Tentative Course Descriptions (subject to additions, deletions and revisions at a later date.)
* Check Registrar’s listing for course times
For courses listed as “300/400,” undergraduates should list only the “300” number on their registration forms; graduate students should list only the “400” number.
Organized courses and tutorials for non-undergraduates are available to those for whom English is a second language. These are offered by permission of the Writing Center Director only. Contact Dr. Megan Jewell at the English Department, Bellflower 204 (368-3799), firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introduction to Composition
MWF 9:30—10:20 Staff
English 148 is an introductory, three-credit course designed to help students develop basic academic writing skills. The course is appropriate for both native speakers and those for whom English is not a first language. Students will develop strategies for reading texts critically, and effectively communicating their views in writing. Course goals include acquiring greater ease in organizing, focusing, and developing ideas. Classes are small and a great deal of individual tutorial work is provided along with formal instruction. There is a limited enrollment of 12 in each section.
MWF 9:30—10:20 Staff
As a course in expository writing, English 150 requires substantial drafting and revising of written work. The goals of English 150 are:
ideas of other writers and speakers;
Topics, readings, and writing assignments vary across individual course sections. Students enrolled in
SAGES are not required to complete the English 148/150 sequence. Enrollment limited to 20 in each section.
Writing Tutorial (1 credit)
.English 180 is a one-credit writing tutorial class designed to develop students’ expository writing skills through weekly scheduled conferences with a Writing Resource Center Instructor. Goals are to produce clear, well-organized, and mechanically acceptable prose, and to demonstrate learned writing skills throughout the term. Course content is highly individualized based on both the instructor’s initial assessment of the student’s writing and the student’s particular concerns. All students must produce a minimum of 12 pages of finished writing and complete other assignments as designed by the instructor to assist in meeting course goals.
ENROLLMENT: Course times are based on both the student’s schedule and instructor availability. After enrolling, students are responsible for contacting the Writing Resource Center to begin the scheduling process. Students may e-mail email@example.com, or call the Director, Dr. Megan Swihart Jewell, at
Writing Workshop for Researchers (2 credits)
Seminar Meetings: T BA
Individual Tutorials (50 minutes/week): TBA Staff
The course is an individualized writing workshop/tutorial for Case Western Reserve University graduate students, faculty, and staff. Although it may be appropriate for native speakers of English, it is
intended primarily for individuals who wish to improve their academic and professional US English skills. It highlights two primary modes of communication—discussion and writing. Students meet together in a weekly seminar to improve oral communication and to address common English writing and grammar concerns. In addition, students meet individually with the instructor weekly for practice and instruction in academic/professional genres of writing.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
Literature in English
What, if anything, distinguishes literature from other forms of writing? What forms of thought, experience, and perception does literature make available to us? How does literature encourage us to see aspects of our world more closely, to imagine difference, or to gain critical distance on what we take for granted? This course will familiarize you with four major literary genres—short fiction, poetry, the novel, and drama. In the process, we will consider these and other questions at length, examining how a range of writers employ the conventions of these genres as technologies for extensive and intensive thinking. No previous experience in literary study will be presumed. Recommended preparation: Concurrent enrollment in ENGL 150 or USFS 100.
Introduction to Creative Writing
MW 5:30—6:45 Staff
A course exploring basic issues and techniques of writing narrative prose and verse through exercises, analysis, and experiment. For students who wish to try their abilities across a spectrum of genres.
Introduction to Journalism
MWF 10:35—11:25 Sheeler
Students will learn the basics of reporting and writing news stories, but also the traditions behind the craft and the evolving role of journalism in society. Instruction will include interviewing skills, fact-checking, word choice and story structure—all framed by guidance on making ethically sound decisions. No prerequisites.
Introduction to Fiction Writing
M 4:25—6:55 Umrigar
In this introductory class, students will learn the basics of writing a short story. This includes the elements of fiction writing–character development, plot, point of view, sense of place and dialogue. To this end, students will be expected to do a lot of in-class and out-of-class writing exercises. They will also write two longer pieces of fiction, which will be workshopped by the class. This class is writing and reading intensive and students will also be expected to learn the skills of constructive criticism and analysis of what constitutes a good work of fiction. Grades will be determined by a final portfolio to be submitted at the end of the semester.
Introductory Poetry Workshop
Th 4:00-6:30 Gridley
This is a course for students who are new or somewhat new to the practice of poetry. It aims to engage students—creatively and critically—with the primary elements of a poem: its diction, syntax, tones, sonic textures, imagery, tropes, and form. As a workshop, it will set student poems as the focus of weekly critical attention from peers and professor. Students can expect to write and critique poems; engage in writing exercises and the close study of poetic models; read about poetic craft and theory; memorize and recite 2 poems; complete a midterm project and a final portfolio. Students will receive regular feedback in the form of written comments and conference sessions. Grading determined by portfolio evaluation. No pre-requisite. Class size limited to 15, no exceptions.
Business and Professional Writing
MW 3:20—4:35 Staff
An introduction to professional communication in theory and practice. Special attention paid to audience analysis, persuasive techniques in written and oral communication, document design strategies, and ethical communication practices. Prereq: ENGL 150 or passing letter grade in a 100 level first year seminar in FSCC, FSNA, FSSO, FSSY, FSTS, or FSCS.
English Literature to 1800
MWF 11:40—12:30 Olbricht
This course introduces students to a broad spectrum of British literature from the Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century. We will read selections from canonical writers such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton, as well as non-canonical writers such as Elizabeth Cary, Aphra Behn, and Olaudah Equiano. As main themes, we will focus on gender and nationalism, but we’ll also talk about changing views of literature, the idea of authorship, how monarchs were represented in literature, and how print culture influenced each of those ideas. We will consider historical difference and take into account our own contemporary position as readers of this literature. Requirements for the course include regular attendance, participation in discussion (including discussion leading), several short close-reading papers that serve as the basis for two five-page papers, and a take-home final.
TuTh 2:30—3:45 Clune
In this survey of important works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, we will investigate how literature transmits and transforms some central American obsessions. These include: the love of money; visibility and invisibility; memory and forgetfulness; and ways of replacing society. Authors include Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Willa Cather, and Ralph Ellison. Written work includes two short papers and informal response papers.
Immersion Journalism/Multimedia Storytelling
M 3:20-5:50 Sheeler
This course has two classrooms: the primary lecture hall on campus and the wider classroom of a local nonprofit or government agency housing people whose stories are rarely heard (past venues include a local nursing home and the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center). There, students will immerse themselves in the stories and lives of residents and staff. Students will learn the skills to capture and edit audio and video, and will examine a variety of story structures in an attempt to find the most compelling methods to bring untold stories to light. The video packages will then be published on clevelandlifestories.com. Students taking this course for their capstone as 309C will be required to complete an extended video package to fulfill the capstone requirement.
Shakespeare: Histories and Tragedies
TTh 10:00—11:15 Vinter
In this course we’ll read a selection of Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies. These texts span the entirety of Shakespeare’s career, and in part we’ll be tracking the development of his drama and his shifting place within the renaissance theater and wider social sphere. What made Shakespeare so successful in his own time? What differences emerge as we move from early histories such as Richard III through to the great tragedies Hamlet, Othello and King Lear? How do the plays respond to changing artistic fashions and performance conventions, as well as to different social, political and economic conditions? In particular, how is Shakespeare reflecting, commenting on or contesting common renaissance understandings of drama and language, gender roles and gender identities, and politics and nationhood?
But we’ll also be thinking about what it means to be reading and watching Shakespeare today, in part by looking at more recent receptions and adaptations of some of his plays. What explains the continued attraction of Shakespeare? Can we treat him as our contemporary? What is gained and what is lost when we think of him as modern?
Requirements include regular participation in the classroom and on blackboard, two 5-7 page papers and a final project. Fulfills pre-1800 distribution requirement for the English major.
Nineteenth-Century Literature and Psychology
TTh 11:30—12:45 Vrettos
This course will examine a wide array of British literature written during the nineteenth century. In particular, we will focus on how Victorian writers represented the workings of the human mind and traced the development of character in a number of different genres. We will also study the interplay between Victorian literature and the development of psychology as a discipline during the second half of the nineteenth century. Our readings will include novels such as Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray; poems by Robert Browning, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, and Christina Rossetti, and non-fiction prose by Walter Pater, Herbert Spencer, William James, Charles Darwin, and various other nineteenth-century writers.Through these works, we will study Victorian interest in childhood development; the interaction between self and society; the relationship between memory and identity; the power of emotion and desire; obsessive and compulsive behaviors, monomania and other forms of insanity; divided personality; wandering attention and reverie, and theories of consciousness (including the emergence of the term “stream of consciousness”). Requirements for the course include attendance and active participation in discussion, the equivalent of three 5-6 pp. papers, and a take-home final exam. Students taking this course for their SAGES Capstone will be required to write an approximately 25 pp. research paper in place of the shorter papers and to attend some separate meetings to discuss their progress on the Capstone project. This course is intended as an introduction to nineteenth-century literature and is appropriate for both majors and non-majors. Prerequisite: either ENGL 150 or USFS 100. Additional prerequisites for ENGL 330C: ENGL 380 and a major in English.
Topics in African-American Literature
The Novels of Toni Morrison
MW 12:45—2:00 Umrigar
Before there was Black Lives Matter, there were the novels of Toni Morrison, who examined every aspect of black life–community, church, injustice, the bigotry faced by the vulnerable from both within and without the community. In this course we will read a selection of Toni Morrison’s novels. We will discuss issues such as the formation of identity, gender roles and the appropriation of the black body–themes that run through her work. By definition, this class will engage with black history and we will examine her novels against the backdrop of historical events. Students will be expected to write two papers as well as post discussion questions and short commentary on a regular basis to Blackboard.
Introduction to Film
TuTh 1:00—2:15 (class time)
Tu 7:00—9:30 (film viewing) Spadoni
An introduction to the art of film. Each week we’ll take an element of film form (editing, cinematography, sound, etc.) and examine how filmmakers work with this element to produce effects. Most weeks we’ll also screen a whole film and discuss it in light of the week’s focus. Films screened will include masterworks of the silent era, foreign films, Hollywood studio-era classics, and more recent U.S. cinema. Students will write two essays (5-6 and 8-10 pages) and take a scheduled quiz, midterm, and final exam. Grad students write a longer second essay and, in connection with it, submit a proposal and annotated bibliography.
TTh 11:30—12:45 Gridley
Myths are a form of narrative that speaks from what Joseph Campbell called the dynamics of the psyche. Though outside the realm of the historical or actual, they’ve enjoyed robust persistence, from Neanderthals onward, in the realm of creativity and dream. Poets seem especially prone to a fascination with mythic materials. This course alternates between seminar-style discussions of (world-wide) mythic materials—primary texts and theories of myth—and workshop-style sessions in which students share myth-influenced poems and offer each other constructive feedback for revision. Students can expect to write and critique poems; engage in writing exercises and the close study of poetic models centered around mythic materials; read in myth theory; memorize and recite 2 poems; complete a midterm project and a final portfolio. Students will receive regular feedback in the form of written comments and conference sessions. Grading determined by portfolio evaluation. Pre-requisite: ENGL 200, 214, 304, or permission of instructor. Class size limited to 15, no exceptions.
Two Irishmen & a Scot Walk into a Theatre: The Plays of Wilde, Shaw, and Barrie
TTh 4:00—5:15 Orlock
The seminar will examine the dramatic works of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and Sir James Barrie. Through a discussion-based process of text exploration, the class will consider how these playwrights – while of the same historical era – display three very different approaches to stagecraft and the dramatic art. In addition, the seminar discussions will encompass a wide range of political and social issues, most notably the changing roles of women – both actual and perceived – as Britain careens into the 20th century. But we’ll also be dealing with wit, romance, domestic conflict, heartbreak, occasional references to Downton Abbey, and, of course, Captain Hook.
Professional Communication for Engineers
English 398 introduces principles and strategies for effective communication in both academic and workplace engineering settings. Through analysis of case studies and of academic and professional genres, this course develops the oral and written communication skills that characterize successful engineers. Students will prepare professional documents that focus specifically on communicating academic and technical knowledge to diverse audiences. Because such documents are always situated within professional, social, and rhetorical contexts, this course also requires students to explain and justify their communicative choices in order to become adept in navigating the rhetorical environments they will encounter as professional engineers. As a SAGES Departmental Seminar, English 398 also prepares students for the writing they will do in Capstone projects.
Note: ENGL 398 complements ENGR 398, a 1-credit co-requisite lecture course, which introduces major practical, theoretical, and ethical issues that shape the environment for communication among professional engineers. For details of the ENGR 398 objectives, work commitments, grade breakdown, and assignments, please see the separate syllabus for that course.
Additional Note: ENGL 398 is a departmental seminar, and as such, the workload and time commitment outside of class time will be demanding. Be prepared and plan ahead. Beginning assignments early, particularly near the end of the semester as things get busier, will allow you to finish on time and submit your best work. This course asks you to develop your writing skills while also honing your professional skills, including time management, organization, and punctuality. By the end of English 398, students should be able to:
Theory & Practice
W 4:00—6:30 Fountain
English 506 is a graduate seminar in technical and professional communication theory and practice, created originally to support the teaching of business and professional writing, medical writing, and engineering communication. This course is required of all graduate students who wish to teach professional writing courses at CWRU, namely ENGL 217A (Business and Professional Writing), ENGL 217B (Writing for the Health Professions), and ENGL 398 (Professional Communication for Engineers).
This course surveys key historical and contemporary practices that constitute the field of technical and professional communication (or TPC). By attending to major debates in the history of the field, we explore the ways TPC practices involve the formation, ordering, and circulation of knowledge/power
relationships. Turning to research in TPC and science studies, we examine the roles disciplinarity, expertise, and genre knowledge play in the development of TPC as a kind of rhetorical capacity. Finally, in order to help prepare graduate instructors, we explore scholarship and pedagogical techniques specific to the teaching of engineering and business communication.
English Literature 1550-1660
T 4:00—6:30 Vinter
When is a spade not just a spade? What does a suit of armor have to do with faith, a belly with state taxation or a parrot with wisdom? What pleasures and perils do dark conceits offer over plain speech or verisimilitude? This course considers literary works that use indirect approaches to evoke systems of meaning beyond themselves. We will study early modern allegorical texts, including Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Milton’s Paradise Lost, alongside theories of allegory stretching from Augustine and Dante through to Walter Benjamin and Fredric Jameson.
In large part, the course will be concerned with tracking the changing uses to which allegory is put over the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We’ll consider how philosophical and theological disputes over the value of metaphor inspire shifts in literary style away from allegory and toward plainness, but also, conversely, how allegorical literature might speak back to polemicists who insist on literalism. But we’ll also think trans-historically about the relationships allegorical modes posit between fiction, abstract concepts, and the material world. What can early modern allegory teach us about the nature of mimesis, and the capacity of literature to represent modes of being outside everyday human experience? What epistemological assumptions underpin allegory as a form, and what use could these ways of thinking have today?
Requirements include regular participation, short writing assignments, a class presentation and a 20-25 page term paper.
Graduate Research Methods
M 4:00 – 6:30 Woodmansee
This course focuses on methods and resources for research in English language and literature. Its goals include learning to identify significant research topics, acquiring effective research strategies, including how to access relevant topical and financial (re)sources, and mastering the conventions of the chief genres of writing and presentation current in English Studies today. As a thematic backdrop and archive for pursuing these goals we will explore the evolution of our modern concept of “authorship” in the context of the diverse technologies, economies, institutions, and practices that have fostered and been fostered by it. The course is required of all new MA and PhD students; it is elective for continuing students. Please note that it does not serve as a substitute for English 487 (Literary and Critical Theory) and that it is unlikely to recapitulate research methods courses at other universities.