Introduction to Composition
This course provides an Introduction to English grammar in context for academic writers. It focuses on the study of language in use, including parts of speech, sentence grammar, paragraph structure, and text cohesion. This course is specifically designed for multilingual students, but native speakers of English may take the course with the approval of the instructor.
English 150 is three-credit course designed to help students build on basic academic writing skills by further developing the sophistication of their claims, the strategies of argumentation, and the practices of research and source integration. Students will develop strategies for developing compelling and sophisticated claims, reading texts critically and effectively communicating their views in writing. Students will learn techniques for research, source evaluation, and the development of sophisticated claims through the process of a drafting and revising a substantial researched essay. Topics, readings, and writing assignments vary across individual course sections.
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 for each credit for which they are enrolled, and complete other assignments as designed by the instructor to assist in meeting course goals.
Introduction to Creative Writing
This course acquaints students with opportunities for creative expression across genres. The course primarily focuses on poetry and short fiction – though playwriting, screenwriting, and genres of creative nonfiction will also be explored. We will attend to those elements that make for vivid, effective writing, including relevant detail, lyrical language, and memorable images; inventive metaphor and simile; and authentic voice, setting, and characterization. Taking this course will help us to further develop an understanding and practice of creativity in the medium of language and to distinguish among the creative opportunities and constraints of different literary genres.
Introduction to Journalism
MWF 9:30 to 10:20 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. Students will also periodically interact via Skype with journalists from newsrooms throughout the country including the New York Times and the Washington Post. No prerequisites.
Introduction to Fiction Writing
M 4:25 to 6:55 Umrigar
This is an introductory class which teaches students the craft of writing strong short stories. You will learn the elements of writing that go into making a good story, such as character and plot development, voice, sense of place etc. To this end, you will be reading and writing a great deal in this class. Apart from reading several short stories every week, you will also be required to do in-class and out-of-class writing exercises. In addition, you will write two longer stories, which will be workshopped by the entire class. Each week, you will be responsible for reading and critiquing stories written by your classmates.
Introduction to Poetry Writing
TTh 4:00 to 5:15 Lucas
A beginning workshop, focusing on such elements of poetry as verse-form, syntax, figures, sound, tone. May include discussion of literary examples as well as student work.
Business and Professional Writing
The ability to communicate effectively is a powerful skill, one with real and significant consequences. This is particularly true in the 21st century workplace, where we use words and images to address a need, solve a problem, persuade an audience, and even arrange the details of our professional and personal lives. Communication requirements and expectations are constantly changing, whether we work in small businesses, large companies, non-profit organizations, research labs, or hospitals. As such, we need to be adaptable writers and readers of all kinds of documents—from print to digital.
This skills-based course offers an introduction to the theory and practice of professional or “workplace” communication. Over the course of the semester, we will pay special attention to the following:
- Genres of Workplace Communication: Composing and editing workplace documents, including written correspondence, proposals, short reports, instructions and descriptions, promotional material, and presentations.
- Rhetorical Analysis of Communication Situations: Mapping and assessing the contexts, situations, purposes, and audiences involved in workplace communication.
- Persuasive Techniques in Written and Visual Communication: Learning and practicing strategies for composing descriptive and persuasive documents for print, online, and face-to-face venues.
- Basic Design of Visual and Verbal Information: Recognizing and using principles of document design and visual display.
Prerequisite: ENGL 150 or passing letter grade in a 100 level first year seminar in FSCC, FSNA, FSSO, FSSY, FSTS, or FSCS.
TTh 4:00 to 5:15 Staff
What is poetry? And why is it valuable? This course is designed to give students a foundational knowledge of poetry, through the exploration of these questions.
The first half of the course will focus on poetic elements of line, sound, voice, figurative language, and imagery. Having become familiar with these mechanics, we will then turn our attention to forms and genres. We will read and discuss some of the greatest English-language poems of the past and present, asking how they work, what they mean, and why they are valuable. Assignments will comprise of two recitations of memorized poems, two short papers (3-4 pages), and one longer final paper (6-8 pages).
English Literature to 1800
MWF 10:35 to 11:25 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 Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, and Olaudah Equiano. M 4:25 to 6:literature, the idea of authorship, how the natural world was 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.
English Literature Since 1800
MWF 9:30 to 10:20 Koenigsberger
This course follows the development of British Literature from 1800 to the present, paying particular attention to choices and contexts for the representation of literary production across these centuries. We will read selections of poetry and prose from this period and explore conversations that have developed around these pieces. We will also think about other ways to tell the story of “British literature” since 1800. Class format will balance lecture and discussion, and requirements will include regular writing, quizzes, and class participation. Students will maintain a systematic record of private reading in a commonplace book, produce a close reading of a poem and an analysis of a novel, and craft a final narrative synthesis of the semester’s materials.
Intermediate Writing Workshop: Journalism
Magazine and Feature Writing
M 4:25 to 6:55 Sheeler
Students in this class will learn how to write for various magazines (both print and online) as well as how to craft effective pitch letters to send to magazine editors as freelance writers (many students have successfully published stories from this class to magazines throughout the country). Students will also learn the intricacies of fact-checking their work and the work of others. The class will analyze some of the best narrative non-fiction writing and students will speak via videoconference with Pulitzer Prize- and National Magazine Award-winning writers throughout the country. The bulk of the class will focus on techniques for crafting compelling true stories with a discernible beginning, middle, and end — stories that take readers places they’ve never been, both physically and emotionally. Students choosing to take this course as their capstone 307C will be required to do the same work as the other students as well as an extended final project and oral presentation with other capstone students.
TTh 10:00 to 11:15 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.
History of the English Language
M 7:00 to 9:30 Emmons
This course explores the cultural, political, and linguistic forces that have shaped the history of the English language and prepares us to anticipate its future(s). As familiar as English may be to many of us, we modern speakers hardly recognize the language of Beowulf as even related to the poetry of today. We often take for granted “standard” pronunciations (e.g., ask not *aks), humble nouns and pronouns (e.g., she, hound, girl), and contemporary “rules” of English grammar (e.g., never split an infinitive, hopefully cannot modify a sentence), but these features have long and complicated stories to tell us about the development of the English language. This course will investigate these (and other) stories as it traces the general sound, word, and grammatical changes the language has undergone in its transitions from Old to Middle to Early Modern to Modern English.
The course goals are:
- To understand language as systematic and constantly changing at every level: from sounds (phonology) to the structure of words (morphology), from sentence patterns (syntax) to meanings (semantics);
- To observe and appreciate the social, cultural, and political influences on language change (and on speakers);
- To explore manuscript and print culture as the necessary foundation for future digital textualities;
- To validate and respect a variety of dialects as systematic and legitimate, though often socially unequal, forms of language;
- To enjoy the English language – past, present, and future!
Tell Me a Story: The Theory and Craft of Narrative
T 1:00 to 3:30 Orlock
The course will consider and compare the ways in which the element of “narrative” serves as a fundamental component in the genres of short fiction, screenwriting, short nonfiction, poetry, journalism, and playwriting.
The class format will be a hybrid between a discussion-based seminar and a writers’ workshop. Selected texts will present a historical perspective on the elements of narrative structure, ranging from Aristotle through the theories influencing story structure in contemporary literature, drama, and film.
Learning in the course will encompass a) an examination of relevant works of narrative critical theory; b) a practicum component in which narrative theory merges with narrative craft in a series of thematically related writing assignments.
Among the assignments will be:
- a brief analytical essay based upon assigned texts;
- adaptation of an Alice Munro short story into either a one-act play or short screenplay.
Final Project: a portfolio of three individual works – short fiction, one-act stage play, ten-page screenplay – that are in some way interrelated – e.g., share themes, characters, perspectives of an event, etc.
Histories and Tragedies
MW 12:45 to 2:00 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 the 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 of Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth? 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.
Students registering for ENGL 324C—the Capstone version of this class—will be required to develop and complete a Capstone research project in the wider field of study covered by the course. This Capstone project will have an approximate length of 25pp. and will also include a public presentation of the project. This Capstone research project will fulfill the formal writing requirements for 324. All other reading, class participation, and final exam requirements will be identical for 324 and 324C. Completion of the major’s pre-1800 requirement is a prerequisite for 324c.
Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Psychology, and the Divided Mind
TTh 11:30 to 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 subjectivity 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 Return of the Native, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; 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; advice about self control and habit formation, 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, weekly ungraded Canvas posts on the readings, 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, attend some separate meetings to discuss their progress on the Capstone project, present their research in a public forum, participate in class discussions and weekly Canvas posts on the readings, and complete the take-home exam. 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.
American Literature 1914-1960
TTh 11:30 to 12:45 Marling
Would there have been a Hemingway without Gertrude Stein? This class is about three of the most important modernist American writers ….. and their interactions with / influences on each other. We will begin with A Moveable Feast, then take up the revolution in painting (Picasso, Matisse et al) that informs Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives, which impacts Hemingway’s In Our Time. Following The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, we will turn to Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night. Short stories in between. All books on paper. Three short papers and a longer final paper. Total 25-30 pp. of writing. Attendance and participation count, as does as active presence on our Canvas site.
Graduate students will read one additional novel by each writer and a spectrum of criticism. Writing requirements are the same, but a longer final paper. There will be extra class meetings for grads.
Topic in African-American Literature
The Novels of Toni Morrison
MW 12:45 to 2:00 Umrigar
In this course we will read and discuss the novels of Toni Morrison, widely considered to be one of the greatest American writers of all time. We will discuss the themes that run through much of her her work, such as the formation of black identity, racial violence, gender roles and the appropriation of the black body. 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 at least two papers as well as post discussion questions and short commentary on Canvas on a regular basis. Selected topics and writers from nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century African-American literature. May focus on a genre, a single author or a group of authors, a theme or themes. Maximum 6 credits. Offered as ENGL 365N, ETHS 365N, WLIT 365N, ENGL 465N, and WLIT 465N. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement. Prereq: ENGL 150 or passing letter grade in a 100 level first year seminar in FSCC, FSNA, FSSO, FSSY, FSTS, or FSCS.
Introduction to Film
TTh 1:00 to 2:15 (class)
T 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, and so on) 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 cinema. Students 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.
ENGL 368/468 and WLIT 368/468
Topics in Film
TTh 10:00—11:15 (class)
Th 7:00—9:30 (film viewing) Spadoni
Alfred Hitchcock stands alone in cinema history in some striking respects. In an age when most directors were anonymous studio employees who could be hired and fired at will, Hitchcock was a powerful Hollywood player and a celebrity whose face moviegoers knew. He turned out financially successful films with astonishing regularity for decades. These films continue to fascinate and challenge us, not least for their remarkable thematic consistency. We will look at fifteen or so of his greatest films, analyzing how the director’s preoccupations, including his sexual obsessions, permeate the films in provocative and sometimes troubling ways. We will examine some of his celebrated “set pieces” and ask what makes them so memorable and effective. We will regard his films in light of the director’s own, sometimes misleading, commentaries on them, and consider that central term in the critical and popular discussion of Hitchcock’s work: suspense. Films to be screened include his early sound film Blackmail, his first Hollywood film Rebecca, and masterworks from later in his career including Rear Window, Vertigo, and Psycho. Students write two essays (5-6 and 8-10 pages), take part in a group presentation, and take occasional brief quizzes (lowest is dropped). Grad students (registered for ENGL 468) satisfy the same requirements as the undergrads but their final essay will be an extended research project, in connection with which they’ll submit a proposal and annotated bibliography.
Part One: Nineteenth-Century (1860-1930)
TTh 1:00 to 2:15 Vrettos
This course examines early classics of British and American children’s literature from the mid-nineteenth century through the first decades of the twentieth. We will focus on narrative and thematic developments in the genre during this period, the historical contexts in which these stories were written (including 19th-century developmental psychology), the interpretations of some of these stories through film, and their influence on later writers. Texts will include Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There; Barrie’s Peter Pan; Kipling’s The Jungle Books; Nesbit’s Five Children and It; Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, Alcott’s Little Women; Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables; Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and one of its many sequels; Burnett’s The Secret Garden, Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, and Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. Requirements include a choice of paper assignment plans (the equivalent of three 5-7pp. papers), a take-home final exam, weekly informal Canvas posts, active participation in class discussion, and quizzes on some of the background readings. Pre-requisite: either ENGL 150 or USFS 100.
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 textual 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 conversation 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.
Literary and Critical Theory
TTh 2:30 to 3:45 Marling
What is literary /critical theory… and how can you use it? This course will introduce you to a century’s worth of powerful tools—from formalism and structuralism to new historicism, and the varieties of ideological critique, including feminist and queer theory, post-colonial studies, affect theory, and behavioral economics—and will stress their applications. .. not only to texts but to other fields, even the reading of everyday life. This is a class on the power of ideas.
Required Text: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, ed. Vincent Leitch, 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Other readings on Canvas.
Requirements: Regular attendance, active class participation, including weekly Canvas postings, three short “exercise” papers of approximately 5 pages, and a final paper of approximately 10 pages applying a theory of the student’s choosing to a vetted text.
Graduate students will read additional critical texts and a spectrum of criticism. Final paper of ~ 20 pp. There will be extra class meetings for grads.
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:
- Produce written texts in a variety of professional genres – texts that communicate effectively and adhere to professional ethical standards.
- Deliver clear and professional oral presentations on a range of engineering topics.
- Reflect on and justify the rhetorical choices involved in planning, writing, revising, and presenting academic and professional engineering documents.
- Summarize the research writing of an academic engineer for a non-technical audience.
- Demonstrate the ability to work as part of a research team, coordinating workflow and collaboratively presenting outcomes.
- Synthesize the academic research and professional best practices related to an engineering project in the student’s field.
- Produce and refine an array of personal professional documents.
- Demonstrate the capacity for life-long learning through sustained reflection, revision, and research.
Creative Writing Theory and Practice
T 4:00 to 6:30 Grimm
This course is designed to prepare MA and PhD candidates in English to teach ENGL 203 (Introduction to Creative Writing). It is a required course for any graduate student seeking a concentration in creative writing. The course will operate as a hybrid seminar/workshop. Students will examine and discuss traditional creative writing and teaching practices while producing their own works of creative writing for exchange and critique. While the overriding objective of this course is to prepare graduate students to teach ENGL 203, the multiple objectives coordinated toward that outcome are as follows:
- to exercise and refine creative writing practices of participants
- to share resources for professional development in creative writing (e.g. publication opportunities, conferences, etc.)
- to provide critical/historical view of creative writing’s relationship with the academy
- to examine and debate received creative writing pedagogies
- to position creative writing pedagogy in resistance to hegemony and monoculture
- to develop genre-specific, and genre-adaptable creative writing pedagogies
- to consider intersections of digital media and creative writing
Pre-requisite: a creative writing workshop at the undergraduate or graduate level or permission of the instructor.
Theory and Practice
M 4:25 to 6:55 Emmons
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 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
Theatricality and Antitheatricality
W 4:25 to 6:55 Vinter
“If you will learn to play the whore-master, the glutton, Drunkard, or incestuous person: if you will learn to become proud, haughty, and arrogant; and, finally if you will learn to condemn God and all his laws, to care neither for heaven nor hell, and to commit all kinds of sin and mischief, you need to go to no other school, for all these good Examples may you see painted before your eyes in interludes and plays.” Stephen Gosson, The Anatomy of Abuses (1583)
Since the time of Plato, critics and philosophers have been both attracted and repulsed by the theater. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, antitheatrical polemicists attacked dramatic illusion as a form of deception, or worried that plays would undermine social order. Drama’s defenders responded by praising the art form’s capacity to (in Hamlet’s words) “hold a mirror up to nature” and illuminate or even reform reality. These arguments had a significant impact on the development of the theater as an institution, on canonical and non-canonical play texts, and on understandings of imitation and performance that hold continued relevance, onstage and off.
In this course, we’ll explore traditions of theatricality and antitheatricality by reading play texts alongside defenses and attacks on drama, as well as selections by philosophers and performance theorists such as Plato, Aristotle, Jean-Christophe Agnew, Peggy Phelan and Rebecca Schneider. Although the bulk of the course will focus on early modern drama by writers including Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson and Aphra Behn, we’ll also look back to the roots of the early modern English tradition in Greek and Roman drama, and forward to contemporary performance arts including film, Civil War re-enactments, and video games.
Requirements include regular participation, short writing assignments, a class presentation, and a 20-25 page term paper.