questions, by reading and discussing a variety of texts, both classical and obscure. And we’ll think about their directives for changing our own political views and behaviors. Students will write and present short discussion papers, and a long final paper--which may in some way be an “activist” project.
ENGL 200: Basic English Grammar
Time: MWF 12:00-12:50 p.m.
Grammar is an important component to writing. It enables a writer to produce sentence structures that affect how well a message, essay, or other document will be received by the reader. This section of Basic English Grammar will apply a rhetorical lens to the traditional study of grammar and style. Students will recognize parts of speech in terms of their functions in sentences and will practice sentence forms in order to appreciate the impact of a sentence on its reader. Students will also produce short essays and will examine works by professional writers in terms of their grammatical and stylistic choices, recognizing that good writing is situation appropriate.
ENGL 200: Basic English Grammar
Days: T/R 9:30 am - 10:45 am
Days: T/R 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
This course will closely examine the English sentence. Through diagramming experience, students will develop an understanding of basic sentence elements, the expanded verb pattern, and sentence variations and their applications. The last part of the class will cover morphology and purposeful punctuation. In addition to take-home quizzes and exams, students will complete two projects: a syntactical and morphological analysis of Jabberwocky, and Language Logs, an analysis of grammatically interesting variations of standard sentences. In examining what they intuitively know and have learned in the past about grammar, students will achieve confidence and proficiency in making the grammatical choices necessary to produce meaningful and accessible English sentences.
ENGL 202: Media and Professional Writing
Days: TR 9:30-10:45
In this course you will develop a fresh perspective on--and skills regarding--writing for media and public relations. Through extensive reading, writing and discussion, you will learn to analyze and produce work appropriate for these dynamically evolving industries. Our coursework acknowledges this as a moment of acute transformation in the way we ingest the disseminate the printed word. Taking these shifts into account, students will develop confidence as media writers and future participants in the professional workplace. You will examine multiple aspects of media and communications--from journalism to company PR--and eventually produce a writing portfolio, preparing you for internship and employment opportunities to come.
ENGL 202: Media and Professional Writing
Time: MWF 11:00-11:50 a.m.
Because of technological changes and accompanying financial constraints, journalism, especially, is undergoing historical transformation. Jobs in print publications are also disappearing with publishers competing with electronic texts for readers. Hence, the Department of English recognizes that our graduates need alternative opportunities as writers. English 202 and our internship class 493 offer students seeking jobs in media and public relations ways to prepare for the shifting landscape in the field. This section of English 202 will reflect the workings of the professional workplace. Your assignments are drawn from the kinds of assignments you would be given in the field of media communications -- whether as a journalist, a public-relations professional, or a technical writer. Because media communication has become entwined with the Internet, we will use our time on some days to work in the computer lab. I hope that we can truly reflect the professional workplace, optimizing your experience as a professional writer, and that you will enjoy the class.
ENGL 210: Introduction to the Writing of Poetry
Days: MWF 10:00-10:50
This course will introduce beginning and continuing writers to the elements of poetry via reading, writing, and discussion of poems and essays about poetry and craft. Students will examine what poems communicate, and particularly how they “work,” in order to develop the skills of a creative writer and the vocabulary necessary for reading, discussing, and critiquing the poetry one reads. The first half of the course will be devoted to the study of poetic craft. In the second half of the course, students will write poems to be presented in a workshop environment in order to spark ideas for revision. We will think of poems as works in progress, with the workshop in service of furthering an initial draft. Course requirements include one close-reading paper, an ars poetica (statement of poetics), and a final portfolio of polished writing.
There are a number of ways a poem can “mean,” and a number of ways of thinking about a poem. In this class, we will explore these possibilities, questioning our received notions of what poetry is and does, in order to foster ambition and risk-taking, while simultaneously encouraging students to hone their own unique voice and writing style.
ENGL 210: Introduction to the Writing of Poetry
Days: TR 9:30-10:45am
What’s that song stuck in your head? That painting? That performance? What is it you find so compelling? Could you make something like that? If you love art and want to know how it works, try studying poetry! The first half of this course will focus on reading major works of poetry in the context of music and art history; students will be introduced to major literary/critical debates concerning artistic form and intention. Writing assignments will include short critical papers as well as writing exercises based on formal and thematic constraints. The second half of the course will be devoted to workshopping the poems developed during the first, i.e. no one needs to have written a single poem before taking this course. All majors are welcome. [Full disclosure: students will be given a midterm and final exam, and will be required to submit a portfolio of critical and creative work at the end of the semester.]
ENGL 212: Introduction to the Writing of Fiction
Days: MWF 9–9:50am
This class is focused on learning the basic elements of writing fiction. We will read a variety of short works, analyzing their formal components: character, dialogue, setting, plot, etc. We will also complete exercises designed to practice using those components ourselves. Additionally, each student will complete and submit one story that synthesizes the different components covered in the class, which the class will collectively workshop. Overall, students will learn to read more critically (“reading as a writer”), will practice the “moves” available when writing fiction, and will gain experience participating in a fiction workshop.
ENGL 212: Introduction to the Writing of Fiction
Days: MWF 12-12:50
In this course students will be introduced to the history and techniques of fiction. In the first half of the semester we will read a wide variety of authors who are masters of their craft: we will attempt to get a good mix of conventional fiction and styles as well as a few more experimental approaches to the short story form so that a basic understanding is formed of the vast expanse that is labeled “literary fiction.” Imitation and understanding of these techniques will work as the beginnings of students transferring this knowledge to their own fiction. Readings will include such authors as Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Conner, William Faulkner, Denis Johnson, Jamaica Kincaid, Margaret Atwood, Ralph Ellison, and more. In the second half of the course students will workshop their own pieces, making use of the techniques and styles that have been identified and explored in the first half of the semester. Each student will have one longer short story work-shopped of 10-15 pages as well as a shorter piece (possibly a character sketch) of 3-6 pages. In addition to this student work will include near-daily journal entries during the first half of the semester as well as three comprehensive quizzes over the techniques and history of fiction. At the end of the semester students will turn in a portfolio with revised versions of their work-shopped pieces and a three to four page review of a recent journal publication.
ENGL 212: Introduction to the Writing of Fiction
Days: TR 12:30-1:45
As in an introductory literature course, Introduction to the Writing of Fiction is, in part, a survey of the many forms Fiction takes. To be a great writer, you should have the capacity to be a great reader – and this class will feature a significant amount of attentive reading prior to picking up the pen. Unlike the average lit course, however, here you will be exploring and assisting in the creation of the subject matter you’re studying. Readings, exercises, workshops, and assignments will be built around the notion of creative writing as an artistic medium forever grappling with concepts of genre, structure, and ‘romantic’ identity. Students of this course will be consciously experimenting with the production and format of texts to expand their understanding of what it is possible to express with language, and to push at the boundaries of literary artistic expression. You will be practicing writing techniques on the page: finding them in your reading, identifying them in the works of your peers, and indulging in a substantial amount of writing inside and outside of the classroom as you work with a variety of genres and practices to build your final portfolio. Time in class will be devoted to the lecture and discussion of ideas and techniques used in the course readings, to in-class exercises, and to constructive workshop.
ENGL 222: Tutoring in the Writing Center
Days: M 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.
Nikki Paley Cox
English 222 is an advanced writing course focusing on tutoring and writing, using theories about how students write and methodological approaches to tutoring and teaching. We will explore writing center theory within a sociocultural context, meaning we will examine how the following contribute to a student’s educational experiences and to their writing: power and authority, academic standards of writing, grammar and linguistics, race, gender, and class. In addition to the class meeting time, class members are required to complete two hours of one-on-one tutoring in the UIC writing center per week. Assigned readings include Rhetorical Grammar, by Martha Kolln, The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors, by Leigh Ryan and Lisa Zimmerelli, and various articles on increasing the range and depth of effective support. Students will write weekly, including a longer writing project at the end of the semester.
ENGL 222: Tutoring in the Writing Center
Days: Tuesdays 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.
Tutoring is an opportunity to serve others while learning more about writing. English 222 students will meet once per week in class to discuss various approaches to tutoring, including helping others in both individual and group settings. The focus will be on methods that foster an environment where all UIC students and instructors are seen as welcome and ongoing members of an open learning community. Weekly assignments include readings, written reflections and analyses of tutoring conversations, and a longer writing project focusing on an issue related to tutoring. As part of the class, students will be scheduling two hours per week to tutor, starting the fourth week of the semester. Instructional staff will be available to answer questions and coach the English 222 students as they tutor. Attendance and being on time is a requirement for both class and tutoring. Course readings include The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors by Leigh Ryan and Lisa Zimmerelli, the UIC Writing Center Handbook, available online on the Writing Center’s website, and the sixth edition of Rhetorical Grammar by Martha Kolln and Loretta Gray.
ENGL 222: Tutoring at the Writing Center
Days: W 2:00-3:15
Days: R 2:00-3:15
English 222 is an intensive reading and writing course for students who would like to become writing tutors. As such, students will not only engage with writing center theory and pedagogy, but also put theory to practice in developing respectful, collaborative, and effective tutoring strategies. Activities include: observation of experienced tutors in 1:1 sessions and groupwork; participation in class discussions and presentations; critical reflections on tutoring sessions, aided by cross-tutoring, self-recording, and transcript analysis; weekly reading and writing assignments on, among other things, current tutoring research, diverse learning styles, and the roles of identity, power, and ideology in education; and a final, longer project. In addition to meeting weekly for class, all students will be required to train and work (unpaid) in the Writing Center for 2 hours per week as writing tutors.Students receive a grade at the end of the semester that assesses their academic work for the course as well as their professional commitment to tutoring. Professionally, tutors are expected to be on time, respectful of students and faculty, supportive and attentive to all the writers who use the Writing Center, and receptive to coaching from their instructors and the Writing Center’s staff.
ENGL 233: History of Film II: World War II to the Present
Days: MW 3:00-4:50
An overview of the modern era of film history, with an emphasis on various "new waves" that rocked the cinema establishment from the 1960s on. Among the areas covered in the course are: the Italian neorealist movement of Rossellini and De Sica, the early American avant-garde of Anger and Deren, the rule-breaking French New Wave of Godard and Truffaut, the European art cinema of Bergman and Antonioni, the Cinéma Vérité movement of Drew and Pennebaker, the revolution-spawned cinemas of Cuba and Iran, the back-to-basics Dogme movement of Vinterberg and von Trier, and the recent displacement of film by digital processes and media. Course requirements include regular quizzes and short-essay assignments.
ENGL 240: Introduction to Literary Study and Critical Methods
Days: TR 9:30-10:45
What goes into the writing, and the reading, of literary criticism? In this introduction to literary study and critical methods, we will discuss the ways in which a work of literature can generate multiple critical readings, as well as the ways we can judge the viability of those readings and create our own counter-arguments based on strategic presentation of textual evidence. We will consider the varied concerns that critics bring to writing about literary texts. Since writers of literary criticism are necessarily interested in the properties of literature as such, our critical readings will also discuss issues of genre that inform works of poetry, the fairy tale and other short fictions, and the novel.
The course is conceived as an active dialogue between literary and critical texts, so we will begin by thinking through the particularities of the “literary,” especially as these apply to the reading and analysis of poetry as such. As the course progresses, a great deal of our time will be spent investigating the ways in which critics mine and utilize specific aspects of literary texts to create critical arguments. Later in the course, we will also discuss how we can engage criticism that is not primarily literarily based (e.g., Louis Althusser’s “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses”), as well as the ways in which the distinction between “literary” and “critical” works can fruitfully break down. This course is conceived as a seminar; class discussion will therefore be paramount here. Students will write short papers and a longer, integrative final paper.
ENGL 240: Introduction to Literary Study and Critical Methods
Days: TR 11:00-12:15
In this course we'll tackle a small number of works in a variety of genres and media (poetry, short stories, novels, plays, music, and film) and from broad range of time periods. As we think about how to understand these works in formal, theoretical, and historical terms, we'll explore some foundational questions for both the practice and the theory of critical interpretation. We'll start with two basic questions: What is a "text"? And what counts as the "meaning" of a text? As we'll see from the first week of class, the answers to these questions, far from being obvious, have been the subject of longstanding, rigorous debate. We’ll study work by a variety of poets, including George Herbert, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Gertrude Stein, and Harryette Mullen. We’ll also study short stories by Charles Chesnutt, O. Henry, and Henry James; Joseph Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent; theatrical work by Bertolt Brecht; and rap by JayZ; 50-Cent and Chief Keef.
Eng 241: English Literature I, Beginnings through Milton
Days: MW 10:30-11:20; F discussion
This course will offer a survey of literature from Anglo-Saxon texts through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Seventeenth Century. The intent is to provide both an historical overview and in-depth readings of texts in these periods. We will analyze, among other topics, the presence of the monstrous in epic texts; the interest in magical folklore as it completes with Christian ideals; the gendered orientation of woman authors’ techniques and interests as compared to the more represented male authors of these periods; the ingenuity of poets to outdo each other in the sonnet form and in drama; the sensual nature of poetry in a period of Christian denigration of the body and expectations of self-restraint The emphasis throughout will be upon learning how to do a variety of literary analyses (both in subject matter and style), identifying literary genres (drama, lyric and epic poetry, dream visions, etc.), and viewing the authors’ literary efforts as cultural artifacts, so this will include the historical contexts of the writings. The authors read will range from anonymous early texts through Chaucer, Marie de France, Shakespeare, Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Marlowe, Aemillia Lanyer, Mary Wroth, John Donne, and John Milton.
Course Requirements: You will be asked to write two-in class midterms, one paper (6-8 pages), and a final exam.
Texts: Two books:
Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th Edition, vols. 1A and 1 B.
Please Note: The texts for the course will be sold at UIC bookstore.
ENGL 242: A History of English Literature II, 1660-1900
Days: M, W 1:00-1:50; F discussion
MATERIALISMS - This course surveys the development of genres and the innovation of forms across two and an half centuries of British literary history, from the Restoration through the Victorian era. We will situate literary forms and themes in relation to a broad cultural and historical context including the decline of monarchy and the rise of democracy, the expanse of global trade and capitalism, and the rise of “materialisms” – in science, in world-views, and in values. To balance the historical and generic breadth of the course content, we will emphasize techniques of “close reading” to carefully appreciate the specific formal strategies involved in writing poems, plays, or novels.
ENGL 243: Introduction to American Literature
Days: M.W 12:00-12:50; F discussion
Walter Benn Michaels
This course is a (very selective) survey of American literature from its beginnings until around 1900. We will focus on topics ranging from the 17th century religious controversy over whether salvation could be earned through good works (antinomians like Ann Hutchinson thought it couldn't) through debates over what the proper length for a poem is (Edgar Allan Poe thought 100 lines) to the question of whether the emergence of divorce put an end to the importance of adultery as a crucial topic for fiction (Kate Chopin thought it didn't).
The course emphasizes reading attentively and learning to construct critical arguments, e.g., explanations of why something does or doesn't happen in a novel or why a poem uses the particular word it does rather than another word that might seem to mean the same thing. The idea is that these skills are essential for reading literature and, furthermore, that the ability to understand what you read and to explain what you have understood -- both orally and in writing -- are useful also for a great many careers, not to mention for leading a more interesting life.
The texts in the course will be the first three volumes (A,B and C) of the Norton Anthology of American Literature
ENGL 303 Studies in Poetry: Twentieth-Century American Poetry and the Lyric Tradition
Days: TR 12:30-1:45
This course focuses on a selection of American poets in the twentieth century (including Frost, Williams, Stevens, Brooks, Gluck, and others), to be considered in light of their participation in the age-old genre of lyric poetry. The course will address the following questions: what is the role of musicality (including, but not limited to, formal constraint) in the lyric? What are the differences between aural and silent (readerly) reception of poetic voice? How do we construct what is commonly known as a poetic “speaker,” and how are the idiosyncrasies of particular speakers articulated through poetic tropes and techniques? Do lyric poems support or resist narrative? What is the role of emotion in the lyric? Can lyric poetry viably respond to visual phenomena, or to broader cultural issues? We will approach these questions with the aid of critics including W. R. Johnson, Paul Allen Miller, Roland Barthes, and others. As we approach these questions, we will be working on both the micro level (listening to the idiosyncrasies of each poet’s particular voice) and the macro level (considering how each poet navigates larger issues surrounding the genre of the modern and contemporary lyric). Course requirements include several short papers, a longer final paper, and a class presentation.
ENGL 313 Shakespearean Tragedy
Days: Lecture: MW 12-12:50
F 12:00, 1:00 (Laura Krughoff, instructor)
Mary Beth Rose
This course will explore seven of Shakespeare’s major tragedies. Our discussions
will consider the unique characteristics of Shakespearean tragic form and will focus on the changing construction of tragic heroism; the ways in which the plays represent transforming conceptions of gender and sexuality, and conflicted representations of political authority, race, and social class. We will consider scenes from some modern film versions of the plays.
English 316: British Romantic Literature
Days: TR 2-3:15
This course focuses on poetry and novels by major Romantic writers including Jane Austen, Anna Barbauld, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the Shelleys, Charlotte Smith, and William Wordsworth. We’ll begin our studies with some important works of Romantic political theory and philosophy that set the stage for a discussion of these writers within the context of the era of revolutions. Although we’ll spend a great deal of time doing close readings of literary works, we’ll also consider important discourses and debates that animate those works: the condition of women, the abolition of slavery, the toleration of religious sectarianism, and class politics leading up to the 1832 Reform Act. Requirements: 1 in-class presentation, 2 papers (one shorter, one longer), midterm quiz, final examination.
ENGL 342: Cultural and Media Studies: Television and American Culture, Past and Present
Days: T 3:30-4:45; R 3:30-5:45
This course studies contemporary US television within the context of TV’s past, focusing on television’s relationship to significant social, cultural, and ideological movements across time—from narrower topics, like cigarette advertising or the art of political satire—to deeper social concerns regarding ethnicity, sexuality, gender, crime and violence, and war.
We also address the most current questions raised about television. As TV production and viewing move to multiple platforms, what does “television” mean today? And have we entered a new Golden Age of TV programming? If so, what constitutes “quality television”?
Students are introduced to television history and different aspects of television theory, including industry and genre theory, narrative theory, TV aesthetics, and postmodernism.
In the past, screenings have included I Spy, Charlie’s Angels, Chico and the Man, All in the Family, Murphy Brown, Twin Peaks, Miami Vice, Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl, Will and Grace, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and television’s war coverage.
The course follows the seminar model, with students contributing course topics in presentations and online Blogs. Students also complete several short response papers, a midterm, and one research paper of 8-10 pages.
Class meets Tuesday and Thursday, from 3:30-4:45. From 4:45-5:45 on Thursdays, we screen television programs relevant to our discussion.
English 343: Myth and Theory
Days: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:45 pm.
This course concerns ancient and modern myth as manifest in epic and narrative as well as in film, media, and political rhetoric. We study biblical and Greek myths alongside myths of creation and national founding from across the globe. While examining their common motifs and recurring structures, we ask why so many myths share such striking resemblances. This question leads to the theory component of the course, which surveys the major schools of myth criticism including myth-ritual, formalism, functionalism, structuralism, psychoanalysis, Jungian, and Marxist.
In addition to reading myths and analyzing them, students learn how to conduct fieldwork. Each student collects a myth from a living source, transcribes and contextualizes it for the first paper assignment. The fieldwork component introduces students to the living forms of myth and the oral dimensions of literature.
The third portion of the course focuses on the political and economic force of mythology. The notion of the hero pattern advanced by folklorists such as Lord Raglan, Alan Dundes, and Joseph Campbell enables us to discuss what a society’s hero communicates about its values and expectations. Theorists such as Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes lead us to the economic function of myth and the ubiquity of myth in political movements comes to the fore in our readings of Benedict Anderson and Ernst Cassirer.
ENGL 370: The Politics of Literature
Days: MWF 12:00-12:50
This course offers a survey of 19th and 20th century literary theory, with a particular attention to the relationship between literature and politics. How has literature been animated by politics of a certain kind? How might the study of literature illuminate political questions, or mobilize a different kind of politics? Theoretical readings will include Marx, Arnold, Freud, Barthes, Foucault, Macherey, Derrida, Said, Spivak, and many others. Literary readings will accompany our discussions, such as short stories by Dickens, Doyle, as will the film The Battle of Algiers. In short papers, students will experiment with reading alongside theory and literature to develop skills in thinking about politics and culture. Lively discussions and debates will be encouraged. Please feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about the course.
ENGL 374: Rhetorical Studies
Days: TR 11:00-12:15
Despite major legal gains across many states, gay marriage remains a pitted, seemingly irreconcilable, political controversy in the United States. On one side, there are those who feel that equal treatment by the law is a basic civil right. On the other, there are those who feel that such a legal change poses a threat to America’s traditional culture and, more importantly, religious beliefs. At the heart of this apparent political debate, in other words, lies a deeper interpretive issue: the interpretation of belief. Why are religious beliefs and the interpretation of the scriptures so central to this legal and social controversy? How do scriptural interpretation and religious belief impact the debate? And more importantly, is there any solution to this rhetorical bind?
In this semester of Rhetorical Studies, we will study the interpretations that lie at the heart of this debate. We will begin by considering a particular case study, and then engage in a careful analysis of the interpretive priorities and guidelines represented therein. Finally we will examine some rhetorical theories that might challenge or change the shape of the debate. In this way, we will study how interpretation (hermeneutics) impacts and informs persuasive productions (rhetoric), and in turn how rhetoric is necessarily (but not always obviously) interpretive. Students in this class will write two short papers and one long paper.
English 394/GWS & RELS 311: Gender and Sexuality in early Judaism and Christianity
Days: TR 9:30-10:45 AM
This course examines the root of contemporary perspectives on gender and sexuality in the early traditions of Judaism and Christianity including the Bible, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Church Fathers, the Talmud and legends of the Saints. We will also study the use of biblical and religious material in contemporary American law concerning sexuality. Students are introduced to contemporary gender theory and major theorists on gender and sexuality.
ENGL 417: Seminar in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature
Fashioning Celebrities/Performing Plays
The Long Eighteenth-Century is better known in some circles as the Age of the Actor. This was the period in which the cult of celebrity in its modern, commercial sense first had its rise. In this course we will examine a variety of dramatic works from the restoration and eighteenth century both as representations at the forefront of popular culture in their time and as vehicles for the stars of the stage. We will explore the intersection of generic interests with historical and political events and analyze transformations in tone from the raunchy sex comedies of the Restoration to the more sober, sentimental dramas of the eighteenth century. As we move from the elevated heights of heroic drama to the bathos of sentimental comedies, we will also explore how race, class, gender or nation were represented on the page and performed on stage.
Course requirements will include a variety of class presentations and at least two-three papers of varying length.
ENGL 421: Britain and Globalization
Days: MWF 10:00-10:50
Globalization is often talked about as a recent phenomenon. But long before McDonalds's "Golden Arches" began to appear in all corners of the world, Robinson Crusoe travelled to "see the world," and made his "kingdom" on a foreign island as though it were England itself. This course offers an overview of how British national culture has been interwoven with the project of globalization. Our readings will span literature, non-fiction, travelogues and film, including Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Edmund Burke's writings on empire, fiction by Kipling (Kim), Doyle and Forster (Passage to India), excerpts from travelogues by Charles Dilke and James Bryce, and a range of criticism from postcolonial studies, including Said, Bhabha, Spivak and Baucom. Please feel free to email me (email@example.com) if you have any questions about the course.
ENGL 427: Topics in American Lit and Culture, 1900-Present: Major poems and statements in American modernism, 1913-1945
Days: TR 2:00-3:15
This course will cover a variety of American poets writing in the first half of the 20th century, along with major statements and manifestos that have come to be synonymous with the term “modernism” as it pertains to poetry. Among the poets we’ll study: Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Laura (Riding) Jackson, Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams.
English 444/GWS 444: Topics in Theories of Gender and Sexuality--Masculinity.
Masculinity studies have achieved an independent existence that builds on four decades of feminism and feminist scholarship. This course focuses on masculinity theories, first reading two major scholars in the field, Australian Raewyn Connell and American Michael Kimmel, then looking back to fundamental theories by Marx, Freud, and Foucault that are not often assessed in terms of gender theory. The next section of the course will discuss masculinities that vary from a Western hegemonic norm, including racialized and ethnic masculinitie, queer masculinities, and female and trans masculinities. The final section of the course will introduce students’ individual projects and may take up such themes as militarized and violent masculinities, boys, global masculinities, masculinities in popular culture, and men’s movements and activism.
Texts may include: Connell, Masculinities, 2005; Kimmel, Guyland; hooks, We real cool, 2004; Gardiner,Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory, 2002; Bechdel, Fun Home, and essays on Blackboard.
Assignments may include: Four 2-page reading responses, one 5-pp paper, one draft and final paper (7 pages undergrad, 10-15 pages grad students), leading class discussion, class participation and other exercises.
ENGL 445: Topics in Disability Studies
Wednesday 3 - 5:45
This course will examine hot button topics in disability studies from redefining normality, diversity, impairment and the social model to physician-assisted suicide, disabled actors playing (or not playing) disabled roles on television, cinema, and advertising. In addition, the course will consider the Americans with Disabilities Act as a social, cultural, and political entity and legacy.
Students are required to provide in-class presentations as well as write a 13-20 page paper. “Readings” will include theory, fiction, films, art, and drama.
English/GWS 469: Women’s Literary Traditions.
CRN: 31877, 31878
Is there anything distinctive about writing by women or the ways that women read? How assess romances and “chick lit” in relation to “great literature”? How helpful are the categories of gender, race/ ethnicity, social class, sexuality, and nationality in providing interpretive contexts for writing by women? This course explores a wide range of canonical and popular works by women writers and their literary contexts from Aphra Behn to the present, with a focus on the pleasures of varied kinds of texts. Some class assignments may be integrated with students' interests in creative writing, pedagogy, popular culture, feminist and queer theory, or other areas of literary and gender studies.
Texts, many available online, may include: Behn, Oroonoko; Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Woolf, Room of One’s Own; Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle; Bechdel, Fun Home; Morrison,Desdemona; short prose by Anzaldúa, Olsen, Kingston, Jen, Butler, Erdrich; poetry by Brooks, Plath, Rich, and current song writers; performance pieces by Ensler and July. For graduate students, essays in feminist theory and criticism.
Assignments may include: Four 2-page reading responses, one 5-pp paper, second paper and final revision (5-7 pages undergrad, 10-12 pages grad students), leading class discussion, class participation and exercises.
ENGL 486: Teaching Writing in Secondary Schools
CRN’s: 19256 (undergraduate); 19257 (graduate)
Days: TR, 11-12:15
Why teach writing? and How can we teach writing more effectively and responsibly? These are the main questions we will try to answer as we work together in English 486. Drawing from a wide range of sources such as Kirby and Crovitz’s Inside Out and from professional periodicals like the English Journal, we will think about writing not so much as a transfer of information from one person to another (or others) but as itself a process of learning—a way of thinking critically reflectively, and precisely about issues that are important to us. In our readings, we will encounter many practical, day-to-day activities suggested by experienced and successful writing teachers; we will model and practice these activities as we write extensively together; we will read and assess each other’s work; we will talk about how to teach students to write not just essays, but fiction and poetry as well. In essence, we will create an environment where you can develop your professional identity as a writer and teacher of writing by actually participating in the types of practices you may soon be implementing in classrooms of your own. Also, in order to understand more clearly why we find certain ways of teaching writing to be more useful and ethical than others, we will discuss ideas that lend coherence and justification to our specific classroom activities (what some people call “theory”). Whatever generalizing we do, however, will be grounded in the particular details of working toward the goal of this class: that is, to prepare you to establish and maintain a productive community of writers.
Course requirements include 12-15 hours of field work in an area high school, two portfolios demonstrating what you’ve learned in various sections of the course, and a unit plan that integrates reading and writing.
ENGL 490: Advanced Writing of Poetry
Days: MWF 2:00-2:50
English 490 is the advanced undergraduate poetry workshop and the successor to English 210, which is its pre-requisite (and in which UIC students are required to achieve a grade of “B” or better). If you enroll for this course you are expected to have a working knowledge of basic poetic forms, meters, and tropes, and to have some experience participating in a creative writing workshop. In addition to pursuing your own work, you should be prepared to respond to various poetic writing assignments (intermittently given throughout the semester), to offer regular critical commentary on peer work, and to deliver informal, but thoughtful, presentations on assigned topics. Readings will focus on a course topic to be announced. Previous topics have been “Years of the Modern,” “Secrets of Surrealism,” and “Literary Anthologies, Literary Communities.
ENGL 491: Advanced Writing of fiction
Days: TR 2-3:15
This is an advanced course and will be conducted, as far as possible, workshop fashion. There will be readings from an anthology and additional handout material as needed. The focus, however, will be on your own work. Attention will be paid to those elements of craft without which a story cannot be effectively told. At the same time we will try to assess the intangibles that separate the merely well-crafted from those stories that actually make an impact and tend to stay in memory.
ENGL 491: Advanced Writing of Fiction
CRN: 19260 / 19261
Days: MWF 11:00 - 11:50
Mary Anne Mohanraj
This is a combined graduate and advanced undergraduate fiction workshop. We will study the craft of fiction, reading the work of published authors and examining their methods. We will also write fiction and learn to critique each others' work. Texts used will include The Best American Short Stories of the Century (ed. John Updike) and Steering the Craft (Ursula K. LeGuin).
ENGL 493: Internship in Nonfiction Writing
Day: R 2-3:15 p.m.
Linda Landis Andrews
The metropolitan area of Chicago offers many internship opportunities for English majors in public relations, television and radio stations, non-profits, corporations, government agencies, and associations. All organizations need writers. Tasks vary and may involve writing copy for a website , handling social media, assisting with special events, or producing promotional video, to name a few.
While writing, editing, or researching in an internship, students are enrolled in English 493. A resume, cover letter, and two writing samples are required to apply. The six-credit course (may also be taken for three credits) meets each week so that students can share knowledge gained in the internship, write short papers, and learn about the culture and business of professional writing. Internships give students an opportunity to examine their options and to build a network of contacts before graduation. Prerequisite: ENGL 202 or consent of the instructor
Student Teaching with Seminar
CRN’s: 14554/14560 (See explanation below.)
Time: W 3-5:45 pm
English 498/499 is the semester of student teaching for English education students, plus the accompanying weekly seminar. These courses are to be taken concurrently, and they are only open to student teachers. Eligible students must enroll in both courses, and for each course students must enroll in both a lecture and discussion section. (In other words, students will enroll in a total of four CRN’s: two for Engl. 498 and two for Engl. 499.) Students may select any discussion CRN that is still open.
The purpose of these courses is to support student teachers’ efforts to negotiate the complexities they will encounter in classrooms and to facilitate their growth and development as English teachers. Student teachers will spend the term working in an area secondary school, where they will be guided by a mentor teacher and a university field instructor. The Wednesday seminar is structured to encourage three different sorts of conversations and activities: 1) those that invite reflection upon classroom teaching; 2) those that allow student teachers to collaborate with their colleagues and field instructors to prepare for upcoming teaching; and 3) those that address issues regarding a job search and ongoing professional development.
ENGL 507: Theory, Rhetoric, Aesthetics
Days: Thursdays 2:00-4:45
In this course, we will investigate the presumed opposition of seeming and being in language and art, and particularly in the formation of rhetorical theory as a theory of language. The opposition of seeming to being (the way something appears, as opposed to how it is), constructed through the history of philosophy, ultimately resulted in the subordination of language, rhetoric, and art to mere semblance, representation, and seeming—the implicit counterpoint to truth and reality. While such logics of subordination have been roundly critiqued by 20th and 21st century thought, the basic opposition of seeming to being, of appearance to truth, still holds strong in how we think about language in general and rhetoric in particular. Our inquiry will be guided by Martin Heidegger’s critique that, in fact, seeming and being fundamentally belong together, and under consideration, tend to merge with one another “in close connection with the stamping of Being” (Introduction to Metaphysics § 72). Following the path indicated by Heidegger, we will explore the presumed distinction as it is formed in Plato’s Gorgias and (following Heidegger) critiqued by Michel Foucault (Archeology of Knowledge, Will to Know) and Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition).By investigating the basic interrelation of seeming and being, we will attempt to explore the limits of unthinking representation, signification, and seeming. While this basic question serves as a common topic of inquiry, students in this course will undertake their own original research project, engaging with some aspect of the relationship between seeming and being as it pertains to language, art, literature, or rhetoric. This course will focus heavily on professional research methods in the disciplines of English and Rhetoric, toward the end of helping students produce a publication-worthy paper.
Eng 535: Victorian Studies
Days: W 2:00-4:50
Realism, Structuralism, Aesthetics
Descriptive, conservative, unimaginative, literary realism is often
valued, and more often reviled, for its fealty to reality, its adherence
to referentiality, its enslavement to the world. Such appraisals have been over-determined in literary criticism since Aristotle and in theories of the novel since Auerbach; this seminar practices reading otherwise. Studying the nineteenth-century novel, we will hypothesize that the worlds of the novel are irreducible to “our” world and that realism multiplies and defamiliarizes, rather than copies and reifies, realities. What does the realist novel make, and how does it underscore its making? Is realism an aesthetic? What ensues philosophically and politically from today’s hegemonic insistence that the novel is information, and on what grounds can such insistence be resisted? Can novel poetics be specified, or is the famed “formlessness” of the “genre without genre” a negation of aesthetic critique? How are the fates of structuralism entwined with the reputes of realism?
Authors to include Lukacs, Jameson, Ranciere, Barthes, Moretti, Derrida, Levi-Strauss, Raymond Williams, Peter Brooks, Caroline Levine, J Hillis Miller, Eric Hayot and others, alongside Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, & Trollope.
English 580: Seminar in Genres of Literature, Film, and Media/ Theorizing the Romantic Novel
Days: T 5-7:45
The most distinguished scholarship on the history of the novel has tended to focus on its “origins” in the eighteenth century, or on the triumph of realism in the Victorian Age. But what about the flourishing of somewhat unruly fictions in the Romantic period--fictions that often represented irrational attachments and beliefs, strange visions, monstrous creations? Why were writers interested in these features of fiction writing, and how did they test the extent and limits of the novel form? To get at answers to such questions, this course focuses on novels written during the Romantic age, addressing four of the most prominent modes (often intersecting) of fiction of this period: the Gothic novel, the domestic novel, the regional novel, and the historical novel. We’ll discuss the political and cultural shifts that enable and inspire generic transformations and intersections, examining works by authors such as Jane Austen, Maria Edgeworth, William Godwin, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Smith, and Sir Walter Scott. We will also come to terms with the place of these genres within broader theories of realism, Gothicism, and the historical novel, examining criticism and theory of the novel by Ian Duncan, Catherine Gallagher, Frederic Jameson, Georg Lukács, and D.A. Miller, among others.
English 572: Program for Writers Novel Workshop
Days: T 2:00-4:45
The Program for Writers workshop in the novel welcomes students preparing to write a novel, just beginning a novel, or already engaged in working on or completing a novel. Novelistic techniques as well as pitfalls, variables and whims of the marketplace, and how literary fiction is affected by social pressures and/or political unrest in the world are all on the table for discussion. Students who are not in the Program for Writers need the permission from the instructor to enroll.
During his or her academic career, a student may enroll in a variety of independent studies. A student must obtain approval from the professor with whom he or she expects to work. It is the student’s responsibility to find a professor willing to direct the student’s independent study. A brief description of the project or research should be attached as well. Professors have the right to decline to take independent study students in a given semester. It is also the student's responsibility to meet regularly with the professor and to fulfill the special demands of the independent study. The work should be completed in the semester in which it is undertaken.
Students then must complete an Independent Study/Research form ("the Purple Form") which needs to be signed by the professor who will supervise the work and presented to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.
1-12 credits (variable). For doctoral students only. Supervised research and development of dissertation prospectus and colloquium committee. All doctoral students are expected to enroll for Prospectus Research when they have passed their Preliminary Examination.
Preliminary Exam Research
1-12 credits (variable). For doctoral students only. Supervised research and reading that facilitates the student's preparation for the preliminary examinations. Course is graded S/U only. Credit 1 to 12 hours, may be repeated for maximum of 12 hours of credit.
1-4 credits (variable). Individualized research and study, with the supervision of a faculty member, in topics not covered by regular course offerings.
Master's Project Research
0-4 credits (variable). For Master's degree students only. Supervised research and reading that facilitates the student's preparation of project research. Course is graded S/U only. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 hours. No more than 4 hours of ENGL 597 may be applied toward the degree.
1-16 credits (variable). For doctoral students only. All doctoral students are expected to enroll for Thesis Research when they have passed their Preliminary Examination (they must also enroll in ENGL 591). They must earn up to 32 hours for the dissertation.
ENGL 070: Writing in Context
CRN 32304 (TR 8:00-9:15); CRN 30566 (TR 9:30-10:45)
This preparatory class emphasizes the second-language writing challenges presented by structure, meaning, and use to those for whom English is not the primary language. The content of English 070 parallels that of English 160 and focuses on the skills needed to produce academic writing. Particular attention is paid to critical thinking and reading. Students will also be introduced to the concepts of Situated Writing--the idea that writing offers a way of understanding the world as well as a way to get things done and that the context for producing a piece of writing, who is writing it and why, helps the writer decide about the form a piece of writing will take The class requires three writing projects and three cover letters in order to allow for more time and instruction on the writing process and on sentence-level skills. The course will focus on the public debates caused by the conflicting needs of our multicultural U.S. society. How do people in the U.S. view themselves and their way of life? How do questions of gender, language, race, education, and politics manifest themselves in the “public forum”? Students will participate in these “conflicts” through papers and group discussions.
MONDAY / WEDNESDAY / FRIDAY Sections
ENGL 071: Popular Music and Politics
CRN 30568 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
This class involves intense writing and considerable reading. It is designed to prepare you for the challenges of writing in the languages of academic and other forms of social discourse. You will be responsible for producing multiple drafts of each writing assignment, and for making substantial revisions to each as needed. You will also work on honing the mechanics of your prose at the sentence level, acquiring active academic reading skills, and broadening your vocabulary. The guiding principle for the course is that what we write about and how we write it matters. In “Popular Music and Politics,” we will investigate subjects that may find us debating such questions as: “Why do the meanings of some words appear to change, depending on who is saying them?” “What might something so basic, so essential, as the music we listen to reveal about our social class or political beliefs?” “Can mere ideas, or products of thought, ever be harmful enough to warrant regulation?” These are some of the starting points for much stimulating critical thinking and writing we will undertake together this semester.
TUESDAY / THURSDAY Sections
ENGL 071: Stand-Up Comedy: Writing in Genres
CRN 35508 (TR 9:30-10:45)
The main purpose of this class is to provide you with writing experience that you can use throughout your entire career here at UIC as a contributing member of an academic community. Specifically, you will draft and revise four major writing projects: a Dialogue, a Review, an Argumentative Essay, and a Personal Essay. In each of these projects, situation and genre will operate as guiding concepts, and your subject will be stand-up comedy. In order to complete these projects with confidence and clarity, you will spend a significant amount of time in class focusing on areas key to reading and writing at the college level.
MONDAY / WEDNESDAY / FRIDAY Sections
ENGL 160: Writing and Rhetoric for a Global Audience
CRN 26190 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
This class is designed to recognize the benefits and advantages of bilingualism, and to serve the needs of bilingual and English-language-learning students. This is not an ESL class--instead, the class will explore global rhetoric, focus on the cultural norms of American Academic and public discourses, and help students find ways to express linguistic diversity while still communicating clearly and effectively with a chosen audience. We will examine both personal and public writing, and also examine how our language choices and forms change when moving in and out of different linguistic contexts. Please Note: This section is designed to meet the needs of English-language learners. Instructor permission is required to enroll.
ENGL 160: Writing and Issues of Consumption
CRN 14356 (MWF 9:00-9:50); CRN 14364 (MWF 11:00-11:50); CRN 26189 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
O'Hara, Mary Ellen
Ever wonder what’s in that package of Doritos you’re munching on. What about that Coke you just bought? Ever wonder why obesity, diabetes, and cancer are on the rise in America? Could such diseases be related to what we are consuming? Let’s continue questioning. How long is that new iPhone supposed to last? Are there any toxic components in there? Can smart phones be easily recycled? What about advertising? Is that shampoo really all-natural and what does all-natural mean anyway? These and other questions are raised in this course which asks students to formulate their unique response to consumer-related issues. Topics such as factory farming and food production, landfills, recycling, and consumer safety will be examined through various in-class discussions, group activities, and writing projects. The course will employ a variety of writing strategies to draft and revise four major writing projects including a Personal Essay, a Film Review, an Argumentative Essay, and a Manifesto.
ENGL 160: Academic Writing I
CRN 14374 (MWF 2:00-2:50)
Do you want to be heard? Do you want to voice your opinion? Then, this writing course will help you write your way into local and global conversations. We will explore issues of community at home, at school, in professional fields, and as citizens in a democracy. By reading and examining various genres and the ways in which they are used for specific purposes and audiences, you will come to see writing as more than something you do for school. Instead, you will see ways in which writing applies to worldly circumstances that you will encounter not only in school, but also in various other communities. Over the course of the term, you will produce your own writing in four different genres: a personal essay, a feature story, a research-supported argument, and an opinion piece for a newspaper. Through frequent peer review sessions, you will learn to examine your own writing and your peers’ critically and constructively, and you will use the writing process as a way to clarify your ideas. Through revision, you will learn to improve your writing and thereby prepare for the variety of writing situations that you will face here at the university and in both your professional and private lives.
ENGL 160: Knowing Your Place: Writing About the Politics of Space in Chicago
CRN 14357 (MWF 8:00-8:50); CRN 19837 (MWF 1:00-1:50)
What makes studying in the city of Chicago attractive to you? Have you ever wondered why so many people from other parts of the country—or even other parts of the world—have decided to make Chicago their home? In this section of English 160, students will pursue several writing projects designed to bring the concerns of the “What Makes Your Place Great?” contest and Chicago’s city-wide placemaking initiative into the classroom. We will begin the course with an exploration of the city’s most beautiful and vibrant “undiscovered” places and end the course with a vision of what might be done to make the city even more inhabitable. The final assignment, a placemaking proposal, will take the shape of an in-class contest. (Prizes will be awarded for the best entries).
Over the course of the term, we will read the works of urban planners, architects, sociologists, psychologists, art historians, poets, fiction writers, travel writers, oral historians, economists, scientists, homeowners, disability activists, and fellow students in order to learn more about the cultural, emotional, spiritual, practical, and political uses of space in the Chicagoland area and beyond. By reading up on “placemaking,” students will come to see that home is not only the place you live but also the places you want to inhabit—i.e., a special corner of a public park, a fountain hidden away on a city side street, the bleachers next to the baseball diamond where you grew up, a coffee shop in your new neighborhood, the rainbow resource room at UIC, the elementary school where you tutor, and so on.
In this course, students will not only contribute to a long tradition of urban ethnography by
interviewing a Chicagoland dweller on his/her favorite place but will also create new knowledge through their writing: by joining a conversation on a controversial use of space on campus or in the Chicagoland area, by exploring the politics of the workplace and arguing for more equitable arrangements, and, finally, by proposing the creation of a new place designed to memorialize an important person or event, to serve the needs of a community, or to solve a social problem of personal significance. Each writing project will serve not only as a means to get students connected to the city in which they study and to help them imagine a productive and fulfilling future in it but will also prepare students for the academic writing expectations of the university community.
TUESDAY / THURSDAY Sections
ENGL 160: Writing About Food
CRN 32310 (TR 8:00-9:15); CRN 27287 (TR 11:00-12:15)
Cox, Nikki Paley
This course approaches writing as an instrument of community involvement and a tool of social change. Writing is one of the many ways we can contribute to and participate in our world; local, national and global issues generate numerous forms of public “conversations.” This course invites you to actively participate in these exchanges, specifically in areas related to food and food studies. In this class, you will complete four writing projects: a rhetorical analysis, a dialogue, an argumentative essay, and a review. Additionally, you will write a cover letter explaining how you understand the key terms of the class as they apply to these four assignments and your growth as a writer. Through this series of writing projects you will be asked to contribute to the public discourse(s) surrounding specific social situations and community or national issues. These writing projects will ask you to respond to diverse situations by employing different types of writing from a variety of genres. As we explore various forms of writing, we will also work towards an understanding of how different genres are created out of and shaped by the particular situations from which they arise.
ENGL 160: Writing Into Community Conversations
CRN 26185 (TR 12:30-1:45); CRN 26187 (TR 2:00-3:15); CRN 14361 (TR 3:30-4:45)
This course approaches writing as an instrument of community involvement and a means of instigating social change. Writing is one of the many ways that we can contribute to and participate in our world--from personal letters, web logs, and emails to resumes, articles, formal proposals, and academic presentations. Local, national, and global issues generate numerous forms of public [written] “conversations.” This course invites you to actively participate in these exchanges. Through a series of four writing projects you will be asked to contribute to the public discourse(s) surrounding specific social situations and community issues. These writing projects will ask you to respond to diverse situations by employing different types of writing from a variety of genres. As we explore various forms of writing, we will also work towards an understanding of how different genres are created out of and shaped by the particular situations from which they arise.
Blended Sections (Tuesday Only)
ENGL 160: Writing Your Way Into the Public Conversation
CRN 14362 (Tuesday 9:30-10:45); CRN 14365 (Tuesday 11:00-12:15); CRN 14369 (Tuesday 2:00-3:15)
The purpose of this course is for you to examine and develop your “voice”--the sense of self that allows you to be both yourself and a member of a community larger than yourself. Writing, and how you reveal your voice in your writing, is a social activity that creates “public conversation.” The public conversation is defined by the voices of its participants. Writing in the public conversation will require you to coexist in a community which has a tolerance of diversity and respect for others. In this class, we will not only add our voices to the public conversation, but we will try to bring our ideas into useful relation to the ideas of others. Our public conversation will not dominated by the loudest voices, but will be balanced with both voicing you ideas and opinions and listening to the voices of others. To lend insight and ideas to our examination of our voice and the public conversation of which it is a part, we will read a number of texts which contain various viewpoints and issues. We will read these works critically using the concepts of situation, genre, language, and consequences. You will use writing as a way to respond to a call to action. Writing is, at its roots, a performance--I hope this class makes you feel that writing is a way to shape your reality--it isn’t something you do “in your head”--it is the act of an engaged person. Understanding situation, genre, language, and consequences will further your ability to write about, and ultimately know, yourself and the world. Also, you will strive for your writing to express your ideas in the fewest words possible, be grammatically correct, and avoid mistakes and typos. Your work over the semester will help you integrate all of these issues into effectively written projects. Please Note: This is a blended version of the course, which means the class will meet one day a week with all other activities being done through online and new media activities and assignments.
MONDAY / WEDNESDAY / FRIDAY Sections
ENGL 161: Urban Nature and Human Freedom
CRN 14461 (MWF 11:00-11:50)
CRN 32292 (MWF 1:00-1:50)
CRN 14438 (MWF 3:00-3:50)
In 1989, Bill McKibben boldly published his landmark environmental book The End of Nature. In this work, McKibben, like Thoreau and Rachel Carson before him, made a plea for Americans to reinvent their environmental consciences, and/or connections to nature. In the years since, as McKibben points out in a new introduction to his book published in 2005, this has not happened, and in fact some argue that the reverse has occurred. Under these conditions, what kind of relationship with nature can humanity have, now and in the future, and how does this effect the concept of “freedom”?
In this course, you’ll examine the modes of discourse--scientific, political, historical, psychological, and literary--surrounding this controversial topic. Using “global warming and technology” and their impact on “nature” as a starting point, you’ll explore the ways various writing genres engage with humanity’s relationship, or NON-relationship, to nature and freedom in the twenty first century. You will write several short papers designed to develop critical thinking and analysis skills, and these papers will lead to and culminate in a full-length research paper on a topic of your choosing, approved by the instructor, that adds to the academic debate about humanity’s relationship to nature in our time, including “human freedom” issues.
ENGL 161: Bastard Tongues and Divided Identities: Entering the Conversation on the Origins of Language
CRN 14431 (MWF 9:00-9:50)
CRN 14452 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
Think of the differences between your own everyday speech and that of your grandparents’ speech. They may have learned a different dialect than you (maybe they grew up in Mississippi and you grew up in Chicago). Or maybe the difference is merely the passage of time: what used to be hot is now cool, where they said the bee’s knees you say the business. English, and all languages, is constantly shifting. The rules and usages change. How, then, does any language come to exist? How did this thing called English originate? And how do languages pass from generation to generation? These are the kinds of questions linguist Derek Bickerton investigates in Bastard Tongues, his memoir of scientific discovery. The central inquiry of Bickerton’s book is, “Is there a common thread that links all the world’s languages?” Central questions of our course will include: How are family, friendship, and community bonds influenced by language differences? How is identity reliant on or related to language? What is language? How is it transferred from person to person and culture to culture? In the process of following these lines of inquiry, students of English 161 will acquire the intellectual tools and research skills to develop, compose, and revise independent research projects.
ENGL 161: Writing About Happiness
CRN 32286 (MWF 11:00-11:50)
In this course, we will examine questions about happiness. In her book, The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong, Jennifer Michael Hecht explains that our common notions of happiness, what makes us happy in today’s society, are a kind of mythology we all accept as fact. She explores the conception of happiness across history, illuminating traditions and practices that made our ancestors happy, as a means of demonstrating how those notions often contradict our current beliefs and actions.
ENGL 161: Writing About Medicine, Bioethics, and Social Inequality
CRN 14409 (MWF 10:00-10:50); CRN 14400 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
This course investigates issues surrounding ethics, race, and biomedical research, focusing on Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as the core text for students’ analytic inquiry. In this course, students will become familiar with the life of Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old black tobacco farmer and mother of five who was diagnosed with a rare and virulent strain of cervical cancer. Henrietta’s cancer cells, removed during a routine biopsy were taken and cultured without her consent. Meanwhile, Henrietta’s family remained unaware of the great medical advancements made possible by their now-deceased mother’s cervical cells. While their mother’s cells continued to advance modern medicine, the Lacks children did not receive any compensation for their mother’s biomedical contribution, nor did they receive access to proper medical treatment themselves. We will use the story of Henrietta Lacks as a touchstone to explore and analyze the larger issues surrounding modern medicine and bioethics, as well as study the particular exploitive practices inflicted upon certain races and classes of people in the name of scientific advancement. While analyzing these issues, students’ goal is to learn about academic research and writing, while synthesizing the readings and ideas posed in class. As a class, we will also spend time learning about summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing arguments, conducting academic research, writing a research proposal, and drafting the final research paper. All of this will culminate in a final research paper that answers a research question students have posed in relation to the course inquiry. Class readings and class discussions will guide you through each of these steps, and help students work toward generating a research topic that interests students enough to write a ten-page paper.
ENGL 161: “City on the Re-Write”
CRN 14420 (MWF 8:00-8:50); CRN 14459 (MWF 9:00-9:50); CRN 14434 (MWF 10:00-10:00)
How do the spaces of research and writing contain the histories, geographies, and memories of Chicago? This spring, we will examine this and other questions through a reconsideration of the “City that Works.” In this section of English 161, you will be a participant in an active research academic community that considers the shared senses of geography and history in Chicago. We will explore how research writers engage the city’s spaces, whether those spaces are geological, urban, economic, rhetorical, or domestic. Writers in this class will work within a cross-disciplinary research community, utilizing one another’s research as well as editing others’ research writing. Each writer is invited to approach these questions from his or her own discipline. Possible final research essay projects include: Is Chicago a Midwestern or Western city? What is the difference? How is Chicago known through its waterways, skyscrapers, neighborhoods, airports, and stockyards? What industries (or lack thereof) will define Chicago’s economy over the next century? Do the city’s freeways, canals, assembly lines, and cubicles offer any sense of social, architectural, or geographical meaning? Working from Dominic Pacyga’s Chicago: A Biography, these questions will frame our common research.
ENGL 161: Writing About Gender and Advertising
CRN 14412 (MWF 12:00-12:50); CRN 14414 (MWF 1:00-1:50)
In this course, we will study the academic and public conversation about representations of gender in advertising. We will read about, discuss, and write about issues such as the difference between sex and gender, masculinity and femininity in advertising, gender roles and stereotypes, and the gendered body in consumer culture. The course will culminate in a research paper that explores some aspect of the course topic.
ENGL 161: Pop Music and Politics
CRN 14467 (MWF 11:00-11:50); CRN 22118 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
In “Popular Music and Politics,” we will investigate subjects that may find us debating such questions as: “Why do the meanings of some words appear to change, depending on who is saying them?” “What might something so basic, so essential, as the music we listen to reveal about our social class or political beliefs?” “Can mere ideas, or products of thought, ever be harmful enough to warrant regulation?” These are some of the starting points for much stimulating critical thinking and writing we will undertake together this semester. Our investigation into these questions provides the context for our writing, but remember that our goal is to learn about academic research and writing, not just pop music or politics. Therefore, in addition to our inquiries into images and their contexts, we will also spend time learning about summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing arguments, conducting academic research, writing a research proposal, and drafting your research paper. All of this will culminate in a final research paper that answers a research question you have posed in relation to the course inquiry. Our readings and class discussions will guide you through each of these steps, and help you work toward generating a research topic that interests you enough to write a ten-page paper.
ENGL 161: Rumors, Fear, and the Madness of Crowds: Exploring the Phenomena of Crowd Behavior and Mob Violence
CRN 14407 (MWF 8:00-8:50); CRN 14411 (MWF 11:00-11:50)
In this course, we will explore in detail various scholarly theories about the mysterious and fascinating phenomenon of crowd behavior. The first half of the course will explore and analyze these readings, generate discussion based on them, and respond to them using the analytical writing techniques of summary, analysis, and an extension of analysis, synthesis. The second half will involve your individual path of inquiry and research on a specific topic, resulting in the creation of a unique theory about why a specific incident of crowd behavior occurred.
ENGL 161: Writing About Animal Rights, Ecology, and Civic Engagement
CRN 14384 (MWF 8:00-8:50); CRN 14432 (MWF 10:00-10:50); CRN 26192 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
This course focuses on the relationships between animal rights, ecology, and civic engagement. In this class, you will critically examine our social and individual responsibilities in relationship to the environment, with an emphasis on how diet and consumerism affect our social and physical environment. You will visit relevant public institutions (West Loop Meatpacking district) connecting animal rights, ecology, and our social responsibilities. By combining the physical experience of exploring the West Loop Meatpacking district with relevant written assignments and readings, you will enhance your research skills considerably. Your written assignments include journaling, summary, synthesized analysis, a research proposal, and a culminating research paper. In each assignment, you will demonstrate an ability to argue and analyze effectively.
ENGL 161: Writing About Sex and Consumer Culture
CRN 32287 (MWF 11:00-11:50); CRN 14444 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
In Elizabeth Fraterrigo’s Playboy and The Making of the Good Life in Modern America, the Chicago-based historian outlines a context for understanding the development and popularity of Playboy, the world’s most influential men’s magazine. Her book shows that the definition of the “good life” touted by Playboy left its mark on an American society increasingly interested in consumer pleasures and notions of individual freedom. Among this course’s pressing issues is the relationship between freedom and consumption—is more always more? How can we understand the gender politics of Playboy in relation to contemporary relationships, and what, if any, conclusions can we draw about the underlying social values that produce icons like The Girls Next Door?Even if, as some scholars have suggested, Playboy’srelevance as a magazine ended in the 1970s, its derivatives and philosophy of consumption still inform our culture; students in this class will aim to understand the consequences. Like Fraterrigo, we will set out to approach problems of culture as academics by learning to summarize, analyze and synthesize course readings. You will write a research proposal to guide your inquiry before conducting research and penetrating the scholarly conversation through an argumentative essay.
ENGL 161: Writing About Film in a Historical Context
CRN 14447 (MWF 1:00-1:50); CRN 29121 (MWF 2:00-2:50); CRN 22115 (MWF 3:00-3:50)
For more than a century, people around the world have been making and watching movies. If asked why we go to the movies, our first response might be for entertainment; but as the dominant popular art form in America today, movies are also a valuable part of our cultural landscape. They are both made and watched within a dense fabric of culture, history, and sensibilities. In this class we will explore the place of film in American society from World War II until the present. Our main text will give a decade-by-decade account of what was happening in America and what impact that had on the films being made (as well as the impact that films themselves had on the world around them). Through discussions of the readings and through a series of focused writing assignments, we will hone our critical reading and writing skills in order to enter this conversation by developing an inquiry that contributes to the discourse. We will draw on our own observations as conscious moviegoers, to examine what the films we see tell us about the world in which we live.
ENGL 161: Writing Urban Secret Histories
CRN 14391 (MWF 1:00-1:50); CRN 14413 (MWF 2:00-2:50); CRN 14437 (MWF 3:00-3:50)
This course focuses thematically on the contested narratives visible in the actual social histories of cities like Chicago and New York. Students will read a variety of texts by writers such as Luc Sante and Marco d’Eramo, while encountering different writing techniques, culminating in an independently researched, thesis-driven 10-page research project. This course should appeal to students who are willing to engage historical narratives as text evidence, and wish to build their writing skills in terms of logic, clarity, and specificity.
ENGL 161: Writing About Technology and Communication
CRN 14451 (MWF 9:00-9:50); CRN 29118 (MWF 11:00-11:50)
Is communication through Facebook, blogging, texting, and emailing changing the way we speak and relate to each other? Are the signals, setups, and platforms of technology changing the way we think? In the text A Better Pencil, Dennis Baron sets forth the argument that “computer technology has taken control over our words in ways and at a speed that no previous technology of literacy ever did before.” This course will have at the center of discussion the ways in which technological shifts are changing the fabric of the way we write, communicate, and relate. This class will ask you to investigate the thing that most wholly consumes our reality day in and day out: media and technology. During this course you’ll be asked to look deeper into what makes up media and technology today. How is it composed, created, and reflecting or influencing people? How does the speed of the computer, the set-up of the desktop, windows, links and texts within media reflect and influence our notions of reality?
In the midst of the meaningful discussion surrounding the evolution of communication, we will be focusing on the act of academic writing and argumentation. We will study this book in terms of its claims, values, evidence, and strategies; in turn, we will be studying our main text through the lens of rhetoric. Expect to not only learn how to question the very culture of communication, but how to analyze arguments and be discerning about the ways in which argumentation operates. By the end of the course I want you to all be exceptional investigators and intellectually impressive detectives of the world around you. Additionally this class will encourage you to think more critically on your notions of writing, communication, culture, intelligence and mediums through which we learn.
ENGL 161: Writing About the Dangers of Technology and the Limits of Knowledge
CRN 14453 (MWF 11:00-11:50); CRN 29120 (MWF 1:00-1:50)
Yucca Mountain, roughly 100 miles from Las Vegas, was the planned site for the storage of all nuclear waste contained at facilities throughout the United States—up to 70,000 metric tons (or 150 million pounds) and growing. The project was approved by Congress in 2002, defunded in 2011, and is currently in legal limbo. About a Mountain by John D’Agata documents the federal government’s attempt to safely store our country’s nuclear waste for a proposed period of 10,000 years, the complexity of this task, the billions of dollars spent in the process, the dangers of technology, the limits of knowledge, and language itself. In this course we will examine D’Agata’s inquiry into the limits of knowledge, humanity’s destructive power, the definition of a “fact,” and how to think critically about a problem with a time span longer than our lifetimes. After situating yourself within this constellation of issues through reading and writing, you will dig deeper into a topic of your own choosing. Through research and writing, you will contribute to the larger academic discourse surrounding these issues, and develop the skills necessary to engage in academic inquiry.
ENGL 161: “Can’t Buy Me Love?”: Writing About Pervasive (and Persuasive?) Advertising
CRN 14466 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
English 161 is designed to guide you through the steps of creating a cohesive, coherent, and engaging research paper. In the process of constructing your paper, you will learn what it means to enter an intellectual conversation, that is, an ongoing public inquiry, in which you will find and contribute your own unique perspective. In this class, we will investigate the role of advertising in American culture; specifically, its impact on the shaping of our self-image, our goals, and our desires. This is a well-debated issue with a multiplicity of viewpoints; you will examine various viewpoints so as to discover your own, which will then become the central thrust of your research paper. In the first half of the semester, you will gain familiarity in and practice with some of the conventions of academic writing, including summary, synthesized analysis, and argument, which are central components of the research paper. You will learn how to effectively use library source material to put together an annotated bibliography; in doing so, you will learn the value and necessity of acknowledging, respecting, articulating, and incorporating the claims of other contributors into your own inquiry—even if those claims run counter to your own. During the second half of the semester, we will turn the classroom into a laboratory of sorts—each of you will conduct independent research on an aspect of our class topic of your choice, and will bring results of your investigation into the classroom for peer review and group discussion. By the end of the semester, you will have written a ten-page research paper that will reflect your successful entry into the academic culture.
ENGL 161: Writing Work/Writing Identity
CRN 14474 (MWF 1:00-1:50)
English 161 is designed to provide you with the tools that you will need to engage in academic inquiry. Approximately half of the course will be devoted to developing the intellectual tools that will help you to guide your inquiry, while the other half will be devoted to developing a field, or subject of inquiry. Using our core text, The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler, we will conduct an inquiry into the nature of work, wealth, class, and identity in America. This inquiry responds to larger public conversations about how wealth is distributed in the United States and how work and money interact with identity. Throughout the semester, you will have opportunities to explore Chicago and its surroundings in order to observe what we’re learning about firsthand. You will also be encouraged to draw on your own experiences as you develop a research project.
ENGL 161: Writing About History and American Education
CRN 29119 (MWF 10:00-10:50); CRN 32289 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
If you went to an American high school, you probably have heard about Helen Keller, the young woman who famously learned to communicate despite being both blind and deaf. But did you know that as an adult, Keller became an ardent socialist, dedicating her life to fighting “Industrial Blindness and Social Deafness”? If you never learned that part of the story, why do you think your textbook left it out—and what else might its authors have tried to hide? In his bestselling book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen tries to answer just this question by pointing out oversights and exaggerations in the average American history education. He also asks why we assume in the first place that history should be taught as a dry collection of facts about dead heroes, rather than learned the way actual historians learn it: by interpreting primary documents.
Our course will take Loewen’s book as our core text, and will use it as a model for the way that an academic builds an argument, including reading skeptically, finding ideas to disagree with, and saying something new in a way that matters. We will read even Loewen suspiciously, aided by the perspective of excerpts from Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. At the same time, we will hone our own writing skills through four writing projects that build successively on one another: a summary, a synthesis, an annotated bibliography, and a final research paper. To complement our work, we will examine controversial history-related case studies, such as Columbus’s “discovery” as taught in America, the Algerian War as taught in France, and the Nazi rise to power as taught in Germany. Moreover, rather than thinking only about the way history is taught, we will use Loewen’s work as one example of how every academic subject tends to be taught as a set of accepted facts rather than as a collection of controversies, disagreements, and ongoing debates. In this first-year course, as many of you move from high school into college, it is my hope that this course will help you transition from rote-learning, test-taking “students” into critical, engaged, assertive scholars.
ENGL 161: Writing About “Generation Me”
CRN 14439 (MWF 11:00-11:50)
Today’s young people are raised to be individuals who place great value on their own self-worth and accomplishments. They are taught to put themselves first and focus on raising their self-esteem, because only after accomplishing these things will they be able to have successful lives and good relationships. But do these lessons always hold true for everyone? Although individualism has had a positive effect on young people in that it teaches them to act independently and pursue their dreams, at the same time it can lead to unfulfilled expectations and conflicts in their relationships with others. This focus on the self can also cause people to place less emphasis on community and social obligations. The primary text for this course will be Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before by psychology professor Jean M. Twenge. We will also look at other articles and essays that focus on “Generation Me” and look at particular aspects of popular culture, education, and family values that have helped to shape “Generation Me.” Although you will be expected to write four papers total, the capstone essay will be a 10-page, thesis-driven, research-based essay focusing on an aspect of “Generation Me” and one of its effects on identity formation in the twenty-first century.
ENGL 161: Writing and the Politics of Parenthood
CRN 32290 (MWF 12:00-12:50); CRN 14386 (MWF 1:00-1:50); CRN 14395 (MWF 2:00-2:50)
In this class, you will explore and write about the complex tensions that surround parenthood today. We will look at Ann Crittendon’s The Price of Motherhood and also look at various articles from other texts and journals to get a sense of what the parenthood tensions are today. Our investigation into the “Politics of Parenthood” provides the context for our writing, but our goal is to learn about academic research and writing. Therefore, we will also spend time learning about summarizing, analyzing and synthesizing arguments, conducting academic research, and writing a research proposal. All of this will culminate in a final research paper that answers an inquiry you have posed about a specific issue concerning our topic. Our readings and our class discussions will guide you through each of these steps, and help you work toward generating a research topic that interests you enough to write a 10-page paper.
ENGL 161: Chicago’s Growing Pains: The Struggles of Metropolitan Development, Racial and Class Divides, Urban Crisis, and Immigration Controversies
CRN 14402 (MWF 9:00-9:50); CRN 14387 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
In this course we will examine the origins and evolution of Chicago as a city. Your task in the course will be to make reasoned arguments based on topics ranging from the rapid growth of industry and urban chaos to social, racial, and ethnic changes in Chicago. Our core text will be Dominic Pacyga’s Chicago: A Biography. We will examine Pacyga’s arguments about Chicago as both a progressive city that creates green urban spaces and review a less progressive aspect of the clash of social classes and immigration issues. Our task will be to enter a scholarly conversation with Pacyga’s analysis of the development of Chicago as a major urban center. Central questions of our course will include: In what ways is Chicago a progressive city and in what ways does it fail to be? How does urban growth affect neighborhoods and the poor? What defines Chicago as an immigrant city, and how is this relationship complicated over space and time? We will answer these, and several other questions leading up to your own inquiry on the subject of Chicago.
The first half of the course will be dedicated to studying summary, analysis and synthesis through the readings. During the second half of the semester, you will write a research proposal about an aspect of our subject into which you would like to inquire before conducting research and then presenting your contribution to the scholarly conversation through an research essay informed by several outside sources.
ENGL 161: Writing About Youth, Music, and Social Crises Since 1975
CRN 14392 (MWF 10:00-10:50); CRN 14454 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
For the past fifty years or so, groups of teenagers or young adults have tended to organize themselves by a preference for a particular kind of music, clothing style, slang, and other seemingly arbitrary characteristics. As such, they provoke the attention of media and scholars alike, especially if these young people also assume provocative political positions. We will focus primarily on loud rock’n’roll offshoots: old-school punk, heavy metal, and their more recent reincarnations; with our central text, the book Sells Like Teen Spirit by sociologist Ryan Moore, we will analyze how songwriters in those genres react to social and economic crises since 1975. Our investigations will lead you to write a focused and analytical research project of 10 to 12 pages offering your own take on the overall theme of the course. Through a number of short assignments, you will be able to develop critical reading and writing skills as well as participate in the ongoing debates about music and social crises.
TUESDAY / THURSDAY Sections
ENGL 161: Talking to Strangers: Writing About Stand-Up Comedy
CRN 26880 (TR 11:00-12:15); CRN 22116 (TR 2:00-3:15); CRN 26883 (TR 3:30-4:45)
In Comedy at the Edge, Richard Zoglin characterizes stand-up comedy in the United States during the 1970s as marking a clear shift from a primarily impersonal, joke-based entertainment to a more varied and ambitious art invested in personal experience and direct social commentary. But while it is clear that Richard Pryor and George Carlin and Andy Kaufman engaged in experimentation that was often in conflict with the older style of stand-up, we will treat this tension between a set-up/punchline joke-telling tradition, and the development of other approaches in the 1970s, as an opportunity to explore connections between this “new” type of stand-up comedy and stand-up’s complicated past, from the Borscht-Belt to Vaudeville to Blackface Minstrelsy. My hope here is that you will not only find a research project that really interests you, but that throughout the semester you will also find yourself drawing memorable connections between the moves standup comics make as performers and the moves we make as writers, all of us trying to convince an audience of something. English 161 is designed to provide you with tools that you will need to engage in academic inquiry. So with this in mind, you will complete four writing projects: Summary, Synthesized Analysis, a Research Proposal including an annotated bibliography, and a final Research Project. Through the first three writing projects, you will develop skills that will enable you to create a well-organized and tightly argued final research paper. Each writing project will include at least two drafts, and the final draft for the research project will be highlighted.
ENGL 161: Writing About U.S. Political News
CRN 30804 (TR 11:00-12:15); CRN 14389 (TR 12:30-1:45)
Boulay, Katherine M.
In this course we follow mass media coverage of U.S. politics. As a student in this course, in addition to watching the news and the State of the Union (SotU) address, you will read a variety of current articles, essays, books, opinion pieces, etc. that discuss how the media and, among others, the president intersect, interact, and for what purposes. You will enter the public discussion by writing about media coverage of President Obama. The course culminates in a research paper on a topic of your choice that addresses some aspect of mass media coverage of the presidency. Work on this paper dominates the final six weeks of the semester. You need not have any background in the study of media and politics in order to enjoy and do well in the course. What is essential is an open mind and some interest in politics. The intersection of media and politics is the backbone of the course. As such it is the prism through which you enhance your skills summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing arguments; conducting academic research; writing a research proposal; and, drafting and completing a research paper. Readings, writings, class discussion, small group discussion, and individual meetings with the instructor will help you generate a research topic that interests you sufficiently so that you can write a ten-page paper on it.
ENGL 161: Writing About Chicago Architecture
CRN 14382 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this course we will continue the examination of “situated writing” begun in English 160 while exploring the skills associated with academic research. Using the four key terms of language, genre, situation, and consequences, we will uncover how architecture creates the urban experience in Chicago. The city has typically been characterized as a gritty, industrial, and materialistic city that lacks real culture. Does the urban skyline of Chicago reflect that narrative or have observers been misreading the city’s architecture? What changes have happened to the city’s appearance over time and how are they significant? How exactly does one read a city’s architecture? These are simply a few of the questions we will consider in this class as you explore your own relationship to Chicago’s individual buildings and overall design. You will be asked to choose a topic related to Chicago architecture and engage in extended research on that topic. The subject of your research might be the history of a specific building in Chicago or a study that explores patterns of development in the city. Whatever topic you choose, it should reveal an aspect of Chicago architecture that you feel we are not aware of or change our perception about a building or group of buildings we thought that we understood. By the end of this course, you should have an understanding of the process that leads from inquiry to academic writing. You should also have a better understanding of the perception of Chicago’s architecture and how that perception relates to the reality of life for the city’s residents.
ENGL 161: Writing About the Metropolis as a Text: How to Read Chicago Like a Book
CRN 32291 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this section of English 161, we will explore ways of reading the public spaces of Chicago––its graffiti and public art, its museums and cultural institutions, and its private codes and mannerisms––as if each were a legible text open to our interpretation and critique. Over the course of the semester, students will inquire into issues of urban identity, the social history of city-building, the idea of public and private spaces, and the notion of a metropolis, as well as their own situation within the city of Chicago. During this class, we will aspire to answer the following questions: How can Chicago’s cultural and social history be understood through an analysis of its public spaces? How might one read Chicago’s public spaces as if they were a written text? How have Chicagoans come to value certain texts and devalue others? In what ways do the city’s written and non-written texts shape how we think of ourselves? What does it mean to inhabit a metropolis?
ENGL 161 Writing the Revolution
CRN 14388 (TR 8:00-9:15); CRN 14427 (TR 9:30-10:45); CRN 14399 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this class, we will analyze Emma Goldman’s highly romantic and wildly impractical theory of anarchism. Since Goldman became an anarchist primarily in response to the treatment of Haymarket anarchists, we will start here in Chicago, 1886, move to 1910 when Goldman’s Anarchism and Other Essays, our primary text, was first published, and finally make connections to contemporary movements and politics. We will examine Goldman’s essays, which are rich in references to the work of respected scientists, sexologists, and literary writers as well as a few quacks (!). We will write critically about debates relating to our justice system, gender, politics, class, and the place of violence in political action. We will make a few forays into other writing during this time period in order to contextualize the factors at play in a given argument. Finally, we will examine the way in which many of these debates are strikingly relevant today. We will be entering into an intellectual conversation on anarchism and students will be positioning themselves within that conversation. The latter half of the semester will be dedicated to the stages of writing a research paper. Thinking carefully and critically often leads to writing well. Our text, From Inquiry To Academic Writing: A Practical Guide, explains how to develop ideas, think critically, analyze sources, construct a thesis, organize an essay, conduct basic research, and use appropriate styles and forms of citation.
ENGL 161: Writing about College and Career
CRN 26879 (TR 2:00-3:15)
You have made a significant commitment of time and money by choosing to enroll in classes at UIC. Why? What do you expect from your university education? What do you hope to achieve while you are a student and after you graduate? As college tuition continues to rise, student loans mount, and technology evolves, many people are asking: Is college worth it? Is it time to reinvent postsecondary education? Is college necessary for a successful career? We will explore possible answers to these questions and initiate further inquiry into the topic of college and career as you learn more about academic research and writing. You will write a series of shorter assignments including a summary, a synthesized analysis, and a research paper proposal. Your final writing project will be a 10-page documented research paper in which you join the academic conversation as you pursue your own specific inquiry within the broader context of issues concerning college and career. You will develop and support your own distinct claim in relation to the research you have done. As further goals for this class, I hope that as a result of the class conversations we have and the research you do, you will gain a fuller understanding of why you are in college, what you hope to accomplish here, and how you will go about achieving your goals, and I hope you will become an advocate for your own academic success and that of others.
ENGL 161: Taking Issue: Writing Analytically About Ethics and Politics
CRN 14401 (TR 11:00-12:15); CRN 14383 (TR 2:00-3:15); CRN 22117 (TR 3:30-4:45)
This course is designed to prepare you to write academic research papers, specifically, position papers (papers that analyze a controversy, proposing and defending a solution to it), partly by involving you in readings and discussions about many of the ethical and political controversies of our time. In connection with our primary writing text, From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Practical Guide, we’ll examine two philosophically based texts: one (Understand Ethics) that will provide us with an organized overview of ethical (and, to some extent, political) ideas, and another (Understand Political Philosophy) that provides a similar overview of political questions and theories as they have been considered and developed throughout the history of Western Civilization up to the present. Looking at ethical and political questions in a more disciplined analytical and philosophical way will not only help you to sort through alternative positions to find the one that makes the most sense to you, but it will also give you the opportunity (and incentive) to learn some very practical skills to help in the cultivation of your analytical writing. To begin with, you will learn some easy and effective ways to analyze the range of opinion on specific ethical and political issues, how to identify major points of conflict, how to formulate research questions, and how to recognize unexamined opinions and uncover hidden assumptions. You will also learn techniques for paraphrasing short passages, summarizing longer ones, analyzing complex subjects and controversies, synthesizing (relating together) ideas and arguments from various points of view, and constructing reasonable arguments of your own. Emphasis will be placed on persuasive rhetorical structure, unbiased representation of conflicting positions, identification of underlying principles, rational (and honest) argumentation, and correct documentation of source material. All of this constitutes excellent preparation, not only for college-level research, but also for making everyday decisions (or life-changing ones) concerning your own ethics and politics. No prior knowledge of ethics, logic, politics (or philosophy in general) is required.
ENGL 161: Writing About Urban Campuses in Global Cities
CRN 14456 (TR 12:30-1:45); CRN 14398 (TR 2:00-3:15); CRN 14403 (TR 3:30-4:45)
This section of English 161 will examine the relationships between urban universities and their cities. We will begin with Sharon Haar’s book, The City as Campus: Urbanism and Higher Education in Chicago, which reads the institutional, social, and architectural history of UIC as a case study for a broader analysis of the role of universities in the global cities of the twenty-first century. Working from the threads of her argument, we will study a variety of urban universities, with a special focus on those in Chicago, to consider both the ways campuses can support the growth and development of cities and the ways urban contexts enrich the educational missions of universities. This exploration will be structured by the practices of academic research and writing. Students will write a series of essays employing the strategies of summary, analysis, and synthesis. This work will culminate in a major research project that will provide students an opportunity to make an argument about the role of universities in contemporary cities.
ENGL 161: “Chicago Works?” Writing Through the Issues of the Working Poor
CRN 14465 (TR 9:30-10:45); CRN 14469 (TR 11:00-12:15); CRN 26882 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this course, we will extend and further develop our skills that evolved in English 160. We will enter even further into public conversations and their consequences, first discerning what these conversations about the “working poor,” in fact, are, assessing their validity, and articulating our own, well-supported arguments. As summary, analysis, and synthesis are central components of the academic research paper, we will practice these, and we will learn to find and evaluate a variety of primary and secondary sources for our final projects. One of our goals is to identify and participate in public conversations about poverty and work. In order to do this we will each bring in one newspaper or magazine article per week. It can be any piece that interested you for any reason. Please identify the issue at hand, what/who you think the author is responding to, and consider how the author defines/uses major terms such as poverty, work, welfare, etc. This will be part of your journal and will help you move toward your final research portfolio as well as spark class discussions. Our first three writing projects, which are summary, analysis, and synthesis essays, will be based on David Shipler’s The Working Poor and the Course Packet (includes: “The Myth of the Working Poor” by Steven Malanga; “The Working Poor” by Tim Jones; “Wal-Mart’s Urban Romance” by Ta-Nehisi and Paul Coates; selections from When Work Disappears by William Julius Wilson, essays by Malcolm Gladwell and Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich). The fourth project is an annotated bibliography and final project outline, and the final research portfolio will be the culmination, in the form of a ten-page paper, of the semester’s inquiries and efforts.
ENGL 161: Writing About Corporations
CRN 14390 (TR 2:00-3:15); CRN 14397 (TR 3:30-4:45)
What is a corporation? Where did corporations come from? How did this particular institution develop? As citizens of a country that prides itself on its economic system, we Americans know a lot less about the institutions that make up that economy than about the institutions that make up our government. And increasingly, that ignorance is proving costly, as we realize the extent to which those “economic” institutions actually are our government. What role should corporations play in setting public policy? Are stockholder earnings the proper measure of a company’s success? The purpose of English 161 is to have you enter into an intellectual “conversation” on a particular subject, and to position yourself within that conversation. In this course, you will enter into an academic conversation about the role major corporations play in American politics and culture. During the first half of the semester you will become familiar with the contexts and genres of academic texts and learn about the topic of the inquiry. We’ll do this by examining corporations from an academic perspective, questioning the balance between the virtues of civic institutions and the demands of corporate interests. Papers written during this portion of the class will make use of intellectual tools such as summary, analysis, synthesis, and argument. Skills such as paraphrase and quotation will be emphasized. During the second half of the semester, you’ll do independent research on a topic related to our conversation. The class will function as a research community or working group in support of this independent inquiry. By conducting independent research you will learn what it is like to participate in academic culture—to pose your own questions about important issues, and to make arguments in response to what others have said. You will make use of library sources for your chosen topic, particularly academic journal articles and books from a variety of disciplines. This inquiry will result in a fully documented, 10-page research paper on the influence of large corporations on American politics and culture.
ENGL 161: Writing About Chicago: Pursuing Inquiry Through Research
CRN 14405 (TR 8:00-9:15); CRN 14381 (TR 11:00-12:15)
Reading about Chicago’s 19th-century emergence as a mighty industrial force is difficult to reconcile with today’s city of Millennium Park, but this dynamic interplay characterizes Chicago’s remarkable story. Our central text, Dominic Pacyga’s Chicago: A Biography, will be augmented with more critical analyses by Marco d’Eramo, Donald Miller, Blair Kamin, and others. Students will gain competence in academic writing through summary and analysis practice. For final research projects on Chicago, students will choose topics that intersect their own academic and personal interests.
ENGL 161: Mental Illness and the Idioms (or Epidemics) of Distress
CRN 14442 (TR 11:00-12:15); CRN 14471 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this course, we will examine the social forces, manipulations and motives that contribute to the labeling of mental illness. We will explore and analyze “idioms of distress” as well as links between contemporary psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry, popular and professional knowledge, and the simultaneous selling of both disease and cure. You will (or should, if you do the work) develop critical thinking and analytical writing skills in the process of composing several writing projects. You will apply these skills more comprehensively in a final, lengthier research paper, thus inserting their own voice and argument in the larger conversation about these issues. You will compose a Summary Paper, Extended Analysis, and Research Proposal, culminating in the production of a longer research paper regarding in some way mental illness, its diagnosis or treatment, the pharmaceutical industry’s relationship with the medical profession, the power of mass persuasion & stigmatization, or a closely related topic of your choosing.
ENGL 161: Give Me a Place to Stand (and I’ll Move the Earth): Writing About the Scope and Impact of Mathematics
CRN 14396 (TR 8:00- 9:15); CRN 26193 (TR 9:30- 10:45); CRN 14472 (TR 12:30-1:45)
“Give me a place to stay and I’ll move the earth,” proclaimed the Reverend Al Green on his take of the Gospel standard “Up Above My Head (I Hear Music in the Air).” While it’s clear that Green was quoting the standard, is it possible that Green was referencing more than Gospel? That he was in fact alluding to that great Greek mathematician Archimedes, who claimed that given a lever and a place to stand he could move the earth? Certainly there’s a difference between stay and stand, but the similarity between the terms might give one pause. And that’s the heart of this section of English 161—to pause and consider the presence, impact, and relationship of mathematics to us and the world we’re treading on. Through daily reading and writing assignments, group presentations, and writing projects emphasizing components of academic writing that equip students to engage in independent research, students will learn how to better use summary, analysis, and synthesis in order to write academically. The course also seeks to view academic writing through the lens of mathematics in the hopes that students who see themselves as stronger in one discipline (Mathematics or Composition) at the expense of the other (Composition or Mathematics) might find that their perceived weaknesses are in fact strengths. After all, both Mathematics and Composition are languages and so depend on orders of operations to communicate or make conversation. Both seek to express, question, solve, and, perhaps most importantly, explain. After all, aren’t mathematical proofs in effect stories? Aren’t stories attempts to explain or tell some truth? And don’t the best stories, in their attempts to express truth, invite retellings, entertain a range of interpretations, and at least serve as some other to speak back to?
ENGL 161: The Language of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Linguistics and Identity
CRN 14422 (TR 8:00-9:15); CRN 26881 (TR 2:00-3:15)
This class is designed to recognize the benefits and advantages of bilingualism, and to serve the needs of bilingual and English language learning students. In this class we will study language variation with a focus on how language shapes our own and other’s sense of identity. Examining major national linguistic events such as the Oakland Ebonics debate and the English-only movement, the class will attempt to separate truth from myth as course members gain mastery of one discourse community in particular: Academia. Please Note: This section is designed to meet the needs of English-language learners. Instructor permission is required to enroll.
Blended Sections (Thursday Only)
ENGL 161: What Can Poetry Teach Us?
CRN 25973 (Thursday 9:30-10:45); CRN 14468 (Thursday 11:00-12:15); CRN 32293 (Thursday 2:00-3:15)
Leavey, Andrea Witzke
The twentieth-century poet, Marianne Moore, begins her poem “Poetry” with the line, “I too dislike it.” The “too” implies, of course, that the speaker is far from alone. Poetry is not always easy—even for poets—and yet it has much to teach us, be it as readers, as writers, as thinkers, as people. As Gertrude Reif Hughes puts it in her essay “How Poems Teach Us to Think,” “[i]n trying to understand an obscure poem we have to loosen some of our habitual responses. Riddles are an extreme example. They baffle on purpose, using disguise in order to reveal, so they offer a telling instance of how poems teach us to think.” American poet and businessman Dana Gioia would agree. Gioia felt his poetic training and “background in imagination, in language and in literature” gave him an enormous advantage in the business world. So how does poetry provide a route to developing the “qualitative and creative” skills and “creative judgment” that Gioia believes poetry gave him? How can poetry initiate change of some kind in individual readers or larger society? In this course, we will examine those questions as well as learn methods for reading and understanding many kinds of contemporary poetry. We will also read John Timberman Newcomb’s How Did Poetry Survive?, a book that explores the links between American poetry and the rise of urban culture over the last century as well as hear from numerous poets who have connected poetry to individual and/or societal change. Students will produce four writing projects over the course of the term, finishing with an extended, documented research paper about a particular aspect of poetry, its relation to American culture, and how it could be used in innovative ways in areas of life and society that aren’t always associated with poetry. Please Note: This is a blended version of the course, which means the class will meet one day a week with all other activities being done through online and new media activities and assignments.