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 301-2E: 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: Post-1800 Lit: Literature of Antebellum Reform

Instructor: G. Temple

Details TBA

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