Course Offerings for Fall 2014
If you don't see a description for the course you are interested in, contact the instructor for more information. We try to keep this information about English department course offerings as accurate, timely, and complete as possible. However, schedules may change, and students are advised to consult the Banner schedule as the most authoritative source for scheduling information. Summer course descriptions can be found here.
205 • Introduction to Creative Writing • TTh 9:30-10:45 am • Madden
This workshop is designed for students new to creative writing. Students will be introduced to a variety of authors and genres in the writing workshop. With an emphasis on fiction and creative nonfiction, students will be expected to write in a range of styles that will include a children's picture book, a personal essay, a short story, a play, and a screenplay. A variety of writing prompts designed to spark stories and ideas will be part every workshop in order for students to discover their voices as writers. A visiting author will visit the workshop to discuss writing and publishing. Revision will also play a major part in the workshop to introduce students to the idea of rewriting to find the heart of a story. Our text is: The Practice of Creative Writing by Heather Sellers.
301 • Reading Writing and Research • MWF 10:10-11:00 am • Siegel
In this course you'll learn the essential elements of literary scholarship, including research methods, interpretive strategies, critical theory, and the conventions of literary essays. The course aims to broaden your understanding of English as an academic discipline and to give you tools that you'll be able to apply to your future coursework in English.
301 • Reading Writing and Research • TTh 2:00-3:15 pm • Daniels
This course serves as a general introduction to the work of literary analysis and scholarly research. In this class you will learn essential literary terms and concepts, explore various schools of critical thought, and examine multiple research methodologies with the specific aim of crafting original theses that are informed and enriched by existing scholarship. Overall, this class will provide you with a broad foundation for completing more rigorous coursework in English.
Texts may include:
- Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction
- John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse
- Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin, Critical Terms for Literary Study, 2nd Edition
- Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics
- Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
- Additional readings on Canvas
303 • Advanced Composition • TTh 12:30-1:45 pm • Minnix
EH 303 Advanced Composition teaches strategies for academic and public argumentation and provides opportunities for students to become flexible, adaptable writers who can engage a variety of academic, public, and professional audiences with the power of their ideas. We will develop strategies for academic and public writing, hone and expand our research skills, and learn strategies for presenting our work in different contexts and genres. Our course focus and theme will be "Writing the Global," and we will develop writing projects that give us the opportunity to analyze and engage a variety of global topics and issues. We will encounter readings that ask us to think deeply about the ideas of global citizenship, global ethics, and global media. The true focus of the course, however, will be your research, and our projects for the course will come from your own particular interests and perspectives. The writing processes and research methods we will develop will serve us well in our academic and professional lives, but will also serve us well as we lead civic lives in a society that is becoming increasingly global.
305/306 • Beginning Poetry Writing Workshop • TTh 11:00 am-12:15 pm • Slaughter
This workshop is an introduction to the practice of poetry writing. The aims of this class are 1) to equip students with crucial vocabulary and terms necessary to discuss, read and write poetry, 2) to use focused writing exercises as a means to explore various techniques for the writing of poetry, and 3) to begin to demystify poetry writing by working towards the understanding that successful poems come from hard work. To this end, expect to devote considerable attention to revision.
309/310 • Beginning Fiction Writing Workshop • TTh 12:30-1:45 pm • Madden
This workshop is designed for advanced students of fiction to write and revise short stories and novels and give thoughtful and constructive feedback to other members of the workshop. We will be discussing story beginnings of “want, obstacle, and action,” point of view, writing believable characters, plot, conflict, scene vs. narrative, language, setting, narrative voice, and outlining as well as many other aspects of fiction. Ellen Slezak (LAST YEAR’S JESUS, ALL THESE GIRLS) writes: “Fiction writing resists a timetable. Any given novel may take months or years to write. Another equally accomplished novel may come to its full potential in a rush. But the structure and demands of a writing workshop can help us to begin and end.” In addition, critical reading of work-in-progress is a learned skill and this will be a major part of the workshop. Each student will also select a published author to present and discuss that particular author's contributions to literature. The workshop will culminate in a literary salon open to the public for students to share work generated in the workshop. Our text is The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante.
324 • African American Special Topics: Introduction to African American Literature • TTh 11:00 am-12:15 pm • Dunbar
This course will examine the significance of the African American literary tradition in shaping both the identities and the histories of people of African descent in the United States. The fiction of the writers featured in this course spans such periods as the New Negro Movement or the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s; the fiction of post WWII or the "indignant generation"; The Black Arts Movement of the 1960's and contemporary African American fiction which is defined by what some scholars term a Renaissance in fiction by African American women. Throughout the course we will focus upon the historical and cultural contexts that shape the artistic development of African American writers as well as the manner in which they experiment with forms of fiction. The purpose of the course is not only to serve as an introduction to the fiction of major writers within the African American literary tradition and the eras which in part defined them, but, equally as important, to provide the skills and background that will enable you to identify and examine the most salient themes, forms and patterns that define their fiction. Together these themes, forms and patterns constitute a shared symbolic geography from which emerges the dynamic and evolving tradition of African American literature.
327 • Special Topics: Gender, Literature, and Medicine • TTh 9:30-10:45 am • Jessee
In this course, we will read both fictional literature about and memoirs by women working in western medicine. We will begin this course discussing women's entry into "legitimate" medical practice through school training and entering the American Medical Association. Not surprisingly, as women gained more influence in the medical community, they faced opposition to their attempt to regain what had once been theirs: social authority in the area of care giving and health. The AMA deemed their role parasitic in nature, and the resentment toward these women led the Boston Gynecological Society to call them "the third sex." We will analyze representations of women healers in literature, tracking the development of the initial "third sex" figure through more contemporary, multi-national literary representations of women in medicine. Our class discussions will primarily focus on how the figure of the woman healer changes with time and place, how cultural representations of women relate to literary representations of women in medicine, and how cultural differences between women affect those representations.
Our assignments for this course will be various contributions to a course homepage where we will hold discussions about readings, curate research, and write reviews of the texts we read.
330 • Introduction to Writing and Designing Digital Documents • MWF 11:15 am-12:05 pm • Bacha
This course is designed to help students develop the ability to write and design documents using computer aided publishing technologies. Students will explore a number of industry standard content management and publication tools used by working professional and technical communicators. Specifically, students will learn the rules of document design and how to break those rules; integrate content into large scale documents; and develop strategies necessary to anticipate the needs and expectations of their audience. No prior experience with any type of technology is required for this course.
350 • Introduction to Linguistics • MWF 9:05-9:55 am • Basilico
Introduction to the scientific study of language with a main focus on principles underlying phonology morphology, syntax and semantics. Relationship between language and society, psycholingustics and language typology may also be addressed.
376 • Shakespeare • MWF 10:10am-11:00 am • Hutchings
Shakespeare's Greatest Hits
This course will examine six of Shakespeare's best-known and best-loved plays: one comedy, one history play, one "problem comedy," and three tragedies.
Specifically, we will read the following plays (in editions published by Signet):
- Much Ado About Nothing
- Henry IV, Part 1
- The Merchant of Venice
- King Lear
Emphasis will be placed on Shakespeare's innovations in both dramatic form and content, with particular thematic emphasis on the "problem of knowing" (otherwise known as epistemology). In other words, "how do we know what we think we know?"
Discussion will also focus on what Shakespeare does NOT write—the ways in which particular lines (often deceptively simple and brief ones) can vary widely according to choices made by individual actors and directors, without guidance from the playwright.
There will be two out-of-class papers, a midterm, a final exam, and occasional quizzes. Since this is a 300-level course, it has no research paper requirement. Non-English Majors as well as English Majors are welcome.
401/501 • Tutoring Writing • TTh 2:00-3:15 pm • Wells
This course will introduce students to the pedagogy of teaching writing one-on-one. Course readings will include scholarly articles on writing pedagogy, tutors' reflections on their work, and practical guides about tutoring writing. Course projects will include tutoring observations and reflections, a tutoring philosophy and scenario, and possible contribution to national tutoring online publications. Students will also develop a paper appropriate for presentation at a writing center conference or for a short publication in a writing center journal. In addition to class meetings, readings, and projects, students will gain hands-on tutoring experience in the University Writing Center.
404/504 • Technical Writing • MWF 2:30-3:20 pm • Bacha
The fundamental goal of Technical Writing is to sharpen your abilities to present technical information in styles and formats that are appropriate for target audiences. The reading and writing assignments in this course will help you develop skills that are crucial to composing effective technical documents, including invention, problem-solving, drafting, collaboration, audience analysis, research, usability testing, and visual design, among many others.
407/408/507/508 • Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop • W 5:00-7:30 pm • Madden
This is an advanced course in the writing of creative nonfiction combined with filmmaking and the "telling of our stories." Team-taught with Michele Forman and Kerry Madden-Lunsford, the objective will be to practice the writing and filming our stories. Through techniques of creative nonfiction, students will explore memoir, essay, literary journalism combined with the elements of filmmaking. We'll spend a certain amount of class time in every workshop writing as well as discussing different voices in creative nonfiction through Dinty W. Moore's book, THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER as well as documentary filmmakers and how they come to tell a story on film. Weekly workshop discussions of student-written work will be a major part of the workshop as well the necessary revisions to shape stories. Flannery O'Connor wrote, "Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days." With the words of O'Connor in mind, this seminar will focus on finding voice in our own personal narratives and discovering place as character and how a strong sense of setting breathes both life and voice into creative nonfiction in both writing and in filmmaking. This seminar will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and writing prompts. The text will be Dinty W. Moore's The Truth of the Matter and a range of documentary films.
409/410/509/510 • Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop • Th 5:00-7:30 pm • Braziel
Intermediate work in prose fiction through critique of student writing.
412/512 • Forms of Poetry • Th 5:00-7:30 pm • Vines
In Forms of Poetry, we will study prosody, will read poems by master formalists, and will write critically about these formalists' poems. In addition, students will write poems in received forms and will critique these poems in a workshop setting. Some of the forms will include blank verse poems, Petrarchan and English sonnets, folk ballad stanzas, pantoums, villanelles, ghazals, rondeaus, terza rimas, and triolets.
414/514 • Modern Drama • MWF 11:15 am-12:05 pm • Hutchings
Outraging the Audience: Sex and Violence on the Modern Stage Since the 1870's, the theatre has been the site of numerous controversies over what should and should not be allowed to be said or shown on stage. This course will examine the plays and the incendiary ideas that provoked the outrage—including, at times, riots in the theatres:
- Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, Ghosts, and An Enemy of the People
- Anton Chekhov's The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard
- August Strindberg's Miss Julie
- J. M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World
- George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession
- Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author
- Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage
- Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit
- Harold Pinter's The Homecoming
- Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey
- Peter Shaffer's Equus
- Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Happy Days
Requirements: midterm; research paper (7-10 pp. undergraduate; 12-15 pp. graduate); final exam; occasional quizzes. Participation in class discussion is expected from all students.
"It's just all these ideas!! They're just so upsetting!!"—Last words of a UAB student who dropped this course during a previous semester.You've been warned!!! (LOL)
424/545 • Special Topics: Black Cinema • Th 5:00-7:30 pm • Daniels
The collective African American experience, as it is depicted in mainstream movies, is really nothing more than a constellation of racist stereotypes. Beginning with D.W. Griffith's silent drama, The Birth of a Nation (1915), which portrayed blacks as savage monsters, modern film has consistently and predominately framed blackness in destructive and marginalizing ways. Pimp, prostitute, drug kingpin—these are just a few of the pathological tropes that most frequently define the black image in film. Independent black cinema emerged in response to these visual discourses. As a creative, expressive, and critical formation, independent black cinema debunks and deconstructs these filmic representations by providing alternative visions of blackness that are self-directed. This class traces the development of independent black cinema, from its origins in the Blaxploitation era to its flowering in the 1990s, ending with recent additions to the canon. Central to our study will be an ongoing engagement with the aesthetic and cultural politics involved in film production, spectatorship, and representation. We will discuss the critical roles that questions of ancestry, migration, urban warfare, sexuality, class, and race regularly play in depicting the complexity and diversity of African American life. Our goal is to arrive at a deeper understanding of the power and function of the cinema. Classes will consist of lectures, discussions, and screenings of specific scenes. Students are responsible for viewing films outside of class. Films include: Melvin Van Peebles, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971); Charles Burnett, Killer of Sheep (1979); Spike Lee, Do The Right Thing (1989); Jenny Livingston, Paris is Burning (1990); Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust (1991); Leslie Harris, Just Another Girl on the IRT (1992); Cheryl Dunye, The Watermelon Woman (1996); Barry Jenkins, Medicine for Melancholy (2008); Tina Mabrey, Mississippi Damned (2009); and Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station (2013). Readings will consist of scholarly essays on film and popular culture.
425/592 • Introduction to Old English • TTh 11:00 am-12:15 pm • Kightley
This course introduces the language, literature and culture of England as they were approximately 1000 years ago. The language will be taught through step-by-step linguistic and grammatical exercises and through the reading of notable literary texts appropriate to your increasing skill with the language. "Old English" is a very large term, so this course will provide exposure to a range of genres (from chronicle to battle poem to elegy) and a range of historical periods (from the beginning of the 8th to the beginning of the 11th centuries), with linguistic, historical, literary, and cultural emphases.
426/592 • The American Renaissance Reconsidered • TTh 12:30-1:45 pm • Temple
In his 1941 work, The American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman, literary critic F. O. Matthiessen characterized the mid-nineteenth-century as a time of artistic rebirth for American authors. Matthiessen's goal was not just to theorize why the antebellum decades produced such an array of classic American texts, but to describe the formal and thematic elements that made the works of five men— Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, and Melville—consistent with timeless and therefore "great" literature. Matthiessen valued literary characteristics such as formal complexity, thematic ambiguity, "organic" unity, and metaphorical richness. Despite the myriad interventions made in the academy by literary "theory" and cultural studies practitioners, I would argue that scholars and citizens today continue to take Matthiessen's criteria largely for granted.
This class will reconsider (and critique) some of Matthiessen's contentions about nineteenth-century American writing. Contrary to critical and popular assumptions that early American literature was organized according to a "high art" versus "low art" binary, writings in the antebellum years were enormously diverse, covering a broad spectrum of styles and themes, and appealing to a variety of tastes, subject positions, and market niches. In order to recuperate some of that diversity, we will read both "canonical" writers such as Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne, as well as less "timeless" (although in their own day more popular) writers such as E.D.E.N. Southworth, Robert Montgomery Bird, and Timothy Shay Arthur. It is my hope that by reading such an array of texts, we will be able to think in provocative ways about the questions we can ask, and the lessons we can learn, from all sorts of early American writing.
Course requirements will include short response essays, midterm and final exams, and a final term paper.
427/592 • Special Topics: The Literatures of Ireland • Th 7:30-10:00 pm • Quinlan
429/592 • Special Topics: Flash Fiction • T 5:00-7:30 pm • Vines
In this course, we will read flash fiction, will write critically about flash fiction, will discuss approaches, techniques, and vehicles for flash fiction, will write flash fiction, and will workshop flash fiction. You will write flashes of various lengths from 250 words to 500 words to 750 words—some following my draconian prompts, some following your own dictates.
452 • Grammar and Usage for English Teachers • MWF 12:20-1:10 pm • Basilico
Overview of English grammar and usage, focusing on those topics that are presented in the classroom. Topics will include the difference between prescriptive and descriptive grammar, parts of speech, types of verbs, grammatical functions, agreement, sentence structure, tense, aspect, voice, finite clauses, non-finite clauses, clause types. Focus also on Reed-Kellogg sentence diagramming. Strong emphasis on interpreting linguistic data as the basis for drawing conclusions about the structure of English and on the formalization of linguistic rules and structure.
453/553 • History of the English Language • TTh 2:00-3:15 pm • Kightley
This course will trace how the English language has grown and changed from its early origins up to the present day. We’ll see how changes in our language from over a thousand years ago still show up in words you use every day and we’ll learn the reasons behind any number of the seemingly bizarre features of our strange language (ever wonder why the plural of mouse isn’t mouses?).
This course is divided along two axes. The first axis is chronological: we will begin with the Proto-Indo-European roots of the English language, and then move progressively through the four main periods of the language (Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Present Day Englishes). The second axis is synchronic: we will explore each chronological period from three different but closely related perspectives (Historical, Technical/Linguistic, and Literary/Cultural). This course is designed to be useful for students interested in all literary and linguistic periods—understanding where the English language comes from and how it functioned at each of its stages will provide you with a much fuller appreciation of its state in your period(s) of interest.
457/557 • Writing and Medicine • W 5:00-7:30 pm • Ryan
In this course, we will examine how the medical knowledge and practice are "written"—or constructed—according to particular socio-historical values. Overarching institutional assumptions and norms as well as specific texts and practices will be considered in our study of medical discourse, including
an examination of the historically-based rhetorical lenses influencing the biomedical model privileged in Westernized medicine
the analysis and critique of "mediated" medicine, identifying frames and other presentation devices that influence how health, illness, and medicine are represented to specific audiences
an evaluation and composition of texts that "fit" particular medical contexts (e.g., patient charts, health campaigns, medical dramas).
Assignments and Percentages
EH 457 Students:
- Short Paper (4-5 double-spaced pages) Medical Discourse Analysis and Critique: 20%
- Final Paper (8-10 double-spaced pages) Approved Writing and Medicine Topic of Student's Choice
- Written Paper: 30%
- Oral Presentation (5-7 minutes): 10%
- Final Exam (assessment of comprehension and application of course material): 25%
- In-Class and Take-Home Writing Exercises (including a group health education exercise): 15%
EH 557 Students:
- Short Paper (6-7 double-spaced pages) Medical Discourse Analysis and Critique: 20%
- Final Paper (10-12 double-spaced pages) Approved Writing and Medicine Topic of Student's Choice
- Written Paper: 30%
- Oral Presentation (8-10 minutes): 10%
- Final Exam (assessment of comprehension and application of course material, with 557
- students completing an additional section): 25%
- In-Class and Take-Home Writing Exercises (including a group health education exercise): 10%
- Discussion Leader Assignment of an in-class reading assignment: 5%
473/573 • Chaucer: Pilgrimage to Canterbury • TTh 9:30-10:45 am • Braswell
- Map making and the concept of space
- Road conditions and the difficulty of travel
- Private life and domestic architecture
- Pseudo-biblical treatises
- Paleography and the concept of reading
- Sumptuary laws and fabrics
- Music--religious and profane
- Manuscripts and their makeup
- Food and feasting
- Technology as "art"
- Gothic architecture and its symbols
Because the medieval material on the Internet is so rich and provocative and simply cannot be reproduced in slides or lecture, some of your classes will be "virtual," meaning that we will meet on-line instead of in class.
Assignments: midterm, final exam; one 15pp. research paper; virtual, out-of-class assignments.
- The Canterbury Tales (Broadview Edition), ed. Boenig and Taylor. $21.45 used at Amazon
- How to Study Chaucer, Rob Pope. $6.27 used at Amazon
- A variety of websites and an on-line reserve at Sterne Library.
481/581 • 18th Century: Literature and Culture • M 5:00-7:30 pm • Graves
The Dark Side of Enlightenment Literature
In this course we will explore works written during the long eighteenth century (1660-1832) which focus on bodies in pain and minds in terror. The eighteenth century has often been described as the Age of Reason—an era in which mind triumphed over matter, logic held sway over emotion, and mighty science burst the shackles of religious superstition. However, just as our own contemporary audience lingers in delicious dread among imaginary twilight spaces inhabited by werewolves, phantoms, and vampires, eighteenth-century literature attests that readers of that period remained both fearful of and fascinated by the prospect of painful and terrifying events on either side of the grave.
Our course will attempt to determine what people feared during this era and how their fears received formal expression in the literature they read. A list of topics that we will cover includes (but is not limited to) the following items: classical, neoclassical, and romantic representations of monstrosity and sublimity; the Gothic revival; the Graveyard school; and the Oriental romance.
Finally, in the interest of both fun and edification, we will dip into some twentieth-century films and graphic novels for intertextual responses to the subject matter of our course.
- The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. C: The Restoration and Eighteenth Century (Norton)
- Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent (Oxford World's Classics)
- Shelley, Frankenstein (Oxford World's Classics)
- Defoe, Moll Flanders (Norton Critical Edition)
- Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Oxford World's Classics)
- Short Essays (1 paragraph/1 page), 3@33 pts—100 pts. total
- Midterm 100 pts.
- Final 100 pts.
- Final Essay (8-10 pages) 100 pts.
483/583 • British Romanticism • MWF 10:10-11:00 am • GrimesBlake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Hazlitt, Lamb, and DeQuincy.
487/587 • The Nineteenth-Century British Novel • Th 5:00-7:30 pm • SiegelWhat are novels for? The nineteenth century is considered the great age of the novel, an age when fiction had reached its maturity as an art form and prospered, blissfully unscarred by the formal abrasions of modernism. English bookstands, libraries, and parlors were flooded with novels; everybody—nearly everybody—read them. But what were they for? While the pedigree of fiction was established and its profits were undeniable, its purpose was an open question. Should a novel be a manifesto, an argument dressed up as a story? Ought it to be romantic or realistic? Should it feed and exploit the crass hysteria of a mass audience? Or should it instead be obscure, difficult? Was the novelist a scientist, recording the vicissitudes of social behavior? Was she an artist, painting with words? Or was the plot the thing? Was there anything the novel couldn't do?
We'll approach these questions through an array of the century's great British novelists, including Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot. Come prepared to read: we'll be covering from 200 to 275 pages a week, with regular quizzes. Other work includes two shorter essays and a final research paper.
496 • Capstone • MWF 1:25-2:15 pm • Grimes
Specific topics vary. The course will provide an opportunity for students to reflect upon and to use the knowledge, skills, and dispositions developed in previous English coursework. Required of all English majors.EH 496 is ideally taken in the final undergraduate semester.
601 • Classical Rhetorical Theory • Th 5:00-7:30 pm • McComisky
Rhetoric is one of the seven classical liberal arts, and, until the nineteenth century, "Rhetoric" was the capstone course of every student's education. The reasoning? You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you cannot communicate your knowledge, it will die with you. Many of the most famous writers, from classical antiquity through the nineteenth century, would have received an education that included rhetorical theory and practice. EH 601 Classical Rhetorical Theory introduces students to the primary texts that are the foundation of humanistic, liberal arts education. Some of the authors that we read in EH 601 Classical Rhetorical Theory include Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, and Augustine. These ancient authors and their works are the sources of numerous allusions in more recent writings, too, making them critical to a complete understanding of English studies as a liberal arts discipline.
645 • Bibliography and Research Methods • W 5:00-7:30 pm • Grimes
Emphasis on how materials in Sterne Library may be used effectively. Includes computer searching, listserve, and the internet. Field trips to special collections.
658 • American Literature, 1870-1914 • TTh 12:30-1:45 pm • Dunbar
In this interdisciplinary course we will consider the ways in which African American writers respond to issues such as modernization and urbanization, and the changing shape of racial, ethnic, and gender relations. We will pay especial attention to these writers' entries into a discourse on the so-called "Negro problem," which had previously dictated by the dominant culture. Among the many authors we will encounter throughout the course are Anna Julia Cooper, Frances Harper, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington, and James Weldon Johnson.
Weekly written responses to the reading, a presentation, and a seminar paper are required for successful completion of this course.