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Department of English
University of Mississippi

Spring 2023 Undergraduate Courses

spring 2023 undergraduate course description- word document

spring 2023 undergraduate

Eng 199:1          Introduction to Creative Writing: Your Art World

Hobbs               MWF 9-9:50


This course is an introduction to creative writing where students learn the vocabulary of poetry and fiction and apply it to selected readings. Writing assignments come from those readings, and your works are discussed in a workshop setting. Each discussion generates ideas for revision, and students must be willing to revise their work multiple times and learn that writing is as much about the process as it is the product. We will write metric poetry as well as lyric. Our topics will range across the arts. We will write “still life” poetry, culinary art poetry, natural world poetry, and fiction focused on the meaning of art. Students will look forward to a University Museum tour and will write ekphrastic poetry about a work in the Museum’s collection. My hope is that you leave this class as a better writer, observer, and participant in the world’s beauty.


Eng 199:2          Introduction to Creative Writing: Your Art World

Hobbs               MWF 1-1:50


This course is an introduction to creative writing where students learn the vocabulary of poetry and fiction and apply it to selected readings. Writing assignments come from those readings, and your works are discussed in a workshop setting. Each discussion generates ideas for revision, and students must be willing to revise their work multiple times and learn that writing is as much about the process as it is the product. We will write metric poetry as well as lyric. Our topics will range across the arts. We will write “still life” poetry, culinary art poetry, natural world poetry, and fiction focused on the meaning of art. Students will look forward to a University Museum tour and will write ekphrastic poetry about a work in the Museum’s collection. My hope is that you leave this class as a better writer, observer, and participant in the world’s beauty.



Eng 199:3          Introduction to Creative Writing

Spencer             MWF 1-1:50


This class will introduce students to the joys of writing poems, short stories and creative nonfiction. We’ll seek to become familiar with some classics of the three genres and learn techniques and terms which will help us discuss and produce our own pieces of literature. We’ll workshop drafts in class, with a heavy emphasis on revision. Our final project will be a portfolio of imaginative writing, and students will be well prepared for single-genre creative writing classes.


Eng 199:4          Introduction to Creative Writing

Parsons              MWF 10-10:50


A reading- and writing-intensive introduction to the craft of creative writing. Students will read published examples of poetry, essays and short stories and then write and revise their own creative work.


Eng 199:5          Introduction to Creative Writing

Franklin              T TH 11-12:15


A reading- and writing-intensive introduction to the craft of creative writing. Students will read published examples of poetry, essays and short stories and then write and revise their own creative work.


Eng 199:6          Introduction to Creative Writing

Ginsburg             MW 3-4:15


** Restricted to Students of SMBHC **

A reading- and writing-intensive introduction to the craft of creative writing. Students will read published examples of poetry, essays and short stories and then write and revise their own creative work.


Eng 220:13-18     Survey in Literary History: Literature and Wellness

Spencer             T TH 1-1:50


Coming back from the pandemic, many of us are questioning our humanity and our futures. What can ancient Greek drama teach us about modern day trauma and mental health struggles? How can the poetry of Sappho and Rumi help us to restore “the order of the soul?” In this course, we will explore dimensions of wellness through Eastern and Western texts that deepen our understanding of human suffering brought on by isolation, disconnection, addiction, and other mental health issues. This discussion-based and writing-intensive course will ask students to build connections within the class and seek community engagement outside the class. Some texts we will explore include Bryan Doerries’s The Theatre of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Living Buddha, Living Christ, Women in Praise of the Sacred ed. by Jane Hirschfield, Victor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning, Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance, Bessel Van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps The Score, and Chanequa Walker Barnes’s Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength.


Eng 220:7-12      Survey in Literary History: Literature for Leaders

Solinger             MW 9-9:50


In this fast-moving and INCREDIBLY FUN multi-media survey of literature and culture, we will focus on the experiences, ethics, and challenges of leadership from ancient times to the present. We’ll study a wide range of cultural artefacts in their historical and cultural contexts and also consider their transhistorical resonances: how we can use this material not only to become better leaders and ethical actors but also to hold accountable those in positions of power. Our class has an interdisciplinary focus, but it is first and foremost a study of literature. You will develop your abilities to talk and write about different genres: poetry, drama, short stories, novels, letters, essays, and film. And you will gain an understanding of how you can use literature in a variety of life situations and professional paths.


Eng 220: 1-6       Survey in Literary History: Literary Animals

Raber                MW 1-1:50


Literary texts are full of non-human animals whose function is as diverse as the animal kingdom itself. This course will analyze the roles of animals in works from the Middle Ages through the 21st century: we’ll examine the many figurative and symbolic dimensions of animal representations in a selection of genres from each period; we’ll explore the historical contexts for interpreting animal references in those texts, and we’ll look at some literary efforts to represent how animals themselves perceive their worlds. The overarching goal of the course will be to understand how literature has influenced the way humans understand and interact with the animals around them—for better and for worse.


Eng 220:16         Survey in Literary History: Literature and Economics: Use Value, Exchange Value, Artistic Value

MacKenzie          MWF 9-9:50


** Restricted to Students of SMBHC **

It is not unusual to assume that measures of economic value and measures of literary value have little or nothing in common. Yet literature is a significant sector of commercial enterprise. It provides employment, renewable productive resources, and flow-on economic impetus (book production, copyright law, film adaptation, and so on). This class will examine both the history of literature’s relationships to economics and the ways in which ideas of artistic value have interacted with economic value theory. From the medieval period through the present day, ideas of what constitutes value have evolved through continual interactions between culture, industry, class, environment, and many other factors, all of which literary writers have represented and helped to shape. Readings will include works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Octavia Butler, as well as selections of poetry and brief critical discussions.


Eng 221             Survey of World Literature to 1650


Eng 222             Survey of World Literature since 1650


Eng 223             Survey of American Literature to Civil War


Eng 224             Survey of American Literature since Civil War


Eng 225             Survey of British Literature to 18th Century


Eng 226             Survey of British Literature since 18th Century



Eng 299:2          Introduction to Literary Studies: Myths and Mythmaking

Lechler              T TH 11-12:30


Myths and Mythmaking will use classic myths and contemporary retellings as a laboratory for understanding the nature and function of literature, as well as the types of questions that literary criticism seeks to answer. This class, designed to prepare students for upper-division coursework in English, will examine three major literary genres—fiction, poetry, and drama–while building students’ critical vocabularies and textual analysis skills. We will also examine the aims and conventions of the literary critical essay. The three associated paper assignments will develop the writing and research skills required of literary studies. Along the way, we will become more creative and critical thinkers, more effective writers, and more resourceful scholars.


Eng 299:1          Introduction to Literary Studies

MacKenzie          MWF 11-11:50


A gateway course that prepares students for upper-division coursework in English by emphasizing close reading and textual analysis and by developing students’ writing and research skills. This course is required for all English majors.


Eng 301:1          Poetry Workshop: Art, Nature, and the First Person Eye

Hobbs               MWF 10-10:50


In this 301 class, we will read and write poetry. Thematically, we will focus on works that are either ekphrastic (poems about art) or works about the natural world. We will review vocabulary words useful in discussion and craft. Natasha Trethewey’s poetry collection, Native Guard, will inspire two of our metrical form studies. After we enjoy the works of established poets (borrowed from and collected in Google Documents), we will write our own poems and discuss them in workshops. We will visit the University Museum (likely more than once) to explore paintings, sculpture, photography, textiles, prints, and ancient artifacts. We will also turn a keen eye to the natural world around us.



Eng 302:1          Fiction Workshop

Franklin              T TH 1-2:30


A reading- and writing-intensive introduction to the craft of writing fiction, particularly short stories. Students will read published authors and write and revise original short fiction. Much of the semester will be conducted as a “workshop,” in which the class critiques member work.


Eng 302:2          Fiction Workshop

Sundar               MWF 11-11:50


A reading- and writing-intensive introduction to the craft of writing fiction, particularly short stories. Students will read published authors and write and revise original short fiction. Much of the semester will be conducted as a “workshop,” in which the class critiques member work.


Eng 304:1          Screenwriting Workshop: The Building Blocks of Screenwriting  

Boyle                T TH 8-9:30


This course will introduce students to the building blocks of a good script. We will explore the basic theory and formal aspects of story structure, character development, use of conflict, scene writing and dialogue. We will then apply these basic dramatic principles to the development of your own original material. We will focus on the entire process of screenwriting: from the initial premise, through character exploration, to treatments and step-outlines, then writing your first draft. You will leave this course with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of screenwriting.


Eng 307:1          Introduction to Literary Criticism

Stout                MWF 9-9:50


course description not submitted.


Eng 309:1          Studies in Genre: Mississippi Authors

Hipp                  Online


This course examines short stories by Mississippi writers. It is divided into three modules: early twentieth century, late twentieth century, and contemporary. These three periods allow us to address several key questions about Mississippi short stories. What historical contexts shape these stories? How does place influence subject matter? What strategies have these writers employed to convey their ideas? How does the idea of regional literature change in the contemporary period? By the end of the course, students will be able to address these questions and think and write knowledgeably about the short stories of Mississippi.


Eng 310:1          Introduction to Cinema Studies: Everything is Cinema

Boyle                T TH 9:30-10:45


This course is an overview of cinema history and an introduction to the study of cinema form and criticism. It examines the cultural and psychological effects of movie-watching over the past 100+ years, analyzing a variety of genres and movements within the medium, including gangster films, pre-Code cinema, screwball comedies, film noir, melodrama, folk horror, New Hollywood, the L.A. Rebellion, and contemporary independent cinema. It is a lecture/discussion course with weekly film showings.



Eng 317:1          Chaucer

Baechle              MW 3-4:30


Course description not submitted.



Eng 324:1          Shakespeare

Kamps               T TH 9:30-11


We will study intensely some of Shakespeare’s best-known plays, and we will pay close attention to them both as aesthetic documents and as cultural artifacts that afford us a glimpse into early modern society and culture. We will therefore learn about Shakespeare’s historical moment while at the same time work to achieve both a general and a detailed knowledge of Shakespeare’s play texts.

Plays under consideration for the fall are: Richard II, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Othello, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear.
Requirements: attendance, participation, regular quizzes, a paper, 2 exams and final exam.



Eng 341:1          Studies in American Literature: 1860-1900: The Civil War and Sexuality

Donnelly             T TH 11-12:30


In this course, we will examine the literature, culture, and history of the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. We will begin by investigating the role of sexuality within the system of slavery. Next, we will look at the war, with its mass mobilizations, migrations, and social transformations, as a “crisis in gender.” Then, we will explore how emancipation and Reconstruction reconfigured intimate lives. Finally, we will consider the story of sexuality within post-Civil War trends: national reconciliation, racism, and Civil War memory. By focusing on the Civil War, its origins and its consequences, we will be able to explore many facets of cultural history and the history of sexuality: through lenses of race, gender, medicine, disability, nationalism, and Southern identity.



Eng 343:1          Studies in 19th Century Literature: The Politics of Love

Solinger             MWF 11-11:50


What are the politics of love? This is the question that will guide our reading of three early 19th-century novels: the anonymously authored, A Woman of Colour: A Tale (1808), Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813), and Maria Edgeworth’s Harrington (1817). We will examine the games, strategies, and power plays that infiltrate and sometimes fracture our relationships. We’ll also examine the way love stories enable us to confront problems bigger than our personal lives, problems that are social and systemic, such as racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, and sexual prejudice. Turning to contemporary texts and film, we’ll tackle the optimistic question: how can literature engender peace, love, and understanding? (That’s a paraphrase of the more despairing question posed by legendary singer-songwriter Elvis Costello: “what’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?”) Coursework will include short writing assignments as well as an open-media, self-designed project and a class community-service project. Do you have questions about the class, or recommendations for recent films or short texts? If so, please email, call or text Jason Solinger at / (662) 832-6772.



Eng 349:1          Modern\Contemporary Genres: The Black Autobiography  

Alabi                 T TH 11-12:30


This course will focus on the continuities and divergences in Black autobiographies from Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States, particularly in terms of community, resistance, Blackness, gender, and language.  We will examine the relevance of the terms autobiography, transnationalism, postcolonialism, and feminism to the study of Black autobiographies; and discuss major differences between Black and non-Black autobiographies.  We will then focus on the oral origins of Black autobiographies and on how the oral is carried to the written.  Finally, we will study selected autobiographies of creative writers and socio-political leaders as unique and interconnected books in the contexts of globalization, socio-economic, cultural, political, and aesthetic concerns of the autobiographers and their societies.


Eng 355:1          Studies in Southern Literature

Trefzer              MWF 10-10:50


This course focuses on the short fiction and photography of Eudora Welty. Reading includes stories from her collections A Curtain of GreenThe Wide NetThe Golden Apples, and The Bride of the Innisfallen as well as several uncollected stories and essays. This in-depth study offers a sense of Welty’s development as a writer through the decades. It explores her perspectives on race, gender, and class relations in the south through her fiction and photography; it highlights her experimentation with style; representation of social outsiders; thoughts on disability, history, social change, and more.  Welty once wrote: “I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”  Often thought of as just a “lady writer from Jackson,” Welty is internationally acclaimed because she in fact “dared” her contemporaries and invites her readers to imagine the interior lives of others.


Eng 362:1          African American Literature Since 1920

Alexander           T TH 2:30-3:45


This course surveys twentieth-century African American literature, tracing major developments in the field from the Harlem Renaissance to the contemporary moment.  In terms of genre, we will read widely, examining essays, novels, autobiographies, poems, and dramatic works.  While we will examine all assigned works in specific historical and political contexts (including the New Negro, Civil Rights, and Black Arts Movements), we will be particularly attentive to those themes that unify these works, such as the search for voice, the pursuit of freedom, the creation of a Black consciousness, and the remembrance of the forgotten.  Authors whose works we will study include James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ann Petry, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, J. California Cooper, and Ernest Gaines. Since the volume of African American literary works produced from the Harlem Renaissance to present is too large for a comprehensive survey, the authors we study should be understood as reflecting representativeness.  As a whole, this course equips its participants to critically explore how a distinct African American literary tradition gets created and debated throughout the twentieth century.


Eng 364:1          Studies in African American Literature: Mississippi, Then and Now

Alexander           T TH9:30-10:45


“I question America.”  Fannie Lou Hamer, a Black woman who co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and a sharecropper-turned-activist from the Mississippi Delta, stunned the television-watching U.S. public with these words from her testimony at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.  Hamer’s speech, one of the Civil Rights Movement’s most anthologized addresses, put the entire U.S. nation on trial.  There, at the Convention, Hamer told a national audience of her curious subjection to state violence in a rural Mississippi jail as punishment for having attended a voter’s registration workshop.  While alluding to the national anthem near her oration’s end, Hamer let fly a barrage of indicting rhetorical questions—most famously, “Is this America?”—and thus brought to light how hypocrisy has long been tethered to the practice of U.S. democracy.  Such hypocrisy—which has included slavery, Jim Crow, the disenfranchisement of Black Americans, and lynching—led Hamer to refer to America in later speeches as not “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” but “the land of the tree and the home of the grave.”

In this course, we examine how and why Hamer and other Mississippi-born Black orators and writers expose hypocrisy in the practice of U.S. democracy.  We trace the development of this Black literary (counter-)history of U.S. democracy from the legal abolition of slavery to the present day by way of Ida B. Wells’s speeches and anti-lynching writings, Richard Wright’s autobiographical narrative Black Boy, Hamer’s public addresses, the interviews and reflections of the 1961 Freedom Riders—and also through memoirs (in excerpted or full-length form) published by a range of Black Mississippians during the past half-century, likely including those authored by Myrlie Evers, Anne Moody, Mamie Till Mobley, Winson Hudson, Ralph Eubanks, Kenneth Darryl Mayfield, Jesmyn Ward, and Kiese Laymon.




Eng 384:1          Studies in Gay and Lesbian Literature: The Queer Nineties

Harker               MWF 1-1:50


The 1990s were a time of that LGBTQIA+ culture was celebrated in mainstream culture, as “queer” was becoming a defiant act of resistance and an academic discipline.  In this class, we will explore the diverse queer cultures that emerged in the 1990, in poetry, memoir, literary criticism, theory, film, music, television, activism, and more.  Texts include Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories, Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues, and essays, short stories, and poetry from the 1990s. We will also study other 1990s queer culture:  queer political movements, especially ACT UP; famous queer figures in popular culture, including kd lang, Melissa Ethridge, and Ellen Degeneres; and queer 1990s film. Course requirements include short papers and a final research project.



Eng 393:1          Studies in Popular Culture: The Future is Female

Drew                 T TH 8-9:15


** Restricted to Students of the SMBHC **

Speculative fiction, it is often pointed out, was born with the Creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818. Even before that, Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World invented an entire world built on her scientific theories and desire for the personal sovereignty that her patriarchal society dismissed and denigrated. This course will explore the worlds women have invented and explored through science fiction novels from the seventeenth century to today. We will examine the ways these worlds interrogate, respond to, and even predict the political, social, and scientific problems of the societies from which they emerged. Authors may include Mary Shelley, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, C.L. Moore, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood, Louise Erdrich, Rebecca Roanhorse, N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, and Emily St. John Mandel.



Eng 397:1          Fantasy Fiction in the UK- Literature on Location

Spencer             TH 4-7pm


This course focuses on the timeless works of British fantasy authors and, throughout the semester, gives students a chance to craft their own creative works. During spring break we’ll head to Edinburgh and London where the group will visit the many haunts associated with J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S.Lewis, Mary Shelley and Neil Gaiman. Highlights include a five-day stay at 700-year-old Alnwick Castle, home to the Duke of Northumberland, a “back door” tour of literary Edinburgh, high tea at the Balmoral Hotel, a side excursion to Oxford for essential Tolkien/Lewis-related sites such as the Eagle and Child pub, Magdalen College, and Wolvercote Village. In London, we’ll enjoy a double-decker bus tour of the city, visit the Mary Shelley house and tour Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. In addition to taking in the sites of London—including the British Museum, The British Library, evensong at Westminster Abbey, and a bankside walk along the Thames—accommodations will be just steps away from famous Kings Cross Station.

Please note: This class requires an application through the UM Study Abroad Office and prior approval from the Instructor. Email Beth Spencer at for more information.



Eng 400:2          Advanced Poetry Workshop

Nezhukumatathil   T TH 2:30-3:45


“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” –Louise Erdrich

With this quote in mind, the advanced poetry workshop will ‘taste as many apples’ of creativity as we can this semester. This class will provide students with a richer investigation of reading as a writer and deeper explorations of the craft of poetry. Students will explore and experiment with forms such as poetry comics, the zuihitsu, haibun, and visual poetry. The orientation of the class model will push students past their creative norms, and by semester’s end, students will have created and arranged a small but vibrant and varied chapbook of original poems.


Eng 401:1          Advanced Fiction Workshop

Philyaw              T TH 4-5:15


In this fiction writing workshop, we will read and discuss the works of your peers, as well as a selection of assigned readings including the novel The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, and short stories from three collections, Milk Blood HeatWalking on Cowrie Shells, and Heads of the Colored People. You will be expected to engage with these texts as well as your peers’ writings in order to think critically about craft, offer your peers generative critique, and develop and expand your own writing skills. We will work together at the sentence level and the macro level, experimenting with form, and subverting writing norms and expectations. Storytelling can be both exhilarating and terrifying. It can also be a practice of trust, vulnerability and surrender. Our workshop community will be a safe space for leaning into challenging ideas and approaches, while giving and receiving meaningful criticism.



Eng 405:1          Nature Writing

Nezhukumatathil   T TH 1-2:15


This is not your grandparents’ nature writing class. This class will help you produce nature writing full of love and gratitude, dark and dangerous thrills, and/or exuberance from a variety of voices that reflects a more vibrant and just world. You will be introduced to both canonical and contemporary writers who ignite a sense of protection for their planet, very much in the veins of Rachel Carson who said, “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” When this class is over, I want you to have less ‘taste for destruction.’ We will focus on a variety of forms of nature writing (fable, essay, lyric essay, and poetry) and actual first-hand explorations of nature through various short field experiences. Finally, through the close reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing required in this course, we will investigate the extent to which literary and cultural forms shape the ways that people engage their beliefs about the right and wrong uses of, and attitudes toward, the natural world.




Eng 413:1          Special Topics in Media and Cultural Studies: The 18th Century on Film

Drew                 T TH 1-2:15


** Fulfills Capstone Requirement **


From TV shows like Black SailsBridgerton, and Harlots to movies like Pride & Prejudice and The Favourite, the 18th century (the 1700s) is consistently one of the most popular historical time periods among TV and filmmakers.  But what does it mean to represent the “past” on film and TV? What exactly are writers and directors doing when they “adapt” novels, plays, biographies, or events from hundreds of years ago for contemporary audiences? In this course, we will watch films and TV shows set in the 18thcentury and/or adapt 18th-century texts for the 20th/21st-century screen. As we do, we will study theories of cinema and adaptation studies, as well as reading original 18th-century texts and learning about the culture and history of the period. At the culmination of the course, students will develop capstone projects that articulate their own theories of adaptation, the depiction of the past, and the persistent appeal of the 18th century. Novels and adaptations may include Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Emma, Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Films and TV shows may include those listed above, or others such as The Pirates of the Caribbean (2004), The Amazing Grace (2006), The Duchess (2008), Belle (2013), and The Great (2020).


Eng 427:1          Shakespeare on Film

Kamps               T 4-6:30


Although we commonly read Shakespeare’s plays in an academic setting, this class seeks to remind us that the plays are meant to be performed. To that end we’ll study and analyze a number of 20th- and 21st century filmic representations of the plays. We’ll start in the silent film era and work our way into the 21st century. We will focus heavily on filmic technique: camera techniques, editing, sound, lighting, setting, and effects. Our ultimate objective will be to form a better understanding of how a director’s employment of different techniques shapes the meaning of the plays. Some prior knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays will be helpful. We’ll examine films by Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh, Oliver Parker, Michael Hoffman, Trevor Nunn, Orson Welles, Michael Radford, Rupert Goold, Justin Kurzel, Roman Polanski, Franco Zefferelli, and others. Plays/films up for consideration are Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Much Ado about Nothing, Othello, Henry V. 


Eng 442:1          Antebellum American Literature: Emily Dickinson

Ellis                  T TH 9-10:45


This course will explore the genre-busting poetry and legacy of Emily Dickinson. Dickinson wrote over 2,000 poems in her lifetime—many of them now considered masterpieces—and yet she chose not to publish her work. In fact, we only have her poems today because her sister found her notebooks in a drawer after she died and worked tirelessly to get them published. Why did this poetic genius elect to keep her poetry private? In this class we’ll study Dickinson’s brave and challenging meditations on experiences of love and death, hope and depression, her rejection of conventions of gender and religion, her joy in nature, her affection for her friends and family, and her insistence on living life on her own terms. We’ll consider her poetry in historical context by learning about her life and world, and reading her poetry against the poetry popular in her day. We’ll also consider her poetry out of context by examining how the poems she left us have inspired poets, artists, and filmmakers in our own time. Finally, we’ll take a look at depictions of Dickinson’s life and work in recent films and TV to consider how our understanding of who Dickinson was has changed over the years, perhaps as the world catches up to this poet ahead of her time.


Eng 469:1          (Mis)Taken Identities: Narratives of Passing in Post-1900 African American Literature

Nahm                T TH 4-5:15


This course will examine African American passing novels post-1900 to the present. We will consider how writers use this genre to negotiate intersecting categories of social identity including race, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, and ethnicity. We will use passing novels as vehicles to navigate key historical epochs in the United States and in the African American literary tradition. Finally, we will explore how useful the trope of passing can be in effecting social justice and change. Authors may include Charles Chesnutt, James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Danzy Senna, Brit Bennet, John Howard Griffin, and Philip Roth.



Eng 486:1          Special Topics in Postcolonial Literature: India in English

Bhagat-Kennedy    MW 3-4:30


** Fulfills Capstone Requirement **

This course examines the emergence of India as a theme in twentieth-century English fiction. We will consider a range of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, written about India by Indian and non-Indian writers. We will examine the historical contexts for the India-British colonial relationship, particularly the impact of British imperialism. Authors will include Rudyard Kipling, Rabindranath Tagore, M.K. Gandhi, E.M. Forster, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, among others.


Eng 494:1          Environmental Literature and the Grief Aesthetic  

Kreisel               T TH 2:30-3:45


There has been a lot of recent discussion about “ecological mourning”—a particular kind of grief occasioned by our growing awareness of catastrophic climate change, mass species extinction, drought and famine, and the loss of entire ecosystems. Self-help books and on-line support groups that promise to help us deal with our mourning have proliferated in the past few years. Yet while anthropogenic climate change is a relatively recent phenomenon, this feeling of sadness and despair is not new—poets, novelists, and essayists have been describing the phenomenon of ecological grief for centuries. In this class we we read and discuss the literature of environmental mourning and attempt to place its recent examples in historical context. We will read eighteenth-century Georgic poetry, Victorian essays and novels, and twentieth-century nature writing as well as recent climate-change and post-apocalyptic fiction.


Eng 515                 Non Fiction Workshop

Sundar                  F 12:30-3:00pm


This course is designed for students interested in memoir and personal essay. Students will learn and practice strategies for brainstorming, drafting, and revising their creative work. Through ongoing workshops of their and their classmates’ writing, students will also build the expertise and technical language to discuss and critique works-in progress. Previous experience in creative non-fiction is not required.