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

200-Level Courses

EH 213-1A: Ideas in Lit: Crime & Punishment

Instructor: Sellers

We will explore who determines what’s a crime, who commits a crime, who pursues them, and how they are punished. From the poetry of Etheridge Knight to fiction, from nonfiction (The Devil in the Grove) to popular songs and films, we will examine issues like prison life, racial bias, false accusations, political imprisonment, and prisoners of war.

EH 213-1B: Ideas in Lit: Queer Literature

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, self-expression, and belonging in writings by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer authors.

Possible authors include Redfern Jon Barrett, Hasan Namir, Del Shores, S.J. Sindu, Jeanette Winterson, Gloria Anzaldúa, Dorothy Allison, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Rita Mae Brown, Austin Chant, Claire Kann, A.K. Summers, Jericho Brown, Jennifer Espinosa, Saeed Jones, Randall Mann, Stephen S. Mills, Hasan Namir, Mary Oliver, Danez Smith, Christopher Soto, Julie Marie Wade, Walt Whitman, 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.

EH 213-1C: Ideas in Lit: Love Literature

Instructor: Morgan

In the words of the 80s power ballad: “I want to know what love is.” We’ll take this investigation to literature to see what poets, playwrights, and novelists have to say about love. Through their works, writers have posed important questions about love that we’ll consider together in class: How can being in love change a person? What is lovesickness and can it be cured? How does erotic passion compare to other types of love, such as friendship or religious devotion? What does loving yourself really look like? Our investigation will take us through time and space, considering works from ancient Greece and China, medieval Italy and Japan, Renaissance and Regency England, and modern America.

EH 213-2A: Ideas in Lit: Literature of Grief and Mourning

Instructor: Ellis

This course will examine the ways literature helps people express grief and do the work of mourning, both personally and culturally. We will study elegiac poetry, short stories, plays, memoirs, and a novel, considering how gender and diverse cultural identities affect and inform the grieving process.

EH 213-2D: Ideas in Lit: Dog Lit

Instructor: Major

In this class we’ll read about dogs. We’ll learn about the history of the complex bond between humans and dogs, and we’ll explore a range of texts that use dogs as symbols, voices, characters, or inspiration. We’ll examine how the dog has been “constructed” (literally and figuratively). We’ll analyze texts to understand how they work as literature, and we’ll ponder what this literature teaches us about dogs, as well as what it reveals about humans through our relationships with dogs. This investigation will also provide entry into various social issues and ethical questions involving dogs. Ultimately, the literature this semester will help us better understand our personal, cultural, and ethical relationships with dogs, and it will encourage us to reevaluate how we (humans and dogs) inhabit each other’s worlds — both real and imagined.

EH 213-2E: Ideas in Lit: Global Literature

Instructor: Sundberg

This course is designed to inform the student and to provoke a reasonably sophisticated level of thought, discussion, and writing about diverse themes, forms, and cultural and historical constructs of literature from around the world. During the semester, we will read examples from many nations, spanning multiple periods in literary history. Reading will be supplemented by the use of film. In addition to reading and viewing representative works, we will discuss and write about them.

The goals of the course include encouraging in the student an appreciation of and familiarity with various examples of literature and of cultures other than one’s native culture. We will become familiar with many literatures and cultures, developing respect for each of them.

EH 213-QLA: Ideas in Lit: Our Voices Now: Contemporary Women Writing

Instructor: Slaughter

Remember those heavy literature anthologies from high school full of canonical works written by, mostly, dead white dudes? Well, that is what this class is NOT. This introductory literature course will look at the daring, funny, dark, weird, beautiful, challenging literature being composed by women writers alive and working today. While we will occasionally cast our lens to years past to understand the origin of the women poets, novelists, essayists, and short story writers we will encounter, it’s likely that most of the writers we will read have websites, as well as Instagram and Twitter. As we read, we will study secondary and background materials which will supply the specialized vocabulary we will use in our informal (online discussion) and formal (reading responses, essays, etc.) written discussion of the works we encounter.

Upon completing the course, students will understand the conventions of literary genres and will have developed their analytical skills through close reading, critical thinking, and scholarly writing about literary texts. What do “our voices” sound like now? Let’s find out together.

EH 213-QLB: Ideas in Lit: Our Voices Now: Contemporary Women Writing

Instructor: Slaughter

Remember those heavy literature anthologies from high school full of canonical works written by, mostly, dead white dudes? Well, that is what this class is NOT. This introductory literature course will look at the daring, funny, dark, weird, beautiful, challenging literature being composed by women writers alive and working today. While we will occasionally cast our lens to years past to understand the origin of the women poets, novelists, essayists, and short story writers we will encounter, it’s likely that most of the writers we will read have websites, as well as Instagram and Twitter. As we read, we will study secondary and background materials which will supply the specialized vocabulary we will use in our informal (online discussion) and formal (reading responses, essays, etc.) written discussion of the works we encounter.

Upon completing the course, students will understand the conventions of literary genres and will have developed their analytical skills through close reading, critical thinking, and scholarly writing about literary texts. What do “our voices” sound like now? Let’s find out together.

300-Level Courses

EH 301-1D: Reading/Writing/Research for Lit Classes

Instructor: G. Temple

EH 301 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.

EH 301-2E: Reading/Writing/Research for Lit Classes

Instructor: Bach

This course is designed to teach students to read carefully and write beautifully in senior level English courses. Students will learn scansion, library research techniques, and critical theory. Although students may write their final research papers on a number of different texts, the class will read some poems, a play, and a novel together.

EH 305-7P: Beginning Poetry Writing Workshop

Instructor: Vines

EH 305 is a beginning poetry-writing workshop. In the course, you will write poetry, critique each other’s drafts, read contemporary poetry, and write response papers.

EH 307-2D: Beginning Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop

Instructor: Madden

This is an undergraduate course in the writing of creative nonfiction. From memoir to personal essay to literary journalism, our objective will be to explore the range of possibilities in writing creative nonfiction. In addition to free-writes to capture voice, we’ll discuss different authors in creative nonfiction through Dinty W. Moore's book The Truth of the Matter. From David Foster Wallace to Joan Didion to Joseph Mitchell to John Jeremiah Sullivan to Cheryl Strayed to James Baldwin to Junot Diaz to Richard Rodriguez to Roxane Gay to Heather Sellers to Rebecca Skloot, we will be reading a range of both memoir and essay, including graphic memoirs by Allie Brosh and Alison Bechdel. Students will also be expected to submit their work to professional literary journals along with 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 the material. Flannery O'Connor wrote, "Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days." Joan Didion wrote: “We tell our stories in order to live.” With the words of O'Connor and Didion 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. We’ll also be doing some writing-in-place workshops in areas of Birmingham, including the archives of the Birmingham Public Library.

EH 315-2B: Intro to Professional Writing

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.

EH 340-1C: Developing Digital Documents

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.

EH 376-2B: Shakespeare: An Introduction

Instructor: Bach

Reading six of Shakespeare’s plays together, the class will think about how the plays can be staged and interpreted. We will watch different versions of scenes and compare them to the texts. Through reading and listening to Shakespeare’s language closely, students will gain comfort with Shakespeare’s rhythms and his syntax. Discussions will focus particularly on how Shakespeare gives characters individual voices and how interpretations of Shakespeare’s characters have changed over time.

Plays to be read may include Henry V, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, and King Lear.

Three short paper assignments will include options such as writing about how one might direct a scene.

400/500-Level Courses

EH 426/526-9H: Pre-1800 Lit: Gender in Medieval Epic

Instructor: Clements

Avengers and Valkyries: Gender in Medieval Epic

Vengeance-seeking mothers, weeping kings, cross-dressing Norse gods, and sword-wielding virgins: medieval literature is brimming with representations of gender and gender-bending. This semester, we will examine medieval heroic literature—including epic poetry, saga, and romance—and how representations of gender vary among cultures and textual genres in medieval Europe. Although heroic texts focus on (and are often named for) their male heroes, they also include female characters of essential and sometimes not-so-subtle significance: using an arsenal ranging from verbal goading and battle cries to actual swords and shields, these female characters occupy a central role in both the progression and the ultimate resolution of the heroic narrative. We also have male characters who defy masculine norms in their old age to become ritual mourners and goaders, demonstrating how the performance of gender is dependent on a range of social factors, including age, dress, and class.

Our primary texts will take us from the saints’ lives and early epics of North Sea culture (including Beowulf and The Táin) to legendary and bridal quest sagas from Iceland and medieval French romance. Students will consider how such texts deploy nuanced views of gendered behavior and bodies, and also engage with varying perspectives on medieval gender and sexuality through exploring trends in the scholarship on these subjects.

EH 427-2F: Post-1800 Literature: Love, Marriage, and Empire

Instructor: Mahapatra

Writers as famous as Mark Twain and Salman Rushdie have dissed women for writing about love and marriage in a time when wars were fought, empires won and lost, and thousands died. In this class we will read some of the most powerful memoirs and novels by women writers in the African American and Postcolonial literary traditions.

Novels by women from the U.S., Antigua, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and India will teach us, first, that to think about love and marriage is not to avoid, but in fact to engage in a sharper scrutiny of European imperialism and its long afterlives in postcolonial societies. Further, we will learn that while “Empire” was a global phenomenon which affected people of color all over the world, women suffered the violence of colonial rule in more ways than men. It is therefore imperative that we learn from women writers’ inquiry into the very possibility of romantic love in a world shaped by the violence of colonialism. Is there anything called “love,” outside of the cultural, racial, economic, national, gendered, and ethnic inequalities which are the legacies of colonialism?

The writers we will read will answer that question through stories of love in times of racial, gendered and caste-based violence in the U.S. South, Antigua, Nigeria, and the South Indian state of Kerala. Examining characters, motivations, and themes in those stories, we will ask: as we grapple with the emotional and social scars of a traumatic past, how can we imagine the possibility of love in a present we cannot avoid, and a future which is yet to unfold?

Readings:

  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
  • Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Americanah
  • Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
  • Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

Assignments:

  • weekly 300-word comments on class blog/website/discussion board
  • two short (four-to-five page) papers:
    • close reading paper
    • creative paper: sequel/epilogue/alternate ending to any of the readings.
  • one annotated bibliography
  • one critical research paper (seven-to-eight pages)
  • one ten-minute in-class presentation.

EH 427/527-1E: Addiction and Literature

Instructor: G. Temple

In this course we will study literary and cultural portrayals of addiction from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Prior to the nineteenth century, compulsive behaviors were generally regarded as failures of personal character. This way of thinking about addiction shifted drastically, however, with the rise of institutionalized medicine in the nineteenth century, and addictions (such as alcoholism, or “drink monomania”) gradually came to be regarded as diseases that should be treated medically, rather than with moral or religious encouragement (or shaming). The disease model of addiction gave rise to a host of medical classifications for obsessively “self-destructive” behaviors associated with food, sex, reading and writing, shopping, excessive drinking or drug use, and so on.

But the term “addiction” was (and still is) also inherently ambiguous; while it seems to denote a clear boundary between health and disease, in practice such distinctions are much less clear. For example, how exactly do we know when a person drinks, exercises, works, shops, or medicates "too much," to the point where those behaviors then become the purview of doctors rather than, say, "normal" parts of our everyday lives? In other words, precisely when does "normal" become "abnormal"? What’s more, our society depends upon many of the same behaviors (and marketable substances) that, when taken to extremes or in ways that are institutionally unregulated, it also condemns. For example, our economy requires that people perpetually desire new things, so we need citizens to shop; but shopping can also go “too far” and become a disease ("kleptomania," for example, arose simultaneously with the advent of the department store in the late nineteenth century). Something similar might be said for psychoactive drugs; when a doctor prescribes an antidepressant the intention is to make us "ourselves" again, but "self-medication" with unregulated drugs is typically condemned and regarded as an addictive gateway to "self-loss."

In this class we will study the origins, literary expressions, and continued relevance of these kinds of questions and themes by reading a wide variety of literary, medical, and theoretical writings about addiction. Among the authors we will read are Charles Brockden Brown, T. S. Arthur, Mary Spring Walker, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Wilkie Collins, and Mary Karr. Assignments include a final term paper and an archival project/presentation.

EH 433/533-1F: Academic Writing

Instructor: Minnix

Academic writing is accused of many things, including being jargon-laden, boring, pretentious, and often of not serving the public interest. It doesn’t have to be any of these things, though; and, most of the time, it’s not. In fact, academic writing often transcends the boundaries of the university to reframe the way that we see the world and ourselves within it. The question is not if academic writing is valuable, but how to create work that has value. That’s what this course is all about.

Ultimately, this is a course in learning how to become a creative, innovative, and confident scholar, a scholar who wants to share their work with others inside and outside of the academy. To reach that specific goal, we will begin the course in two important ways. First, we will expand our understanding of how to conduct research by learning advanced strategies for library research, strategies for historical research in archives, and strategies for ethnographic and case-study research. Second, we will learn how to use both digital and analog tools to sort, analyze, and interpret the research we find. This process will be immersive and hands on, with opportunities to conduct each of these types of research and talk with outstanding scholars who use these methods.

From this introduction to scholarly research, students will then have a chance to develop a research project that they are interested in pursuing, a project they are passionately interested in, and research and draft that project. Throughout this process you will be mentored by your instructor and receive consistent feedback from a dedicated writing group.

Our goal by the end of the course is for you to have a piece of academic writing that you will feel confident submitting to an undergraduate or graduate journal in your field.

EH 436/536-9I: Workshop: Writing for Young People

Instructor: Madden

This workshop will focus specifically on writing stories for young people. Students will be presented with a range of children's authors from picture book to early reader to middle grade to young adult. From Maurice Sendak to Ann Whitford Paul to Jane Yolen to James Marshall to Kwame Alexander to Judy Blume to Sophie Blackall to Jerry Craft to Nikki Giovanni to Jaqueline Woodson to Linda Sue Park to Rainbow Rowell to Laurie Halse Anderson to Gary Paulson to Irene Latham to Pam Muñoz Ryan and many others, students will read a range of stories and styles and learn about writing for children.

Students will write three picture books, including a draft of fractured fairy tale and/or a nonfiction picture book, 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 or be skyped in during the semester to discuss writing and children's literature. The class will culminate in a visit to Epic Magnet or Glen Iris School near campus for UAB students to read their stories developed in the workshop to the children in grades K-5 at Epic.

EH 444/544-1D: Women’s Literature and Theory

Instructor: Jessee

WOMEN’S BODIES OF/AND LITERATURE

Unlike a course titled “American Literature” or “Shakespeare,” when we name a course “Women’s Literature,” we are invoking two bodies: a body of literature and the writer’s gendered body. This course will focus on those two bodies. We will read various theories of the body, and we will explore how notions of the body inform a body of literature by women. We will grapple with questions like: How does our literature shape bodies and how do bodies shape literature? What happens to human bodies, and do bodies of literature that do not conform to dominant cultural norms? What makes a body gendered, and do bodies of scientific literature have the potential to change our conceptions of the gendered body? While our goal is not to fully answer all of these questions, I hope that we will come away from the course with intriguing ideas concerning the complex relationship between gender and literature.

Our primary texts in the course will be five novels written by women that deal with the gendered body in very different but equally intriguing ways.

  • Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth
  • Virginia Woolf’s Orlando
  • Toni Morrison’s Beloved
  • Naomi Alderman’s The Power

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

This course fulfills the theory requirement for the Literature concentration.

EH 462/562-1B: American Literature 1820-1870

Instructor: Bellis

In this class, we’ll discuss some of the major works in antebellum American literature. Writers of the period struggled to create new visions of America and its culture, and their battles have been fought and refought by critics ever since. Our discussions will range over a number of issues: the search for a national literature and identity, the drive toward economic and intellectual individualism and self-reliance, and the increasing conflict over the places of African Americans and women in American society.

Over the course of the term, I’ll ask you to complete three papers totaling 20 pages and make an in-class presentation. Texts may include:

  • Brown, Clotel
  • Dickinson, Poems, ed. R.W. Franklin
  • Thoreau, Walden
  • Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables
  • Melville, Moby-Dick
  • Poe, Selected Writings
  • Whitman, Leaves of Grass
  • Plus a selection of essays posted on Canvas

EH 475/575-2D: English Renaissance Poetry and Prose

Instructor: Bach

In this class, we will read mostly short lyric poetry by the many of the best poets writing in the English Renaissance, including Thomas Wyatt, Edmund Spenser, Aemilia Lanyer, Ben Jonson, Lady Mary Wroth, John Donne, Katherine Phillips, and Margaret Cavendish. These poems address love, hate, Christianity, politics, class struggle, gender inequities, nonhuman animals, and the beginning of experimental science. We will also read short documents from the period that speak to these concerns.

These texts will offer us a window into an earlier world that is both familiar and deeply alien. Some of these poets introduced novel poetic forms that are still being used today. We will learn about the musicality of this poetry as well as its cultural power.

Undergraduate students will write two short papers and take two exams. Graduate students will write a long research paper and take two exams.

EH 483/583: British Romanticism

Instructor: Grimes

The chief aim of this course is to help students become conversant with the canonical works and the canonical writers of the Romantic period. These writers—the poets are frequently called the "Big Six"— dominated the discussion of Romanticism through much of the 20th century; a knowledge of their work is essential to students of the period. At the same time, however, recent criticism has raised a number of compelling reasons to question both the legitimacy and the effects of the dominance of the writers traditionally labeled as the "major" or canonical romantics.

There are a number of approaches to this emerging critique of canonical Romanticism, and I have included a few works such as Byron's Don Juan, Thomas Love Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey, and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (themselves canonical texts, though romantic misfits) in order to introduce this critique. As a result, students should emerge from the class with a comprehensive grasp on the traditional definitions of romanticism as well as a heightened critical sense of the significance—and the limitations—of these traditional definitions.

EH 496-2F: English Capstone

Instructor: Siegel

This seminar will help English majors build a bridge between their academic work in college and their professional goals for the future. We will discuss the role of the humanities in our society, considering especially how the skills and values students have developed in the English major can be brought to bear in different professional contexts. Students will learn to talk about their coursework and academic achievements, and they will create documents (such as resumes, CVs, and application letters) that they can use in their career search after college.

600/700-Level Courses

EH 601-7P: Classical Rhetorical Theory

Instructor: Ryan

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 this graduate seminar 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.

EH 693-7M: American Literary Realism

Instructor: Jessee

Recently, scholars have argued that America is in a “second Gilded Age,” where, as Bill Krugman argues, there “has been a revolution in our understanding of long-term trends in inequality.” The term “Gilded Age” was first used by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley to satirically describe the turn of the twentieth century when society appeared successful on the surface, but when chipped away, the gold gilding revealed something much more insidious. The period between the Civil War and World War I is considered an important cusp period, one uncannily similar to our current society. As the United States grappled with issues of a small but powerful upper class, racial violence, voting rights, environmentalism, political riots, advances in industry and technology, and enormous waves of immigration, then, as now, authors debated their own role as artists. They argued over whether they should represent this unequal and oppressive society as it really was, show what society should be, or focus on nature in order to more accurately represent the nature of society and humanity.

In this course, we will read representative literature from this important cusp period. We will discuss the important issues of race, gender, class, and the natural environment as they relate to aesthetics, and we will attempt to gain a better understanding of the literary history that surrounds this important cusp by understanding some of the great shifts in American thought and life in the time.

Students will be graded on periodic in-class writing, two take-home exams, and two short essays. The tentative list of primary texts includes:

  • William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham
  • Mark Twain, Puddn’head Wilson
  • Charles Chestnutt, The Marrow of Tradition
  • Henry James, “Daisy Miller”
  • Edith Wharton, Summer
  • Frank Norris, Blix

Following are the courses being offered in upcoming semesters. Please check the online class schedule listing for the most accurate scheduling information

Summer 2020 Courses

200-Level Courses

EH 213-QLA: Ideas in Lit: Witch Narratives: A Re-presentation

Instructor: Dwivedi

Witchcraft was hung, in History/ But History and I/ Find all the Witchcraft that we need/ Around us, every Day—

Using the context of this short poem by Emily Dickinson, this course will focus on the historical, literary, and socio-cultural representation of witches. The issue of representation is problematic, particularly for witches, and our purpose is to explore the identity of witches as violators/violated. After briefly tracing the socio-historical construction of witches, we will study a range of texts (I, Tituba, Boy, Snow, Bird, and a few short stories and poems) to understand how authors have moved from the issue of representing witches to assuming the role of literary witches; we will see how these authors have resisted the established discourse on witches and appropriated the witch narrative in their own writing. In addition to a midterm and a final exam, you will be writing two essays, and posting on the discussion board.

EH 213-QLB: Nature Writing

Instructor: Grimes

This online section of EH 213 will focus on Nature Writing. We will explore how the natural world has been represented in literary and scientific writing from the opening chapters of of Genesis up through recent work on the Anthropocene. Some key readings will focus on the “nature poetry” of the British Romantics and the American Transcendentalists. The class will involve brief weekly blog postings, two short essays, and a final project/presentation.

600/700-Level Courses

EH 693-OV: Literature of Precious Selfhood

Instructor: Temple

As capitalism became entrenched in the early decades of the nineteenth century and the imperatives of consumerism became inseparable from ideals associated with citizenship, Americans began to think of their “selves” as their most precious possessions; selves needed to be meticulously nurtured, perpetually adorned with an ever expanding array of commodities, and artfully displayed to the public, for the visible self was regarded as the most accurate register of the extent to which one had achieved a successful life. Because capitalism is based on the ideal of privatization, citizens were also encouraged to believe that their selves were under siege, threatened by anonymous others in the public world who wanted to limit them in various ways.

In this class we will read a variety of early American literary/cultural texts that explore these developments in how Americans regarded the privatized self. Some of the early American writers we will read include Benjamin Franklin, Fanny Fern, E.D.E.N. Southworth, T.S. Arthur, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Horatio Alger. We will also read modern-day philosophical/theoretical texts by such writers as C.B Macpherson, Charles Sellers, Richard Bushman, Pierre Bourdieu, and Jurgen Habermas. Assignments will include an archival project, in which you will find, write about, and present on an artifact from a digital archive, and a final term paper.

Fall 2020 Courses

200-Level Courses

EH 213-1A: Ideas in Lit: Crime & Punishment

Instructor: Sellers

We will explore who determines what’s a crime, who commits a crime, who pursues them, and how they are punished. From the poetry of Etheridge Knight to fiction, from nonfiction (The Devil in the Grove) to popular songs and films, we will examine issues like prison life, racial bias, false accusations, political imprisonment, and prisoners of war.

EH 213-1B: Ideas in Lit: Queer Literature

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, self-expression, and belonging in writings by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer authors.

Possible authors include Redfern Jon Barrett, Hasan Namir, Del Shores, S.J. Sindu, Jeanette Winterson, Gloria Anzaldúa, Dorothy Allison, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, Rita Mae Brown, Austin Chant, Claire Kann, A.K. Summers, Jericho Brown, Jennifer Espinosa, Saeed Jones, Randall Mann, Stephen S. Mills, Hasan Namir, Mary Oliver, Danez Smith, Christopher Soto, Julie Marie Wade, Walt Whitman, 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.

EH 213-1C: Ideas in Lit: Love Literature

Instructor: Morgan

In the words of the 80s power ballad: “I want to know what love is.” We’ll take this investigation to literature to see what poets, playwrights, and novelists have to say about love. Through their works, writers have posed important questions about love that we’ll consider together in class: How can being in love change a person? What is lovesickness and can it be cured? How does erotic passion compare to other types of love, such as friendship or religious devotion? What does loving yourself really look like? Our investigation will take us through time and space, considering works from ancient Greece and China, medieval Italy and Japan, Renaissance and Regency England, and modern America.

EH 213-2A: Ideas in Lit: Literature of Grief and Mourning

Instructor: Ellis

This course will examine the ways literature helps people express grief and do the work of mourning, both personally and culturally. We will study elegiac poetry, short stories, plays, memoirs, and a novel, considering how gender and diverse cultural identities affect and inform the grieving process.

EH 213-2D: Ideas in Lit: Dog Lit

Instructor: Major

In this class we’ll read about dogs. We’ll learn about the history of the complex bond between humans and dogs, and we’ll explore a range of texts that use dogs as symbols, voices, characters, or inspiration. We’ll examine how the dog has been “constructed” (literally and figuratively). We’ll analyze texts to understand how they work as literature, and we’ll ponder what this literature teaches us about dogs, as well as what it reveals about humans through our relationships with dogs. This investigation will also provide entry into various social issues and ethical questions involving dogs. Ultimately, the literature this semester will help us better understand our personal, cultural, and ethical relationships with dogs, and it will encourage us to reevaluate how we (humans and dogs) inhabit each other’s worlds — both real and imagined.

EH 213-2E: Ideas in Lit: Global Literature

Instructor: Sundberg

This course is designed to inform the student and to provoke a reasonably sophisticated level of thought, discussion, and writing about diverse themes, forms, and cultural and historical constructs of literature from around the world. During the semester, we will read examples from many nations, spanning multiple periods in literary history. Reading will be supplemented by the use of film. In addition to reading and viewing representative works, we will discuss and write about them.

The goals of the course include encouraging in the student an appreciation of and familiarity with various examples of literature and of cultures other than one’s native culture. We will become familiar with many literatures and cultures, developing respect for each of them.

EH 213-QLA: Ideas in Lit: Our Voices Now: Contemporary Women Writing

Instructor: Slaughter

Remember those heavy literature anthologies from high school full of canonical works written by, mostly, dead white dudes? Well, that is what this class is NOT. This introductory literature course will look at the daring, funny, dark, weird, beautiful, challenging literature being composed by women writers alive and working today. While we will occasionally cast our lens to years past to understand the origin of the women poets, novelists, essayists, and short story writers we will encounter, it’s likely that most of the writers we will read have websites, as well as Instagram and Twitter. As we read, we will study secondary and background materials which will supply the specialized vocabulary we will use in our informal (online discussion) and formal (reading responses, essays, etc.) written discussion of the works we encounter.

Upon completing the course, students will understand the conventions of literary genres and will have developed their analytical skills through close reading, critical thinking, and scholarly writing about literary texts. What do “our voices” sound like now? Let’s find out together.

EH 213-QLB: Ideas in Lit: Our Voices Now: Contemporary Women Writing

Instructor: Slaughter

Remember those heavy literature anthologies from high school full of canonical works written by, mostly, dead white dudes? Well, that is what this class is NOT. This introductory literature course will look at the daring, funny, dark, weird, beautiful, challenging literature being composed by women writers alive and working today. While we will occasionally cast our lens to years past to understand the origin of the women poets, novelists, essayists, and short story writers we will encounter, it’s likely that most of the writers we will read have websites, as well as Instagram and Twitter. As we read, we will study secondary and background materials which will supply the specialized vocabulary we will use in our informal (online discussion) and formal (reading responses, essays, etc.) written discussion of the works we encounter.

Upon completing the course, students will understand the conventions of literary genres and will have developed their analytical skills through close reading, critical thinking, and scholarly writing about literary texts. What do “our voices” sound like now? Let’s find out together.

300-Level Courses

EH 301-1D: Reading/Writing/Research for Lit Classes

Instructor: G. Temple

EH 301 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.

EH 301-2E: Reading/Writing/Research for Lit Classes

Instructor: Bach

This course is designed to teach students to read carefully and write beautifully in senior level English courses. Students will learn scansion, library research techniques, and critical theory. Although students may write their final research papers on a number of different texts, the class will read some poems, a play, and a novel together.

EH 305-7P: Beginning Poetry Writing Workshop

Instructor: Vines

EH 305 is a beginning poetry-writing workshop. In the course, you will write poetry, critique each other’s drafts, read contemporary poetry, and write response papers.

EH 307-2D: Beginning Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop

Instructor: Madden

This is an undergraduate course in the writing of creative nonfiction. From memoir to personal essay to literary journalism, our objective will be to explore the range of possibilities in writing creative nonfiction. In addition to free-writes to capture voice, we’ll discuss different authors in creative nonfiction through Dinty W. Moore's book The Truth of the Matter. From David Foster Wallace to Joan Didion to Joseph Mitchell to John Jeremiah Sullivan to Cheryl Strayed to James Baldwin to Junot Diaz to Richard Rodriguez to Roxane Gay to Heather Sellers to Rebecca Skloot, we will be reading a range of both memoir and essay, including graphic memoirs by Allie Brosh and Alison Bechdel. Students will also be expected to submit their work to professional literary journals along with 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 the material. Flannery O'Connor wrote, "Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days." Joan Didion wrote: “We tell our stories in order to live.” With the words of O'Connor and Didion 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. We’ll also be doing some writing-in-place workshops in areas of Birmingham, including the archives of the Birmingham Public Library.

EH 315-2B: Intro to Professional Writing

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.

EH 340-1C: Developing Digital Documents

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.

EH 376-2B: Shakespeare: An Introduction

Instructor: Bach

Reading six of Shakespeare’s plays together, the class will think about how the plays can be staged and interpreted. We will watch different versions of scenes and compare them to the texts. Through reading and listening to Shakespeare’s language closely, students will gain comfort with Shakespeare’s rhythms and his syntax. Discussions will focus particularly on how Shakespeare gives characters individual voices and how interpretations of Shakespeare’s characters have changed over time.

Plays to be read may include Henry V, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, and King Lear.

Three short paper assignments will include options such as writing about how one might direct a scene.

400/500-Level Courses

EH 426/526-9H: Pre-1800 Lit: Gender in Medieval Epic

Instructor: Clements

Avengers and Valkyries: Gender in Medieval Epic

Vengeance-seeking mothers, weeping kings, cross-dressing Norse gods, and sword-wielding virgins: medieval literature is brimming with representations of gender and gender-bending. This semester, we will examine medieval heroic literature—including epic poetry, saga, and romance—and how representations of gender vary among cultures and textual genres in medieval Europe. Although heroic texts focus on (and are often named for) their male heroes, they also include female characters of essential and sometimes not-so-subtle significance: using an arsenal ranging from verbal goading and battle cries to actual swords and shields, these female characters occupy a central role in both the progression and the ultimate resolution of the heroic narrative. We also have male characters who defy masculine norms in their old age to become ritual mourners and goaders, demonstrating how the performance of gender is dependent on a range of social factors, including age, dress, and class.

Our primary texts will take us from the saints’ lives and early epics of North Sea culture (including Beowulf and The Táin) to legendary and bridal quest sagas from Iceland and medieval French romance. Students will consider how such texts deploy nuanced views of gendered behavior and bodies, and also engage with varying perspectives on medieval gender and sexuality through exploring trends in the scholarship on these subjects.

EH 427-2F: Post-1800 Literature: Love, Marriage, and Empire

Instructor: Mahapatra

Writers as famous as Mark Twain and Salman Rushdie have dissed women for writing about love and marriage in a time when wars were fought, empires won and lost, and thousands died. In this class we will read some of the most powerful memoirs and novels by women writers in the African American and Postcolonial literary traditions.

Novels by women from the U.S., Antigua, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and India will teach us, first, that to think about love and marriage is not to avoid, but in fact to engage in a sharper scrutiny of European imperialism and its long afterlives in postcolonial societies. Further, we will learn that while “Empire” was a global phenomenon which affected people of color all over the world, women suffered the violence of colonial rule in more ways than men. It is therefore imperative that we learn from women writers’ inquiry into the very possibility of romantic love in a world shaped by the violence of colonialism. Is there anything called “love,” outside of the cultural, racial, economic, national, gendered, and ethnic inequalities which are the legacies of colonialism?

The writers we will read will answer that question through stories of love in times of racial, gendered and caste-based violence in the U.S. South, Antigua, Nigeria, and the South Indian state of Kerala. Examining characters, motivations, and themes in those stories, we will ask: as we grapple with the emotional and social scars of a traumatic past, how can we imagine the possibility of love in a present we cannot avoid, and a future which is yet to unfold?

Readings:

  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
  • Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Americanah
  • Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
  • Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

Assignments:

  • weekly 300-word comments on class blog/website/discussion board
  • two short (four-to-five page) papers:
    • close reading paper
    • creative paper: sequel/epilogue/alternate ending to any of the readings.
  • one annotated bibliography
  • one critical research paper (seven-to-eight pages)
  • one ten-minute in-class presentation.

EH 427/527-1E: Addiction and Literature

Instructor: G. Temple

In this course we will study literary and cultural portrayals of addiction from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Prior to the nineteenth century, compulsive behaviors were generally regarded as failures of personal character. This way of thinking about addiction shifted drastically, however, with the rise of institutionalized medicine in the nineteenth century, and addictions (such as alcoholism, or “drink monomania”) gradually came to be regarded as diseases that should be treated medically, rather than with moral or religious encouragement (or shaming). The disease model of addiction gave rise to a host of medical classifications for obsessively “self-destructive” behaviors associated with food, sex, reading and writing, shopping, excessive drinking or drug use, and so on.

But the term “addiction” was (and still is) also inherently ambiguous; while it seems to denote a clear boundary between health and disease, in practice such distinctions are much less clear. For example, how exactly do we know when a person drinks, exercises, works, shops, or medicates "too much," to the point where those behaviors then become the purview of doctors rather than, say, "normal" parts of our everyday lives? In other words, precisely when does "normal" become "abnormal"? What’s more, our society depends upon many of the same behaviors (and marketable substances) that, when taken to extremes or in ways that are institutionally unregulated, it also condemns. For example, our economy requires that people perpetually desire new things, so we need citizens to shop; but shopping can also go “too far” and become a disease ("kleptomania," for example, arose simultaneously with the advent of the department store in the late nineteenth century). Something similar might be said for psychoactive drugs; when a doctor prescribes an antidepressant the intention is to make us "ourselves" again, but "self-medication" with unregulated drugs is typically condemned and regarded as an addictive gateway to "self-loss."

In this class we will study the origins, literary expressions, and continued relevance of these kinds of questions and themes by reading a wide variety of literary, medical, and theoretical writings about addiction. Among the authors we will read are Charles Brockden Brown, T. S. Arthur, Mary Spring Walker, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Wilkie Collins, and Mary Karr. Assignments include a final term paper and an archival project/presentation.

EH 433/533-1F: Academic Writing

Instructor: Minnix

Academic writing is accused of many things, including being jargon-laden, boring, pretentious, and often of not serving the public interest. It doesn’t have to be any of these things, though; and, most of the time, it’s not. In fact, academic writing often transcends the boundaries of the university to reframe the way that we see the world and ourselves within it. The question is not if academic writing is valuable, but how to create work that has value. That’s what this course is all about.

Ultimately, this is a course in learning how to become a creative, innovative, and confident scholar, a scholar who wants to share their work with others inside and outside of the academy. To reach that specific goal, we will begin the course in two important ways. First, we will expand our understanding of how to conduct research by learning advanced strategies for library research, strategies for historical research in archives, and strategies for ethnographic and case-study research. Second, we will learn how to use both digital and analog tools to sort, analyze, and interpret the research we find. This process will be immersive and hands on, with opportunities to conduct each of these types of research and talk with outstanding scholars who use these methods.

From this introduction to scholarly research, students will then have a chance to develop a research project that they are interested in pursuing, a project they are passionately interested in, and research and draft that project. Throughout this process you will be mentored by your instructor and receive consistent feedback from a dedicated writing group.

Our goal by the end of the course is for you to have a piece of academic writing that you will feel confident submitting to an undergraduate or graduate journal in your field.

EH 436/536-9I: Workshop: Writing for Young People

Instructor: Madden

This workshop will focus specifically on writing stories for young people. Students will be presented with a range of children's authors from picture book to early reader to middle grade to young adult. From Maurice Sendak to Ann Whitford Paul to Jane Yolen to James Marshall to Kwame Alexander to Judy Blume to Sophie Blackall to Jerry Craft to Nikki Giovanni to Jaqueline Woodson to Linda Sue Park to Rainbow Rowell to Laurie Halse Anderson to Gary Paulson to Irene Latham to Pam Muñoz Ryan and many others, students will read a range of stories and styles and learn about writing for children.

Students will write three picture books, including a draft of fractured fairy tale and/or a nonfiction picture book, 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 or be skyped in during the semester to discuss writing and children's literature. The class will culminate in a visit to Epic Magnet or Glen Iris School near campus for UAB students to read their stories developed in the workshop to the children in grades K-5 at Epic.

EH 444/544-1D: Women’s Literature and Theory

Instructor: Jessee

WOMEN’S BODIES OF/AND LITERATURE

Unlike a course titled “American Literature” or “Shakespeare,” when we name a course “Women’s Literature,” we are invoking two bodies: a body of literature and the writer’s gendered body. This course will focus on those two bodies. We will read various theories of the body, and we will explore how notions of the body inform a body of literature by women. We will grapple with questions like: How does our literature shape bodies and how do bodies shape literature? What happens to human bodies, and do bodies of literature that do not conform to dominant cultural norms? What makes a body gendered, and do bodies of scientific literature have the potential to change our conceptions of the gendered body? While our goal is not to fully answer all of these questions, I hope that we will come away from the course with intriguing ideas concerning the complex relationship between gender and literature.

Our primary texts in the course will be five novels written by women that deal with the gendered body in very different but equally intriguing ways.

  • Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth
  • Virginia Woolf’s Orlando
  • Toni Morrison’s Beloved
  • Naomi Alderman’s The Power

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

This course fulfills the theory requirement for the Literature concentration.

EH 462/562-1B: American Literature 1820-1870

Instructor: Bellis

In this class, we’ll discuss some of the major works in antebellum American literature. Writers of the period struggled to create new visions of America and its culture, and their battles have been fought and refought by critics ever since. Our discussions will range over a number of issues: the search for a national literature and identity, the drive toward economic and intellectual individualism and self-reliance, and the increasing conflict over the places of African Americans and women in American society.

Over the course of the term, I’ll ask you to complete three papers totaling 20 pages and make an in-class presentation. Texts may include:

  • Brown, Clotel
  • Dickinson, Poems, ed. R.W. Franklin
  • Thoreau, Walden
  • Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables
  • Melville, Moby-Dick
  • Poe, Selected Writings
  • Whitman, Leaves of Grass
  • Plus a selection of essays posted on Canvas

EH 475/575-2D: English Renaissance Poetry and Prose

Instructor: Bach

In this class, we will read mostly short lyric poetry by the many of the best poets writing in the English Renaissance, including Thomas Wyatt, Edmund Spenser, Aemilia Lanyer, Ben Jonson, Lady Mary Wroth, John Donne, Katherine Phillips, and Margaret Cavendish. These poems address love, hate, Christianity, politics, class struggle, gender inequities, nonhuman animals, and the beginning of experimental science. We will also read short documents from the period that speak to these concerns.

These texts will offer us a window into an earlier world that is both familiar and deeply alien. Some of these poets introduced novel poetic forms that are still being used today. We will learn about the musicality of this poetry as well as its cultural power.

Undergraduate students will write two short papers and take two exams. Graduate students will write a long research paper and take two exams.

EH 483/583: British Romanticism

Instructor: Grimes

The chief aim of this course is to help students become conversant with the canonical works and the canonical writers of the Romantic period. These writers—the poets are frequently called the "Big Six"— dominated the discussion of Romanticism through much of the 20th century; a knowledge of their work is essential to students of the period. At the same time, however, recent criticism has raised a number of compelling reasons to question both the legitimacy and the effects of the dominance of the writers traditionally labeled as the "major" or canonical romantics.

There are a number of approaches to this emerging critique of canonical Romanticism, and I have included a few works such as Byron's Don Juan, Thomas Love Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey, and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (themselves canonical texts, though romantic misfits) in order to introduce this critique. As a result, students should emerge from the class with a comprehensive grasp on the traditional definitions of romanticism as well as a heightened critical sense of the significance—and the limitations—of these traditional definitions.

EH 496-2F: English Capstone

Instructor: Siegel

This seminar will help English majors build a bridge between their academic work in college and their professional goals for the future. We will discuss the role of the humanities in our society, considering especially how the skills and values students have developed in the English major can be brought to bear in different professional contexts. Students will learn to talk about their coursework and academic achievements, and they will create documents (such as resumes, CVs, and application letters) that they can use in their career search after college.

600/700-Level Courses

EH 601-7P: Classical Rhetorical Theory

Instructor: Ryan

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 this graduate seminar 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.

EH 693-7M: American Literary Realism

Instructor: Jessee

Recently, scholars have argued that America is in a “second Gilded Age,” where, as Bill Krugman argues, there “has been a revolution in our understanding of long-term trends in inequality.” The term “Gilded Age” was first used by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley to satirically describe the turn of the twentieth century when society appeared successful on the surface, but when chipped away, the gold gilding revealed something much more insidious. The period between the Civil War and World War I is considered an important cusp period, one uncannily similar to our current society. As the United States grappled with issues of a small but powerful upper class, racial violence, voting rights, environmentalism, political riots, advances in industry and technology, and enormous waves of immigration, then, as now, authors debated their own role as artists. They argued over whether they should represent this unequal and oppressive society as it really was, show what society should be, or focus on nature in order to more accurately represent the nature of society and humanity.

In this course, we will read representative literature from this important cusp period. We will discuss the important issues of race, gender, class, and the natural environment as they relate to aesthetics, and we will attempt to gain a better understanding of the literary history that surrounds this important cusp by understanding some of the great shifts in American thought and life in the time.

Students will be graded on periodic in-class writing, two take-home exams, and two short essays. The tentative list of primary texts includes:

  • William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham
  • Mark Twain, Puddn’head Wilson
  • Charles Chestnutt, The Marrow of Tradition
  • Henry James, “Daisy Miller”
  • Edith Wharton, Summer
  • Frank Norris, Blix

Placement

For new students who are not transferring credit from another institutions, your composition placement is based upon your ACT English score or Advanced Placement Credit. The test scores for placement are listed below:

ACT Scores

  • ACT English score of 20 or above — EH 101 and 102.
  • ACT English score of 19 or below — EH 106/096L and 107/097L. All students complete a first day essay to ensure their placement is accurate.

Advanced Placement Credit

  • AP English score of 4 or above — credit for EH 101.
  • AP English score of 5 — credit for EH 101 and EH 102.

TOEFL/IELTS Writing Subscores

  • TOEFL Writing Subscore:
    • 16-22 — EH 108 and 109.
    • 23 or above — EH 101 and 102.
  • IELTS Writing Subscore:
    • 5.5-6.0 — EH 108 and 109.
    • 6.5 or above — EH 101 and 102.

Transfer Credit

Students who have taken Freshman Composition courses at a different college or university may be eligible to transfer credit for EH101 and/or 102 at UAB. If the student has taken Composition at any of the schools listed by the Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee, which includes most two and four year institutions in the state, their credit for the qualifying course (EH 101 or EH 102) should be automatically granted.

Students attempting to transfer credit for Composition courses taken at colleges or universities outside of the state or outside of the Alabama Articulation Agreement should speak with their academic advisor, who will contact the Director of Freshman English about the possibility of transferring credit for these courses.

Courses

Freshman composition courses include the following.

EH 101: English Composition I

EH 101 focuses on analytical writing and the development of effective writing processes, with special attention to critical reading, revision, and writing for academic audiences. Students’ rhetorical knowledge is fostered through instruction in purpose-driven writing and the rhetorical moves of academic writing in the university. Students develop critical thinking, reading, and writing capacities through instruction in strategies of textual analysis, analysis of multiple genres and mediums of communication, and through analytical writing assignments that challenge them to think critically about the meanings and implications of persuasive texts. Like all UAB Freshman English courses, EH 101 promotes the development of students’ writing processes through an emphasis on revision throughout the course. Students learn to see writing as a process and develop critical strategies for invention or developing ideas, drafting, revising, and editing their work. Knowledge of the conventions of academic writing is promoted through instruction in the use of sources, academic argumentation, and academic genres.

EH 102: English Composition II

EH 102 focuses on argumentation for academic and public audiences, with a particular emphasis upon academic research. Students develop rhetorical knowledge through analysis of various genres and their persuasive strategies, as well as through instruction in argumentation. Students’ Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing is fostered through instruction in academic research and critical reading of academic sources, as well as through instruction in writing for varying audiences, purposes, and contexts, and in different genres and mediums. Students develop important writing processes through an emphasis on revision throughout the course, which includes writing workshops for each individual project, as well as significant revisions of two essays. Students’ metacognitive understanding of their writing processes is also facilitated through a reflective argument on the development of their writing throughout the course. Knowledge of conventions is developed through instruction in citation practices for both print and visual texts, analysis of multiple genres and mediums of communication, and through workshops, instructor and peer response, and direct instruction.

EH 106/096L: Introduction to Freshman Writing I

EH 106/096L are designed to tap into students’ knowledge, experiences, and abilities as writers in order to help them gain confidence writing for an entirely new community—the university. Students find that this course is neither a lecture course nor a drills and skills course but a course where they can develop their abilities as a writer by writing, getting feedback from other writers, and revising. A key part of becoming a stronger writer is learning how to use feedback. This is why EH 106 has an additional writing studio, EH 096L, attached to the class. In addition to meeting with the EH 106 class, students meet once a week with their writing studio and visit the University Writing Center eight times during the semester. Their weekly writing studio and meetings with writing center tutors give students fresh perspectives on their work and strategies for revision. Ultimately, the goal of EH 106 is to empower students as writers and to enable them to find confidence in their voice and use their voice to engage in the important conversations that shape university and public life.

EH 107/097L: Introduction to Freshman Writing II

EH 107/097L builds on students’ development as writers in EH 106/096 by challenging students to choose and define a research project they feel passionate about and to communicate the importance of their project and ideas to a variety of different audiences. EH 107/097 seeks to tap into students’ power as a writer by placing their own ideas in conversation with the ideas of others. The course does this by immersing students not only in research but also in the process of expressing their ideas and arguments for a variety of audiences. Like EH 106/096, students will meet once a week with their classmates in a writing studio session and visit the University Writing Center eight times during the semester. The weekly writing studio and meetings with writing center tutors give students fresh perspectives on their work and strategies for revision. Ultimately, students’ experience in EH 107/097 will enable them to not only be an informed writer but also an adaptive writer, one who can use their voice to not only write effective research papers but also to engage in the life of their communities and work for the public good.

EH 108: English Composition I for Second Language Writers

EH 108 supports the writing and revision processes of second language writers. EH 108 follows the same curriculum and pursues the same goals of EH 101 and provides the same course credit as EH 101. Students work with faculty who are experienced teaching second language writers. While EH 108 follows the same curriculum and achieves the same goals as EH 101, more time is given in the course to foster students’ understanding of writing in different genres, cultural contexts, and for a variety of different audiences. Ultimately, the goal of EH 108 is to build on the important literacies and knowledge that multilingual and international students bring to our classrooms and to provide an environment that supports their growing confidence as writers.

EH 109: English Composition II for Second Language Writers

EH 109 builds on the skills of analytical and academic writing developed in EH 108 in by fostering the research writing processes of second language writers. EH 109 introduces vital research processes and information literacy skills, as well as challenging students to write in a variety of genres and mediums for a variety of audiences. EH 109 follows the same curriculum and pursues the same goals as EH 102. Students work with faculty who are experienced teaching research writing to second language writers. Significant time is given to helping students analyze the contexts of academic research and writing, as well as the contexts of writing for a variety of public audiences. Ultimately, EH 109 seeks to give students effective practices of academic research, confidence in writing with sources, and the rhetorical knowledge to communicate their research and writing to a variety of audiences.

The following are guidelines for students and faculty involved in Honors Thesis Committees through the UAB English Honors Program.

The English Honors Thesis is the final project for an English major enrolled in the departmental English Honors Program. Students may write a creative thesis or a critical thesis in the areas of literature, professional writing, or linguistics. The Honors Thesis should present a student’s original research and writing. It should demonstrate a student’s ability to think critically and write clearly and originally about the thesis subject, and, for critical theses, should demonstrate the student’s familiarity with published research in the thesis subject area.

The Honors Project receives final approval by a thesis committee consisting of the faculty mentor and the director of English Honors. All completed theses are kept on file in the English Department.

Deadlines

  • Hand in Application Form and Senior Thesis Committee Form to Honors Director — prior to 494 semester
  • Hand in Thesis Proposal to committee — during 494 semester:
    • November 29 (Fall)
    • April 11 (Spring)
    • July 26 (Summer)
  • Hand in Thesis to committee — during 495 semester:
    • November 23 (Fall)
    • April 5 (Spring)
    • July 20 (Summer)
  • Send electronic copy of thesis to Undergraduate Director — before Defense
  • Participate in Honors Symposium — during 495 semester: last week of classes or exam week
  • Submit electronic copy to committee before Honors Symposium

Meetings

The faculty mentor and student should decide how often to meet. Usually a meeting every week or two is sufficient. Faculty mentors and students should keep in touch frequently in order to make sure that students are making good progress on their projects.

Forms and Documents

There are three central documents that students must submit to the Director of English Honors before completing the English Honors Program. These documents are:

  1. the Application Form and Senior Thesis Committee Form, which must be handed in before the student is accepted to the program;
  2. the Thesis Proposal, which must be completed during EH 494 and approved by all members of the thesis committee; and
  3. the Thesis, written during EH 495: Honors Thesis, and approved by all members of the thesis committee.

Application Form and Senior Thesis Committee Form

The Application Form and the Senior Thesis Committee Form are available on the English Department website. Students should complete the forms and hand them in to the Honors Director at least two weeks before they plan to register for their first term of thesis work. One semester is needed for the writing of the thesis proposal (EH 494); another term (EH 495) is needed for the writing of the honors thesis.

Thesis Proposal

In their first semester of honors work, students should write a thesis proposal under the direction of their Faculty Mentor.

The proposal of a critical thesis should run from five to eight pages; should clearly state the thesis claim and argument of the proposed study (the “what”) and the significance of the study in relation to existing research (the “why”); should include a short synopsis of proposed chapters or content of the thesis; and should include a bibliography of sources to be consulted, usually at least 15.

For a creative thesis, the proposal should include substantial work in progress, along with a concise (one-to-three-paragraph) explanation of the project. The explanation should describe the work’s genre, prospective length, subject, voice, style, and/or other significant characteristics.

The completed proposal is due to the committee on November 29 (Fall), April 11 (Spring), or July 26 (Summer). Before handing in the proposal, the student should already have revised and polished it in consultation with his or her Faculty Mentor. After receiving the completed proposal, the committee may approve it as is, or they may request further revisions.

Honors Thesis

At the end of the capstone semester (EH 495), the student will turn in a completed thesis. Literature, professional writing, and linguistics students will turn in a critical thesis (at least 30 pages) with an extensive list of works cited (15 or more sources). Creative writers will turn in a substantial creative project—short stories, a section of a novel, essays, a body of poetry, or a play—along with a one- or two-page reflection on their writing experience.preliminary pages, to the Defense.

A complete, error-free, paginated manuscript should be turned in to the committee on November 23 (Fall), April 5 (Spring), or July 20 (Summer). Before handing in the thesis, the student should already have revised and polished it in consultation with his or her Faculty Mentor. After receiving the thesis, the committee may approve it as is, or they may request further revisions.preliminary pages, to the Defense.

As soon as students have handed in their manuscripts, they should work on assembling the “preliminary pages” (see "Format the Honors Thesis"). The student should bring a final, bound version of the thesis, complete with preliminary pages, to the Defense.

Honors Symposium

Each semester, in consultation with their faculty mentor and the Director of English Honors, students in EH 495 will be asked to present their research and writing at our English Honors Symposium. Students will present their work to an audience of English department faculty and students. An electronic copy of the honors project should be submitted to the committee prior to the Symposium.

Grading

The student must earn an A or B in EH 494 in order to proceed to EH 495. To receive departmental Honors, the student must earn an A in EH 495. The presumption is that all students who successfully complete and present work from a thesis at the Honors Symposium will receive an A and earn Honors.

If the student does not satisfactorily complete a thesis, but if the advisor still believes the student deserves credit for the course, the advisor may assign a grade other than A. By earning a C or above in EH 495, the student receives capstone credit.

Format for Honors Theses

The English Honors thesis is a document that is longer that an average undergraduate term paper but not as long or involved a study as a Masters thesis. Generally, honors theses are about 30 pages long, excluding notes and bibliography. A critical thesis generally falls into three main parts: preliminary pages, text, and reference materials. A creative writing thesis may contain the first two or all three parts.

Formatting

The thesis should be typed in one primary font, preferably 12-point Times New Roman. Typeface should be black. Underlining and italics should not exist together within the document; students should choose one (italics is recommended) and stick with it throughout the text. The left margin should be 1.5 inches; right, top, and bottom margins should be 1 inch.

The text should be printed on one side of the page only. Standard double spacing should be used throughout the text. Headings and subheadings may be used but are not required; if used, they should be consistent in format throughout the text and followed by at least two lines of text at the ends of pages.

Text should be left justified, with standard 0.5” paragraph indentation. Pages should be numbered in the top right corner.

Preliminary Pages

The preliminary pages of the honors thesis include the title page, the signatory page, the acknowledgments, and any lists of tables, figures, or abbreviations used in the text. According to MLA format, preliminary pages are generally numbered with Roman numerals if they are numbered, while text pages are numbered with Arabic numbering.

  • Title Page: The title page is required. It should include a thesis title that concisely states the topic of the thesis and indicates the texts studied and critical approaches used. It should also include the author’s name, the date the thesis was approved, and the name of the department to which it was submitted. See the dropdown for "Downloads" for the Appendix: Title Page format and text.
  • Acknowledgments: The acknowledgments page is optional. Here the student may thank committee or family members or acknowledge other positive contributions to his/her academic experience.
  • Lists of tables, figures, or abbreviations: These are all optional and are included only if the thesis includes these forms.

Text

The text of the thesis should present original creative or scholarly work. Neither parroting of existing research nor paraphrase of commonplace ideas in the subject area is acceptable. The thesis committee should work closely with the student to help him or her to research and consider the topic thoroughly but also to investigate a creative or scholarly approach that is uniquely the student’s own.

For the text, the main body of the document, a consistent style must be followed. Students should consult the MLA Handbook in its latest edition to determine the style for documentation and citation as well as general formatting of a critical essay. In critical theses, the text will include an introduction, a body discussion, and a conclusion or summary.

Works Cited and Reference Materials

  • Critical Thesis: One of the goals of the critical thesis project is to teach undergraduate majors how to research a topic thoroughly and to document their critical investigation accurately. The faculty mentor and other thesis committee members should help the student compile a complete and accurate bibliography for the thesis. Partial or incomplete research is not acceptable, and the “Works Cited” section should show ample evidence that the student has consulted and taken into account the major available research on the subject, in all major forms of refereed references (websites, books, articles, interviews, etc). A “Works Cited” section (Bibliography) is required for all critical theses and should follow the MLA Handbook format for documentation and works cited. Students should list only works cited in this section. The reference materials may also include a “works consulted” secondary bibliography or a specialized bibliography citing related works if the student so wishes.
  • Creative Writing Thesis: “Works Cited” sections for creative writing theses are optional. For the creative thesis, background research may be necessary for the integrity of the project but is not required; however, students should expect to do considerable revision in consultation with faculty mentors on their way to a final draft of the thesis.

Ethics

Plagiarism is using the words or thoughts of another person without proper citation. Specifically, it is submitting as one’s own work a portion of a book, magazine, journal, handout, original creation, speech, lecture, oral communication, website, paper or examination written by someone else. Plagiarism is a serious offense and in student documents could result in dismissal from the university and revocation of the degree. All members of the educational community must carefully avoid plagiarism by fully acknowledging the source of all statements, studies, projects and ideas that have been produced by another person. Students must be careful to provide complete documentation in their theses of all ideas originating in their primary and secondary research.

Downloads

Joining one or more student groups will augment your education and provide opportunities beyond those found in the classroom.

Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honors Society. The UAB chapter hosts occasional meetings and activities locally; members are also individually eligible to apply to the larger organization for scholarships, publication, or inclusion in the annual international convention.

For more information contact faculty advisor Jessie Dunbar.

Professional Writing Club at UAB

Professional Writing Club at UAB

The Professional Writing Club equips students in any major interested in professional writing with knowledge and experience to prepare them for the workforce. It also gives students the opportunity to network with other students interested in professional writing and connect with professionals in the field by participating in industry-focused workshops. The club meets once a month during the Fall and Spring semesters and hosts monthly professionalization workshops which are open to the public.

For more information contact faculty advisor Jeff Bacha, and check them out on Facebook.

Why do an internship? The better question might be "Why not?” A recent college grad with an internship will be more attractive than one without that work experience. Employers know that internships give students hands-on experience with workplace skills, challenges, and environments — experiences that make those students valuable employees.

95% of employers want college grads to have internship experience.Internships give you the chance to try out a profession and collect references and professional contacts. You can also get course credit. If there's a downside to interning, we haven't heard about it.

Opportunities for English Students

The English Department cooperates with university-wide and off-campus partners to give internship experiences to our undergraduate students majoring and minoring in English. Many internships have resulted in part-time or full-time employment after the semester has ended. Our students have:

  • contributed to campaigns and health messaging with UAB Health Systems Marketing and Children’s Hospital of Alabama
  • worked with Birmingham organizations specializing in magazine and book publishing, non-profit fundraising, and education (e.g., Birmingham Holocaust Education Center; McWane Science Center)
  • written copy for websites and organizations including GirlSpring and First Avenue Ventures
  • assisted the editors of the literary magazines NELLE and Birmingham Poetry Review throughout the editorial process, including assistance with author readings and publication launches

Students with internship experience have a higher job-offer rate than students without that experience.Internships are graded classes and fall into two different categories:

  • EH 311 is intended for juniors or seniors who want to gain workplace experience before they graduate.
  • EH 411 is intended for late-term juniors or seniors who want to gain workplace experience before they graduate while satisfying the Capstone requirement for the major.

Final grades for both courses are based on the student's work ethic and written work. Grades are determined by the Internship Coordinator in consultation with the student's on-site internship supervisor.

Eligibility Requirements

English majors and minors interested in internships should meet with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., English Internship Coordinator, to discuss eligibility requirements and available internship opportunities.

To participate in an internship through the English department, students must:

  • be enrolled full-time as English majors or minors at UAB,
  • have a minimum GPA of 3.0 for an off-campus or on-campus research internship, and a 2.5 minimum GPA for a publications internship,
  • have at least junior standing or the equivalent course credits,
  • be able to work 10-15 hours weekly to fulfill commitments to the employer, and
  • enroll in EH 311 or EH 411 for the internship semester and, under the supervision of the Internship Coordinator, fulfill all requirements for that course (overrides must be completed by the Internship Coordinator in order for students to enroll in either course).

How Do I Sign Up?

Students who complete internships have a higher median starting salary than those who don't. First, make an appointment with the Internship Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., at the beginning of the semester prior to the semester in which you hope to hold an internship. Following the meeting, complete and submit the Internship Application form.

Contact

For more information about the Internship program, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., University Hall 5053.

The Department of English offers several scholarships for undergraduate majors in English, as well as prizes for excellence in creative writing.

The Howton Scholarship is decided by faculty nomination. Students are required to apply for the other awards. You can apply for these scholarships through the UAB BSMART system.

The Grace Lindsley Waits Scholarship in English

The Grace Lindsley Waits Scholarship was endowed by Dr. William E. Doggett III and other grateful students of Mrs. Waits, a distinguished English teacher at Banks High School for many years. Her love of literature and language is celebrated by this living legacy established in her honor. We will award one or two scholarships worth up to $2,500. To apply, a student must be a currently enrolled English major in the junior year and have a GPA of 3.0 or above for all courses taken at UAB. Applicants must submit a sample of their written work.

The Walt P. Mayfield Scholarship

The Walt P. Mayfield Scholarship is funded by a gift from Walt Mayfield, who taught English at UAB for many years. The Department of English established this scholarship to honor Mr. Mayfield's activities as a positive and encouraging teacher and a respected adjunct instructor and colleague. We will award one or two scholarships worth up to $2,500. To apply, a student must be a currently enrolled English major in the sophomore year and have a GPA of 3.0 or above for all classes taken at UAB. Applicants must submit a sample of their written work.

The Phillips Scholarship in English

The Phillips Scholarship in English was created by the friends and alumni of Phillips High School, the premier high school in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area for decades. The Phillips faculty, especially Principal Sellers Stough, are gratefully remembered by the students to whom they dedicated their lives. The scholarship is worth $1,500. To apply, a student must be a currently enrolled English major in the freshman year and have a GPA of 3.0 or above for all courses taken at UAB. Applicants must submit a sample of their written work, along with a statement describing why they have chosen to major in English.

The English Recruiting Endowed Scholarship

The English Recruiting Endowed Scholarship was endowed by the English Advisory Committee to recruit and support deserving students in the Department of English. We will award one or two scholarships worth $1,500. To apply, a student must be a currently enrolled English major in the freshman year and have a GPA of 3.0 or above for all courses taken at UAB. Applicants must submit a sample of their written work, along with a statement describing why they have chosen to major in English.

Gloria Goldstein Howton Creative Writing Award

Gifts from friends and former colleagues of Gloria Goldstein Howton have been used to create an endowed scholarship in her honor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Income from the Gloria Goldstein Howton Endowment Fund is used to award an annual scholarship to a student enrolled in creative writing at UAB. The scholarship recipient is selected by members of the creative writing faculty on the basis of merit, character, and promise. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 is necessary for consideration. We will award one scholarship worth $2,000. For more information This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Creative Writing, University Hall 5049, (205) 934-2641.

The Barksdale-Maynard and Tom Brown Prizes in Creative Writing

The Barksdale-Maynard Prizes in Fiction and Poetry are made possible by a gift from Isabel Barksdale-Maynard in honor of her family. The Tom Brown Prize for Creative Nonfiction is named in honor of Dr. Thomas H. Brown, chair of the English Department from 1984-1992. Prizes are awarded annually for the best work of short fiction, creative nonfiction, and the best poem or group of poems. You must be a currently enrolled UAB student in good standing with the University. For more information This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Creative Writing, University Hall 5049, (205) 934-2641.

Other UAB Scholarships

The university and UAB's College of Arts and Sciences offer many other scholarships to incoming and current students. You can explore these options and apply through the UAB BSMART system.

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

200-Level Courses

300-Level Courses

400/500-Level Courses

600/700-Level Courses

Writing Can Change Your World

"You don't write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say." - F. Scott FitgeraldWelcome to Freshman Composition at UAB!

Our first year composition courses are designed to promote your success as a writer both inside and outside of the classroom.

Our small, hands-on classrooms immerse you in processes of writing and provide you with an important set of tools and strategies for writing in academic, professional, and public contexts. You will learn how to analyze a variety of different print and visual texts, explore interesting academic research questions, use sources effectively and ethically, use rhetorical strategies to persuade others, and write in a variety of different genres and mediums.

Rather than a lecture or “drills and skills” class, each of our courses promotes your development as a writer by actively engaging you in writing and revising your work. You will receive consistent feedback on your work from the instructor and your peers that provides important guidance for revision. You will also develop a portfolio of your work throughout the semester that gives you the opportunity to revise your work and reflect upon your progress.

Our Course Goals

The design of each of our courses is informed by scholarly research on writing from composition studies and rhetoric. Our program’s goals or outcomes follow those outlined by the Council of Writing Program Administrators. Please visit their site for more information.

Ultimately, a central goal of our writing program is to treat each student not simply as a student but as a writer. As writing teachers, we want our students, whatever their major or discipline, to see themselves as confident, effective, and adaptable writers.

Questions?

If you questions regarding Freshmen Composition, please contact Christopher Minnix, Director of Freshman English.

Students interacting in a classroom. The English Honors program offers you the chance to fulfill the requirement for a Capstone experience by crafting a scholarly, creative, or professional writing project over the course of your senior year. You will work closely with a faculty mentor to plan and execute the project. The subjects for the projects are up to you and your faculty mentor to decide, but some previous topics include:

  • poetry collections, short story collections, novellas, and memoirs;
  • analyses of works by William Shakespeare, John Milton, J. K. Rowling, and Charles Dickens;
  • analyses of various genres of film such as horror movies;
  • technical writing projects such as creating a style guide, website building, and writing manuals.

Our honors students gain valuable scholarly research experience, personalized writing instruction, and the opportunity to acquire especially strong letters of recommendation from committee members — all of which can help you in future careers or applications to graduate schools. By completing the program, you would be recognized at the English Department Awards Reception and would graduate from UAB "With Honors in English" at commencement.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Honors Program in English, a student must:

  • be enrolled as a UAB English major
  • have earned a 3.5 GPA in English courses taken and a 3.0 GPA overall

Requirements

Students in the English honors program are required to do the following:

  • Meet with the director of Departmental Honors to discuss the possibility of entering the honors program.
  • Select a member of the English graduate faculty to serve as faculty mentor. The mentor and the Director of English Honors will constitute the Honors Project Committee.
  • Submit a completed English Honors Program application form to Margaret Jay Jessee, Director of the Honors Program, for approval. Students must secure permission of the director in order to enter the program. Submit the honors application form.
  • Be enrolled in EH 494: English Honors Research and EH 495: Honor Capstone Thesis in consecutive terms.
  • During EH 494, compile a thesis proposal or work in progress (for creative writing students) and have it approved by the Honors Thesis Committee. Once approved, a paper copy and an electronic copy or the proposal or work in progress should be given to the Director.
  • During EH 495, write the thesis under the committee's guidance.
  • Obtain final approval of the thesis from all members of the Honors Project Committee and submit a completed copy to the director in electronic form.
  • Prepare and present honors project work at the Honors Symposium.

These requirements can also be reviewed in the UAB Course Catalog.

Contact

If you have any questions about the honors program, please contact:

Margaret Jay Jessee
Director of the English Honors Program
Humanities Building 225A
(205) 975-3751

Hear from Our Students

  • Wallace Golding
  • Jaclyn Hogan
  • Jessica Robbins
  • Courtney Melvin
  • Anna Simms
  • Toby Camp
  • Wallace Golding

    ""

    "Completing an honors thesis was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my college career. It allowed me to explore the intricacies and minutiae of my particular topic more than I would have been able to in a standard course, and the year-long structure of the program gave me the opportunity to formulate a thesis that I felt truly contributed to the academy."

    Wallace Golding
    “‘In Herself Complete’: Autonomy and Identity Creation in Milton’s Eve”
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alison Chapman

  • Jaclyn Hogan

    ""

    "Writing my honor's thesis was a fantastic experience. My mentor, Kerry Madden-Lunsford has been incredibly supportive of my writing for my entire time at UAB. The workshop meetings we had were very useful, and I really feel like my writing has improved because of it. The defense itself was a wonderful conversation with my committee, all of whom gave me very insightful feedback and encouraged me to continue writing and to complete the work that I started with my thesis. I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to consider completing an honor's thesis. It is truly a rewarding experience."

    Jaclyn Hogan
    “Sins of the Father”
    Faculty Mentor: Professor Kerry Madden-Lunsford

  • Jessica Robbins

    ""

    "My experience with the UAB English honors program has been wonderful. My faculty were there with me every step of the way to guide me. I was really nervous at first because it seemed like such a daunting task, but once I started working, ideas started coming. Before I knew it, I had written well over the necessary page count, and I could've kept going if given more time.

    "To anyone who is considering writing an honors thesis for the English department, it is a wonderful opportunity that will benefit you academically, professionally, and personally. In addition to the incredible support you will receive from the department faculty, it is also a great opportunity to gain valuable research skills and produce a real piece of meaningful scholarship that has the potential for publication. I am extremely grateful for the English honors program and I am so happy I decided to be part of it!"

    Jessica Robbins
    "Fairy Tales, Pet Snakes, and Fish Stories: An Analysis of the Roles of Nonhuman Animals in A Series of Unfortunate Events"
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Ann Bach

  • Courtney Melvin

    ""

    "The journey of writing and revising an Honors Thesis provided a great lesson in humility and, ultimately, in standing by my work. The process is tentative and cathartic at once. It was a joint effort. My director, Kerry Madden-Lunsford, was enthusiastic and hands-on, offering guidance at every opportunity. In the end, I walked away feeling like I'd really done something to contribute to my passion.

    "My advice to anyone considering this path: Do it. You can't go wrong when you're trying to better your craft. When the work is done and your hands are sore from typing or writing, you then get the chance to say, 'Here's why I chose the words that I chose.'"

    Courtney Melvin
    "What If It Hurts."
    Faculty Mentor: Professor Kerry Madden-Lunsford

  • Anna Simms

    ""

    "The English Honors Program challenged me to an honest exploration of my abilities in professional writing. The program allowed me produce a document that would stand as a testimony of not just the education that I took part in but also the steps I took to explore that education further."

    Anna Simms
    MEMORANDUM Style Guide
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Bacha  

  • Toby Camp

    ""

    "There were many nights of diligent work where I skipped meals to work on sentences. Yes the Honors Thesis was the hardest thing I've written so far without a doubt in my mind. But I encourage everyone to do it because it makes a better writer of us all. It has made me confident in my abilities."

    Toby Camp
    “Becoming Men: Analyzing the Heroic Journey into Toxic Masculinity in Sol Yurick’s The Warriors
    Faculty Mentor: Dr. Margaret Jay Jessee

  • Marie Sutton
  • Luke Richey
  • Jay Haywood
  • Amy Roberts
  • Marie Sutton

    Alumni Spotlight

    Marie Sutton

    By day, Marie Sutton is the Director of Marketing and Communication for the Division of Student Affairs at UAB. By night, she is a writer whose passion is telling stories about the African-American experience. Read more about Marie.

  • Luke Richey

    Alumni Spotlight

    Luke Richey

    Luke Richey is a Copywriter and Content Strategist at McNutt & Partners, LLC, a local ad agency, where he drafts copy for multiple clients on a myriad of social media platforms. Read more about Luke.

  • Jay Haywood

    Alumni Spotlight

    Jay Haywood

    Jay is a Product Support Representative at Fidelity National Information Services. Read more about Jay.

  • Amy Roberts

    Alumni Spotlight

    Amy Roberts

    Amy is the Communications Coordinator at Growing Kings, a non-profit providing school-based, group mentoring programs for at-risk males in Birmingham City Schools. Read more about Amy.

Members of the student professional writing club. What is professional writing, anyway? Those who study professional writing gain the knowledge and skills necessary to join a community of professionals who are communication experts in a multitude of workplace settings: nonprofit organizations, publishing companies, manufacturing plants, medical institutions, and legal offices, to name just a few.

Professional writers are the go-to people who dabble in web design, write copy for the launching of new products, personalize digital and multimedia documents for specific users, and much, much more. Professional writing is a field that’s fun, challenging, and dynamic. Check it out!

Major Concentration

The Professional Writing concentration prepares students for careers that require strong skills in writing, research, and document design.

English majors who concentrate in Professional Writing will learn how to write and design the kinds of documents that are most common outside of university classrooms, such as memos, brochures, newsletters, reports, instructions, manuals, multimedia presentations, and resumes. Professional Writing courses emphasize drafting, revising, and designing documents in both print and digital formats. Many of the courses provide students opportunities to engage the community and gain hands-on experience writing for real audiences and purposes.

You must complete 42 hours of eligible English courses at the 200-, 300-, and 400-level. A complete list of major requirements, courses, and a proposed four-year program of study for the Professional Writing concentration are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Minor Concentration

The Minor in Professional Writing prepares students in any major for the writing required in their chosen careers. Students who Minor in Professional Writing will learn how to compose both academic and professional documents, emphasizing the requirements of writing in their own disciplines. Professional Writing courses emphasize drafting, revising, and designing documents in both print and digital formats.

A complete list of minor requirements and courses is available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Contact

Bruce McComiskey
Director of Professional Writing Programs
University Hall 5039
(205) 934-8572
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Professional Writing Club
MEMORANDUM
Professional Writing Faculty

Student reading in a campus study area. The Literature program offers a great opportunity to pursue your intellectual passions while cultivating skills that will help you in almost any career field.

Our students engage with literary works from diverse historical periods and cultural perspectives, learning about the development of genres, forms, and styles in relation to the historical circumstances that surround them. Courses range from broad surveys of a period or movement to specific investigations into a single author or theme; they also reach across the media spectrum, from Elizabethan sonnets to propaganda films.

Major Concentration

Literature is the most flexible of the four concentrations within the English major. Students can choose electives not just in literature but in linguistics, creative writing, and professional writing.

If you choose this major, you will find that the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills you develop will help you to pursue careers in virtually any field. Employers know that an English major is someone who can write and think logically and critically and who is thus a desirable candidate for managerial and professional positions. Our graduates work in fields as diverse as book and magazine publishing, web publishing, teaching, law, medicine, library science, banking, public relations and development, and retail management. Many go on to achieve advanced degrees from graduate and professional schools.

You must complete 42 hours of eligible English courses at the 200-, 300-, and 400-level. A complete list of major requirements, courses, and a proposed four-year program of study for Literature concentration are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Minor Concentration

The minor in Literature offers you an exciting and practical way to make the most of your college learning experience and broadens your career options. The program gives you the opportunity to read challenging texts and connect with the language of literature and creative writing, and the courses will help you hone your writing, critical thinking, primary and secondary research, and text analysis skills.

If you are majoring in pre-law, business, education, biology/pre-med, or engineering, you'll find this minor to be valuable as you enter professions where excellent communications and writing skills are important. If you are planning to enter graduate school, the minor offers a chance to learn skills important to primary research in the community and secondary research in libraries and databases.

You must complete 18 hours of eligible English courses at the 300- or 400-level. A complete list of minor requirements and courses is available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Contact

Danny Siegel
Director of Undergraduate Studies
University Hall 5036
(205) 934-8574

 

  • Jeff Hodges
  • Rebekah Kummer
  • DeJordique Pearson
  • Jeff Hodges

    Alumni Spotlight

    Jeff Hodges

    Words matter. No one knows that better than alumnus Jeff Hodges who has made a career out of helping others, most recently in his role as Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion Talent Program Manager for Regions Bank. Read more about Jeff.

  • Rebekah Kummer

    Alumni Spotlight

    Rebekah Kummer

    One month after graduation, Rebekah Kummer landed a job as a Technical Writer/Editor II at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Read more about Rebekah.

  • DeJordique Pearson

    Alumni Spotlight

    DeJordique Pearson

    DeJordique Pearson never planned to be an English teacher in Vietnam, but he quickly fell in love with his "backup country." Read more about DeJordique.

This program allows you to explore the scientific study of language. This concentration is recommended for anyone interested in understanding the principles that underlie language.

You can chose an English major with a concentration in Linguistics or a minor in Linguistics.

Major Concentration

To complete a major in English with a concentration in Linguistics you must complete 42 hours of eligible English courses at the 200-, 300-, and 400-level.

A complete list of major requirements, courses, and a proposed four-year program of study for the Linguistics concentration are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Minor Concentration

You must take 18 hours of eligible English courses at the 300- or 400-level.

A complete list of minor requirements and courses is available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

What Will I Study?

As a language scientist, you will study how people turn thoughts into sentences. You will explore such diverse topics as grammar, dialects, language history, sound systems, language acquisition, and language and the brain, among other areas. Linguistics is deeply interdisciplinary, having ties to anthropology, cognitive science, education, foreign language, philosophy, computer science, and psychology.

A student with a laptop studying.

What About My Career?

Completing the English major with a concentration in linguistics can make a student uniquely suited for a number of different professions — law, medicine, education, writing, government service (such as the FBI), professional translation, or diplomacy, to name a few. Our linguistics students have entered diverse fields upon graduation: speech therapy, technical writing, language-related software development, law, and neurological medicine.

Resources

Do you want to learn more about the study of linguistics, its uses in everyday life, the science behind it, or the many career opportunities it gives? Explore these websites:

Contact

David Basilico
Director of Linguistics
University Hall 5037
(205) 934-8588

Danny Siegel
Director of Undergraduate Studies
University Hall 5036
(205) 934-8574

  • Beth Shelburne
  • Jason Aaron
  • Ashley Jones

Our workshops introduce you to the craft of writing fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Over the course of a semester, you will learn ways of shaping stories and poems through various exercises and prompts. You'll read works by contemporary authors and use those works as models for your own writing, and classroom workshops offer a lively setting for students to respond to one another’s work. At the end of the semester, you will have gained wide-ranging new skills in writing creatively, critiquing, and revising.

Undergraduates can choose to major or minor with a concentration in Creative Writing, and qualified students can also elect to complete a departmental Honors thesis in Creative Writing.

Major Concentration

To complete a major in English with a concentration in Creative Writing you must complete 42 hours of eligible English courses at the 200-, 300-, and 400-level.

A complete list of major requirements, courses, and a proposed four-year program of study for the Creative Writing concentration are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Minor Concentration

The minor in English with a concentration in Creative Writing offers you an opportunity to write fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction as a complement to your major. You must take 18 hours of eligible English courses at the 300- or 400-level.

A complete list of minor requirements and courses is available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Publishing

Our undergraduates have opportunities to publish their work and to compete for awards and scholarships. They can also work as interns for our nationally circulated journals, Birmingham Poetry Review and NELLE, and many are involved with UAB’s literary journal Aura.

""Creative Writing Prizes

The Creative Writing program offers several prizes for the best work of short fiction, creative nonfiction, and the best poem or group of poems produced by students. Prizes of $200 each are awarded annually.

  • The Barksdale-Maynard Prizes in Fiction and Poetry are made possible by a gift from Isabel Barksdale-Maynard in honor of her family.
  • The Tom Brown Prize for Creative Nonfiction is named in honor of Dr. Thomas H. Brown, chair of the English Department from 1984-1992.

To be eligible you must be a currently enrolled UAB student in good standing with the University. Contact the director of Creative Writing for more details.

Contact

Adam Vines
Director of Creative Writing
University Hall 5024
(205) 934-5317
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

One of the best things about UAB is its amazing diversity of its students — we are one of the top most diverse campuses in the United States. We want you to have every opportunity to succeed in your course work and college life. Here are eight easy tips for you to follow:

Are you an international student interested in attending UAB? Explore the INTO UAB initiative.

  • Visit the UAB International Student and Scholar Services website. They have all sorts of forms, guides, and helpful links to make your life easier.
  • Don’t be shy. Let your instructors know that English is your second language.
  • Take advantage of class study groups. They let you go over material at your pace.
  • Record lectures (with your instructors’ permission). Transcribe your recording to notes.
  • Meet regularly with your advisor. They are experts and can help!
  • Visit the UAB English Language Institute. They will give you assistance with both oral and written English.
  • Visit the UAB Writing Center. They have tutors and instructional workshops.
  • Frustrated and out of options? UAB counselors are there for you.

We invite you to explore all of the programs and services offered to international students. International Student and Scholar Services will be able to advise you about how to apply and who to contact for information. Please visit their website, or send general questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

And remember — you are not alone! There are other international students/non-native English speakers in just about every class you take! Share your stories and help each other!

No matter how good a student you are, having good advice is essential to your academic success. Students are assigned College of Arts and Sciences advisors based on their status as a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior.

Advisor with undergraduate student in an advising session reviewing documents.

The College of Arts and Sciences' Academic Advising website has everything you need — advice, contact information, and all kinds of helpful links.

Incoming and Transfer Students

If you are a new student, meet with your advisor before signing up for classes. The hardest part of your first year should be your classes, not deciding what they should be. Take the easy way out: Make an appointment to talk or meet with your academic advisor before you attend New Student Orientation.

Contact the College of Arts and Sciences Advising Office at (205) 934-6135 for help with registering but also with making the most of your choice to attend UAB!

Current Students

You can rely on your academic advisor for information, assistance, and encouragement throughout your time at UAB. In general, advisors will:

  • help you identify your goals and develop educational plans to reach them
  • help you understand degree requirements, course selection, and schedule planning
  • refer you to resources across campus that can boost your academic performance
  • help you understand academic policies and procedures
  • provide information about potential areas of study

Visit the College of Arts and Sciences Advising Office to find contact information for the English advisor.

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Our undergraduate programs are designed for students with a passion for reading, writing, and thinking about language. Our students study writing that inspires them, even as they work to sharpen their own powers of expression and communication. Whether you want to write poetry, to be trained in digital publishing, to analyze medieval sagas, or to explore the mysteries of generative grammar, you’ll find our programs a perfect fit.

What Can You Do with an English Degree?

Our students have gone on to jobs in publishing and the mass media, technical writing and web design, teaching and public service, as well as graduate study in literature, law, and medicine in programs across the country.

Learn More: Careers

Student-Centered Resources

Our undergraduate major builds toward a capstone seminar or project, which will enable you to look back over your coursework and prepare for life after graduation. You can also apply for an internship or pursue your own research in an honors thesis. The department has several different student groups, including the Professional Writing Club, which publishes an online journal, MEMORANDUM. We’re also home base for UAB’s student literary magazine, Aura.

Creative Writing

Creative Writing

Linguistics

Linguistics

Literature

Literature

Professional Writing

Professional Writing

Honors

Honors

Freshman Composition

Freshman Composition