Spring 2018 English Course Description

 

ENGL 101: Intro to Creative Writing
(AR)
Brandi Reissenweber
TTh 9:25-10:40

Examines theory and practice of writing creatively. Reading combined with practice in the basic processes of and strategies for writing fiction, poetry, or drama. Offered annually.

 

ENGL 101: Intro To Creative Writing
(AR)
Joanne Diaz
TTh 1:10-2:25

In this course, we will focus on how writers use the generic structures of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction to explore human experiences in imaginative ways. Through our careful reading of published poetry and prose, discussion on the craft of writing, and weekly workshops of your writing, this course will introduce questions that any writer of prose or poetry must address: How do writers transform complex emotional and intellectual experiences into art? What are the different formal demands of poetry and prose? How do music and metaphor work together to make a poem? How does character determine the conflict in a short story? How do we understand what’s “real” or “true” in creative nonfiction? We will also consider the crucial importance of revision in the creative process, and how challenging and satisfying that process can be. 

 

ENGL 110: Short Story
(LIT)
Kathleen O’Gorman
MWF 9:00-9:50

With an emphasis on modern and contemporary texts, we will study short stories to see what they suggest about the genre.  In considering the traditional elements of fiction—plot, character, setting, point of view, thematic concerns—we will look at how those elements can propose and/or subvert meaning. We will consider, too, the limits of the short story: what it can and cannot accomplish. We will consider the kinds of fictions we offer ourselves and one another and try to discover what that says about us all.

 

ENGL 110: The Short Story
(LIT)
Jim Plath
MWF 10:00-10:50

Examines short stories for a variety of traditions. Considers the conventional elements of fiction—plot, character, setting, point of view, thematic concerns—and examines how those elements can propose and/or subvert meaning. Considers, too, the limits of the short story: what it can and cannot accomplish. Offered annually.

 

ENGL 115: Science Fiction
(LIT)
Gerald Chapman
MWF 2:00-2:50

Science fiction has long suffered from a reputation as escapist fare unworthy of consideration as serious literature. One reason for this may be that, by definition, science fiction represents that which does not (or does not yet) exist. In this course, we will consider how science fiction uses “that which does not exist”—imagined futures, alternate histories, alien cultures, utopias and dystopias, etc.—to grapple with genuine historical, social and philosophical concerns.

 

ENGL 123: Bad Girls
(LIT)
Alison Sainsbury
MWF 1:00-1:50

This course counts for the English minor and major, and for the Women’s and Gender Studies minor and major; it also receives credit for general education in literature.

What makes a girl good?  What makes a good girl go bad?  Can a bad girl make good?  We’ll read (mostly) contemporary literature by women that challenges conventions and remakes conventional stories to accommodate the unconventional desires and aspirations of bad girls. 

Work for the course will include reading quizzes, informal writings, two projects (with accompanying narratives), a recitation (memorizing lines from a play), and an essay (analytical or creative option).  

 

ENGL 123: Bad Girls
(LIT)
Alison Sainsbury
MWF 3:00-3:50

This course counts for the English minor and major, and for the Women’s and Gender Studies minor and major; it also receives credit for general education in literature.

What makes a girl good?  What makes a good girl go bad?  Can a bad girl make good?  We’ll read (mostly) contemporary literature by women that challenges conventions and remakes conventional stories to accommodate the unconventional desires and aspirations of bad girls. 

Work for the course will include reading quizzes, informal writings, two projects (with accompanying narratives), a recitation (memorizing lines from a play), and an essay (analytical or creative option).  

 

ENGL 134: I, Anxious
(LIT)
Dan Terkla
MWF 10:00-10:50

A comparative examination of texts that present the search for self-knowledge and enlightenment.  Our focus will be on the tension and anxiety inherent in the process of self-discovery, on the dialogues between self and other that incite clashes between self-perception and customary reality.

Possible readings: The Awakening; The Dharma Bums; Frankenstein; Grendel; Heart of Darkness; Inferno; Lancelot, or the Knight of the Cart; The Metamorphosis; The Road; Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

 

ENGL 139: Freaks!
(LIT)
Molly Robey
MWF 9:00-9:50

“Freaks,” or human oddities were commonly placed on display for the ‘amusement’ and ‘education’ of paying customers in the nineteenth and early twentieth-century United States. At freakshows, spectators could survey individuals with tattoos or extremely long hair, women in pants, midgets, fat ladies, and “wild men” (people of color dressed up as “primitive savages”). What should be clear from this list is that what marks someone as a “freak” changes depending on the historical moment and setting. Freaks serve to define the politics of the normal. In this course, we will explore the representation of physical, mental, and social freakishness in fiction and film, thinking about how freaks define and challenge the boundaries between normalcy and deviance. We will focus on such issues as belonging and alienation, race, gender, and the performance of identity.  

 

ENGL 201: Writing Fiction
Brandi Reissenweber
TTh 10:50-12:05

Workshop in reading and writing fiction.  The course will focus on the principles and techniques used by accomplished writers in their stories as well as on key elements of the story form.  Students will complete stories and develop a portfolio.   Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium

 

ENGL 202: Writing Poetry
Mike Theune
MWF 1:00-1:50

Workshop in reading and writing poetry while focusing on primary techniques and fundamental elements used in writing poetry, both formal and free verse. Students will complete a series of poems and develop a portfolio. Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium. Offered annually. 

 

ENGL 206: Creative Non-Fiction
(W)
Alison Sainsbury
TTh 10:50-12:05

Creative Nonfiction weds narratives taken from life to the elements of fine writing more often associated with fiction and poetry. This course, a workshop in reading and writing creative nonfiction, will focus on fundamental aspects of the form—persona, voice, contextualizing personal experience, the role and nature of memory—as well as experimentation with narrative structure.  Class time will be spent discussing readings, writing (exercise, drafts, revision, assessments), and in workshops on drafts of your essays.  Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium

 

ENGL 232: British Drama
(LIT)
Kathleen O’Gorman
TTh 10:50-12:05

Post-World War II realities will provide the point of departure for this course, with the absurdists, represented by Samuel Beckett, and “kitchen-sink realists” such as John Osborne setting the issues in a theatrical context. We will proceed with the works of playwrights such as Joe Orton, Peter Shaffer, Pam Gems, Caryl Churchill, Tom Stoppard, Michael Frayn, Brian Friel and Anne Devlin—quite independent voices in the staging of social and political concerns of the last fifty years in Great Britain. Set in dramatic forms that at times defy easy apprehension, this body of work provides a strong foundation for understanding the staging of private and public issues in the contemporary theatrical world. Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium

 

ENGL 255: Hip-Hop: A Literary Study
(WI, LIT, U)
Molly Robey
MW 2:00-3:15

This course examines hip-hop, a set of cultural practices that includes rap, dance, and graffiti art. Studying hip-hop as literature, students analyze the poetics of rap, consider the sociopolitical significance of rap’s racial and gendered performances, and explore the influence of hip-hop on contemporary literary fiction.  Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium 

 

ENGL 257:  Promised Land
(CHC, U)
Molly Robey
April Schultz
MF 11:00-12:15

Between 1917 and 1970, more than six million African-Americans departed the rural U.S. South seeking asylum, economic opportunity, and equality in the urban North. This "Great Migration," as scholars call this collective movement, reconfigured the demographics, politics, and culture of both regions. This course will explore the Great Migration through two disciplinary lenses - cultural history and literature - in order to reimagine the twentieth century United States from an African-American perspective that decenters and denaturalizes whiteness as an unspoken condition in this historical construction of American identity. Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium

 

ENGL 258: On the Bus: The Beat Writers
(LIT)
Dan Terkla
TTh 9:25-10:50

In this course we’ll examine in some detail writers from the so-called Beat Generation, along with work by their Romantics precursors and Walt Whitman.  We’ll cover roughly four decades of turbulent literary history, from the late 1940s through the early 1970s.  As we dig through IWU’s Beat archives for treasures, argue about their poetry and prose, listen to them and the jazz that inspired them, and watch them on film, we’ll create a portrait of the age and discover why it was hip to be hip--or was that hep? Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium

 

ENGL 280: Understanding Literature
(W)
Gerald Chapman
MWF 10:00-10:50

Practice in interpretation of texts through discussion and written work; attention to strategies of writing about literature, to critical vocabulary, and to critical approaches in current use. Restricted to English majors and minors only.  Prerequisite: Gateway Colloquium.

 

ENGL 301: Seminar in Creative Writing: Interrelated Short Stories
(AR)
Brandi Reissenweber
MW 2:00-3:15

In this course, we will examine story sequences and novels-in-stories—structures that use carefully connected short stories to create compelling narrative progression. Such structures can be enticing and challenging. Individual stories must stand alone and also contribute to a larger forward momentum. Often, as Michael Chabon notes, “the interest lies in what happens in the interstices.” Students will engage in a sustained, on-line role play exercise, and use that experience to collaboratively create a collection of very short stories, which will become our text to better understand the dynamic nature of interrelation. Students will then plan, draft, and revise their own collection of interrelated stories. Prerequisites: ENGL 201 (if fiction), 202 (if poetry), 206 (if nonfiction), or consent of instructor. These courses may be waived by the instructor based on evaluation of student’s portfolio. Priority enrollment given to writing concentration majors when necessary.

 

ENGL 301: Seminar in Creative Writing: Poetry
(AR)
Mike Theune
MF 11:00-12:15

Ekphrastic poetry is poetry that employs the visual arts as its subject matter and/or inspiration. The relationship between poetry and the visual arts is longstanding, and it remains potentially very powerful; poet Wallace Stevens refers to the “migratory passings to and fro, quickenings, Promethean liberations and discoveries” which the arts’ interactions create. In this class, we’ll use the visual arts to make vital, new discoveries in the verbal art of poetry.    Prerequisites: ENGL 201 (if fiction), 202 (if poetry), 206 (if nonfiction), or consent of instructor. These courses may be waived by the instructor based on evaluation of student’s portfolio. Priority enrollment given to writing concentration majors when necessary.

 

ENGL 315: Seminar in Public Relations
Jim Plath
MWF 9:00-9:50

This course is intended to give students background, theory, and practice in the field of public relations, with frequent guest lectures by working professionals on such topics as research, planning, policy statements, media relations, employee relations, and consumer relations. During the semester we will use chapters from the book as a starting point for our discussions and problem-solving exercises, and, in the spirit of both the "team" concept that often drives public relations management and also the "seminar" in academia, this course will operate as a true seminar. For a final project, students must create an inventive and viable plan for a real local organization. Prerequisites: ENGL 211 or ENGL 212

 

ENGL 356: Modernism
(LIT)
Gerald Chapman
TTh 2:35-3:50

"In or about December 1910," Virginia Woolf wrote, "human character changed." This belief that a sweeping transformation was taking place in the world was characteristic of modernism, often accompanied by attempts to reinvent art in order to represent better the upheavals and complexities of modernity. In this course, we will study a number of texts from the modernist era (roughly, the period from the beginning of WWI until the beginning of WWII) in order to understand this sense of urgent change. We will limit our survey of modernism to British and American literary texts (although modernism was an international movement in all of the arts). Prerequisites:Gateway Colloquium; 1 course from ENLG 109-170 or 220-259, plus 280.

 

ENGL 363: Avant-Garde Fiction
(LIT)
Kathleen O’Gorman
TTh 9:25-10:40

In this course we will study experimental fiction in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with particular emphasis on concerns of style and structure.  We will read texts that call into question the limits of representation and of genre, even as they make representational gestures within what seem to be standard genres (the short story and the novel). We will examine whether these fictional experiments represent an escape from the world or involve a different and perhaps more engaged response to post-World War II realities.  We will study texts by writers who are American (Maso, Danielewski), Italian (Calvino), Irish (Beckett), Mexican (Fuentes), Argentinean (Cortázar), and Czech (Kundera). Other writers may be substituted, depending on availability of texts. Prerequisites:  Gateway Colloquium; plus 1 course from ENGL 109-170 or ENGL 220-259; plus 280. English 280 can be waived with the permission of the instructor.   

 

ENGL 391: Chaucer
(LIT)
Dan Terkla
TTh 1:10-2:25

This is a rigorous study of Chaucer's works in their cultural and biographical contexts. We'll spend most of our time on The Canterbury Tales, although we might look to other Chaucerian texts.  We'll read the Tales from a variety of perspectives, as we discuss their tellers'—and perhaps Chaucer's—views on literature, textual authority, feudal hierarchies, women, the Church, the market economy, the effectiveness of kingship, and life on the road.  And, of course, you'll have the opportunity to learn about The Great Vowel Shift. All of our primary readings—silent and aloud—will be in Middle English. Prerequisites: Gateway Colloquium; 1 course from 109-170 or 220-259, plus 280. 280 can be waived with the consent of the instructor.

 

ENGL 480: Senior Seminar: Forms of Desire
(W)
Joanne Diaz
TTh 10:50-12:05  

This course is a laboratory in which we do things with literature. We will not simply reflect on the plots, symbols, and narratives of the texts we read, but will instead put our literary texts into action. We will read a range of literary works as well as essays that imaginatively analyze, critique, and advocate for literature and literary study (our critical readings will include essays by Elaine Scarry, Martha Nussbaum, and Jerome McGann, among others). By the end of the semester, students will create signature work that is uniquely their own, whether it be a traditional full-length senior seminar paper or a project that is more interactive and suitable for presentation at the John Wesley Powell Undergraduate Research Conference in April. We will learn methods for creating such a project over the course of the semester.

 

FA 110: Film Aesthetics
(AR)
James Plath
TTh 1:10-2:25

Film is an art form, a cultural indicator, and a shaper of culture. The goal of this class is to acquaint students with the aesthetics and language of film, en route to their developing an appreciation for the medium along with being able to critically evaluate and write about films. Cinema is a huge field, and it is impossible to cover world cinema, or even every aspect of American filmmaking. Nonetheless, this introductory course will attempt to cover classic films, popular films, and indie films in order to give students a broad range of aesthetic tastes. The adult subject matter and profanity in several films we view may be offensive to some students, but that's the nature of cinema. Discussions will also be frank. If that makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you should find a different Gen Ed course.