Following are the courses being offered in the Fall 2018 semester. Please check the online class schedule listing for the most accurate scheduling information.

200-Level Courses

M/W/F 8:00 - 8:50 a.m.
Instructor: Siegel

In this class we'll study the works of five great literary outsiders:

  • James Baldwin, novelist, essayist, and piercing critic of social oppression
  • Robert Altman, experimental filmmaker and celebrator of misfits and oddballs
  • Bob Dylan, chameleon-troubadour with a genius for infuriating his followers
  • Zadie Smith, chronicler of the messy, luminous world of multicultural London
  • Alison Bechdel, cartoonist and custodian of an eccentric family story

Though these writers are widely different from one another, our encounters with them will often circle back to the same questions: Why would a writer position him or herself as an outsider? Why are we drawn to voices from the outside? How is it possible to alienate and compel one's audience at the same time? And how can an artist speak for the dispossessed when he or she is surrounded by recognition and acclaim?

MWF 1:25 - 2:15 p.m.
Instructor: Dwivedi

Using the literary construct of "the witch," this class will attempt to explore issues of marginalization and displacement in society. After a brief preview of the portrayal of witches in early modern texts, we will transition to considering their impact on narratives in the twentieth century; the class will mainly seek to explore the transformation of the figure of the witch in modern literary traditions by studying a combination of critical essays, films, novels, and short stories from diverse cultural backgrounds. This will enable us to explore what such rewritings of traditional narratives about witches tell us about the socio-cultural contexts in which they are created. There will be several short writing assignments and a final research project; for the final paper, you will be able to conduct research on fictional representations of witches from a literary text of your choice.

TR 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.
Instructor: Rippetoe

It has long been argued that science fiction and fantasy literature is not so much a legitimate art form as it is a commercially popular, simplistic, and escapist genre. However to paraphrase J.R.R. Tolkien, if a skillful writer of speculative literature enchants her reader into believing in imaginary worlds, then escaping to those worlds becomes an exercise in the infinite possibilities of imagination, enlightenment, and inspiration. As novelist Juliet McKenna argues, "speculative literature [also] uses its magic mirror to reflect back on the world around us … to explore ideas about the best, the worst, and the hopeful in humanity that literary fiction might struggle with." But not all imaginary worlds are created equal. Some appear to us as visions or long-wished-for dreams. And some appear as nightmares.

This class will explore the worlds, created as if by magic, in some of the best science fiction and fantasy to discover the nightmares, the dreams, and the visions contained within them. By exploring these realms, we will be asking such questions as: what do we gain by entering worlds that contain pessimistic, scary, and doom-filled versions of humankind?; why are enlightened worlds where absolute good conquers evil so appealing?; and why do characters with wondrous visions of worlds beyond our own create such longing in us?

Instructor: Lariscy

EH 213 Lit Ideas: Justice in America is an introductory survey course focusing on literature that addresses American justice issues. We examine different forms of protest literature including but not limited to: film, short stories, plays, novels, and essays. We consider how each genre of literature effects or attempt to effect different kinds of change in American culture from simply witnessing to injustice to providing strategies to end injustice. We look at different types of injustice including, but not limited to: racial injustice, educational injustice, gendered injustice, and economic injustice.

Each student is expected to read and respond to all the materials. Major writing projects including analyzing how American Justice samples have been effective in changing American culture as well as creating an original protest multimodal piece that can be an essay, an action, or a piece of art. Students at all academic levels are welcome and will find both challenge and inspiration in this broad look at American Literatures that focus on Justice in America.

Instructor: Slaughter

Humor is often used as a way to cope, process, conceal, and deal with life's many challenges. This class is titled, #funnynotfunny because we will read a varied selection of the major genres of literature — poetry, fiction, and drama — that use humor in different ways to get to the heart of some of the most elemental human questions and experiences.

300-Level Courses

TR 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.
Instructor: Quinlan

This is a methods course aimed at introducing English literature majors and minors to the practices and assumptions of the discipline. With that in mind, the emphasis is on acquiring the necessary strategies and skills for:

  1. reading poetry, drama, fiction, and criticism closely & confidently;
  2. doing research using UAB databases;
  3. writing thesis-driven essays in an informed scholarly context;
  4. demonstrating competence with writing style and MLA format;
  5. showing familiarity with literary terms & theoretical approaches to literary analysis; and
  6. becoming familiar with departmental offerings & career opportunities.
W 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Braziel

We will focus on fictional time and place in short stories. Students will write complete short stories and critique stories written by classmates. We will also discuss stories from Burroway's Writing Fiction and short story collections by other writers.

M/W/F 1:25 - 2:15 p.m.
Instructor: Bacha

In this course, students will explore professional writing as a discipline and learn how to compose professional documents. Successful professional writing begins with effective composing processes, including invention, revision, audience analysis, research, document design, usability testing, and editing. The professional documents that students produce in this class will vary from teacher to teacher but may include instructions, proposals, memos, resumes, slide presentations, blogs, brochures, newsletters, hypertext documents, and web pages.

M/W/F 10:10 - 11:00 a.m.
Instructor: 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.

  • W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk. ISBN-13: 978-0486280417 | ISBN-10: 0486280411
  • Nella Larsen, Passing. ISBN-10: 149499111X | ISBN-13: 978-1494991111
  • Richard Wright, Native Son. ISBN-10: 006053348X | ISBN-13: 978-0060533489
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man. ISBN-10: 0679732764 | ISBN-13: 978-0679732761
  • Leroi Jones, The Dutchman. ISBN-10: 0688210848 | ISBN-13: 978-0688210847
  • Octavia Butler, Kindred
  • Trey Ellis, “New Black Aesthetic." ISBN-10: 0394754395 | ISBN-13: 978-0394754390
M/W/F 10:10 - 11:00 a.m.
Instructor: Bacha

This course is designed to help students develop the ability to write and design documents using computer aided publishing technologies. In this course, students are given the opportunity to improve their critical thinking skills as they relate to planning, writing, and revising the content and design of dynamic documents. Students will also explore a number of industry standard content management and publication tools used by working professional and technical communicators. No prior experience with any type of technology is required for this course.

400/500-Level Courses

TR 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Instructor: Wells

Learning and teaching writing are complicated processes. In English 401/501: Tutoring Writing, students will explore these complicated processes and learn practical strategies for tutoring. The course will balance reading and discussion with hands-on experience and observation in the University Writing Center. Course readings will include scholarly articles about writing pedagogy, practical tutoring guides, and real tutors' published reflections on their work. Course projects will include observation write-ups, tutoring reflections and philosophies, and an academic paper appropriate for presentation at a tutoring conference. Undergraduate students must take this course to qualify for employment in the University Writing Center; however, due to a limited number of available positions, taking EH 401 does not guarantee employment in the UWC.

TR 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Madden

This is an advanced course in the writing of creative nonfiction. Our objective will be to further grasp the techniques and the issues of our craft and put them into practice in the writing of our own creative nonfiction through memoir, essay, and literary journalism. 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 Tell It Slant. From Bill Bryson to Joan Didion to John Jeremiah Sullivan to Sherman Alexie to Joseph Mitchell, we will be reading a range of both memoir and essay. Weekly workshop discussions of student-written work will be a major part of the workshop as well the necessary revisions to shape stories with an eye toward eventual submission and publication.

Author Jamie Zvirzdin, writes about the craft of creative nonfiction in this way: "To be sincere is to be powerful and creative nonfiction allows me to do that, to be sincere. I don't want to be content with what I know. I don't believe in ghosts, the afterlife, and I don't believe in the muse. I believe in hard work." With Zirzdin's words in mind, this seminar will focus on finding voice in personal narratives and discovering place as character and how a strong sense of setting breathes both life and voice into creative nonfiction. This seminar will be a combination of lecture, discussion, writing prompts, and further online links and discussions.

M/W/F 11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.
Instructor: Hutchings

"Outraging the Audience: Sex and Violence on the Modern Stage"

With the introduction of distinctly modern drama by Henrik Ibsen in 1870, it became the function of the playwright to provoke the audience rather than merely entertain those who buy their tickets. Outrage often ensued, among critics as well as theatregoers; at least one of the plays led to literal riots in the audience (triggered by the word "shifts"-and NO, that isn't a typo). It probably won't reach that point in class discussion (I certainly hope not!!), but students in this class should be prepared to think about some of the most provocative and controversial plays of the modern era-and to join in on the arguments as well as, of course, the fun.


  • Ibsen, A Doll's House (Dover), Ghosts (Dover), An Enemy of the People (Dover)
  • Chekhov, The Major Plays (Norton Critical Edition)
  • Shaw, Plays Unpleasant (Penguin)
  • Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author (Dover)
  • Strindberg, Miss Julie (Dover)
  • Synge, The Playboy of the Western World (Dover)
  • Brecht, The Good Woman of Setzuan (Minnesota)
  • Sartre, No Exit and Three Other Plays (Penguin OR Random)
  • Delaney, A Taste of Honey (Grove)
  • Pinter, The Homecoming (Grove)
  • Shaffer, Equus (Penguin)
  • Beckett, Waiting for Godot (Grove), Happy Days (Grove)
TR 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Braziel

The class will focus on writing stories of place, specifically the diners and dives that make up Birmingham, Alabama from the ubiquitous Waffle House to Saw's Soul Kitchen to the Garage. The class will visit various places around the city and we'll look at stories by Bukowski, Carver, and local writers. We will also give a reading of our work at the end of the semester.

M/W/F 12:20 - 1:10 p.m.
Instructor: Dunbar

In his 2010 monograph, literary critic Lawrence P. Jackson termed the writers of the neglected but essential period of African American literature between the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights era (1934-1964) The Indignant Generation. Following Jackson's lead, we will consider the ways in which the tumultuous decades surrounding World War II, Jim Crow segregation, the Great Depression, the growth of American communism, and an international wave of decolonization shaped the writers and literature of the period. Reading these world events through the lenses of authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison we become aware that their racialized and gendered critiques are part of a larger discourse on technology, globalization and alienation. That their contributions were not deemed universal in their application is what impels their indignation and lays the foundation for an artistic and literary "sister" movement to political movements, such as the Black Power and Civil Rights Movements.

TR 2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
Instructor: Jessee

Tarana Burke, founder of the #metoo movement, has been credited with sparking a "watershed moment" for women to publically discuss their experiences with sexual and gender-related abuses of power. The #metoo and #timesup movements are a set of stories women are sharing in a fight against abusive power in various systems and industries. In this current watershed moment, women are talking about, writing about, and fighting against centuries of abuse of power related to gender difference. In fact, women have been writing and speaking their own stories of abuses of power for centuries. In this course, we will read three novels and a few samples of short fiction written by women that made a literary statement in their time against abusive patriarchal power. We will also read gender and feminist theory in order to better understand how systems of oppression function, how gender difference gets reinforced, and what effect gender oppression has on both sexes.

Tentative list of literary texts:

  • Mary Shelley, "Matilda" (1819)
  • Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892)
  • Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Annie Nathan Meyer, Helen Brent, M.D. (1987)

Our theory textbook for the course will be Feminist Theory: A Philosophical Anthology, edited by Ann Cudd and Robin Andreason.

Course assignments will consist of two exams and a short essay that students will expand into a final paper.

TR 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Minnix

Ever find yourself asking some of these questions? How can people believe that? Why aren't peer-reviewed, reduplicated scientific studies enough to convince some people? Why are the basic elements of our society-our economy, laws, educational system, science and technology-often wrapped in impenetrable language? Why do politicians always repeat the same talking points? How does an idea turn into a movement?

These are just a few of the questions that we will explore in EH 459/559 Discourse Analysis. Discourse analysis is a term that refers to a variety of different strategies for analyzing how people use language, images, and other symbols to shape the way we perceive and understand the world. As a class, we will learn to use several different types of discourse analysis to analyze different types of texts, spoken discourse, and media from news discourses, political and activist discourses, institutional discourses, and scientific discourses. We will delve into close analyses of individual texts and also learn how to conduct case studies and analyses of large bodies of texts gathered from our research.

The readings for this class will introduce us to several different methods for analyzing different types of discourse. However, we're also going to keep things interesting by rethinking the traditional discourses of the classroom. Because the methods we use can be applied to almost any type of discourse, students will take the lead in choosing and defining the discourses and topics we investigate throughout the semester. We will work to define 4 key areas of investigation for the class and work collaboratively to curate a database of texts and materials that can be utilized for research on each of the 4 topics. This work will span the entire semester and constitute one of our major projects for the course. Students will then have the opportunity to shape the direction of their final project and pursue several different options, including digital humanities projects, academic essays aimed at undergraduate or graduate journals, or public rhetoric projects.

T/TH 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Instructor: G. Temple

In EH 461/561, we will survey a variety of North American writings from the colonial period through the early nineteenth century. Throughout the course, we will connect the literature we read to the various social, political, and economic debates and discourses with which it was in dialogue, and we will also try to mine the significance of these debates to our lives today.

This period in American literary history gave rise to many of the core values that continue to define citizenship in the United States today. We will think in particular detail about some of the more vexing questions that engaged early Americans. For example, how should the values of Christianity (more specifically, Puritanism) be reconciled with those of a market economy? How should the concept of "freedom" be defined, and what sorts of limits should be placed on popular enfranchisement? How should the role of men in the new Republic differ from that of women? Are "freedom" and "equality" compatible ideals? How should patriotism be defined in the decades after independence from England? To what extent should the "melting pot" ideal define American identity, and how compatible is a melting pot with racial, ethnic, or religious difference? Is there even such a thing as an "American," and if so, what are the defining traits of such a being?

These questions had their genesis during the period we will study, and they continue to be significant to the political, economic, and social climate of the United States today. Early Americans dealt with these questions in ways that were sometimes unethical and often contradictory. It is my hope that in this class we can work our way back through the contradictions in order to arrive at some of the motivations, hopes, and anxieties behind them.

M/W/F 9:05 - 9:55 a.m.
Instructor: Bellis

In this class we'll examine a range of texts and issues from late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America. Among the subjects we'll discuss will be the tensions created by rapid industrial and urban growth, the lingering effects of slavery and the entrenchment of racism, and the uncertain social and economic position of women.

Texts may include:

  • Alcott, Work
  • Alger, Ragged Dick
  • Dreiser, Sister Carrie
  • Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham
  • James, Tales
  • Riis, How the Other Half Lives
  • Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
  • Wharton, The Age of Innocence
  • Three Negro Classics: Up From Slavery, The Souls of Black Folk, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
  • along with a selection of critical essays and documents posted on Canvas

Requirements will include three papers, totaling at least 20 pages (25 pages for EH 563).

TR 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Clements

Beowulf, the earliest epic poem recorded in the English language, has been the subject of wide-ranging interpretation and scholarly debate, as well as several modern book and film adaptations. In this course, we will be close-reading Beowulf (in a Modern English translation) and exploring the poem in a number of critical contexts: alongside its counterparts in Old Norse sagas; through the lens of major scholarly articles on issues such as cannibalism, gender, and monstrosity in the poem itself; and as an inspiration for retellings in 20th- and 21st-century popular culture.

TR 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Instructor: McComiskey

EH 496 English Capstone Seminar encourages English majors to examine the subject of English as it relates to their own professional goals. Students will reflect upon the historical development of English as an academic discipline and then use this historical knowledge to evaluate English today and assess their own unique paths through the discipline. Finally, students will prepare a portfolio that translates their academic experience in English into practical documents that may be used in applying to graduate schools and various jobs, including a resume, job application letter, curriculum vitae, and graduate school application letter.

600-Level Courses

T 5:00 - 7:30 a.m.
Instructor: McComiskey

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, making them critical to a complete understanding of English studies as a liberal arts discipline.