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

200-Level Courses

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

EH 203: Writing in Birmingham provides an introduction to academic, professional, and public writing within the geographical context of Birmingham, Alabama. In this course, students write essays that draw from the rich rhetorical resources in Birmingham, while simultaneously learning about the fundamental disciplinary principles of rhetoric and composition, including invention, revision, and audience.

Students write four essays on different themes, including meaningful places, significant histories, controversial issues, and public problems. Each essay includes invention, peer review, and revision.

M/W 3:35 - 4:50 p.m.
Instructor: Braziel

We will look at different approaches to writing fiction and poetry through exercises and journal assignments.  We will also read and discuss contemporary stories and poems. 

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

Stephen King’s name has become synonymous with horror fiction. In this special topic course on King, we will read and analyze three novels not covered in the first class: his fan-favorite, apocalyptic epic The Stand as well as Desperation and his relatively new novel Revival. In addition, we will read three or four of King’s short stories, including “Night Surf,” the inspiration for The Stand. Our focus will be on King’s view of the eternal battle between good and evil, both from a religious perspective and on a much more personal level: the struggle that constantly rages within each one of us.

This course will require considerable reading, writing, and classroom discussion. Assignments may include two short essays, two to three exams, homework questions, and quizzes. Students should also be aware that the themes present in King’s works include uncomfortable and controversial subject matter such as domestic violence, alcoholism, drug use, religion, politics, sex, graphic violence, etc.

300-Level Courses

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

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.


  • John Henrik Clarke, Black American Short Stories
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
TR 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.
Instructor: Hutchings

This course, which is the “gateway” to the English major, focuses on three important skills for English majors:  (1) strategies of "close reading”;  (2) five important critical methodologies, each of which is applied to the same book but yields surprisingly different interpretations; and (3) how to write a research paper for upper-level English classes, including specialized resources that are particularly valuable for English majors and are not covered in lower-level courses such as EH 101 and 102.  The research paper will be written on a literary work of the student’s choice, subject to instructor approval.

TR 2:00 - 3:25 p.m.
Instructor: Vines

EH 305 is a poetry writing workshop that emphasizes reading, writing, and critiquing poetry. Throughout the semester, we will explore the fundamental elements of poetry and closely examine poetry by writers with various styles and sensibilities.  Our discussions will employ the types of vocabulary and considerations specific to poetry and poetry criticism. These discussions should help you to articulate your impressions and criticisms—a facility you'll need for workshopping the poems of your peers and for writing critical responses and original poetry.

M 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Braziel

We will focus on the use of character and plot, but we will also cover other elements of short story writing.  Students will write and critique stories, and we will discuss stories from the Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. 

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

Students in this course study texts, contexts, and concepts important to the practice of professional writing and produce documents for both paper and digital distribution. While the course addresses practical skills such as how to write memos, emails, proposals, and reports, class discussion focuses on rhetoric, ethics, and information design. As professional writers, you will be expected to analyze organizations and institutions to develop effective communicative practices. Therefore, the class is organized with an eye towards future action. Reading and writing assignments are designed to help students gain greater insight into the issues and challenges of professional writing in a variety of workplace contexts. One fundamental question addressed in this class is: What do professional writers do? 

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

This course will examine the significance of an African American literary tradition in the specific context of the contemporary American and global worlds. We will begin by positioning African American literature within an American literary history. We will look at African American literature both as a literary tradition in its own right and as a lens through which we can better see contemporary African American culture and American culture as a whole. These cultural texts will allow us to see the ways in which African Americans have contributed to, have been influenced by, and have transformed America, and continue to do so.

We will also closely consider verbal and literary modes, including: African retentions, oral traditions, signifying, folklore, and music, as well as their evolutions and how they have created a uniquely African American literary voice and how that voice has transformed to fit this contemporary moment. In an effort to critically map the trajectories of contemporary African American literature we will be interrogating not only the historical and political contexts of the works, but also the ways in which issues of gender, sexuality, and class specifically inform the works.

Text: Norton Anthology of African American Literature

400/500-Level Courses

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

In EH 402/502: Writing in Popular Periodicals, we examine periodicals from a number of perspectives:

  • as historical documents reflecting societal values and ideals
  • as forums for forging identities between members of readership communities
  • as publications to which writers can contribute ideas in a range of genres

Throughout the semester, we will read and discuss histories of particular magazines and newspapers, scholarship on periodical reader behaviors and identities, approaches to pitching ideas to magazine editors, and composing articles that target specific periodical audiences.

Course Assignments

EH 402

  • Magazine Journal (20%): responses to writing prompts involving strategies used in specific periodicals
  • Short History Paper (15%): paper of 5-7 pages examining treatment of a specific issue in historical context
  • Final Project, including written document (25%) and oral presentation (10%): paper of 10-12 pages focusing on an approved research question related to periodicals
  • Final Exam (30%)

EH 502

  • Magazine Journal (15%): responses to writing prompts involving strategies used in specific periodicals
  • Short History Paper (15%): paper of 8-10 pages examining treatment of a specific issue in historical context
  • Discussion Leader (10%): Lead class discussion of a set of readings and develop a focused exercise to accompany discussion
  • Final Project, including written document (25%) and oral presentation (10%): paper of 14-16 pages focusing on an approved research question related to periodicals
  • Final Exam (25%): EH 502 students will complete an additional section on the final exam

NOTE: This information is subject to change. For further information, contact Dr. Cynthia Ryan at

W 5:00 - 7:30
Instructor: Braziel

We will focus on revising and re-visioning short stories. In addition, students will write new stories and present them to the class for critique. We will read and discuss story collections by Elizabeth Strout, ZZ Packer, and Raymond Carver.

T 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Instructor: Vines

In EH 412/512 we will study prosody and read poems by master formalists. In addition, students will write poems in received forms and modes, will critique these poems in a workshop setting, and will write critically on collections by contemporary formalist poets. Some of the forms in which you will write include blank verse poems, Petrarchan and English sonnets, folk ballad stanzas, pantoums, villanelles, ghazals, rondeaus, terza rimas, and triolets.

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

In this course, we will explore four of Jane Austen’s major novels: Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park. We will read the texts slowly and closely, attending to formal concerns such as Austen’s famous use of crafting irony through free indirect discourse. And we will also read the novels in their historical context, analyzing their place in Regency England. What can Emma teach us about the relationship between gender and desire in 19th-century England? How do the social classes collide in Pride and Prejudice? How did readers of the time grapple with the issues of female education and the slave trade in Mansfield Park? What do all these novels have to say about politics, art, gender, class, and race in the early 19th-century?

The course requires students purchase the Broadview editions of the texts for assigned readings from the appendices. These can be purchased as a package through the UAB bookstore. Students will be asked to complete three take-home exams, take frequent quizzes, and contribute to a course digital research project.

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

This course will study medicine- and science-themed literary and cultural documents from the late 1700s to the Civil War. Among the themes we will discuss are humorism (the theory that the human body was governed by four essential fluids), the rise of modern science, medical theories about race, the science of the paranormal (phrenology, mesmerism, Spiritism), and early theories of addiction. Some of the writers we will read are Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Luisa May Alcott, T.S. Arthur, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Course assignments include a midterm paper and a final term paper, a final exam, and a final conference paper developed out of your final project.

This class satisfies the post-1800 requirement for English majors.

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

This class will look at work and play in America from the 19th century through the 21st, moving from factory floors and offices to amusement parks and festivals. We will use a variety of materials and resources—historical documents, photographs, critical essays, fiction, and film. If students’ schedules allow, we may also visit sites such as Sloss Furnaces, Vulcan Park, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and Railroad Park.

Work for the class will include two major projects: an oral history project based on interviews about work and work experiences, and an analysis of a recreational site or event.

Texts may include:

  • Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick
  • Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (excerpts)
  • Mike Judge, Office Space
  • John Kasson, Amusing the Million
  • Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener”
  • Karen Russell, Swamplandia!
  • Studs Terkel, Working
  • Henry David Thoreau, Walden (excerpts)
M/W/F 12:20 - 1:10 p.m.
Instructor: Bach

In this class, we will read some of the greatest hits of recent literary theory. Theoretical movements covered include New Criticism, Cultural Studies, Deconstruction, Critical Race Theory, Post-Colonial Theory, Feminist Theory, Gender and Sexuality Theory, Animal Studies, Network-Actor Theory, and Psychoanalytic Theory. Students will learn how to take apart difficult theoretical texts and use their insights to read in new ways.

Undergraduate students will keep a response journal and take three tests. Graduate students will also write a research paper using theory.

This class satisfies the post-1800 requirement. It is essential for students considering graduate school.

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

Beginning with the shift from print to digital publication, students in this course analyze how the act of text production is changing and learn rhetorical strategies necessary to publish information in newer communication contexts. Specifically, students explore how newer trends and technologies for digital communication are influencing how people read, write, interact with, and share publicly available information. Students in this course are also introduced to a variety of industry standard communication technologies designed to help them prepare and publish interactive information (including web-based and video productions) designed to function in a number of different communication contexts. No prior experience with any type of technology is required for this course.

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

Old English was spoken and written in England between roughly 500 and 1100 CE, and has survived in a wide range of beautiful and evocative texts, from simple inscriptions on stone crosses to the epic poem Beowulf. In this course, you will encounter some of the very oldest literature in the English language—the tales of kings, exiles, heroes, saints, and monsters that have inspired such writers as Milton and Tolkien. Because Old English is like a foreign language to Modern English speakers, the course will begin with the basics of Old English grammar and translation practice before moving on to more in-depth study of selected prose and verse texts. Students will also have the opportunity to examine Old English writing in its original context—medieval manuscripts and stone inscriptions (including writing in runes)—and to consider how we encounter these texts today through the processes of transcription, translation, and interpretation.

This course counts as a Pre-1800 course, and can count as an elective for Linguistics concentrators.

M 5:00 - 7:30
Instructor: Bach

Shakespeare wrote his poems and plays before standardized spelling and English dictionaries. In this course, we will learn to attend to the multiple meanings available to Shakespeare as a writer. We will look at Shakespeare’s texts before they were edited, and we will see how Shakespeare has been edited and read over the centuries. Students will also read current research on Shakespeare’s plays on the Renaissance stage.

We will read some of Shakespeare’s sonnets and six of his greatest plays, including 1Henry IV, Antony and Cleopatra, and Othello.

Students will learn how to do research on Shakespeare, including how to read the original texts. Undergraduate course requirements include two papers and a final exam. Graduate students will take the exam and write a short paper and a final research paper.

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

This course will feature nine major British novels, with special emphasis on innovations in narrative technique (which should of course be of interest to creative writers as well as those on the literature track). The novels to be studied are:

  • Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
  • D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers
  • James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier
  • Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway
  • Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
  • John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman
  • Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange
  • Samuel Beckett’s How It Is

Course requirements include a 1 1/2 page response paper per novel, an out-of-class midterm essay, a research paper and/or a final exam (student’s choice). Class is conducted on a discussion basis.

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

600/700-Level Courses

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

The focus of this workshop is to strengthen students’ understanding of the “fourth genre” of creative nonfiction as its own unique form of storytelling and literature.

Our objective will be to grasp the tools of our craft and put them into practice in the writing of our own creative nonfiction through memoir, lyric essay, and literary journalism. We’ll discuss different voices in creative nonfiction in The Truth of the Matter by Dinty W. Moore and Tell It Slant by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola. From David Foster Wallace to Joan Didion to Ta-Nehisi Coates to John Jeremiah Sullivan to JoAnn Beard to David Sedaris to David Rakoff to Annie Dillard, we will be reading a range of essays. Weekly workshops of student-written work will be a major part of the process as well the focus on the necessary revisions to shape stories with an eye toward submission and publication. Richard Rodriguez says, "I sit here in silence writing this small volume of words, and it seems to me the most public thing I have ever done." With the words of Rodriguez in mind, this seminar is about on finding voice in our own personal narratives and writing out of our comfort zones and creating a sustaining writing life.

T 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Minnix

Writing is a complex act. All of us who write know this because we grapple with the complexities of argument, audience, and style every time we sit down to write. Yet, the teaching of writing in the university is often described as the teaching of a “basic skill” and often relegated just to courses in Freshman English. In EH 646 we will grapple with this description on both a theoretical and practical level and learn how composition studies has challenged prevailing contentions that writing in the university is basic, neutral, and monolingual. We will leave the course not only ready to teach our first composition course but also ready to engage others across the disciplines in conversations about the teaching of writing.

The course provides a thorough introduction and outline of the major concepts, theories, and conflicts that make up the field of composition studies, as well as opportunities to apply the insights from composition studies to the design of our own EH 101 courses. Our projects for the semester will include a literacy narrative, a portfolio of EH 101 course materials, a teaching praxis portfolio made up of students reflections on the observation of a composition classroom and their work with students, and a journal assignment that asks you to apply the insights of the composition research and theory we read to specific classroom situations. While we will use a variety of texts for this class, the only textbook you will need to purchase for the course will be A Guide to Composition Pedagogies 2nd Edition.

W 5:00-7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Siegel

This class will investigate the way that movies create meaning through their form. We’ll discuss the formal elements that movies share with other literary works: point-of-view, closure, semiotic codes, etc. We’ll also talk about formal elements specific to the medium, including the language of film, the status of the image, the role of the camera, and the psychology of the viewer. Finally, we’ll discuss the “external forces” that bear on cinematic form, from politics and ideology to technology and genre.

The movies we’ll study will be diverse, some old and some new, drawn from a wide array of genres and world cinemas. You are welcome and encouraged to take the course even if you’ve never studied film before!