Course Offerings for Fall 2013
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.
214 • New Orleans Matters: Literature, Culture, and National Influence • TTh 9:30-10:45 am • Young
What are the cultural ramifications of a catastrophic disaster? When a city like New Orleans loses roughly one-quarter million residents, as it did after the levee breaches flooded the city, what, ultimately, is lost culturally? When a city’s demographic make-up radically and suddenly changes, how do racial and socioeconomic disparities among its residents compound that loss? Can a city’s cultural identity be preserved without those who “made” the culture? If not, can a city—or a nation—act to preserve its cultural heritage by serving its citizens? Such questions address philosophical and political issues rather than “literary” ones, yet they provide the theoretical underpinnings that will inform our exploration of the literature of New Orleans in light of the city’s unique cultural heritage—one that is deeply entrenched locally and profoundly influential nationally.
Major primary works we will consider include Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Josh Neufeld’s A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and selections from Lyle Saxon, Edward Dreyer, and Robert Tallant’s Gumbo Ya-Ya. We will also read selections from authors like George Washington Cable, Andrei Codrescu, Lafcadio Hearn, Walker Percy, Ishmael Reed, and Natasha Trethewey, and supplement written texts with select multimedia documents (e.g.: music, film, television). These works will ground our discussions on topics like Carnival/Mardi Gras, food/dining, music, Creole culture, and representations of New Orleans in popular culture.
Students will complete a midterm, a final exam, an essay, a class presentation, and occasional brief assignments.
For English majors with a concentration in literature or in linguistics, this course counts as an English elective.
301 • Reading Writing and Research • MWF 11:15 am-12:05 pm • Hutchings
This course is designed to introduce you to the techniques of literary analysis and research and to prepare you for more advanced work in English. We will discuss a range of literary theories and approaches, but our primary emphasis will be on the process and requirements of academic writing: how to build strong arguments and support them with appropriate and well-documented research.
301 • Reading Writing and Research • TTh 11:00 am-12:15 pm • Temple
EH301 is designed to provide students with the necessary background to conduct sophisticated research and to write with excellence in upper-level English courses. Students will learn MLA documentation, library research strategies, and general techniques for writing literary criticism. The course will also provide an introduction to literary "theory," which we will study in conjunction with various short stories and poems. Course requirements will include two short essays, an annotated bibliography assignment, a final research essay, and a final exam.
305/306 • Beginning Poetry Writing Workshop • MW 3:35-4:50 pm • 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 original poetry.
- Chad Davidson and Gregory Fraser, Writing Poetry: Creative and Critical Approaches
- Three to four contemporary poetry collections
I will determine your grade as follows:
- Six poems: 10 points each
- Three critical response papers: 20 points each
- Final Portfolio: 60 points
- Class Participation: 20 Points
324 • African American Special Topics: Introduction to African American Literature • TTh 9:30-10:45 • Daniels
This course introduces students to the African American literary tradition. We will trace the emergence of this aesthetic, intellectual, and political formation from its emergence in the colonial period to its maturation in the modern and post-modern eras. We will begin by discussing the impact of slavery and the middle passage on peoples of African descent living in the United States. Examining various modes of narration, including oral, folk, and written, we will identify those discursive practices that are uniquely African in origin, as well as those that are the byproduct of Anglo contact, thus positioning black writing as a distinctive modality within a broader American literary tradition. After identifying the origins of black writing in America, we will create a genealogy that maps the contributions of major authors within an historically and politically contextualized frame. Significantly, we will analyze how questions of race, gender, sexuality, and class inform and inflect writings by African Americans. Theoretically, we will also explore how African Americans defined especially fraught concepts such as citizenship, freedom, race, whiteness, and America itself in imaginative and expository writings.
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. In this course, students will be 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. 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. By the end of the semester, students will have create enough materials to build a personalized professional portfolio they can continue to develop and use throughout their academic careers and when they search for employment after college. 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.
352 • The Structure of English Words • MWF 9:05-9:55 am • Basilico
Introduction to English vocabularyelements and word formation, including topics in history of English and sound patterns as these topics relate to word formation. Does not count as literature for Core Curriculum requirement.
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 contribution to national tutor blogs. 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. After completing the course, students will be eligible to apply for tutoring positions in the University Writing Center.
404/504 • Technical Writing • M 5:00-7:30 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.
405/406/505/506 • Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop • M 5:00-7:30 pm • Vines
- James McAuley, Versification: a Short Introduction
- Donald Justice, New and Selected Poems
- Five to six other contemporary collections of poetry
We will aspire to write lines like these from Tony Hecht's "An Autumnal":
The Lichens, like a gorgeous, soft disease
In rust and gold rosette
Emboss the bouldered wall, and creepers seize
In their cup-footed fret,
Ravelled and bare, such purchase as affords.
The sap-tide slides to ebb,
And leafstems, like the broomsticks of small birds,
Lie snagged in a spiderweb.
Be prepared to peruse and to critically investigate in writing and discussions contemporary poetry collections, to compose and revise eight poems according both to my draconian restrictions and to your dictates, and to critique your peers' poems during workshop.
I will also anticipate, as Padgett Powell articulates so well, "full efforts at writing well, at criticizing for the benefit of others, at attending religiously, at speaking cogently when you can, at surrounding yourself in a warm air of intelligent reticence when you can't."
Constructing compelling verse is hard damn work, blue-collar work. Leave ego and sensitive natures at door; grab a shovel and brick hammer and prepare your minds for callouses and soreness when entering.
Eliot said of Milton that a “man may be a great artist and yet have a bad influence.” We will be looking at poets who are by and large good artists and trying to discern what might make them good influence models for our poems.
Leading critic and poet William Logan complains that
Many younger poets . . . have no concern for the richness of words, the complication of expression, and rarely use what might be called the subsidies of sense (as opposed to plain, bread-and-butter prose meaning). These subsidies might include ambiguity, nuance, the right word, music of various sorts (alliterative, consonantal) patterns of adherence (meter, set form), thematic tangles, sensitivity to verb tense, timing and delay—in short, the ways that poets have traditionally put English on English.
In our poems, we will show concern for all of these complex subsidies of sense.
I will determine your grade as follows
- Eight poems @ 10 points per poem
- Four papers @ 10 points per paper
- Final portfolio @ 60 points
- Participation @ 20 points
- 200 points total
- Eight poems @ 10 points per poem
- Four papers @ 15 points per paper
- Justice paper and presentation @ 30 points
- Final portfolio @ 60 points
- Participation @ 20 points
- 250 points total
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.
413/513 • Forms of Creative Nonfiction • T 5:00-7:30 pm • Madden
This is an advanced course in the writing of creative nonfiction. Our objective will be to further grasp the forms of contemporary and historical Creative Nonfiction 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 Lee Gutkind's KEEP IT REAL. From David Foster Wallace to Joan Didion to Joseph Mitchell to John Jeremiah Sullivan to Cheryl Strayed, we will be reading a range of both memoir and essay. Students will also be expected to submit their work three times to professional literary journals or blogs or magazines and submit proof of submission. 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. This seminar will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and writing prompts.
425/525 • Introduction to Old English • MWF 1:25- 2:15 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 • Literature, Medicine, and Science in Early America • TTh 12:30-1:45 pm • Temple
This course will look closely at writings associated with the rise of modern medicine and science in early American culture beginning in the late eighteenth century. We will explore connections between literature, medicine, and science in such canonical novelists as Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne; in the writings of lesser known figures such as Mary Spring Walker, Fitz-James O’brien, and Paschal Beverly Randolph; and in early medical and scientific treatises and case histories. We will focus in particular at the ways institutionalized medicine and science came to be thought of as having authoritative access to essential truths about the mind, the body, and the overall social order. Course requirements will include response essays, a final exam, and a term paper.
EH 427/592 • Special Topics: American Culture at the Millennium • MWF 11:15 am-12:05 pm • Bellis
The course will consider a range of works from the last decade of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. If this amounts to a distinct literary period, we’re still very much in the middle of it—too close for categories and labels. So variety will be the course’s (dis)organizing principle.
We’ll discuss texts by writers such as August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Tracy Letts (drama); Junot Diaz, Sherman Alexie, and William Gibson (fiction); Natasha Trethewey, Jorie Graham, and Kay Ryan (poetry); and David Foster Wallace (nonfiction). We’ll also look at some critical and/or theoretical essays, a film or two, and one book selected by the members of the class.
427/592 • Special Topics: Yeats and Eliot • Th 7:30-10:00 pm • Quinlan
436/437/517/518 • Writing for Young People • TTh 9:30-10:45 pm • Madden
Special Topics Children's Writing Workshop: This workshop will focus specifically on writing books for children. Students will be presented with a range of children's authors from picture book to young adult. From Maurice Sendak to James Marshall to Roald Dahl to Judy Blume, students will read a range of authors and learn about writing for children. Students will write three picture books, one chapter of a middle grade novel and one chapter of a young adult novel. They will also be expected to revise their work based on feedback in the workshop. A visiting author will come to the workshop during the semester to discuss writing and children's literature. The class will culminate in a visit to Epic Magnet School near campus for UAB students to read their stories developed in the workshop to the children in grades K-5 at Epic.
453/553 • History of the English Language • TTh 9:30-10:45 am • 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.
468/568 • The Harlem Renaissance • MWF 12:20-1:10 pm • Dunbar
Appearing in 1925, The New Negro was an expanded version of the magazine, The Survey Graphic. By its very title, The New Negro implied the existence of an “old negro,” which encompasses both the stereotypical Mammy and Sambo personas as well as the “old guard,” referencing the compromising ideologies of Booker T. Washington. More overtly, The New Negro intended to make the case for a coming of age within the black community, and, with it, a stronger claim for black participation in the project of American democracy. The promise of inclusion in the making of American civilization necessitated the exclusion of “the most important mass movement in black America of the 1920s,” namely Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association with its Back-to-Africa slogan. This course will examine the literature of key players in the The New Negro Movement (which takes its name from Alaine Locke’s edited collection) or Harlem Renaissance. We will gain some political and historical traction of the period by way of David Levering Lewis’s monograph When Harlem Was in Vogue. Class members will also respond to the suggestion that the Movement was less a renaissance than an initial budding of artistic expression within the African American community. Critical readings of the works of James Weldon Johnson, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, Sterling Brown, Zora Neale Hurston and others will inform our class discussion and presentations. For the purposes of our literary analyses, we will also read excerpts from W. E. B. DuBois’s Souls of Black Folk as his pivotal sociological examination of black Americans contains the central metaphor utilized by New Negro authors throughout the period.
469/569 • Medieval Culture: Literature and Society • TTh 2:00-3:15 pm • Braswell
476/576 • Shakespeare • TTh 11:00 am-12:15 pm • Chapman
This course will focus on the ways in which Shakespeare uses his plays to think carefully and critically about how human beings should act in the world, about the ethics of human action. We will read a number of plays (including Othello, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night), and students will write a series of study questions taking a position on the plays’ various moral questions. In-class discussions will also feature a number of film clips in order to highlight how directors and actors have responded to the dilemmas in which Shakespeare puts his characters. Requirements in this class will include the study questions, two short papers, a midterm, and a final.
481/581 • 18th Century: Literature and Culture • M 5:00-7:30 pm • Graves
The Agony and the Ecstasy: Eighteenth-Century Bodies in Pleasure and Pain
This course will explore representations of pleasure and pain in eighteenth-century fiction. As background we will focus on scientific developments that produced new facts and prompted new questions about the human body. We will then explore the ways in which selected authors incorporate old and new assumptions about bodies into their works. Specifically, we will explore ways in which the experiences of pain and oppression provided a dark contrast to historically unprecedented luxury and leisure. Contexts for our investigation of the course topic include such subjects as prostitution, slavery, smallpox, tuberculosis, tourism, spas, the import/export trade, and the London’s pleasure gardens.
- The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. C: The Restoration and Eighteenth Century (Norton)
- Burney, Evelina (Oxford World's Classics)
- Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (Norton Critical Edition)
- Sterne, A Sentimental Journey (Oxford World's Classics)
- Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year (Norton Critical Edition)
- Smollett, Humphrey Clinker (Penguin)
- Midterm 100 pts.
- Final 100 pts.
- 8-10 page term paper 125 pts.
487/587 • The Nineteenth-Century Novel • Th 5:00-7:30 pm • SiegelWhat were Victorian men and women like? Readers often look to the Victorian novel for an answer to this question, only to find a surprising variety of patterns and types. From the Angel in the House, to the Fallen Woman, to the spinster, to the missionary lady, to the suffragette—from the Captain of Industry, to the bounder, to the scientist, to the soldier, to the man of leisure—Victorian fiction abounds with “typical” men and women of different sorts, so many that one begins to wonder whether it makes sense to talk about the typical at all.
This course will investigate competing ideas of gender in Victorian society as seen through the Victorian novel, a genre that served both as a document of modern life and as a laboratory for social experimentation. We’ll read works by Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Bram Stoker, and others; the reading will be significant, about 250 pages a week with short reading quizzes. Students will write two shorter essays and a final research paper.
489/589 • James Joyce • MWF 12:20-1:10 pm • Hutchings
This course will present an in-depth study of the prose fiction of James Joyce through Ulysses, which we will read in its entirety. Now widely recognized as the single most important and influential novel of the twentieth century, Ulysses was very controversial in its time and was banned in the United States until its landmark “obscenity” trial in 1933.
Texts to be studied in the class are: two short stories from Dubliners (“Araby” and “The Dead”), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses. Two supplementary texts are also required: Stuart Gilbert’s James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Study and Anthony Burgess’s ReJoyce.
It is EXTREMELY important that you are using the "officially adopted" editions ordered for the course. These are the Norton Critical Editions of Dubliners (edited by Margot Norris) and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (edited by John Paul Riquelme), plus the 1986 edition of Ulysses edited by Hans Walter Gabler. There are now many other editions of Ulysses available, but they are based on earlier, error-laden editions and do not have line numbers in the margins.
Requirements: take-home midterm, research paper (7-10 pp. undergraduate, 12-15 pp. graduate), in-class final. In lieu of quizzes, each student will keep a “reader-response journal” (one page typed, per chapter, plus three questions) about each chapter of Ulysses; these will be handed in and graded on various days, to assure that you are keeping up with the reading. Graduate students may also be expected to give one brief (3 minute) report, with handouts as appropriate, on background research for individual chapters.
IMPORTANT: The study of Joyce’s writings will demand—and will repay—as much time as you can give it. You should DEFINITELY NOT take this course during a semester in which you are taking any OTHER novel course or any other course that also demands a particularly heavy reading commitment. You will NOT be able to devote adequate time to both.
You should also be aware that Joyce’s writings are very forthright in their presentation of issues regarding sexuality and other aspects of the human body. If you are likely to be offended by such material, by in-class discussion of same, by "irreverent" humor, or by so-called “coarse” or “vulgar” language, you should find some other course in which to enroll.
496 • Capstone • TTh 9:30-10:45 am • Chapman
There’s nothing like studying where you’ve been in order to get a better appreciation for where you are going. In this course, senior English majors will come together to think about and discuss what it means to be English majors. We will study how the discipline has evolved over time; how the canon of great works has changed (and how UAB’s course catalogs have changed accordingly); how writing instruction has evolved; what threats and new opportunities the discipline faces; how the virtual world is changing English studies; and even how the rise of electronic media is changing our sense of what it means to read a book. Requirements for this course may include a personal essay, a journal, two presentations, and a research paper. Students will emerge from the course with a more clearly defined sense of their own academic trajectory and of the core questions that drive the study of English today.
This course satisfies the capstone requirement for the new English major.
604 • Research Methods in Composition and Rhetoric • 5:00-7:30 pm • Ryan
Every field has its own methods for discovering knowledge, and scholars in composition and rhetoric are no exception. This seminar will introduce students to traditional and emerging approaches to
- Identifying pertinent questions about how people “write” in its broadest sense and how they respond to visual and verbal messages conveyed by others
- Situating research in appropriate research contexts, thereby “framing” specific projects
- Determining which methods to use for a given project and how to craft the appropriate tools for gathering data
- Figuring out what the data/results mean (as well as what they don’t)
- Learning how to communicate research findings to targeted audiences inside and outside the field
This course will incorporate a number of pedagogical methods, including
- Assessing current published studies
- Creating alternative methodologies for retrieving data
- Devising research tools (surveys, observation rubrics, discourse analysis heuristics, interview questions, etc.)
- Composing and implementing a research plan for a question of interest in the field of composition and rhetoric
645 • Bibliography and Research Methods • T 5:00-7:30 pm • Braswell
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: The African American Novel & The Nadir • Th 5:00-7:30 pm • Daniels
In his 1954 book, The Negro in American Life and Thought, Historian Rayford Logan notoriously dubbed the period from the end of Reconstruction to the birth of the 20th century, the "Nadir," because it was without a doubt one of the most violent episodes in U.S. race relations since the Civil War. Having lost many of the civil rights acquired in the aftermath of Emancipation, African Americans were beaten, raped, and lynched in record number. If extralegal violence in the form of mob-rule was not bad enough, African Americans were also subjected to brutal treatment at the hands of the law with the advent of Jim Crow. A series of state and local laws mandating racial segregation, Jim Crow found its most virulent expression in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) which implemented the infamous “separate but equal” ruling. As a result, African Americans across the South were prohibited from sharing public accommodations—like restrooms, lunch counters, and trains—with whites. This course will explore African American authors' imaginative responses to these trends. Central to our study will be the following questions: What does it mean to be a black American in the 1890s and 1900s? How can literature function as instigator of political change? And how do African American writers represent the complexities of freedom, democracy, and citizenship during this dark period?