Spring 2016 Course Descriptions

 Following are descriptions for courses being offered in the Spring 2016 semester. Please contact the professor with any questions. 

English 107: Introduction to Literary Studies I

Dr. Cathy Dibello
MWF 1:00-1:50

Designed to be the first required course for English majors, Literary Studies I introduces the fundamental components of the major genres of literature (fiction, drama, poetry), including plot, character, narrative point-of-view, figures of speech, rhyme and rhythm. Students are taught to identify and evaluate those components in a range of representative works. This course will also teach the fundamentals of literary research and the conventions associated with writing about literature. In this section of the course, we will write three papers, present oral reports, and take two exams.

English 111: Introduction to Literary Studies II
Dr. Erica Galioto
TR 2:00-3:15

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of the writing and research process as well as critical approaches to writing in the English major.  Our dual focus, as we shall see, is actually one in the same, for standard writing and research practices in our discipline rely on our ability to understand, apply, and challenge critical perspectives, such as New Criticism, reader-response criticism, cultural studies, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, and queer theory. This introduction to the major schools of literary criticism emphasizes perspective-taking as a tool for understanding how literary theory informs the analysis of literature.  Reading Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and Philip Roth’s American Pastoral through these various lenses and examining their accompanying critical discussions exposes students to the multiple interpretations and conversations that surround any literary work.  After this comprehensive exposure, students should feel comfortable adopting their own “lenses” as they move to the 300- and 400-level English courses that expect theoretical analyses of literature.  Course work includes rigorous reading, formal and informal writing assignments, presentations, and active participation.

Required Texts

  • Lynn, Steven.  Texts and Contexts: Writing About Literature with Critical Theory (2011). 

    ISBN: 978-0205716746

  • James, Henry.  The Turn of the Screw (1898).  ISBN: 978-0393959048

  • Erdrich, Louise.  Love Medicine (1984, 1993).  ISBN: 978-0060975548

  • Plath, Sylvia.  The Bell Jar (1963).  ISBN: 978-0060930189

  • Roth, Philip.  American Pastoral (1997).  ISBN: 978-0375701429

  • ARTICLES on D2L: Since this course must include Overviews of Critical Theory, Primary Critical Theory, Applications of Critical Theory, and Literature to Analyze, I have scanned some crucial articles and uploaded them to our course site.  These materials are also REQUIRED.


English 233: American Literature I 
Dr. William Harris
T 6:30-9:15

In this course—the first of a two-part chronologically based survey of American literature—we will study works of fiction and poetry by major writers of this period, including Hawthorne, Poe, Emerson, Melville, Dickinson, and Whitman.  Attention is given to the history of ideas associated with writers of this period, so, in addition to the expected fiction and poetry, readings will investigate other genres and materials (sermons, speeches, histories, journals, popular culture) that constituted the textual and discursive world of American writers during this period.  We will examine the cultural and historical contexts of the readings in search of the American myths and values—and the main currents of thought (such as Puritanism, Transcendentalism, and abolitionism)—that inform the readings. 

Classwork includes lecture, discussion, periodic quizzes on the reading and lecture material, and midterm & final exams.

This is survey course designed to provide you with a breadth of coverage to serve as a foundation for the more focused upper-level classes.  Consequently, we’re committed to covering a certain time period (1620-1865) and thus a significant amount of material.  There's a lot of reading and we’re going to move quickly but not superficially through it, so keeping up with the reading is a “must.” 


Baym, Nina, ed.  The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 8th edition, Part I: Volumes A & B.

Wilson, Harriet E.  Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (Vintage 2nd edition, 2002)

English 234: American Literature II

Dr. Michael Bibby

MW 3:30-4:45

English 236: British Literature I
Dr. Colleen Kennedy

TR 11:00 - 12:15

English 237: British Literature II
Dr. Mary Libertin
TR 5:00 - 6:15

English 238: Technical/Professional Writing I 
Dr. Laurie Cella
TR 9:30 - 10:45

English 304: Literary Criticism

Dr. Erica Galioto
TR 12:30-1:45

                       Psychoanalysis, Desire, and Contemporary Literature

         (Satisfies the department's criticism AND post-1800 requirements!)

The central maxim of psychoanalysis states that one should NEVER “cede desire.”  What does that mean?  How does it relate to Lacan’s equation for desire?  And what does it have to do with the “doughnut theory” of subjectivity? 

This section of ENG-304 will directly address the centrality of DESIRE in psychoanalysis by reading the theory itself and then applying it to a variety of contemporary literary texts.  The origins of gender, sexuality, and pleasure will be examined through the following psychoanalytic concepts: the Oedipus Complex, polymorphous perversity, ethics, fetishism, racial difference, the transference, maternal desire, and the superegoic command to “Enjoy!” in our current society.  These concepts will then be analyzed through contemporary literary selections that feature: modern retellings of psychoanalytic texts, homosexuality and transgenderism, real-world therapy, and the ambiguous line between pleasure and pain.  Our main goal will be to analyze how psychoanalytic theories of desire both enhance and problematize reader interpretations of literature and culture.  Three short papers, one long paper, and one presentation are required, as well as periodic written responses and active discussion.  A tentative book list follows.

Primary Psychoanalysis: Freud, Lacan, Zizek, Kristeva

Contemporary Literature:

The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison

Written on the Body by Jeannette Winterson

Dora: A Headcase by Lidia Yuknavitch

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

In a Country of Mothers by A.M. Homes

In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way: A Graphic Novel by Stéphane Heuet and Marcel Proust

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Excerpts from Showtime’s Masters of Sex

English 307: Poetry Writing
Dr. Nicole Santalucia
MW 2:00-3:15

English 308: Fiction Writing
Prof. Neil Connelly

MWF 11:00-11:50

English 323: Reviewing the Arts for Publication
Dr. Laurie Cella
MWF 10:00-10:50

The course provides practical experience in writing critically about the arts--music, dance, theater, painting, sculpture, literature, photography, and film.   During the semester, in response to arts events on campus or in the local area, students will write several reviews, plus an extended feature article on a particular artist, group of artworks, or theme of contemporary artistic interest.  For the most part, you will choose the events that you write about and thus determine the deadlines for submitting your work. I'll be like your "editor," offering suggestions for improvement in your work as your create a professional portfolio, to be turned in at the end of the semester.

In addition to our textbook, we will read a range of styles and types of reviews from different media. We will also work steadily on writing through simple but important exercises.  In keeping with the professional emphasis of the course, we will hold several workshops and hands-on editorial sessions.

Overall, this course will be excellent for students who are able to work independently and who have an interest in building up a portfolio of quality work for newspapers or magazines. My goals are to help you improve your writing style, to help you learn effective strategies for meeting different audiences' needs, and ultimately, to help you get published!

English 330: Shakespeare
Dr. Colleen Kenedy
TR 9:30-10:45

English 335: Creative Nonfiction Writing
Dr. Kim van Alkemade
MW  6:30 - 7:45

English 345: Women's Literature

Dr. Cathy Dibello
TR 12:30- 1:45

This course introduces students to an exciting range of literature by women and to issues related to women's writing. Focusing on nineteenth- through twenty-first century writers, this section of ENG 345 will feature fiction, poetry, drama, and essays by authors including Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, and Leslie Marmon Silko. ENG 345 fulfills the multicultural literature requirement for English majors and counts as an elective in the Women's and Gender Studies minor. Assignments include an annotated bibliography, an analytical essay, a mid-term exam, and a final exam.

English 366: History and Structure of English Language

Dr. William Harris
TR 2:00-3:15

Gertrude Stein wrote, “I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences.”  If you’re like most people, you might disagree with Stein.  Yet what Stein is also talking about is an intense fascination with words and the passion she felt about being a writer and immersing herself in the workings of the English language.  One of the goals of this course is to help you share in that excitement as you immerse yourself in the language.  In this course we still study both the structure of English—its grammar and syntax—and, more briefly, its history over the past 1300 years or so.  This integration of structure and history will, I hope, you a clearer understanding of how and why the English language operates as it does today.  These are also elements covered in the PRAXIS tests that many of you, as Secondary Certification majors, will be taking.

You already know how to use language to create and interpret meaning; thus, you already have an intuitive grasp of many basic rules of English grammar.  In this class we will review the rules but focus equally on how those rules work, how the parts of sentences fit together and combine to make and change meaning.  Along the way, you will gain a greater confidence in your own ability to use English effectively and, eventually, to teach it to others.


Kolln, Martha, & Robert Funk.  Understanding English Grammar.  TENTH edition.  New York: Pearson, 2015. 

Kolln & Funk, Exercises for Understanding English Grammar, 10th edition.

(These 2 texts will be available in the campus bookstore at a single package discount.)

English 375: African-American Literature

Dr. Raymond Janifer, Sr.

TR 12:30-1:45 

Covers the origins and development of literary works by African-Americans from the 18Th century to the present day. Students will read autobiographies, poems, novels, short stories, and essays by Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison. 

Course Objectives:

Familiarize students with a generalized overview of African American experience.  

Familiarize students with a representative sampling of work by writers.

Familiarize students with the evolving role of literature written by African American writers.  

Familiarize students with the theoretical construct of voice in relation to African American writers.      

Required Text:

Gilyard and Wardi, Eds. African-American Literature. New York: Pearson and Co., 2004.


English 377: Studies in Restoration/18th Century Literature
Dr. Sharon Harrow
TR 12:30-1:45

Course Description

Pugilists, pirates, prostitutes, rogues, highwaymen, murderers, adulterers, seducers, cross-dressers, political criminals, war criminals, slavers, cutpurses, immoralists, revolutionaries, writers. Such figures populated the pages of 18th-century British literature. Called an age of reason and an age of enlightenment, the eighteenth century was a time of great social upheaval. Writers were fearful of and fascinated by crime and social transgression. We will read major works of literature against political and social movements, exploring how eighteenth-century British writers represented morality, corruption, crime, sex, commercialism, patriarchy, politics, writers and writing. In addition to great commercial, religious, and social changes, the eighteenth-century bore witness to a veritable explosion of literary genres. We will read across genres, including periodical essays, plays, poems, novels, criminal biographies, and political satire, questioning the way genres overlapped and developed. Writers were very self-consciously concerned with what makes good literature and with what value literature has. This course aims to understand how writers envisioned such literary and social value. This course will help you understand literary history and hone your literary critical skills.   And it will be a lot of fun! 

English 383: 20th-Century American Literature
Dr. Michael Bibby
MW 2:00-3:15 

Empire of Signs: Postmodernism & American Literature

The postmodern has been variously defined as an aesthetic style, historical epoch, and socio-political condition. Many view postmodernism as an extension of modernism; but for many critics it marks the end of modernism's emphasis on the "new."  Throughout the 1980s and 1990s theorists debated the nature of this notoriously ambiguous and slippery term, and theorizing the "postmodern" coincided with the advent of "theory" as an important genre in the academy. In the new millenium and the post-9/11 era of terrorism, hyper-globalization, and digitization, theorists have begun to question the validity of concepts of a "postmodern" and to consider alternative historicizing concepts. 

This course will survey literary works often considered representative of postmodernism.  We will read and discuss fiction, poetry, drama, and other forms of cultural expression produced in the US after 1945, along with key works in postmodern criticism and theory. Students who successfully complete the course will be able to identify literary and cultural styles generally regarded as "postmodern" by the field; will have developed interpretations of representative postmodern works; will develop an understanding of important concepts in postmodern literary theory; and will have developed, researched, and written a substantive research project on postmodernist literature. 

Possible Texts
Kathy Acker, Don Quixote
William Burroughs, Naked Lunch

Octavia Butler, Kindred

Michael Herr, Dispatches

David Henry Hwang, M

Ishmael Reed, Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down
Douglas Messerli, ed., Language Poetries: An Anthology

Art Spiegleman, Maus

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

English 385: Studies in Literature of the Post-Colonial World
Dr. Rich Zumkhawala-Cook
TR 11:30-12:15

ENG 394: Selected Topics: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Japanese Manga: Reading the Graphic Narrative
Dr. Shannon Mortimore-Smith
MWF 1:00-1:50

English 426: Teaching Adolescent Literature

Dr. Tom Crochunis
MW 6:30-7:45

Is there any genre of contemporary literature that is more widely read, represented in media, or active in the minds of the young of all ages than young adult literature (YA for short)? YA may be our era’s literary equivalent of popular music, a set of cultural styles and practices that inform the reading, media watching, and interpretive practices of (not just literally) young people. This class will explore writing and media about adolescents and for adolescents, inviting students to investigate and interpret texts and the people who experience them, to create their own texts about adolescent experiences, and to consider what leads audiences of all ages to be intrigued by representations of adolescence.

For students in the secondary English education program, assignments will involve learning about strategies for teaching reading and literary study to young people, selecting and evaluating texts for use with young people, and playing the role of advocate for engaging with literature in one’s community; these students will also have additional options to write creatively and critically. Students in the regular BA or writing emphasis who take the course will extend their thinking about the course’s subjects through analyzing texts and media dealing with adolescents, researching how people have been affected by their adolescent experiences with literature and film, and creating texts that represent adolescents and their experiences. Together, we will discuss what contemporary interest in the literature of adolescence might mean.

While students in the secondary English education program must take EDU290 as a pre-requisite to taking this course, students in the regular English BA or writing emphasis may request permission of the professor to have the pre-requisite waived.

English 427: Advanced Poetry Workshop
Dr. Nicole Santalucia
MW 3:30-4:45

English 466: Seminar in Fiction: The Myth of the Frontier in American Fiction
Dr. Matthew Cella
MWF 12:00 - 12:50

This course will examine the various manifestations of the “frontier myth” in American fiction. We will pay particular attention to how American writers have used both the historical and mythological frontier—that expanding western perimeter of Euroamerican civilization into the “savage” wilderness—to negotiate complex questions regarding race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, and sustainability. Our primary focus will be on the frontier as a social and cultural phenomenon that takes on a life of its own even after the historical and geographical frontier “closed” at the turn of the twentieth century. We will move roughly in chronological order and begin by examining nineteenth-century historical fiction set on the frontier. As we move forward into the twentieth century we’ll examine the ways in which American writers adopted and adapted the myth of the frontier to suit the needs of a rapidly changing American cultural and environmental landscape. We’ll then examine some multicultural responses to the frontier and its aftermath in order to broaden our understanding of the “frontier archetype” as a cross-cultural phenomenon. 

Readings will likely include fiction by Ann Stephens, Willa Cather, Conrad Richter, James Welch, Cormac McCarthy, Arturo Islas, and Annie Proulx. We will read this diverse range of literary texts alongside some classic and contemporary cultural studies of the frontier phenomenon.

Requirements will include an annotated bibliography, an analytical research paper, a presentation on a scholarly article, as well as short response papers.

English 490: Selected Topics: My Favorite Things
Dr. Michael Pressler
MW  2:00 - 3:15

This course will not attempt to illustrate a theme, cover an historical period, or focus on a particular writer or genre of literature, but will instead consider an eclectic and unabashedly personal smorgasbord of works.  If there is any principle governing the choice of these other than my own taste and psychology, it is that they all make great reading or viewing and are proven winners in the classroom.

Classes will be highly interactive: we will read, view, discuss, and have student presentations. At given times during the semester, "poetry days" will be scheduled, with selected poems distributed in advance.  The general goals of the course will be to expand your understanding and appreciation of the varied styles, aims, and types of literary expression; to acquire a more sophisticated conception of “realism” and its relationship to innovative presentational techniques; and to sharpen your ability to read and discuss literature and film actively and critically.

Texts to Include:     Fiction   
Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5
Short fiction, including stories by Flannery O'Connor, Leo Tolstoy, John  Cheever, and Herman Melville

Texts to Include:    Films
Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window
Federico Fellini, La Strada
Ingmar Bergman, Smiles of a Summer Night
Luis Buñuel, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Texts to Inclue: Drama
Sophocles, Antigone
Ibsen, Ghosts
Beckett, Waiting for Godot
Stoppard, The Real Thing

TV Series: Slings and Arrows

          Note: Most of these items will be available online or distributed free of charge.

English 595-70: Language Acquisition and Development

This meets January 4 - March 6, 2016. The face-to-face meeting is at the CAIU on Jan. 9, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and has an online component.

Current Happenings 

9/17/15:  Prof. Kim van Alkemade will read from her debut novel, Orphan #8, at 7:00 p.m. in Old Main Chapel.

10/15/15:  Pulitzer Prize winning author Adam Johnson will read from his new collection of short stories, Fortune Smiles, at 6:30 p.m. in Old Main Chapel. 
All events are free and open to all! 

Faculty Searches

There are no searches at this time.