Summer 2021 Course Descriptions


Session I (May 24-June 17)

ENWR 1510 - Writing About Music

1030-1245 (Online Synchronous)
Steph Ceraso

Everyone’s life has a soundtrack. We make playlists for different moods, activities, and events. We associate particular songs with moments in our personal and cultural histories. We memorize lyrics and repeat them like mantras. We sing loudly (usually off key) in our showers and cars. We love songs. We hate songs. We love to hate songs. Music is a powerful force in our everyday lives.

This writing-intensive seminar will focus on writing about music. We will examine questions such as: In what ways do our identities inform our musical tastes and distastes? What is the relationship between music and writing? Why does music matter? This class offers students an opportunity to reflect on and write about their personal relationships with music. 

*This is an online course that includes a mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities. 

Satisfies the first writing requirement.

ENWR 2800 - Public Speaking

Connie Chic Smith

Satisfies the Second Writing Requirement.

ENGL 2508 - My Superheroes are Black

Lisa Woolfork

Marvel’s depiction of the conflict between Professor X and Magneto has been read as an allegory for assimilation versus separatism for marginalized people. Specifically, Professor X has been compared to MLK and while Magneto is said to represent Malcolm X. What happens when the allegory is removed? What is possible when we examine blackness directly within the genres of superhero and speculative fiction? Luke Cage is bulletproof. T’Challa is king. Black Lightning is a metahuman. This course examines representations of Black superlatives in select literature, film, and television. We will consider the varied roles that Blackness plays as an asset and liability for characterization, plot, theme, and the cultural influence of these creative works.

Core Questions

  • What are the limits of Blackness? Who draws those limits? 
  • What is imagined as possible for Black characters in the superhero, speculative, fantasy genres? Are black people allowed to transcend the boundaries of space, time, reason.
  • Can black superheroes dismantle the greatest villain of all: the systems of power that rely upon dominance and violence as tools of extraction?  
  • Do such fictions and fantasies connect to the real world liberation of black people, if so how? If not, why not?

Satisfies the Second Writing Requirement.

ENGL 3401 - Jane Austen and the Romantics

1030-1245 (Online Synchronous)
Andrew Stauffer

Jane Austen wrote novels of romance – but was she a Romantic? In this course, we will read Austen in the cultural and literary context of her era, thinking about issues involving class and wealth, sexuality and marriage, reason and the passions, art and artifice, the real and the ideal. We will ask, what was Austen’s relationship to the Romantic literary movement, to the feminist and political thought surrounding the French Revolution, to the poetry of female writers like Charlotte Smith and Letitia Landon, and to the poetry of male contemporaries such as William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, and John Keats? In pursuit of these questions, we will be reading Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion alongside lots of other shorter works of the period. Students are also encouraged to watch film adaptations of her novels for context. Class will involve Zoom lectures and discussions, breakout rooms, student presentations, frequent short writing homework, and two formal papers (1500 words each).

Satisfies the 1700-1900 literature requirement for the English Major.

ENGL 3825 - Desktop Publishing

Jeb Livingood

This asynchronous course helps you learn how to edit and publish a contemporary book-length project—everything from proofreading manuscripts to graphic design and the publishing process—in both print and reflowable ePub formats. You will learn fundamentals of typesetting projects in Adobe InDesign, the dominant desktop publishing software. This version of the class is online and asynchronous, which means you will progress through class lessons at your own pace, though you will need to meet class deadlines by uploading project drafts or completing online assignments. The class also gives you a firm grounding in the The Chicago Manual of Style, the dominant style manual used by the commercial presses, by having you complete “gates” in an online system. This class will stress textual projects over graphical ones—that is, as an English Department course, the focus is more on editing text that creating complex graphic layouts.

Session II (June 21-July 17)

ENWR 2610 - Writing with Style

Keith Driver

Investigates the role of style in the writing process. What does it mean to write with attention to style? How can attention to style be generative? Students will explore the variety, uses, and implications of a broad range stylistic moves available in prose writing and build a rich vocabulary for describing them. Students will imitate and analyze exemplary writing and discuss each other’s writing in a workshop setting. 

Satisfies the Second Writing Requirement.

ENWR 2800 - Public Speaking: Speaking to Digital Publics

Kevin Smith

Public Speaking: Speaking to Digital Publics examines what it means to “speak” to a “public” in the digital age. Students will engage in the production and analysis of digital forms of public speaking and forums for address. These will include, but not be limited to, vlogs, Zoom presentations, podcasts, videos, and social media posts. We will collectively ask where and how digital publics are addressed, to what ends, and in what forms. We will develop rhetorical frameworks for analyzing and preparing forms of digital public address and reflect on how these frameworks might prepare us for public speaking IRL.

Satisfies the Second Writing Requirement.

ENGL 2508 - Science Fiction

Charity Fowler

This summer, we will focus on examining and writing about the social and cultural possibilities in science fiction. We will be reading a mixture of novels and short stories and watching a few adaptations of these texts into television shows, as well as read published articles analyzing and criticizing these and other narratives from different positions and through different critical approaches. In addition to responding to these texts, we’ll write essays that analyze them in relation to critical questions and cultural issues. In our reading, writing and discussions, we’ll attempt to answer questions such as:

  • What does it mean to be human? How do different identities challenge the answer to that question? Where do race, gender, religion, even species fit into it?
  • What work does science fiction do in constructing gender and sexuality, race, imaginary worlds and different times? What are the effects of such work?
  • How do science fiction narratives challenge or reinforce dominant cultural norms?
  • How can different cultural and critical positions change the meaning of a text? What does it
    mean to resist a reading? What larger purpose can it serve?
  • How do images of alternative worlds impact our understanding of our own? What can we
    learn about our world from immersing ourselves in others? How do these texts comment on
    current issues facing our society?
  • How can we use writing to convey these ideas clearly and persuasively to challenge or support our readers?

Satisfies the Second Writing Requirement.

ENGL 3560 - Global Identities

Christopher Krentz

This seminar will study acclaimed short fiction, poetry, and drama in English from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean by writers such as Gordimer, Soyinka, Naipaul, Rushdie, and Walcott.  We'll also watch several films, including Amandlia! and El Norte.   Satisfies the non-Western perspectives area requirement for the College.

Session III (July 19-August 13)

ENWR 1510 - Writing about Movies & TV

Anastatia Curley

This course helps students develop their writing abilities by reading and writing about contemporary film and television—and considering how new media and new technologies have changed what we mean when we say “film” or “television.” We will watch movies and tv shows and practice making interpretive arguments about them, learning the practices and conventions of writing about visual media in the process. We’ll also consider how new media has changed contemporary cultural criticism, and students will practice writing for the ear by making a podcast in response to a film or tv show of their choice.

As in all sections of ENWR 1510, we will focus on developing the skills and habits that make a strong writer: through daily writing both casual and formal, students will work on writing thoughtful, analytical, and stylish prose.

This course satisfies the first writing requirement.

ENWR 1510 - Writing and Critical Inquiry

Marcus Meade

Satisfies the first writing requirement.

ENWR 2520 -  Home Movies

Sarah O'Brien

Of the many changes wrought by the pandemic, perhaps none will prove as enduring as the upending of our sense of being “at home.” We will consider the shifting dimensions of domestic space in the time of COVID-19 and the preceding century by watching, writing about, and making different kinds of “home movies”: amateur movies, documentaries, and fiction films, that envision home and community life in striking ways. Exploring these modes and genres will give us occasion to think and write about the values of documenting family and everyday life; the pleasures, comforts, and constraints of home-viewing practices; and film’s power to (re-) shape social structures and practices. 

Satisfies the Second Writing Requirement.

ENWR 2700 - News Writing

Jon D'Errico

Satisfies the Second Writing Requirement.

ENGL 3559

Sylvia Chong

Undergraduate Courses