Illinois Wesleyan

Spring and May Term 2019 English and Journalism Course Descriptions:

 

ENGL 101.1:  Intro to Creative Writing    (AR, FYE)

M 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Brandi Reissenweber

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.

Prerequisite(s): To take this class, students must be part of the Creativity Scholars FYE program.

 

ENGL 101.2:  Intro to Creative Writing    (AR)

MFW 2:00-2:50

Joanne Diaz

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. 

Prerequisite(s): None

 

ENGL 101.3:  Intro to Creative Writing    (AR)

MWF 9:00-9:50

James Plath

The main goal of this course is for students to learn the characteristics and various techniques for four genres—creative nonfiction, poetry, fiction, and teleplays—and to write in each genre (four creative nonfiction essays, five poems, two short stories, one teleplay). Writers must be readers, and each week students will be expected to read and discuss a wide body of literature, including handouts as well as assignments in the course textbook.  Obviously, an entire course could be devoted to each genre, and so this introduction will necessarily seem like a “sampler.” But another goal of this course is to help students discover which of the genres they gravitate towards.

Prerequisite(s): None

 

ENGL 101.4:  Intro to Creative Writing    (AR)

MF 11:00-12:15

Colleen Abel

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.

Prerequisite(s): None

 

ENGL 101.5:  Intro to Creative Writing    (AR)

TTh 8-9:15

Kathleen Zurkowski

Compose an ode to your goldfish. Tell a story from the perspective of a liar. Improvise a sketch comedy that might make grandma blush. Cut up words from a newspaper and rearrange them into a poem. News flash: you don’t need a special gene to be creative. All you need is to develop your sense of play. This course involves in-class games and exercises that push us out of the ruts in our minds. Students will collaborate with each other in class to generate material and evaluate new work. They will learn how to make their initial efforts even better—more moving, more suspenseful, more hilarious—through thoughtful revision. Finally, through careful reading, students will learn from the experts, imitating the style of writers who keep them turning the pages at three a.m.

Prerequisite(s): None

 

ENGL 120:  Women in Literature    (LIT)

TTh 10:50-12:05

Diana Jaher

Taking as our starting point Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, our course examines select twentieth- and twenty-first century American and British women writers, with an emphasis on cultural diversity. We will read novels, auto-biographies, graphic novels, plays, short stories, and poems, as well as view films. Among the questions we will ask are: What do we mean by women's literature? How has it been influenced by changing societal norms? How might gender and feminist theories be used as categories of textual analysis? And how have women used different textual genres to express their subjectivity? Offered occasionally. Also course also qualifies for Women and Genders Studies credit.

Prerequisite(s): None

 

ENGL 120:  Women and Literature    (LIT)

TTh 1:15-2:25

Diana Jaher

Taking as our starting point Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, our course examines select twentieth- and twenty-first century American and British women writers, with an emphasis on cultural diversity. We will read novels, auto-biographies, graphic novels, plays, short stories, and poems, as well as view films. Among the questions we will ask are: What do we mean by women's literature? How has it been influenced by changing societal norms? How might gender and feminist theories be used as categories of textual analysis? And how have women used different textual genres to express their subjectivity?  Offered occasionally. Also course also qualifies for Women and Genders Studies credit.

Prerequisite(s): None

 

ENGL 132:  Illness Narratives    (LIT)

MWF 8:00-8:50

Joanne Diaz

In this course, we will examine the techniques that writers and filmmakers use to explore the emotional and ethical complexities of illness and recovery. This course asks: how do writers use such literary concepts as genre, shifts in time and perspective, subtext, and imagery to negotiate philosophical, ethical, and political questions about the body? What does the study of illness and recovery in these texts tell us about the culture in which they were produced? We will examine literature and film in a range of styles and genres, including fiction by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sandra Cisneros, and Akhil Sharma; poems by Raphael Campo, Lucille Clifton, and Sharon Olds; essays by Audre Lorde, Atul Gawande, and Grace Talusan; and films, including Wit and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Students will write two papers, take a midterm and final exam, and participate in regular in-class discussions of the assigned texts.   Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): None

 

ENGL 170 :  True Crime    (LIT)

MWF 10-10:50

Colleen Abel

Calling all murderinos! From the podcast My Favorite Murder to the Netflix documentary Making of a Murderer, we’re obsessed with true crime. Even as violent crime statistics have continued to decline in the United States over the past twenty years, our consumption of crime stories has only increased. This class will explore the true crime genre through literature, film, podcasts and music to uncover what our obsession with crime says about our cultural fears and anxieties. Is it ethical to treat real crimes as entertainment? How do artists transform the facts of violence into art? What can looking at true crime tell us about our justice system? How do issues of race, gender, geography, class, and sexual orientation factor in? In addition to textual analysis and class discussions, this class will also give students the opportunity to create their own true crime podcast.

Prerequisite(s): None

 

ENGL 202:  Writing Poetry   

MW 2:00-3:15

Michael Theune

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(s): Gateway Colloquium.

 

ENGL 206:  Creative Non-Fiction    (W)

TTh 10:50-12:05

Brandi Reissenweber

Workshop in reading and writing creative non-fiction while focusing on fundamentals, including situating experience, finding the right form, and developing a personal voice. Students will compete essays and develop a portfolio. 

Prerequisite(s): Gateway Colloquium 100. 

 

ENGL 254:  Web of American Poetry    (LIT, W)

MWF 1:00-1:50

Wes Chapman

The Web of American Poetry is founded on a central working assumption: poems take much of their meaning from the many contexts into which they can be placed. Poems allude to or borrow styles, techniques or ideas from previous works; they rebel against earlier poetic traditions; they aspire to emulate other arts, such as painting or music; they converse with history, politics and religion. Learning to interpret American poetry, then, is in large part a matter of recognizing the strands of meaning that connect particular poems in a web of meanings, and of seeing a particular poem against the backdrop of American poetry as a whole and its social and historical contexts. In this course, we will trace some of these strands of meaning in American poetry from the Puritan era to the second half of the 20th C.

Prerequisite(s): Gateway Colloquium 100. 

 

ENGL 255:  Hip-Hop: A Literary Study    (LIT, W, U)

TTh 2:35- 3:50

Molly Robey

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(s): Gateway Colloquium 100. 

 

ENGL 257:  Promised Land (Cross listed with HIST 257)    (CHC, U)

M F 11:00-12:15

Molly Robey

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(s): Gateway Colloquium 100. 

 

ENGL 280:  Understanding Literature    (W)

MWF 3:00-3:50

Wes Chapman

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(s): Gateway Colloquium.

 

ENGL 301:  Creative Writing—Stand-Up Poetry    (AR)

TTh 9:25-10:40

Michael Theune

This course will introduce you to and invite you engage the art and practice of stand-up poetry, poetry that, according to Charles Harper Webb (who coined the term), is humorous, performable, and clear, and that contains flights of fancy, emerges from a strong individual voice, and packs emotional punch. We will learn comedic techniques, and apply them to writing bold, new, risky, and rambunctious poems.

Prerequisites: ENGL 202 or consent of the instructor. This course may be waived by the instructor based on evaluation of student’s portfolio.  Priority enrollment given to writing concentration when necessary.

 

ENGL 301:  Seminar in Creative--Interrelated Short Stories    (AR)

MW 2:00-3:15

Brandi Reissenweber

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 or consent of the instructor. This course may be waived by the instructor based on evaluation of student’s portfolio.  Priority enrollment given to writing concentration when necessary.

 

ENGL 343:  Restoration and 18th Century    (LIT)

TTh  2:35-3:50

Wes Chapman

Focus on British authors between 1660-1789. Considers issues prominent in this long century such as wit, neoclassicism, the role of women, reason (and the limits thereof), and the rise of print culture.  Examines multiple genres, with a special emphasis on satire.  

Prerequisites: Gateway Colloquium; 1 course from ENGL 109-170 or 220-259, plus 280.

 

ENGL 354:  American Literature Since 1945: Native American Literature    (AMSB, LIT, U)

MF 11-12:15

James Plath

Since N. Scott Momaday’s  House Made of Dawn was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1968, interest in writing by Native Americans has soared. In this class, we will read a number of texts, including Momaday’s The Way To Rainy Mountain, James Welch’s Winter in the Blood, Louise Erdrich’s Tracks, and possibly the brand-new highly praised novel There There, by Tommy Orange. This is a multi-genre course, and we’ll watch at least one film and explore selected theoretical essays, poetry, and prose from Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native American Literature. In the process, we’ll try to come to a greater understanding of the ways in which Native Americans see the world, and consider to what degree postcolonial theory might be applied. 

Prerequisites: Gateway Colloquium; 1 course from ENGL 109-170 or 220-259, plus 280.

 

ENGL 480:  Senior Seminar    (W)

TTh 10:50-12:05

Molly Robey

What does literary study look like in 2018? How is it shaped by our educational, economic, environmental, and political contexts? As you near the end of your experience as an English major, what will literature mean for you as a professional, a citizen, and, a human? This course will immerse students in current scholarly conversations about the state of literary studies and acquaint students with innovative approaches to the study of literature, including digital humanities and service learning work. Most importantly, students will design and develop substantial individual projects in the course that will serve as their capstone experience in the English major. 

Prerequisites: Majors and minors with junior or senior standing and prior completion of at least 2 ENGL 300- or 400-level courses in literature.

 

JOUR 212:  Editorial Writing & Reviewing    (W)

TTh 1:10-2:25

James Plath

Editorial Writing & Reviewing gives students--would-be journalists or not--practice and perspectives in Ed-Op writing, from the most basic form (letters to the editor) to more expanded and sophisticated versions (editorials and columns), including logic, research, and persuasion techniques.  Students will also learn how to write effective reviews, including film, performance, book, and restaurant reviews. In addition, the course will hopefully sensitize students to the amount of Ed-Op material that passes for news on television and in print, help them evaluate the quality of opinions and arguments, and enable them to construct better arguments themselves. 2) To challenge students to think critically and creatively, and to write often and under deadline. 3) To give students the opportunity to evaluate each others' work, for "real."

Prerequisite(s): JOUR 211 or consent of instructor.

 

May Term 2019 Journalism Course Descriptions:

 

JOUR 213: New Media
M-F 9-12
Jack Brighton

The emergence of digital technology and the internet has fundamentally changed the way we create, access, organize, and share information, and affected our lives in ways we don’t yet fully recognize. Our media, politics, economy, career options, relationships, and personal privacy have been transformed by the “digital shift” that began with the first transistor and continues to accelerate. This course will cover topics essential to understanding the “digital first” world, including the operation of the Internet, web design, digital audio and video creation, online publishing, social networks, digital advertising and analytics, privacy, and security. It is intended as a first course in digital media for students interested in both the practical skills and the critical intellectual foundations relevant to the Internet and new media.