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.
The Writing Program offers a variety of communication-intensive courses, including Academic Inquiry Seminars for first-year students (see: https://case.edu/artsci/writing/academics/general-education-writing/academic-inquiry-seminars). The Writing & Communication Resource Center also provides individual consultations to CWRU students at any stage of their writing processes, and for every writing occasion (from personal statements to science fiction; from research papers to podcasts). For more information, please visit: https://case.edu/artsci/writing/.
Tools, Not Rules
English Grammar for Writers
TTh 4:00 to 5:15 Vakili
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.
Genre Across Disciplines
MW 3:20 to 4:35 Codita
In this course, students will develop their genre knowledge and metacognitive skills to prepare for the advanced writing, reading, and research tasks required in upper-level writing and disciplinary courses across the university. Through individual and group inquiry, students will analyze and discuss the conventions of academic genres to understand the textual and linguistic features and disciplinary expectations of each form of writing. Then, students will apply these generic conventions through the production and revision of writing within each genre. Throughout the semester, students will engage in workshops and discussions that foster skills in the areas of seminar participation, collaboration, rhetorical awareness, and critical thinking. This course is specifically designed for non-native speakers of English, but native speakers may take the course with the approval of the instructor. Counts as a Communication Intensive course.
Literature in English
Love, Hate, and Obsession
TTH 11:30 to 12:45 Ring
“‘Did I hate him, then? Indeed, I believe so. A love like that can grow to be nine-tenths hatred and still call itself love.’” —C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
We often speak of literature as an art form that seeks to understand what it means to be human. But literature can also re-describe this very question through attention to experiences so odd or unfamiliar that they seem to inhabit the outermost valence of what we typically consider human, humane, or even relatable. What can literature do, then—on this fringe, unpopulated terrain of radically aestheticized perception—with the most quintessential of human experiences: love, hate, and, strange hybrid of the two, obsession?
In this course, we will read literary works in four major genres—short fiction, poetry, the novel, and drama—that convey these relational experiences in their most extreme, baffling, and uncategorizable forms. As we read, we will consider how and to what degree these portrayals are experientially unmapped or un-mappable, and what this means in terms of artistic accomplishment and value. Some additional questions we will consider along the way are: at what point does love stop looking like love, or hate hate? At what point do each of these conditions come to resemble death more than life? Can we describe them as universal, or are they too culturally entangled? Can we describe them as moral or amoral or immoral? How does literature work to reveal the very limitations of these categories? As you engage these questions, you will learn how to identify and talk about the various literary features that make them possible— including theme, tone, symbolism, imagery, diction, point of view, and structure—and ultimately formulate your own critical interpretations of these works. No previous experience in literary study is necessary for this course.
Introduction to Creative Writing
MWF TBA Schaer
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 genre
Introduction to Creative Writing
MWF TBA Schaer
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 genre
Business and Professional Writing
MW 12:45 to 2:00 Lusher
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 needs, solve problems, persuade audiences, and even arrange the details of our professional and personal lives. Communication requirements and expectations are constantly changing, whether we work in small business, 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 course offers students an introduction to professional communication in theory and practice. We will pay special attention to audience analysis, persuasive techniques in written and oral communication, document design strategies, and ethical communication practices. Recommended preparation: Passing grade in an Academic Inquiry Seminar or SAGES First Seminar. Counts as a Communication Intensive course.
Writing for the Health Professions
MW 12:45 to 2:00 Larson
This course offers practice and training in the professional and technical writing skills common to health professions (e.g., medicine, nursing, dentistry). Attention will be paid to the writing processes of drafting, revising, and editing. Typical assignments include: letters, resumes, personal essays, professional communication genres (e.g., email, reports, patient charts, and histories), and scholarly genres (e.g., abstracts, articles, and reviews). Counts as a Communication Intensive course.
TTh 2:30 to 3:45 Liang
We live in a multilingual world. We use different languages to communicate, to connect, and to contest. We also use different languages at home, at work, in church, or in public. This course explores the idea that translation, in an extended definition as “communication and delivery of message across languages or media,” is all around us, especially in the context of religion. In encountering differences — in the form of religious experiences, ideas, narratives, traditions, texts, etc. — we make sense of these differences through acts of translation. To think with the themes of religion and translation is to recognize that the world has always been multilingual. The task of translation carries not only linguistic but also ethical significance. In this course, we ask: how does translation in this extended sense participate in the religious lives and experiences of people? How do we, as human, make sense of and connect with the other-than-human? Students are introduced to the complex mechanisms of translation as we investigate a rich, global archive of translation case studies, where people engage differences in all aspects of religion. This course also reinforces the university’s commitment to a diverse student body by contributing to and celebrating multiculturalism and multilingualism. Offered as ASIA 241,ENGL 241, and RLGN 241.
Rhetoric & Public Speaking
TTh 10:00 to 11:15 Schaffer
The health of a democratic society depends on an informed electorate. And yet the attack ads, unverified accusations, sound-bites, and carefully scripted and staged media events that fill television and the Internet tend to misinform, confuse, and disengage voters. How might we reverse this trend? How can we meaningfully enter into political conversations? How can we listen to others, form our own beliefs, and then communicate them respectfully and with purpose? To help answer these questions, we will return to modern democracy’s ancient roots, using the lens of classical rhetoric to explore contemporary political debate. While the word “rhetoric” is often used today to deride precisely what’s wrong with political discourse, as when a policy proposal is dismissed as mere “campaign rhetoric,” it more properly denotes the techniques of effective persuasion. By learning how rhetorical devices are used, we can empower ourselves to analyze policy debates and to make our own contributions.
As part of this investigation, we will research issues, debate and develop positions, read and evaluate speeches, write and speak about our own positions, participate in public debates by writing letters to representatives and opinion pieces for newspapers. We will also experiment with various presentation styles and occasions to build our persuasive speaking skills. In our final project, we will research, analyze, and share our perspectives on an issue of interest, and reflect on our internal processes as we take on a belief and act on it.
This course counts toward the Communication-Intensive (CI) Seminar portion of the Written, Oral, and Multimodal Communication GER.
Recommended preparation: Passing grade in an Academic Inquiry Seminar or SAGES First Seminar.
This course will be capped at 18 students to allow for a seminar experience.
TTh 10:00 to 11:15 Nuttall
This course introduces students to prose narrative forms in English by exploring their intersecting histories and their contemporary developments. As we read these texts in their historical and social contexts, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which prose fiction represents gender, class, sexuality, ability, nationality, race, and indigeneity. Our work will require careful reading, critical thinking, and scholarly, argument-based writing (including revision), as we appreciate the diversity of fiction’s forms and features. We will introduce and develop the key terms, concepts and practice of literary studies. The specific focus of the course may vary. Recommended preparation: Academic Inquiry Seminar or SAGES First Seminar. Counts as a Communication Intensive course.
TTh 1:00 to 2:15 Pfeiffer
This course introduces students to the history, genres, forms, and aesthetics of poetry in English. Attending to the skill of “close reading” from the outset, we will practice interpreting and evaluating poems together through heavy use of in-class discussion. In the first two weeks we will read poems together and establish foundational ideas that provide entrances to considering literature composed in verse. Unit 1 will then attend to the genre of epic, a key tradition in western poetry concerned with heroism, ethics, and the ideals of a society. Unit 2 will focus on formalist criticism of lyric poetry, drawing from various authors of various time periods to consider how poems do meaningful work through their abnormal use of language, rhythm, and structure. Unit 3 will hone our attention to American Modernist poets, which will allow us to recognize the ways that the art of poetry is often an aesthetic conversation, using art to find various meaningful answers to enduring issues of human concern.
Over the course of the semester, students will compose at least 20 pages of written material (excluding drafts), including an initial explication, two essays, an annotated bibliography, and a final paper. The trajectory of the course is structured to gradually lessen the constraints on the topic/texts for the assignment, so that by the final paper you will have the freedom to write about a particular poetic interest that you have developed over the semester.
Literature, Gender, and Sexuality
MWF 11:40 to 12:30 Jewell
This course focuses on how writers engage with the complex subjects of gender and sexuality in their works. We will read works by novelists, short story writers, playwrights, and poets, focusing on gender’s multiple intersections with sexual identity, race, social class, and abilities. Throughout the course, we will keep in mind the following questions: What techniques do writers use to engage with the issues of gender identity and sexuality in their works? How do writers protest against — or participate in — the reproduction of gender ideologies? How might literary works provide unique spaces of resistance for reimagining gender roles and identities? How is literary authorship itself gendered and how might authors employ innovative strategies to write beyond binary roles? Students will complete five critical responses, write a midterm essay, and complete multimedia final projects accompanied by a critical essay, and a final short reflection paper to be included in the Experience Portfolio. Recommended preparation: Passing grade in an Academic Inquiry Seminar or a SAGES First Seminar.
Offered as ENGL 286 and WGST 286. Fulfills UGER Communication-Intensive Course Requirement.
Hamlet: A Prince through Centuries
TTh 4:00 to 5:15 Orlock
The seminar – through a combination of close reading, critical analysis, and research inquiry – will address such questions as:
• What makes Hamlet – a play over four hundred years old – the enduring drama that it is? How does the audience’s view of the play change in various historical/ cultural milieus?
• How does Shakespeare relate the struggles & interpersonal dynamics of a royal family to events of international importance and national identity?
• How did Shakespeare alter the text of Hamlet as it continued to be performed at The Globe and other theaters?
We’ll also look at how specific productions have interpreted the text across the centuries, and how critics; scholars; film directors – have viewed the prince, his family, his romance, his friends, the political world that engulfs him, and his death.
In short, we’ll consider Hamlet not only as a literary text but also as a vital dramatic script, one crafted with language and theatrical action to challenge and thrill a socially and economically diverse audience. To this end – in addition to extensive reading – the course will critically examine several film adaptations of Shakespeare’s work.
TTh 1:00 to 2:15 Demeter
This course offers introductory analysis of modern English from various theoretical perspectives (e.g., structural, sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic, and cognitive linguistic). In particular, the course provides an introduction to theoretical concepts and methods of linguistics, such as morphology, phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and dialects, as well as writing systems and the nature and form of grammar. It is designed for any student with interest in language or its use; no prior linguistic background is assumed. This course provides humanities and social science students with training in the description and explanation of important technical aspects of language. This course also provides students of communication disorders with a basic foundation in language science, crucial information to understanding language acquisition.
Literature after 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 during 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. Requirements include short quizzes, several short papers, a presentation, and maintenance of a commonplace book. No exams.
Intermediate Fiction Workshop
TTh 4:00 to 5:15 p.m. Rager
Students will read fiction in a variety of forms – from flash fiction to the maximalist novel, from 19th-century literary realism to contemporary genre fiction – with a focus on craft, analyzing how writers achieve the various literary effects that animate their works. In other words, we’ll figure out how writers do what they do: we’ll analyze how authors build compelling characters, use perspective, develop thematic depth throughout a text, and play with structure to challenge – and effectively break – the rules of how fiction is “supposed” to work.
Students will then apply those lessons to their own fiction, using active revision and peer review workshops to develop and expand their abilities as fiction writers. Additionally, we will consider fiction writing in a transmedia context, discussing how what makes for effective writing shifts across media, from print fiction, to film, to video games, and more.
Intermediate Poetry Workshop
MWF TBA Schaer
Continues developing the concepts and practice of the introductory courses, with emphasis on experiment and revision as well as consideration of poetic genres through examples from established poets. Maximum 6 credits. Offered as ENGL 304 and ENGL 304C. Prereq: ENGL 203 or ENGL 214.
TTh 7:00 to 8:15 Polverine
Develop concepts and practices in this specialized area of journalism. This will be a multimedia reporting course where social media, print, and video journalism techniques will be the focus. Fact-checking, breaking sports news, engagement, and analysis will also be emphasized. The class will take one field trip to a Cleveland Guardians game at the end of the semester to work in real-time as a sports journalist. This will be a fast-paced, spirited class.
Science and Magic
TTth 10:00 to 11:15 Vinter
Today, we conceive of magic and science as completely separate practices, but 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 produced widespread 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 Canvas, two 5-7 page papers and a final project. This class is a communication intensive course and also fulfills pre-1800 distribution requirement for the English major.
Students registering for ENGL 320C—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 320. All other reading and class participation requirements will be identical for 320 and 320C. Completion of the major’s pre-1800 requirement is a prerequisite for 320C.
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.
Studies in the Nineteenth Century
The Romantic Movement
MW 12:45 to 2:00 Clune
Romanticism is “the addition of strangeness to beauty.” Two centuries ago, the writers, painters, and philosophers of the Romantic movement transformed the culture of the West. They shattered classical decorum and restraint, opening art to dreams, drugs, and unbounded desire. Major works of Romantic literature and art will help us think through basic questions in surprising ways. What can we know about death? Why is social life so boring? What do we want from art? Why do we love nature? Is Romantic love suicidal?
Through class discussion and several papers students will develop a robust understanding of the Romantic movement and its signature obsessions. We will critically explore the fundamental Romantic wager: that literature and art can make us see familiar things—love, death, work—with new eyes. We will test the insights that emerge from Romantic renewal, as well as illuminate its pitfalls.
Topics in LGBTQ Studies
Transgender Minor Literatures
TTh 4:00 to 5:15 Hammes
This course examines the growing body of transgender fiction in the US and Canada, as well as the variety of related critical work and the potential and pitfalls of a “trans studies.” The sheer generic and topical variety of this trans lit is not in itself surprising, but perhaps what is absent from or common to these novels is. We will read pre-Victorian/Modernist trans masc pastiche, a masterclass in 90s American queer culture and gender fungibility, fantastic transwomen bashing back, and an Edwardian novel of manners set in the queer undercommons of Chicago and London, just as a few examples. Supporting criticism and theory will include some of the foremost queer and trans thinkers of the century so far: Feinberg, Halberstam, Stryker, Muñoz, among others. This course aims to expose students to some of the breadth and texture of sparkling trans literature, while considering how the novel as a form is and is not suited to express, problematize, and question transgender subject positions in this country and our neighbor to the North. In service of this goal, the course will be a rare opportunity to consider transgender literature across both genres and forms.
African American Dramatists
TTh 5:30 to 6:45 Orlock
The seminar will explore selected works of contemporary African American dramatists August Wilson (1945 – 2005), and Suzan-Lori Parks (1963 – ), and also consider how the plays of Arthur Miller (1915 – 2005) influenced their work. Although each dramatist comes from a different generation than the others, their plays pull into focus the complex impact of income inequality and race upon individuals, families, and views of the American Dream.
In addition, we’ll discuss methods – both intellectual and emotional – for exploring how the worlds and words of these three Pulitzer Prize –winning playwrights help us consider – and guide us to apply – a personal sense of order and value to the social, political, and economic conflicts that surround us. Excerpts from video productions of the plays will supplement seminar texts and discussion.
Introduction to Film
TTh 1:00 to 2:15 Spadoni
An introduction to the art of film. Each week we’ll take an aspect of film form (editing, cinematography, sound, and so on) and ask how filmmakers work with it to produce effects. Most weeks, students will watch a film on their own that we’ll discuss in light of the week’s focus. Films will include masterworks of the silent era, foreign films, Hollywood studio-era classics, and more recent films.
Undergrads (ENGL 367) take a scheduled quiz, occasional unscheduled ones, and a midterm and final exam, and they write two essays (5-6 and 8-10 pages). Grad students (ENGL 467) satisfy the same requirements, but their final essay is an extended research project, in connection with which they submit a partial draft and other related assignments.
Engl 367 has no prerequisites and welcomes first-year students.
Topics in Film
TTh 10:00 to 11:15 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 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.
Undergrads registered for ENGL 368 write two essays (5-6 and 8-10 pages), take part in a group presentation, and take occasional quizzes (lowest is dropped). Capstone (Engl 368C) and Grad students (ENGL 467) satisfy the same requirements as ENGL 368 students, but their final essay is an extended research project, in connection with which they submit a partial draft and other related documents.
Engl 368 has no prerequisites and welcomes first year students. Grad and capstone students are advised to contact the instructor before registering.
American Women’s Poetry
TTh 2:30 to 3:45 Jewell
This course surveys American women’s poetry from the seventeenth century to the present. We will read a range of poetry illustrating the roles of women poets in the development of the nation’s literary, cultural, and social history. We will pay close attention to how women poets use traditional and innovative poetic forms to represent lived experiences and to engage the political realities of their varying historical moments Offered as ENGL 373, ENGL 473, and WGST 374. Prereq: ENGL 150 or passing letter grade in a 100 level first year seminar in FSCC, FSNA, FSSO, FSSY, FSTS, or FSCS.
Modernism and Money
MW 5:30 to 6:45 Jewell
This course examines the ways in which American Modernist writers engage with capitalism in their works. We will begin by reading earlier pre-Modernist writers (Realist, Social Realist) coming to terms with Gilded Age excess and conspicuous consumption, taking local Cleveland contexts into account. We will then focus on how more formally-experimental, or High Modern, writers represent the realities of the rapidly transforming economy and the dramatic rise of consumerism. Literary and other authors include Veblen, Norris, London, Carnegie, Wharton, Stein, Larsen, West, Pound, and Dos Passos.
Requirements include active class participation, a close reading paper, an argumentative research paper, and a presentation. Prerequisites for ENGL 380: Successful completion of Academic Inquiry Seminar (AIQS) (or SAGES First Seminar); two Communication-Intensive (CI) courses (or two SAGES University Seminars); ENGL 300; ENGL 302; and ENGL 308.
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.
Nineteenth Century American Literature
W 4:30 to 7:00 Clune
We will explore this period through intensive analysis of six key writers, including Thoreau, Douglass, and Dickinson. Written work will consist of several short response papers, and two longer papers.