Introduction to Composition
MWF 9:30 to 10:20 Staff
Introduction to Composition is an introductory, three-credit course designed to help students develop basic academic writing skills and beginning familiarity with the reading, thinking, and writing required by college-level work. 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 orally and in writing. Course goals include acquiring greater ease in organizing, focusing, and developing ideas. Classes are small (12 students) and a great deal of individual tutorial work is provided along with formal instruction. Topics, readings, and writing assignments vary across individual course sections.
MWF 9:30 to 10:20 Staff
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.
Literature in English
This course introduces students to the reading of literature in the English language. Through close attention to the practice of reading, students are invited to consider some of the characteristic forms and functions imaginative literature has taken, together with some of the changes that have taken place in what and how readers read.
Introduction to Creative Writing
MWF 12:45 to 2:00
TTh 10:00 to 11:15
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 11:40 to 12:30 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
In this class you will learn to write short stories that are original, have a distinctive voice, crackle with wit and tension, feature characters who are dynamic and unique speak in realistic and interesting ways. We will focus on elements of writing such as character and plot development, point of view, sense of place and dialogue. To this end, we will do many in-class and out-of-class writing exercises. You will also gain a critical vocabulary as you critique one another’s stories in a workshop format. This is also a reading-intensive class and there will be weekly readings.
Introduction to Poetry Writing
W 2:15 to 4:45 Gridley
This introductory poetry workshop is for students who are new, or somewhat new, to the practice of writing poetry. It aims to engage students creatively and critically with the primary elements of a poem: diction, syntax, tonal colorings, sonic textures, imagery, tropes, and formal organization. Course work will include: writing and responding to poems in rigorous and respectful workshop atmosphere; writing exercises tied to the close study of poetic models and theory; memorization and recitation of two poems; a final portfolio including revised poems and critical introduction. Professor provides regular written comments and midterm letter grade. Final grade determined by portfolio evaluation. No pre-requisite. Class size limited to 15.
Business and Professional Writing
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 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.
Intermediate Writing Workshop: Journalism
Magazine and Feature Writing
MW 3:20 to 4:35 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 Marling
A historic survey of the best American writing, beginning with Mary Robinson’s Housekeeping (1980). From there we return to sources, to see how the American canon endures. Most selections will come from an older, paperback edition of the Norton Anthology of American Literature. Authors to be read from it include the prose writers Bradford, Rowlandson, Bradstreet, Franklin, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Douglas, Twain, and James, as well as the poets Dickinson, Crane, Williams, Loy, Eliot, Frost, Hughes, Stevens, and Rich. We will also read three other novels: Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, Faulkner’s Light in August and Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5. Evaluation based on several short papers, class participation on Canvas, and attendance (taken randomly). This is a “no screens” class, and all books must be purchased in paper.
Science and Magic
MW 4:25 to 5:40 Vinter
Though today the practices of magic and science generally appear completely separate, for much of their history they were closely intertwined. Chemistry has its roots in alchemy. Isaac Newton is remembered for his significant advances in mathematics and physics but was also fascinated by occult studies. William Harvey, who discovered the circulation of the blood, was involved in adjudicating witchcraft trials. The recognition of science as a distinct discipline with superior truth claims, and the corresponding decline of magic, only occurred gradually over the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
This course analyzes literary texts on scientific and magical subjects by renaissance writers such as Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon and Margaret Cavendish. Not only do these authors offer fascinating insight into the development of scientific method and scientific language in distinction to magical rituals and incantations, but they were also important influences on pioneers of science fiction and fantasy – including Mary Shelley, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
Over the semester, we’ll read about magicians, demons, and witches alongside microscopes, atoms and air pumps. In part, our goal in studying this literature will be to track when and how the separation between magic and science came about. What makes scientific and magical approaches distinct? What social, economic, religious and cultural factors enabled the emergence of science as a serious pursuit and led to skepticism about magic? But we’ll also look carefully at how science and magic relate to literature, especially through some early examples of science fiction. What links exist between the modes of thought and styles of language used to understand or manipulate the physical world, and those used to create imaginary worlds? When have magical or scientific understandings influenced or provided metaphors for literary writers? Conversely, when have literary ideas influenced or anticipated scientific ones?
The requirements for this course include regular participation in the classroom and on blackboard, two 5-7 page papers and a final project. This class fulfills pre-1800 distribution requirement for the English major.
Students taking the class as a graduate seminar will be expected to lead one class session, participate in extra fourth hour sessions with additional reading and write a final 25 page research paper.
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.
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 (registered for ENGL 467) satisfy the same requirements as the undergrads, but their final essay will be an extended research project, in connection with which they’ll submit an outline and other, related documents.
ENGL 368/468 and WLIT 368/468
Topics in Film
Storytelling and Cinema
TTh 10:00—11:15 (class)
Th 7:00—9:30 (film viewing) Spadoni
Films tell stories differently than any other medium, and they do so in uniquely powerful ways. In this course we’ll examine the process by which films narrate stories to viewers. Most weeks we’ll screen a film—from Hollywood classics to recent blockbusters to more challenging films—and discuss it together, asking how the film manipulates time and space to create a world in which its story unfolds. Some films are “tight,” while others contain gaps that leave viewers with basic questions about what went on—what happened to this character, why that one did what she did, etc. Both sorts of films invite us to ask questions about meaning. We’ll examine not only how contemplating a film’s narrative can lead to a consideration of themes, but also how understanding the way a film tells a story involves looking at all aspects of a film, including those specific techniques that make up its style. 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 an outline and other, related documents.
Studies in the Novel
TTh 2:30 to 3:20
“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I’m always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.” Flannery O’Connor
“In writing a novel, when in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns.” Raymond Chandler
This course will focus on a selection of very contemporary American novels (published since 2000). Books will include works by authors such as Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin, Jennifer Egan, Emily St. John Mandel, and George Saunders. Requirements will include several short papers and a more ambitious end-of-term project/paper. No exams.
Studies in Poetry
MWF 10:35 to 11: 25 Gridley
This hybrid seminar/poetry workshop examines the relationship between memory and poetry. We will study the strategies poetry marshals against loss, disappearance, and forgetting, with specific attention to the poetic forms known as elegy, ode, and epitaph. We will examine the relationship between material remains (archaeological relics, garbage) and poetic catalog. We will consider the future of memory in an era of digital archives and search engines. We will practice memory excavation and remediation. Course work will include: seminar style discussions of texts and documentary films; writing poems; giving and receiving workshop comments; memorizing and reciting poems; a walking tour of Lakeview Cemetery; a final portfolio including revised poems and a critical introduction. No pre-requisite, though some prior experience studying or writing poetry is expected. Class size limited to 15.
Bodies and Texts
TTh 4:00 to 5:15 Vrettos
This course will focus on bodies and texts in 19th and 20th century British and American fiction. We will consider the relationship between embodiment and narrative form through topics such as maternity; gender, sexuality, and racial identity; performance and spectacle; pain and violence; disease, death, and contagion; ghosts and bodily transcendence. We will, in turn, examine how the physical body became a measure and metaphor of the social body, defining cultural boundaries, transgressions and threats. Readings will probably include the haunted bodies of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, the contagious bodies of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, the maternal bodies of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, the transgressive bodies of Toni Morrison’s Sula, and the technologically-enhanced and alien bodies in short science fiction by Ursula LeGuin and Octavia Butler. We will also address the relationship between embodiment and textuality in selected literary criticism and theory. Requirements for the class include active class participation, frequent short quizzes and informal in-class writings, weekly Canvas postings, one short (5pp.) close reading paper, and one research paper (approx. 15pp.) submitted first as a prospectus, then in outline, draft and final forms. Students will also be required to give an oral presentation based on their research paper toward the end of the semester.
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 Texts: Critical Theory (Lois Tyson), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), The Bell Jar (Plath). Other readings on Canvas. All texts must be purchased in paperback form.
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. This is a “no screens” class except for some articles posted to Canvas.
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.
Rhetoric and Teaching of Writing
This course provides training in theories and pedagogies of rhetoric and writing at the college level. Designed for CWRU graduate students interested in teaching writing in the English department or through SAGES First and University Seminars, this course will focus on major themes and approaches drawn from rhetorical theory and writing studies scholarship, and second language writing research. Students in the course will be introduced to theoretical and practical approaches, so that they might develop a set of coherent, historicized pedagogical practices.
Together we will examine the following questions:
- What role does writing play in college students’ overall academic achievement?
- What can historical theories and contemporary research tell us about the teaching of writing?
- What classroom practices best engage students with the writing process while also encouraging them to attend to the product-driven aspects of composing?
- What kinds of feedback and evaluation produce the best results for both native and non-native speakers of English?
- What types of writing and reading assignments best prepare students to become sophisticated academic writers?
- How do the politics of inclusion, identity, diversity, and access shape writing instruction?
- What are the major professional concerns of composition faculty?
Throughout the semester, we will devote significant class time to putting theory and research into practice by developing and articulating our own individual teaching philosophies and position papers on composition instruction.
In this class we will grapple with questions about race and racism that bedevil Americans even today. Using works by African-American writers such as Baldwin, Morrison and Coates, we will examine the historical impact of slavery and segregation, as well as contemporary issues such as reparations, cultural appropriation and Black Lives Matter.
Rhetoric of Health and Medicine
Th 5:30 to 8:00 Emmons
The Rhetoric of Health and Medicine (RHM) is a field of inquiry concerned with the use of symbols to persuade and create meaning within the practices, institutions, and media of health care. RHM finds its disciplinary roots in the rhetoric of science, writing studies, professional and technical communication, and the medical humanities, more generally. This seminar will examine the history of this sub-field of rhetorical studies, interrogate the range of (inter)disciplinary methodologies it comprises, and explore the potential scholarship it inspires. We will read recent articles and monographs that represent a variety of approaches to RHM including: professional and technical communication, visual rhetoric, ethnographic and participant-observation, quantitative and qualitative studies, and discursive/linguistic analysis.