200-Level Courses

Course Descriptions (as of 22 March 2004)
The following course descriptions have been written by individual instructors to provide more detailed information on specific section sthan that found in the General Catalog.  When individual descriptions are not available, the General Catalog descriptions [in brackets] are used. (Although we try to have as accurate and complete information as possible, this schedule remains subject to change.)

Add Codes
Registration in 200-level English classes is entirely through MyUW.  Instructors will have add codes beginning the first day of classes for overloads only.  If the instructor chooses not to give overloads, the only way students can enroll in a 200-level English class during the first week will be through MyUW if space is available.

First Week Attendance
Because of heavy demand for many English classes, students who do not attend all reguarly-scheduled meetings during the first week of the quarter may be dropped from their classes by the department. If students are unable to attend at any point during the first week, they should contact their instructors ahead of time. The Department requests that instructors make reasonable accommodations for students with legitimate reasons for being absent; HOWEVER, THE FINAL DECISION RESTS WITH THE INSTRUCTOR AND SPACE IS NOT GUARANTEED FOR ABSENT STUDENTS EVEN IF THEY CONTACT THE INSTRUCTOR IN ADVANCE. (Instructors' phone numbers and e-mail addresses can be obtained by calling the Main English Office, (206) 543-2690 or the Undergraduate Advising Office, (206) 543-2634.)

200 A (Reading Literature)

Dy 8:30



This course provides an introduction to reading and interpreting literature through the study of writing about the American (U.S.) West. The aims of this course fall under three headings: to read literature closely in order to produce thoughtful and engaging arguments, to explore a variety of critical approaches available to readers, and to study cultural artifacts, such as film and art, that provide context for the literature. Our work toward these goals will center on several critical questions about the course topic. Which strategies and themes are prominent in writing about the West? Which visions for individual, regional, cultural, and even national, identities are thereby expressed? How do these visions impact our understanding of larger social and political issues? Primary readings will include novels and short stories from the work of: Jack London, Willa Cather, Cormac McCarthy, Sui Sin Far, Sherman Alexie, Gary Pak, Norman Maclean, and Pam Houston. Secondary readings from a collection of literary criticism and theory will expand our initial responses to the fiction. Daily work in the course will be based on group discussion. Course requirements include active participation, short critical response papers, a group presentation, mid-term exam, and final paper. Texts: McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses; Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven; Maclean, A River Runs Through It; Bressler, Literary Criticism: An Introduciton to Theory and Practice, 3rd. ed.

200 B (Reading Literature)

Dy 11:30



By Accident Most Strange. Given the recent popularity of film depictions of piracy, shipwreck, quest and the fantastic, here is a course in which the sea and adventurers feature prominently. We will read six fabulous books from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century; ports of call for the course will also include a few short stories and poems. As an introductory course in reading literature, we will examine a range of features of literary texts, including plot development, structure, setting, point of view, characterization, language choice, imagery, dialogue, etc. A good deal of thought will be given the ever present, ever changing sea. We will consider the notion of adventure itself; how intention, hazard and happenstance figure in the world of the traveler, as well as the manner in which tales of adventure may influence and reflect our own real life experiences. From treasure hunters and pirates to a boy adrift with a tiger, from the solo flight of a woman across the Atlantic to a single father building a new life by the sea, from strange visitors to the visiting of strangers, we will encounter characters that resonate with the desire for exploration, survival, discovery and understanding. This is good stuff; as Caliban says, “Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises.” Coursework will include a demanding reading schedule, participation in discussions, a group presentation, several shorter written assignments and/or quizzes, and a longer final essay. Texts: Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Robert Lewis Stevenson, Treasure Island; Beryl Markham, West With the Night; Annie Proulx, The Shipping News; Keri Hulme, The Bone People; Yann Martel, Life of Pi; photocopied course packet.

200 C (Reading Literature)

Dy 12:30



Abroad: American Writers in Europe. In this course we will study the literature that comes of “sailing for Paris.” In other words, what happens when American writers go to Europe? Why do they go? What do they write about? We will consider the meaning of travel, while also considering how the subject constructs his or her present location, as well as the place left behind. The texts for the course will be broad-ranging, including autobiographical writing, travel narratives, novels, short stories, film and documentaries, poetry, art and photographs, the guidebook (both real and imagined), and critical and historical sources. Texts will mainly focus on the American fascination with France and Italy, and will range from the late 19th-century to the current day. Via these texts we will consider the function of traveling artifacts such as maps, souvenirs, snapshots, postcards, and journals. We will attempt to define and analyze the differing roles of the tourist, the expatriate, the exile, and the émigré. We will consider themes of solitude, memory, landscape, the city, community, café life, class, race, and gender. We will consider not only how Western Europe is constructed via the narratives we read, but also how America is constructed in absentia. Above all, we will keep this question uppermost in our discussions: why travel? Work will likely include several response papers, midterm, final exam, and final essay. Texts: Henry James, Daisy Miller, Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast; James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room; Muller & Williams, Ways In: Approaches to Reading and Writing about Literature and Film; photocopied course packet.

200 D (Reading Literature)

Dy 1:30



Rhetorical Constructions of the Composing Self: Conceptions of Identity and Experience Within Chicana/o Narratives. This course will examine Chicana/o narratives for their conceptions of identity and experience and analyze the ways that textual practices within these narratives rhetorically construct the composing self. We will be looking at ways of dialectically engaging such narratives with current theoretical notions of experience that circulate within post-nationalist American Studies, Ethnic American Studies and Composition Studies. Thus, while we will be engaging various primary narrative Chicana/o texts (recently-arrived immigrant newspapers, non/fiction stories, virtual community postings), we will also be challenging our opinions and presumptions about the narratives with theoretical writings that ask us to interrogate conceptions of identity that circulate within various academic fields. In doing so, we will examine the way that Chicana/o cultural production interrogates established theoretical frames (postpositivist, alterity, post-nationalist, etc.) and informs those frames through its dialectical relationship with audience, the ideas of the borderland and the nation (both Mexico and the U.S.), and rhetorical constructions of the self. The idea of “reading literature” (as is the generic label of this 200-level ENGL course), then, not only encompasses an array of types of literature but also theoretical and disciplinary readings that explore perspectives regarding ways of reading and interpreting literature. In addition to the required texts, your thick course pack will include the above-mentioned types of narratives along with scholarly writings that boy analyze various theories of identity and experience and ground such an examination in material terms through a historicization of the Chicana/o experience. Be prepared to write a good amount (as the “W” implies) and grapple with complex ideas within this challenging body of writing. Texts: Augenbraum & Olmos, The Lation Reader: From 1542 to the Present; Rivera, y no se lo trago la tierra/and the earth did not devour him; Serros, How to be a Chicana Role Model; Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus; photocopied course packet.

207 A (Introduction to Cultural Studies)

Dy 1:30


Cultural Studies is a interdisciplinary field that incorporates elements of literary criticism, social theory, political philosophy, and economics in its approach to the study of cultural texts. Culture, in this context, is defined broadly, as including all forms of cultural practice and production, incorporating both "high" and "low" cultural forms. The theorization of various systems of domination and privilege (race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality) is integral to Cultural Studies, which understands culture as a site of struggle and as always imbricated in social relations of power.

This course is designed to provide students with a theoretical and historical overview of the field.

We will trace the trajectory of Cultural Studies from the Birmingham and Frankfurt Schools through the current explosion in Cultural Studies work in the US. The course will introduce students to key concepts including ideology, hegemony, articulation, and identity, and to the role of these terms in the discussions and debates which comprise this field. As students gain a familiarity with these discussions and debates, they will be asked to apply Cultural Studies methodologies to contemporary forms of popular culture. We will be particularly concerned with constructions of US national identity post 9/11. In the past two and half years we have seen a proliferation of texts and images representing "America," as well as historic levels of investment in these texts and images. This is a trend that is only likely to escalate as the presidential campaigns proceed. What different versions of the nation do these texts reflect? What is at stake in these often contradictory and competing versions of the nation? How do we position ourselves in relation to these texts? Students will be expected to grapple with these questions in the readings, in class discussion, in a midterm project, and in a final paper. Texts: John Storey, Cultural Studies and the Study of Popular Culture: Theories and Methods; Simon During, Cultural Studies Reader.

211 A (Medieval & Renaissance Literature)

Dy 1:30


Medieval Spirituality. This introductory medieval literature course is organized around the theme of medieval spirituality. We will examine texts that articulate a wide variety of forms of medieval spirituality; think about the ways in which these forms and practices shaped medieval society and institutions; and consider the ways in which these practices express and fulfill human needs. Are such needs universals? Where can we see these types of institutions, devotional beliefs, and practices still evident today? And why should we care? This is but one small window through which we can look far into the past of Western society, but one in which we can also see reflected ghosts of ourselves, if we care to look and read and think closely. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. (Meets with ENGL 211B which consists of 5 spaces for new transfer students.) Texts: Radice, tr., The Letters of Abelard and Heloise; Damrosch, ed., The Longman Anthology of British Literature; Vol. 1., Vol. 1A; Meisel & del Mastro, tr., The Rule of St. Benedict; photocopied course packet.

212 A (Literature of Enlightenment & Revolution)

Dy 9:30


In “The Study of Poetry” Matthew Arnold, renowned Victorian essayist and poet, observes: “We are often told that an era is opening in which we are to see multitudes of a common sort of readers, and masses of a common sort of literature.” Arnold expresses confidence that readers will move against this trend and continue to value great poetry, due to the “instinct of self-preservation in humanity.” Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope devotes a chapter of his Autobiography to “Novels and the Art of Writing Them,” wherein he remarks on the cultural “prejudice in respect to novels” and indicates that “poetry takes the highest place in literature.” In response to this trend, Trollope argues for the art of novel writing, pointing out the moral lessons that these works can teach their readers. This class places these essays by Trollope and Arnold in dialogue, using them as lenses for reading novels and poems from the Victorian era. Readings include The Warden, by Trollope, Shirley, by Charlotte Brontë, “Dover Beach” and other poems by Matthew Arnold, and “Goblin Market,” by Christina Rossetti. Recent critical articles about nineteenth-century publishing practices and the commodification of literature round out the course materials. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. (Meets with ENGL 211B which consists of 5 spaces for new transfer students.)

213 A (Modern & Postmodern Literature)

TTh 9:30-11:20


[Introduction to twentieth-century literature from a broadly cultural point of view, focusing on representative works that illustrate literary and intellectual developments since 1900.] Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space; Franz Kafka, The Trial; Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine; Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands: La Frontera; David Markson, This is Not a Novel.

213 B (Modern & Postmodern Literature)

MW 1:30-3:20


Shaping the Past in the Present: History, Identity, and the Quest for Origins. This course approaches “modernism” and “postmodernism” as formal and historical distinctions that are challenging, but enjoyable, to try to differentiate. Course texts involve characters who obsessively trace family genealogies, nostalgically uncover lost civilizations, or ironically juxtapose key events in U.S. history – always with an eye toward commenting on the present. We will ask what these literary quests for origins have to say about national and cultural identities, contemporary politics, and the desire to create order out of chaotic events. What kinds of origins do literary texts imagine? Why do people so frequently look backwards in order to move forwards? What kinds of stories do people tell about the past, and what can these stories tell us about the present? We will compare the form and content of novels, short stories, and poetry by a range of twentieth-century writers through investigating how literary texts from different historical moments invoke the past. With the goal of better understanding (if not necessarily clearly delineating) modern and postmodern literature, we will examine how (or whether) literary form, attitudes about history, and narrative deployments of past events to outline present-day concerns change over the course of the century. Course requirements: short response papers, midterm exam, group presentation, final paper. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. (Meets with ENGL 213C which consists of 5 spaces for new transfer students.) Texts: Willa Cather, The Professor’s House; William Faulkner, “The Bear” from Go Down, Moses; Gloria Naylor, Mama Day; Don DeLillo, Underworld; photocopied course packet (available at Ave. Copy).

213 D (Modern & Postmodern Literature)

TTh 1:30-3:20


Focusing on the concerns and particularities of US culture and history, this course will explore how the concepts of modernism (as well as modernity) and postmodernism are related through discussion of selected readings. We will read the five novels listed below, along with a few short stories. Class attendance is vital to success in this course, as is a commitment to improving close reading skills and writing about literary texts. Occasional written exercises, as well as two short papers (5-7 pages) required. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Willa Cather, My Antonia; James Weldon Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle; Toni Morrison, Sula.

225 A (Shakespeare)

TTh 11:30-1:20



[Survey of Shakespeare's career as dramatist. Study of representative comedies, tragedies, romances, and history plays.] Text: Evans, et al., eds., The Riverside Shakespeare.

228 A (English Literary Culture: to 1600)

TTh 9:30-11:20


What defines a saint, and what explains the rise and fall in their popularity during the first millennium C.E.? How did Christianity meet and interact with pre-Christian spiritual beliefs? What were among the cultural forces that led to and resulted from the Protestant movement? Above all, how are these questions – and possible answers – recorded in the literary legacy of England to 1600? As fundamentally integral aspects of the social, political, and cultural life of Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, and Renaissance England, religion and spirituality will provide a fine framework within which to trace contexts of literary endeavor including important changes in language, genre, and expressed systems of belief, as well as the reasons behind such change. Readings will likely include various verse forms, histories, mystical work, hagiography, and drama, and will range from paganism to the rise of Protestantism. Course work will likely include regular participation in discussion, presentation, paper, project, and/or exam. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. (Meets with ENGL 228B which consists of 5 spaces for new transfer students.) Texts: The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Vol. 1B, The Middle Ages; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1B: The 16th & Early 17th Centuries.

229 A (English Literature Culture: 1600 - 1800)

TTh 8:30-10:20


[British literature in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Study of literature in its cultural context, with attention to changes in form, content, and style.] Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. (Meets with ENGL 229 B which consists of 5 spaces for new transfer students.)

230 A (English Literary Culture: after 1800)

MW 8:30-10:20


[British literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Study of literature in its cultural context, with attention to changes in form, content, and style.] Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. (Meets with ENGL 230B which consists of 5 spaces for new transfer students.) Texts: Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey; George Eliot, Middlemarch; Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; photocopied course packet.

242 A (Reading Fiction)

Dy 8:30

Meredith Lee


Literature of Oceania. The goal of this course is to highlight a body of work that has been largely ignored – fiction from Pacific Island nations by indigenous writers. As a Reading Fiction course, this class has the purpose of providing ways of reading various works of fiction. Thus, the goals for this course on the Literature of Oceania are to provide you with ways to approach fiction from the Pacific and to understand the issues facing Pacific Islanders from their perspective – not through the lens of western authors such as Michener, Twain, and Stevenson. By the end of this course, you will be able to (a) discuss stylistic features of the literature of Oceania, (2) discuss the social, political and economic issues facing Pacific Islanders today; and (3) discuss how these particular features and issues can connect to a Western reader. Graded work will include participation/weekly discussion questions, a short presentation, response papers, and a final project. Texts: Patricia Grace, Potiki; Epli Hau’ofa, Kisses in the Nederends; Witi Ihimaera, The Whale Rider; Rodney Morales, When the Shark Bites; Albert Wendt, Pouliuli.

242 B (Reading Fiction)

MW 1:30-3:20



Contemporary Americans are fascinated with the places in which they dwell. The tremendous success and abundance of television shows like Trading Spaces and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy attest to the fact that, as a society, Americans are consumed by the making of home. The idea of the American Home exists within a complex matrix of symbolic and material meanings; having a home and being at home become a pervasive dream/myth through which national belonging is negotiated. We will look at the ways in which formations such as labor, migration, race, gender and consumption are constitutive of and constitute the American Home. Instead of contributing to the nostalgia for home, this course will aim at investigating, challenging and disrupting our perceptions of what a home is and what home means within the shifting American terrain. This course will be reading and writing intensive and grades will be based on a variety of writing assignments as well as group projects and participation. Texts: Willa Cather, My Antonia; Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart; Paulle Marshall, Brown Girls, Brownstone; Sloan Wilson, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit; photocopied course pack (available at Ave Copy Center).

242 C (Reading Fiction)

Dy 12:30



Fiction is, by definition, something that is invented, not real, or perhaps wholly arbitrary. “Reading fiction” is thus the practice of reading narratives that are about things that haven’t happened. In this course one of our basic tasks will be to think about why such narratives have been and continue to be produced and consumed. Why do people want to read fiction? What role does it play in reproducing ways of thinking about the world? What role does it play in critiquing it? Is a fiction-less world imaginable, or desirable? The texts we’ll read will facilitate this discussion in that they are all pieces of fiction that claim (sometimes overtly, sometimes by insinuation) to bear a relation to matters of “fact.” Texts: Hannah Foster, The Coquette; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; William Wells Brown, Clotel, or The President’s Daughter; L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz; Richard Wright, Black Boy; José Saramago, Blindness; photocopied course packet.

242 D (Reading Fiction)

Dy 1:30



Epiphanies: Pleasures of the Flesh. Moments of great insight and heightened awareness have fascinated writers of every period. Where do these unusual experiences come from? What kind of subject receives them? In our intersubjective reality, what are these purely personal glimpses good for? These are the kinds of questions we’ll consider, focusing specifically on the epiphany in Modern Literature. The course will involve reading and writing about such moments in Joyce, Woolf, Mansfield, Baldwin, Miller, Lessing, and Beckett. Texts: James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Katherine Mansfield, Stories; Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer; Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot.

244 A (Reading Drama)

TTh 9:30-11:20



Drama and the Plight of the Soul. Drama by definition concerns itself with the most intense aspects of human existence: life, death, social pressures and conflicts, desire, hate, love, and fear just to name a few. In this course we will read plays dramatizing the plight of the soul, that spiritual aspect of our existence traditionally thought to distinguish humans as a species. We will begin with the morality plays of medieval England in which the soul must struggle to achieve Christian salvation while housed in a physical body under attack or lured by earthly forces like greed, sensuality, and other sins. As we move through the centuries and across cultures to reach the contemporary era, our goal will be to understand how and why the dramatic form has been a suitable mode for portraying the idea that there is such a thing as a soul, and for symbolizing social anxieties through a metaphor like the soul, a precious and unique feature of one’s humanity that could be lost or compromised by immoral or unethical actions (i.e., “selling your soul to the devil”). Coursework: various in-class exercises, one midterm quiz, one response paper presented orally in class (this will be a critical response to a live play performance), one final exam. Text: photocopied course packet.

250 A (Introduction to American Literature)

TTh 12:30-2:20


The Unsettlement of America: A Survey of American Literature from the Wilderness to the Wasteland. This course argues that American literary history includes a counter-narrative to the historical tradition of settlement and expansion. Our studies problematize conventions of American nationalism and identity, presenting its literature as an alternative landscape committed to the exploration and preservation of spaces for civil and subjective negativity. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. (Meets with ENGL 250B which consists of 5 spaces for new transfer students.) Texts: Kimnach, ed., The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader; Andrews, ed., Classic American Autobiographies; James Fennimore Cooper, The Deerslayer; Emily Dickinson, Poems; Robert Frost, Poems; Gertrude Stein, Three Lives; Susan Howe, My Emily Dickinson; Coleson Whitehead, The Intuitionist.

250 C (Introduction to American Literature)

TTh 9:30-11:20


American Literary Landscapes: Edens to Wastelands. Beginning with Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Walking,” we will examine a diverse range of “literary landscapes” from the mid-nineteenth century to the present in order to gain insight into some of the important developments and key issues in American literature. The texts we will read highlight and interrogate the physical and social landscapes that shape America and Americans. “Wilderness,” for example, is an especially problematic American literary landscape that has taken on meanings ranging from “Eden” to “wasteland,” and many of our texts will explore this terrain. We will see these utopian and dystopian poles--and a wide range of representational possibilities between them--reappear in literature that portrays life in industrial factories, on the frontier farmland, in deserts, in polluted landscapes, in small-town America, and in suburban and urban landscapes. What do these various representations of landscapes say about America? About “nature” and about cities? About privilege and poverty? What does it mean--or not mean--to be an American and to negotiate America’s varied environments? “Literary landscape” also serves as an apt metaphor for our approach to studying American literature, for we will look at these texts not in isolation but rather in relation to the others and in conversation with their surrounding historical, cultural, and academic contexts. American literary movements, authors, cultural/historical issues, and academic critiques will be the focus of your group presentations. Please note that this course is not intended as a survey of all periods of American literature. Also know that the course is not a lecture course; it will be demanding both in its reading load and in its requirement that you take an active and engaged role in our critical exploration of this literature. Course requirements: 2-3 presentations (oral and written), reading journal, active participation in ALL discussions and in-class activities, midterm, final exam. Authors: Henry David Thoreau, Annie Dillard, Willa Cather, Upton Sinclair, Theodore Roosevelt, William Faulkner, Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, Leslie Marmon Silko, Rick Bass, Sandra Cisneros, Don DeLillo, others. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills & Other Stories; William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses; Rachel Carson, Silent Spring; Willa Cather, O Pioneers!; Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street; Upton Sinclair, The Jungle.

250 D (Introduction to American Literature)

TTh 11:30-1:20


We will read texts ranging from pre-colonial travel narratives to contemporary poetry. Expect to read and write more than you ever thought possible in a ten week period. Text: Baym, ed., Norton Anthology of American Literature, shorter, 6th ed. Non-majors only, Registration Period 1.

258 A (African American Literature: 1745 – present)

TTh 9:30-11:20/F 9:30-10:20

[A chronological survey of Afro-American literature in all genres from its beginnings to the present day. Emphasizes Afro-American writing as a literary art; the cultural and historical context of Afro-American literary expression and the aesthetic criteria of Afro-American literature. Offered: jointly with AFRAM 214.]

264 A (Literature and Science)

TTh 12:30-2:20



[Explores the relationships between literature and science as ways of comprehending humanity's interaction with the world we inhabit. As a course in criticism, explores how literature and science structure and are structured by social, religious, political, and economic factors in culture.] (Meets with C LIT 210A.) Texts: Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow; Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus.

281 A (Intermediate Expository Writing)

MWF 8:30


This intermediate expository writing course is designed to expand on the skills you have acquired in previous writing courses. The course focuses on developing well-researched analytical academic arguments as well as enhancing critical reading abilities. Our topic throughout the quarter is Discourse Analysis. We will study a variety of exciting approaches to analyzing discourse, including conversation analysis, narrative analysis, critical discourse analysis and pragmatics/speech act theory. We will also study discourse as a social interaction constructed and interpreted through culture, power, gender, race, etc. This course provides a great opportunity to apply these approaches to a wide variety of texts, from everyday conversation, television commercials, public speeches, graffiti, technical manuals, to nutrition information on a can of soup, political campaigns, and, of course, academic writing. Employing discourse analysis will definitely help you become a better reader of social context and a better writer in general, as you will gain analytical insight into your writing. This is an intensive reading and writing course. Your grade is based on your participation and your completing writing assignments over the course of the quarter. You will write a weekly response paper based on our readings and two longer (5-7 pages) mid-term and final papers. No freshmen (Pd. 1); no auditors. Texts: Martha Kolln, Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects (4th ed.); Teun Van Dijk, Discourse as Social Iteration; photocopied course packet.

281 B (Intermediate Expository Writing)

MWF 9:30

Irene Alexander

Wild and Dangerous. This course will focus on helping you develop effective expression and refine your composition skills – this means being able to communicate your ideas, opinions, and impressions accurately, precisely and vividly, and gaining control over tone and style, the way your words are understood and the effect you have on your audience. The class is not intended to teach you the basic skills of composition, which I assume you already have, but to allow you to make use of careful reading, peer exchange and extensive revision to refine your own craft. Many college students learn how to write for their teachers, but I’d like you to learn how to write for yourself.

The readings for the course will focus on the complex of emotions that center around what is unknown, unpredictable: representations of people, places and activities as weld, dangerous, frightening, exciting, exhilarating, admirable and chilling all at once – think of wolves and bears, Hannibal Lector or Natural Born Killers, reality TV shows or extreme sports that place people in dangerous situations, as well as figures who challenge comfortable social norms, such as Malcolm X. We will read a variety of different accounts, perspectives and theoretical positions, and students will also be asked to draw from their own experiences and explore their own emotional responses as we work to understand the roles that fear and danger play in our lives.

Course work will be focused on writing and revision, and of course plenty of reading to establish a base for shared discussion and because reading is ultimately the best way to learn to write. Students will be asked to contribute a great amount of personal enthusiasm and must be willing to take the lead in guiding the class to best suit their needs as wreiters. For the final (the third of three) paper, students will do their own research and construct their own topic to present to the class. No freshmen (Pd. 1); no auditors. Text: photocopied course packet.

281 C (Intermediate Expository Writing)

MWF 10:30


As the title of this course implies, ENGL 281 is meant for students who have experience with expository writing at the college level. As a result, while focusing on “writing well” in the university environment, we will also take this as an opportunity to explore some of the more provocative themes currently being addressed in the study of expository writing: writing and power, writing and language variation, writing and discipline, and writing and ideology. To best explore these themes, we will read a series of innovative expository essays. Two questions – “What is innovation?” and “Why is it so closely regulated?” – will be ongoing sources for discussion and writing in this class. Students will write short and long papers, make weekly entries in an online blog, and be required to thoroughly rethink and revise significant portions of that written work. No freshmen (Pd. 1); no auditors. Text: photocopied course packet.

281 D (Intermediate Expository Writing)

MWF 11:30


Telling the Story of “Free” Education. If Harry Potter and Dead Poets Society – and Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” Act – have taught us anything, it’s that American audiences love a good school tale, especially one that promises education as the secret to liberation. In this course we will explore how educational narratives work to construct our ideas about personal and national freedom and the relationship between self and community. In that exploration, we will work with a range of texts, including films, fiction, curricular materials, legal texts, and educational theory. Students should be prepared to keep up with a rigorous reading and writing schedule, including daily writing assignments, class presentations, and three papers, one of which will involve a research component. This a discussion-based class, so student attendance and participation is central to its success. No freshmen (Pd. 1); no auditors. Text: photocopied course packet.

281 E (Intermediate Expository Writing)

MWF 12:30


This course will explore various ways that destruction is dealt with in a cultural frame. We will read a number of essays and fictional texts and watch some films to initiate our critical analysis of these related topics: demolition projects and urban reconstruction in Las Vegas, San Francisco and other cities; spatial practices that are evident in the treatment of landscape and architecture in memorials of war and armed conflict, natural disaster and sites demolished through surprise terrorist actions (e.g., Oklahoma City’s Federal Building, New York City’s World Trade Center) and are used as focal points to solidify cultural and political meanings; the social construction of violence; the nature of suffering and psychological trauma as well as the difficulties in reconstructing traumatic experiences and performing the role of the witness; the subjective experience of injuring and/or killing human bodies and how acts of brutality are embedded in human imagination. Throughout the quarter we will ask a series of questions about hwo radical changes in both built environments and the social fabric of their inhabitants work to produce a sense of self as enmeshed in local, regional, and national identities. Our task, then is to begin to determine how we deal with the concepts and realities of destruction, regeneration, and memory. As a student in an expository writing class, you will write one longer research paper and three shorter essays critiquing your chosen subjects. There will be additional writing assignments to assist you in refining your style and to help you make more effectual choices as a writer. Anticipate daily readings and active discussion of those texts. No freshmen (Pd. 1); no auditors. Texts: J. G. Ballard, Crash; Michael Herr, Dispatches; Gerald Vizenor, Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57.

281 F (Intermediate Expository Writing)

MWF 1:30


In this class we will practice writing clear and effective arguments. To help the process, we will emphasize critical thinking and close-reading skills in reading the selected essays for the course. The readings for the course will include arguments of W.E.B. DuBois (selections from The Souls of Black Folk); Michel Foucault (selections from The History of Sexuality); Lisa Lowe (from Immigrant Acts); Gary Okihiro (from Margins and Mainstreams), and Edward Said (from Orientalism and/or Culture and Imperialism). These will be available in a course reader. Requirements for the course include an in-class group presentation and three 5-7 page papers. This course expects you to have taken at least one previous college writing class. No freshmen (Pd. 1); no auditors. Text: photocopied course packet.

283 A (Beginning Verse Writing)

MW 1:30-2:50


The main goal of this course is to learn to read, write, and critique in a workshop setting. We will take poems by established contemporary poets apart in order to see how they run, and we will examine our own poems’ inner workings with the same critical eye, critiquing imagery, metaphor, syntax, rhythm, and sound. Majors only, Registration Period 1. No texts.

283 B (Beginning Verse Writing)

TTh 2:30-3:50


In this class we'll consult the work, both poetic and academic, of contemporary poets to learn the ins and outs of writing verse: image, metaphor, music, form and voice. We'll write poems based on assigned exercises. We'll share these poems with our classmates in a supportive workshop fashion. And, at the end of the quarter, we'll have a solid foundation of poetic craft and a renewed appreciation for the art. Please note that, given the workshop element of this class, I will not overload above 24 students. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Instructor will provide information at beginning of quarter.

284 A (Beginning Short Story Writing)

TTh 9:30-10:50


At the heart of this course is an introduction to conventional story workshopping with craft-focused readings of short fiction, both student and published, and developmental exercises centering on techniques of literary fiction writing. A willingness to play on paper with the many aspects of storytelling is primary; a close second is active participation in discussions and in-class writing. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: Ron Hanson, ed., You've Got to Read This.

284 B (Beginning Short Story Writing)

TTh 1:30-2:50


Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: Burroway, Writing Fiction.

to home page
top of page