Following are the courses being offered in the Fall 2017 semester. Please check the online class schedule listing for the most accurate scheduling information.

200-Level Courses

TR 2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
Instructor: Santiago
In this course students will survey a variety of comic books and graphic novels that illustrate how diverse authors have used the form to explore different topics, such as violence, political unrest and war, alienation, family dynamics, morality, representation, identity, race, and gender. We’ll spend some time reviewing the evolution and history of the form and will read well-known and celebrated as well as newer texts that cover genres from fantasy and sci-fi to historical fiction and autobiography. This course will focus on examining closely the relationship between the visual, sequential art of the graphic form and narrative, and we’ll also examine the cultural significance of this medium.

Students should expect the rigor of a sophomore literature course, as we will rely on close reading, analysis, and theory to better understand and appreciate the basics of the medium. This course will require considerable reading and writing, and students can expect the assignments to consist of a mix of exams, short essays, and responses. Please note that some covered texts contain controversial themes/content.
MWF 11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.
Instructor: Butcher
Though often portrayed as a single, unified group, the LGBTQ community is filled with diverse — and sometimes competing — voices. We will examine poetry, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, graphic literature, and film as we explore questions of identity in writings by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer authors. We will spend some time looking at the evolution of LGBTQ literature but focus most of our attention on contemporary works. Possible authors include Tony Kushner, Rita Mae Brown, Dorothy Allison, Alison Bechdel, James Baldwin, Garrard Conley, Julie Marie Wade, Daphne Scholinski, Walt Whitman, Ocean Vuong, Daisy Hernandez, Imogen Binnie, and L. Lamar Wilson.

Whether you are gay, straight, ally, or simply curious, this course is designed as an introduction to LGBTQ literature. Students need bring only a willingness to read carefully, discuss openly, and think carefully about the topics and texts at hand. As with other 200-level courses, assignments may include tests, essays, quizzes, and journals. Please note that some of the texts will contain controversial themes and adult content.

300-Level Courses

TR 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Siegel
In this course students will learn the essential elements of literary scholarship, including research methods, interpretive strategies, major theoretical concepts, and the conventions of literary essays. We’ll focus in particular on the aspects of writing that aspiring English majors find difficult: posing an interesting question, writing a provocative thesis statement, framing an essay with an academic introduction and conclusion, using multiple kinds of evidence, expanding an essay to the proper length, and taking a versatile approach to research. The course aims to give students tools that they’ll be able to apply to their future coursework in English and to broaden their understanding of English as an academic discipline.

The requirements for the course will include reading, regular short writing assignments, two 6-8 page essays, and an annotated bibliography.
T 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Braziel
We will focus specifically on the use of setting in short stories, but we will also cover other elements of short story writing—pulse, dialogue, character, plot, detail, theme, and point of view. Students will write complete short stories and critique stories written by classmates. We will discuss stories from the Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. For the service learning component of the class we will visit Coosa Riverkeeper and Alabama Power Archives about the dams along the Coosa. There will also be an optional trip to Moccasin Gap. Our goal is to spend time with the Coosa, learning its history, and seeing different parts of it, then incorporating those experiences into some of the writing assignments.
MWF 1:25 - 2:15 p.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? 
MWF 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 1960s 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 that 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
  • Nella Larsen, Passing
  • Richard Wright, Native Son
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • Leroi Jones, The Dutchman
  • Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
  • Trey Ellis, “New Black Aesthetic"
M/W/F 9:05 - 9:55 a.m.
Instructor: Young
It is difficult to overstate the significance of World War I; it forever changed not only the politics and power structures of the 20th century, but also the century’s arts and sciences. In short, the war — the “Great War” — changed everything. In conjunction with the centennial of the United States’ military involvement in WWI, we will immerse ourselves in some of the many works that offer a first-hand account of the war. We will not focus only on soldiers’ accounts (whether memoir, fiction, or poetry); neither will we limit ourselves to American texts. Instead, we will pursue a transatlantic study that includes film, written texts produced in languages other than English, and traditionally marginalized voices — specifically those of women and people of color. Our work will provide us with a more immediate understanding of WWI as those who lived it experienced it and understood it, but it will also allow us to draw connections with our own historical and cultural moment.

Course Readings and Materials — We will read fiction, non-fiction, and poetry produced from 1914 – 1939. Major primary texts include:
  • Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms
  • Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front
  • selected works by the British “war poets,” including Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Wilfred Owen, and Rupert Brooke
We may also read selections from authors like Vera Mary Brittain, Mary Wedderburn Canaan, Henri Barbusse, John Dos Passos, E. E. Cummings, William March, Victor Daly, Edith Wharton, Addie W. Hunton, and Kathryn M. Johnson. In addition to viewing film clips from the front lines, we will watch at least portions of the films The Big Parade, Wings, and Westfront 1918.

Major assignments will include two exams, a film analysis, and a multimedia class presentation.
MWF 11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.
Instructor: Clements
The corpus of texts from medieval Scandinavia tells the stories of the Norse gods, legendary heroes, and colorful families of the Viking Age. Focusing particularly on sagas, this course introduces Old Norse-Icelandic literature in translation and fosters skills in close reading and interpretation. We will also discuss the historical milieu in which these texts were composed and transmitted, and how the literature represents various aspects of medieval culture, including such topics as travel abroad and raiding, settlement, love and marriage, feasting, law, warrior ethics, blood feud, cosmology, and religious rituals.

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

  • Pimone Triplett, The Price of Light
  • Vievee Francis, Forest Primeval
  • Melissa Range, Scriptorium
Course Overview:
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make a book.” — Samuel Johnson

“The writer is initially set going by literature more than life.” — Flannery O’Connor

“The true artist is known by what he annexes, and he annexes everything.” — Oscar Wilde

“Without Tennyson’s reading of Keats, we would have almost no Tennyson.” — Harold Bloom

“No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance . . . is the appreciation of his relationship to the dead poets and artists.” — T.S. Eliot

In this workshop, we will focus on investigating “the anxiety of influence.” 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 makes them effective/ineffective influence models for our poems.

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 prompts 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."

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 drafts, we will show concern for all of these complex subsidies of sense.
W 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Braziel
Students will write short stories that in turn will be critiqued in a workshop setting with the goal of sending the revised short stories out to journals. Students will also be asked to write a short essay on their creative writing process, focusing on an element of craft. We will read short story collections by Ron Rash, Alice Munro, Annie Proulx, Junot Diaz, and Rick Bass. 
M/W/F 12:20 - 1:10 p.m.
Instructor: Dunbar
The Black Arts Movement has been described as the least effective politically artistic movement in African American history. This interdisciplinary course will challenge that argument by exploring the ways in which the Black Power Movement inspired similar movements around the globe as well as the enduring significance of hip hop culture to American popular culture – which is one of America’s major exports. There will be an overview of the historical events that led to this self-conscious and controversial movement. We engage texts that span from the 1960s to the early 2000s and place them into conversation with histo-political context. The purpose of the course is both to serve as an introduction to one of the least studied aspects of American literary history as well as to debunk some of the myths surrounding the Black Arts Movement and its activists.

Together we will examine the contributions of authors such as Malcolm X, Larry Neal, Leroi Jones, Lorraine Hansberry, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Elaine Brown, Eldridge Cleaver, Grand Master Flash, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Queen Latifah, and MC Lyte.
TR 2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
Instructor: Jessee
What are the implications of inhabiting a “third sex,” a space somewhere between or outside of the binary male/female? Interestingly, the first women physicians in America were considered just that: in 1870, the Boston Gynecological Society referred to “skirted” doctors as a “third sex.” The Society intended the term as an insult; they were arguing that women physicians are unnatural because they conform to neither gender construction. Today, we consider transgressing the binary between male/female an act of queering. It’s a positive means of breaking down overly simplistic and often oppressive ideas about gender and sex.

In this class we will read 19th-century American fiction with women physicians as main characters. We will trace literary characterizations of women physicians as they disrupt binary thinking about gender. Our analyses will attempt to tease out how 19th-century American literature reflects a transgressive concept of a “third sex.”

The course will require students to complete frequent quizzes, online discussions, and a final essay.

Reading List:
  • Rebecca Harding Davis, Kitty’s Choice
  • Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Doctor Zay
  • Sarah Orne Jewett, A Country Doctor
  • William Dean Howells, Dr. Breen’s Practice
  • Henry James, The Bostonians
  • Annie Nathan Meyer, Helen Brent, M.D.
We will also read some short critical and theoretical texts, which will be available on Canvas.
M/W/F 11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.
Instructor: Minnix
The goal of EH 433/533 is to build your confidence as an academic writer by immersing you in an intellectual conversation about the issues, texts, and fields of study you find fascinating. Because projects in this course are driven by each student’s intellectual interests, this course will be valuable whatever your major or field of study. Throughout the course, you will develop a toolkit full of strategies for academic writing, including tools for developing academic research questions, conducting different types of academic research (including library, field, and archival research), using technology to manage the academic writing process, using genre theory to understand academic audiences and contexts, and developing a confident academic writing style. We will also take a holistic approach to academic writing, one that is focused not simply on the production of academic texts but also on managing the ups and downs of writing for academic audiences.
M/W/F 1:25 - 2:15 p.m.
Instructor: Clements
This course is a study of language evolution from Proto-Indo European to modern English dialects, including phonological shifts, dialectical distinctions, language families, and orthographical and syntactical changes. In addition to learning about the broad scope of linguistic change, students will explore the history of a word that has been in the English language for a millennium (or more), practice the sounds of historical forms of the language through individual recitations in Old English and Middle English, and consider the future directions of English in light of technological and geopolitical change.
W 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Instructor: Bellis
In this course we’ll look at the intersections between English and American culture during the 18th century. For most of this period, of course, “Americans” thought of themselves as Englishmen, and many figures moved back and forth across the Atlantic, writing, speaking, and working in both London and the colonies.

We’ll begin with a pair of troublemaking journalists, Daniel Defoe and Benjamin Franklin, but we’ll also talk about poetry by Alexander Pope and essays by Addison and Steele. Throughout the century, American writers drew from and defined themselves against such British models, whether in sentimental or satirical fiction — Evelina and The Coquette — or theatrical comedy — The School for Scandal and The Contrast.

Atlantic trade was not just intellectual, however: England and America were connected economically by slavery and the exploitation of the West Indies — we’ll also discuss both Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative and the poetry of Phillis Wheatley.

Texts may include:
  • Burney, Evelina
  • Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
  • Equiano, The Interesting Narrative
  • Foster, The Coquette
  • Franklin, Autobiography and Other Writings
  • Pope, Selected Poetry
  • Sheridan, The School for Scandal
  • Tyler, The Contrast
  • Wheatley, Poems
Plus other excerpts and secondary materials to be posted on Canvas.
M/W/F 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Instructor: Siegel
What 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 about 250 pages a week, with regular quizzes. Other work includes two shorter essays and a final research paper.
M/W/F 10:10 - 11:00 a.m.
Instructor: Hutchings
Intensive study of the works of James Joyce, including "Araby" in Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses.
TR 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Instructor: McComiskey
This 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 p.m.
Instructor: McComiskey
Modern Rhetorical Theory examines the ways in which people use language to accomplish purposes — it is the study of language in use.

Some of the questions we will explore include:
  • How does language come to mean what it does?
  • Do words carry inherent meanings that transfer from a speaker to a listener?
  • Does the context in which words are used influence our understanding of their meaning?
  • What is the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric?
  • Is language inherently metaphorical since it always refers to things other than itself?
  • Are informal means of argumentation more effective than formal logic?
  • Are there cultural influences on the way in which we communicate?

EH 602 begins with readings from John Locke and Giambattista Vico that exemplify humanism in the Enlightenment period. Alexander Bain, Adams Sherman Hill, and Herbert Spencer represent the dawning of rhetoric and composition studies in the nineteenth century. Twentieth century rhetoric begins with philosophical approaches by Mikhail Bakhtin, Ernesto Grassi, and I. A. Richards. Themes related to rhetoric and knowledge are explored by Chaim Perelman, Stephen Toulmin, and Richard Weaver. Finally, the relationships between rhetoric and culture are explored by Jurgen Habermas, Hélène Cixous, and Gloria Anzaldúa.