Fall 2017 Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions 2017

First Year Writing (FYW) 110: Preparation for College Writing (formerly ENGL 110)

Lisa Hemminger, Atreyee Phukan, Deborah Sundmacher, & STAFF

A writing class designed for non-native speakers of English to prepare them take FYW 150. Instruction in fundamentals of various modes of written expression, including English grammar, sentence structure, understanding the importance of audience, editing and revision. Readings are selected from both non-fiction and fiction prose. Students are required to use the Writing Center, staffed by trained peer-tutors.

Preparation course for FYW 150

First Year Writing (FYW) 115: Intro to College Writing (formerly ENGL 115)

Dennis Clausen

“Introduction to College Writing” introduces students to the writing standards and strategies they will encounter in all of their college courses, helping them to succeed at USD. It provides students with more sophisticated writing and editing strategies so they can continue to improve these skills in other academic courses. It also prepares them for the writing standards that will be required of them when they enter the business and professional communities after graduation.
Educators have known for some time that writing plays an essential role in discovering ideas, understanding their significances and relationships, and articulating them to inform and influence other people. Writing is indispensable in the various stages of our attempts to fully comprehend any subject matter or academic discipline. On a more practical level, one can argue that never before in our nation’s history has there been more demand for our universities to emphasize writing instruction in all academic courses. Many employers also test the writing skills of potential employees before hiring them. The computer age has provided all of us with more information than ever before, but we still need writers to communicate this information clearly and persuasively in our universities, businesses, and professional communities.

Preparation course for FYW 150

English 121: Composition and Literature

Various Professors

Fulfills the core curriculum requirement in lower-division written literacy for students entering USD before the Fall of 2017.  Practice in developing skills of close observation, investigation, critical analysis, and informed judgment in response to literary texts.  Students are encouraged to use the Writing Center, staffed by trained peer tutors. 

First Year Writing (FYW) 150: First Year Writing

Various Professors

Fulfills the core curriculum requirement in lower-division written literacy for students entering USD in or after the Fall of 2017. Develops skills in reading and critical analysis of multiple discourses. Develops writing within multiple discourses, and the transfer of those writing skills to multiple disciplines and occasions. Students practice the entire process for writing, from initial conception, through drafts, to revision and editing. Students are encouraged to use the Writing Center, staffed and trained by peer-tutors.

Must be taken in the first year.

English 220-01 & -02 Arthur, Beginning To Now

Stefan Vander Elst

This course will outline what is usually called the Arthurian tradition in literature and visual art. Ever since he first appeared in the annals of the fall of Roman Britain, Arthur has had a remarkable influence on the cultural imagination of (mostly) the West. The last fifteen hundred or so years have seen him transformed from nameless Dark Age warlord, to universal symbol of ideal chivalry, to nostalgic reflection of an age gone by, and beyond. We will discuss some of the major texts dealing with, and developing the myth of Arthur, and discuss how ever-changing circumstances affected the image and impact of the Once and Future King.

English 220-04: The Comic Novel

Timothy Randell

How does language make us convulse with laughter?  If something is funny “just because it’s funny,” why does humor often involve so much conflict and pain?  Why are so many comedians and comedic novelists “outsiders”?  This course will examine social conflict as the origin of humor, and it will focus on “outsiders” in the twentieth-century comic novel to explore how and why they adopt humor and other literary strategies to correct oppressive social, economic, and political realities.  Furthermore, we will discuss some theoretical ideas that underlie the literary strategies of the comic used in the novels, and we will look at the historical forces that give rise to the comic novel as a genre.  In addition to the novels (including Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim, Cecil Brown’s Life and Loves, and Helen Fielding’s Bridgette Jones Diary), the course will include some theoretical essays, snippets of stand-up comedy to focus our discussions of humor, and a film that uses “corrective” humor.

English 220-05: The End of the World is L.A.

Halina Duraj

In an essay about his love-hate relationship with Los Angeles, author Matthew Spektor writes, “I’m enthralled by Los Angeles because it’s ugly and problematic and lovely, because the bomb has already fallen on it, to some extent, and all I can do is pick my way through the ruins.” Spektor is not the only author who invokes apocalyptic disaster when writing of L.A and California in general; in fact, California is the setting for numerous works of speculative, “apocalyptic” literary fiction, including, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Carolyn See’s Golden Days, Claire Vaye Watkins’s Gold Fame Citrus, Eden Lepucki’s California, Mary Miller’s The Last Days of California, and Alice LaPlante’s Coming of Age at the End of the World. Some of these dystopias emerge from environmental disaster, others from nuclear disaster, social unrest, or religious prophecy. In this course, we’ll examine some of these novels, as well as short stories (including some Native American origin myths) and essays that illuminate this conundrum: why is California, and especially Southern California, so often a setting for the apocalyptic imagination? What about this place—its history, culture, economy, geography, landscape and seismic activity—suggests disaster? Course may include guest lectures by a theologian, a physicist, and a geologist to help us examine “the end of the world” in literature from an interdisciplinary perspective.

English 220-06: Poetry

Vivienne MacAdam
Readings include a variety of poetic forms and range across literary periods and nationalities.

English 226-01: Metaphor

Carlton Floyd

This course is based on the theory that metaphors are a significant feature of language, that they inform our lives, and inform us about our lives. An analysis of metaphors, particularly those of social and cultural dominance tell us a great deal about ourselves. Our objective in this course is to explore, investigate and analyze our culture through metaphors. To accomplish our objectives, we will use a variety of social and cultural sites (scholarship, literature, advertisements, pictures, film, art, etc.) as texts. You should leave this course with a solid understanding of how language functions and the role that metaphors play in shaping language, thought, and action.

English 226-03 & -50: Romanticism & Revolution

Ivan Ortiz

In the years that witnessed the beginning of the French Revolution, English poet William Wordsworth rejoiced in the excitement of the times: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,/But to be young was very heaven!” The young enthusiasm of Wordsworth’s poetry is representative of the age known as Romanticism, a period of profound political, social, and scientific change in early nineteenth-century Europe. This course will introduce students to English Romantic literature in the context of revolution. By reading Romantic texts, we will think about the power of art and literature to promote social and political change. At the same time, we will consider different kinds of literature—poetry, novels, essays, plays and political pamphlets—promote change in unique ways. Issues we will explore include revolution, terrorist, slavery, poverty, women’s rights, education, industrialization, science and technology, and environmentalism. Authors we will read include William Blake, Percy and Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, and John Keats. Representative literature include William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Section 50 is Preceptorial only.

English 226-51: Nature Quests

Bradley Melekian

In this course, we will examine the genre of quest literature, particularly as it relates to the perceived transformative power of the natural world, and the ways in which authors have examined the interplay between the two. We will examine works that combine the tradition of literary nature writing with the tradition of quest literature, studying the perceived power of excursions into nature as a path to personal development, across fictive and non-fictive genres. Questions central to this course: What role has the natural world traditionally played in identity formation (i.e. in the case of Thoreau)? What states drive people to such quests? What questions do such seekers hope that solitary nature experiences will answer? How does the literature that arises from such experiences lead to a better understanding of self, or, conversely, destroy the concept of self? How does the solitary quest into an often harsh and uncaring natural environment force contemplation? We will read works ranging from Henry David Thoreau's account of a solitary life in Walden to Jon Krakauer's journalistic investigation of the life of Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild to Robyn Davidson’s Tracks.

Section 51 is Preceptorial only.

English 230-01 & -52: Transnational Asian American Literature

Koonyong Kim

This introductory course examines Asian American literature in the context of globalization and transnational culture. While closely reading various literary and cultural genres such as poetry, short story, the novel, drama, memoir, graphic fiction, and film, we will interrogate how our globalizing culture has reshaped the traditional contours of Asian American literature and culture. We will also examine what critical insights the study of Asian American literature, in turn, can bring to our critically informed understanding of the contemporary global world. Topics to be discussed include global migration, food and ethnic identity, cultural hybridity, glocalization, diaspora, flexible citizenship, postracial society, and gender and sexuality formations.

Fulfills Diversity, Inclusion, Social Justice.
Section 52 is Preceptorial only.

English 230-02: African-American Literature

Mychal Odom

Readings in some period or aspect of the literature of the United States, including that of underrepresented groups.

Fulfills Diversity, Inclusion, Social Justice.

English 230-03 & 230H-04: Native American Literature

Sr. Mary Hotz

In this course we will read and study novels written by Native Americans about Native American experiences. To deeply appreciate and understand Indian cultures at the heart of these novels, some basic knowledge of the tribal histories and mythologies, in addition to crucial moments of Native American history of the last two centuries, will be necessary. Such moments and historical fact figure prominently in Native American novels and inform the actions of the characters within the works we will read this semester. The reading material for the course is structured around what Paula Gunn Allen has termed “the three waves in Native American literature (“Introduction,” Song of the Turtle, 3-17). The first wave of Native fiction (Welch) deals with issues of recovery and identity engendered by the long war and the reservation era. Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the second wave of Native literature (Silko) focuses on a sense of renewal and home, a reassertion of Native identity and the incorporation of ritual elements drawn from the ceremonial traditions. Third-wave fiction (Power, Erdrich, and Diaz) seeks to articulate Native American identity as constituted by “inclusion, incorporation and transformation of alien elements into elements of ceremonial significance” (Allen 13).

Fulfills Diversity, Inclusion, Social Justice.
Section 04 is Honors only.

English 230-05: Immigration & Literature

Gail Perez

Immigration is foundational to our understanding of American social formations and identity.  This course will broaden our notion of the American experience to include the Americas, voluntary immigration, migration, conquest and slavery.  We will explore literature and historical texts that reflect on European immigration, Asian and Latin American immigration as well as communities that are indigenous but are now viewed as “immigrant.”   In addition, we will look at key policies that have shaped our sense of “who is American.”  Texts might include works by Junot Diaz, Luis Urrea, Fae Myenne Ng, Brian Roley, Chitra Divakaruni, Le Thi Diem Thuy, and many others.

Fulfills Diversity, Inclusion, Social Justice.

English 236-01 & -02: Literature in Violent Times

Irene Williams

Written by writers who are themselves activists for social justice, even at the risk of their lives, these stories and plays challenge readers to think and feel deeply and perhaps even to dedicate themselves to repairing our world, a world in which violence is endemic.  This literature informs, memorializes and inspires; reading it, history comes alive on the page.  Readings include Ghassan Kanafani, Men in the Sun; Rudolfo Walsh, Operation Massacre; Peter Handke, A Sorrow Beyond Dreams and Offending the Audience; Caryl Churchill, Mad Forest; Isaac Babel, Red Cavalry; Svetlana Alexievitch, Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets; Dasa Drndic, Trieste; Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen. Reading and re-reading, writing and re-writing, seminar-style discussion.  Independent thinkers welcome.

English 236-03: Greece & Rome

Joseph McGowan

An introduction to classical literature in translation, and an overview of the history, culture and life of classical antiquity. In addition to the Greek peoples (Mycenaean, Athenian, Spartan, Boeotian, etc.) and Italic (Roman, but also Etruscan, Oscan, Faliscan, Umbrian, etc.), we will also consider the neighboring peoples, allies and opponents, of the great Mediterranean civilizations. Their conceptions of literary form and style and subject will be a primary focus, 236though emphasis will be placed too upon their philosophical schools, art, architecture, politics, and imperial ambitions. In short, we will try to fill in as complete a picture of the classical world as is possible in one term.

English 236-04: Contemporary World Literature

Lisa Smith

A lower-division literature course that covers the general education requirement. Readings in literature outside the U.S. and U.K. may include: Haruki Murakami, Ben Okri, Mario Vargas-LLosa, Arundhati Roy, J.M. Coetzee, Monica Ali and more.

English 240-01: Shakespeare

Maura Giles-Watson

Shakespeare died 401 years ago, yet he remains tremendously popular and we still read, study, and perform his works. In this course, participants will learn about the language, drama, and poetry of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), and about the historical contexts and contemporary controversies surrounding Shakespeare’s work. Toward these goals, we will read, analyze, and discuss plays from each of the Shakespearean dramatic genres: comedy, tragedy, history play, romance, and ‘problem play.’ Course participants will perform ‘table readings’ and ‘walking read-throughs’ of selected scenes as well, and we will also read and discuss approximately thirty of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets. Course participants will study Shakespeare’s works within the Early Modern literary, theatrical, cultural, print, political, and religious contexts that contribute so much to our appreciation and understanding of his plays and poems four centuries after their first performances and publications. In addition, we will discuss the issues of gender, power, race, injustice, and violence that frequently emerge in Shakespeare’s work, and we will critique Shakespeare’s representations of socially marginalized people at the dawn of Renaissance Europe’s exploitive encounter with Africa and the Americas.
Assessments: participation/engagement; short writings; 2 troupe activities (memorization not required); 2 tests; a sonnet recitation, and a final research project.

This course will satisfy the Shakespeare requirement in the old Major, and count as a lower division elective in the new Major.

English 240-53: Shakespeare

Jeanie Grant Moore

"Shakespeare Past and Present" will focus not only on selected Shakespearean plays, but also on Shakespeare's sources from the past and present-day emulations of his work. For one example, Shakespeare's plot for The Winter's Tale had its roots in the much earlier Clerk's Tale by Chaucer, and also in Pandosto, a prose romance by Shakespeare's contemporary Robert Greene. Now, Jeanette Winterson has written a modern version of The Winter's Tale in her novel The Gap of Time. We will examine the works themselves along with the particular cultural and historical influences on them, as well as the elements that have made them appealing over time. A consideration of the concept of originality and literary ownership will be an important part of our studies. Our class will attend a live Shakespeare performance.

This course will satisfy the Shakespeare requirement in the old Major, and count as a lower division elective in the new Major.
Section 53 is Preceptorial only.

English 250-01: Literary Foundations

Sara Hasselbach

In this course, we will explore foundational English-language literature and hone skills in sensitive reading, critical thinking, and persuasive writing. We will focus on authors who were pioneers of form and content and who contributed to the formation of literary traditions. Why are metaphysical poets such fitting bedfellows with Modernists? What’s the literary trajectory from the Bible to William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell? How does Shakespeare adapt Chaucer, and why does Milton’s Paradise Lost appear throughout Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? How does Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative participate in multiple genres, setting the stage for T. S. Eliot’s polyvocal The Waste Land? We will use the narratives that we read to generate a greater narrative of literary history.
Authors may include: Ovid, Petrarch, Chaucer, Wyatt, Queen Elizabeth, Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert, Milton, Swift, Wollstonecraft, Equiano, Blake, Keats, Shelley, Poe, Dickinson, Carroll, Hopkins, Eliot, Hughes, Auden, and Lorde.

Note: This course is required for the new major, but students continuing in the old major are welcome to take it as a lower-division elective. It also fulfills the Core Literary Inquiry requirement.

English 260-01: Critical Thinking

Abraham Stoll

This is the new gateway course for the English Major. It is required for all students in the new Major and Minor, but also recommended for those continuing with the old English Major. If you are in the old Major, this can count in place of 222, or it can count as a lower-division elective. It’s a great way to get to know other English Majors, to get to know the English Department, and to gain perspective on the intellectual path you have chosen.
In this course we will explore the ways we can read literature, from close reading to readings based in historical research and literary theory. We will ask “What is literature for?” and “Why be an English Major?” We will practice using criticism and doing research. We will also look to connect these theoretical discussions to the material facts of literature at USD, by attending the Old Globe Theatre and the Cropper Writers Series, and by considering our curriculum, our courses, the events, internships, publications, and research opportunities in the Department. In the Fall we will be reading carefully Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Romantic poets (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley), and Toni Morrison’s Sula, as well as looking at theoretical selections from Aristotle, Sidney, Freud, Woolf, Bakhtin, Derrida, Foucault, Wittig, and others.

Required for new Major. Counts as lower division elective in the old Major.

English 292: Southeast San Diego Tutoring Project

Timothy Randell

This is a ten-week course/internship during which you will tutor children in a local elementary or middle school in basic reading, writing, and math (depending on your assigned teacher/class). You will work at the school to which you are assigned with a teacher who will structure your activities with the children. Each week you will write a short journal to reflect on your experiences concerning a specific element of the school, your pupils, and other experiences concerning lesson plans or the learning environment (see the attached journal assignment sheet for specific topics). You will turn in the journal assignments periodically throughout the semester (not once a week or all at once at the end of the semester) to ensure accurate, unhurried, and thoughtful reflection. Tutors may commit to 3, 6, or 9 hours of tutoring per week (for 1, 2, or 3 academic credits per semester, respectively), and the course may be taken more than once (as often as tutors wish) to accommodate academic needs and time schedules.

The course counts as academic credit in an English elective. Lower Division students register for English 292, and Upper Division students register for English 492 (formerly ENGL 298 & 498)

English 300-01: British Literature to 1800

Jeanie Grant Moore

Ten centuries of literature is an immense span of time for one semester, but we will attempt to achieve some depth as well as breadth, moving from the Old English Beowulf through the medieval and Renaissance periods, sweeping on through the Restoration, and finishing with “The Age of Reason,” the 18th Century. We will pay particular attention to the historical, political, and social contexts of the works we read, explore our personal relationship to them, and consider various modern approaches to literature as we think critically about these texts. Texts include: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol A: The Middle Ages, 8th edition; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol B: The Sixteenth Century and Early Seventeenth Century, 8th edition; and The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith, Oxford edition.

English 300 is required in the old Major and Minor.  It can be taken as an upper-division elective in the new Major. 

English 301-01: Intro to Creative Writing (formerly ENGL 375)

Lisa Hemminger

Introduction to Creative Writing guides you to see the world and people in a different light, to read with a greater immersion, and to write with imagination and knowledge. Experience, discuss, and imitate works in four genres. Writing and philosophies of artists including Emily Dickinson, Truman Capote, and Stephen King will be highlighted.

English 301-02: Intro to Creative Writing (formerly ENGL 375)

Adam Veal

This course is intended as an introductory writing class for three major genres of writing:  Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, and Poetry.  We will learn to approach literature as writers, to think about literature as a craft, and to speak about what we write in class as we would speak about literature.  There will be special focus on workshopping creative work in groups.  At the end of the semester, students will submit a portfolio of their creative work.

English 304W-01: Advanced Composition

Lisa Smith

A workshop course in the writing of expository, descriptive, and critical prose. This course is designed to fulfil the upper-division written literacy requirement for non-English majors; it will fulfill an upper-division elective for English majors.

English 304W-02: Advanced Composition

Timothy Randell

This course offers intensive practice in active reading, critical thinking, and close analyses of texts and writing within various rhetorical situations, genres, and discourse communities.  The course highlights academic skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  It emphasizes an understanding of what Wayne Booth calls “the rhetorical stance,” which includes “discovering and maintaining in any writing situation a proper balance” among three aspects of the communicative process:  “the available arguments about the subject itself;  the interests and peculiarities of the audience; and the voice (the implied character) of the speaker.”  This course asks students to consider how different audiences and contexts shape the rhetorical situation.  We will analyze texts from popular culture in class to explore ideas related to the assignments, and you will research examples of popular culture on your own as part of your writing projects.

English 304W-03: Vivienne MacAdam

Vivienne MacAdam

This course is a workshop course in the writing of expository, descriptive and critical prose. Texts will include: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Of Love and Other Demons; Nadine Gordimer, Jump and Other Stories; Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family; J.M. Coetzee, Foe; and Haruiki Murakami, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

English 315-01: Tudor Drama

Maura Giles-Watson

In this course, we will read and analyze plays and study English drama and performance culture during the reigns of the Tudor monarchs from the late 15th to the early 17th centuries – a time of rapid change in society (politics, religion, education, & ‘globalization’), in concepts of monarchy (good kingship v. tyranny), in dramatic practices (performance & playwriting), in the conditions of performance (minstrelsy, pageant wagon plays, household drama, and professional stages), and in the lives of both male and female theatre workers (players, musicians, minstrels, apprentices, spanglers, & so on). The course will begin with study of the medieval dramatic traditions from which Tudor drama emerges, and observe Shakespeare’s dramatization of early English household performance practices in Midsummer Night’s Dream. We will also study Shakespeare’s propagandistic representation of the events surrounding the Tudor overthrow of Richard III, the last Plantagenet monarch. Earlier Tudor plays such as Everyman (both in the original versions and the edgy new adaptation by Carol Ann Duffy), and the Wakefield Master’s Second Shepherd’s Play (a new film of which has recently been released) will come into view, as will the rich medieval dramatic traditions from which these plays emerged. In addition, we will explore the daring political claims in the comic debate plays written and performed at the court of Henry VIII, and study the King Johan plays by John Bale in contrast to Shakespeare’s King John, which George Orwell grimly (and prophetically) termed “extraordinarily up to date.”
Assessments: participation/engagement; 2 essays; 2 troupe activities (memorization not required); 2 tests; and a signature research project.

Note: Tudor Drama satisfies one of the two the ‘Literary Histories’ requirements of the new English major and the pre-1660 requirement of the old English major. This course also satisfies the literature requirement of the old Core, and meets the prerequisite for Advanced Shakespeare and Advanced Shakespeare W.

English 319-01: Frankenstein

Ivan Ortiz

This course will examine the contexts and legacies of Mary Shelley’s iconic novel, Frankenstein (1818). Long considered a masterpiece of fiction, Shelley’s novel raises universal questions about the nature of science and technology, politics, religion, education, psychology, and gender. It is also considered a seminal text in the traditions of Gothic literature, science fiction, sentimental literature, Romanticism, and post-humanism. Students in this course will read and discuss literary, political, and scientific texts that helped Mary Shelley write Frankenstein, as well as works of literature, philosophy, and film that were influenced by her radical novel. Special attention will be paid to Frankenstein’s afterlife in scientific and philosophical thinking about artificial intelligence. Authors to be explored include John Milton, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Godwin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Percy Shelley, Erasmus and Charles Darwin, and Donna Haraway.
Satisfies the Literary Histories requirement of the new English Major. Counts as an upper-division elective for the old Major.

English 321-02: Interracial Literature

Carlton Floyd

Interracial relationships have a longstanding history in the United States. Prohibitions against interracial relationships have often explicitly denied their very existence, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of their presence. As such, one might think of interracial relationships as a kind of open secret; they are simultaneously promoted and derided, revealed and concealed, made alluring even as they are made illicit. In this course, we will trace interracial relationships in the United States, from the early moments of this nation to the present.  Clearly, we will leave much undone, but one should leave this course with a sense of the significance of interracial relationships in this nation in terms of our laws, language, and literature. 
Satisfies the Literary Cultures and Theories requirement of the new English Major. Counts as an upper-division elective for the old Major.

English 329-02: Spoken Words: Pronouns, Protest, & Participatory Reading

Atreyee Phukan

This course uses the conceptual framework of “spoken word”—performance, word play, and improvisation—to assess the special role of pronouns in fiction, from the slave narrative to the postcolonial memoir. We will study how a writer’s fictional I or you is a performative gesture in breaking walls between text and audience, thus strategically inviting the reader into new and otherwise unfamiliar imaginative worlds. We will focus on mostly world literature and engage specifically with the aesthetics of participatory reading, a kind of close-reading that attends to the deep interconnections between literary structure, political protest, and reader response. Writers include Olaudah Equiano, Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz, Jamaica Kincaid, V. S. Naipaul, and Mohsin Hamid.
Satisfies the Literary Cultures and Theories requirement of the new English Major. Counts as an upper-division elective for the old Major.

English 331-01: Old English

Joseph McGowan

This course will serve as an introduction to Old English (c. 500-1100) and the earliest tradition of writing in English.  We will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of Old English to enable a reading of selected poetry and prose of the period; this will include examples of heroic poetry (Battle of Maldon, The Wanderer, extracts from Beowulf), religious poetry (The Dream of the Rood), perhaps the earliest love lyric in English (Wulf and Eadwacer), the chronicles and histories (Hengest & Horsa and the migration to England, the coming of the Vikings, Arctic exploration & the whale hunt, the poetic transformation of Cædmon), and selections from laws, charms, riddles, and Runic inscriptions.  We will also investigate the culture that produced this literature: the architecture and archaeological discoveries, inscriptions and sculptures, metalwork and manuscript illumination (Lindisfarne Gospels, illustrated Genesis and Wonders of the East).  Besides offering a glimpse of the beginnings of literature in English, the study of Old English is of interest as well in strengthening one’s knowledge of how modern English and the language of poetry work.

English 333-01: Chaucer

Stefan Vander Elst

This course offers an in-depth look at the works of the medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400). Widely credited with reviving English as a literary language after a long period of Latin and French domination, Chaucer compiled an extensive and varied body of works. We will discuss Chaucer’s writings from his earliest poems to his last and greatest work, the Canterbury Tales. We will devote special attention to Chaucer’s use of continental literary traditions; we will see how works such as Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, the Romance of the Rose, and Boccaccio’s Decameron influenced Chaucer, and helped him create a truly English literature of wit and learning.

English 352-01: U.S. Literature to 1900

Dennis Clausen

This class will analyze the development of American fiction and poetry from the beginnings to 1900. The emphasis will be on poems, short stories and novels, although occasional films and essays will also be used to reinforce major themes and issues in the course. Various interdisciplinary approaches—especially from history, philosophy and art history—will be used to give students a broader sense of the development of the history of ideas that provides the foundation for American literature.
The course will focus on various tensions that develop early in our nation’s history, and how they are reflected in our art, culture and literature. The course will also address the technical development of the American short story, novel and poetry as works of art.
The primary goal of English 352 (“U. S. Literature to 1900”) is to help students create interdisciplinary connections between American cultural, historical, philosophical, and literary traditions during the nineteenth century. Another goal is to help students develop a more sophisticated understanding of voice, point of view, structure, and other techniques that shape all literary genres. Assessment of students’ growth will be based on weekly in-class written responses to assigned readings, a 3-hour midterm exam, a 2 ½ hour final exam, and a 15-16 page course paper with 2 required hand-edited rough drafts. Students who take English 352 will be able to identify and discuss the rich history of ideas that connects literary texts to other academic disciplines. Students will also be able to identify and articulate more intelligent insights into the literary techniques and themes that shape American literature to 1900. These goals and outcomes can be summarized:
1) Employ critical reading as an effective basis of literary inquiry, through close reading of literary form and discourse, and through engagement with literary contexts.
2) Employ a strong understanding of the contexts of literature as a basis of literary inquiry. These contexts include: the influences of culture, race, and gender; genre, literary traditions, and historical periods; literary production, and the insights of literary theories.
3) Develop strong writing skills relevant to literary inquiry. These skills include clear expression and sound mechanics, and are productive of critical insight. They can be practiced in creative writing, research, and critical argument.
Satisfies Literary Inquiry in the new Core.

English 355-01: Melville & Hawthorne

Irene Williams

This is a course for readers and thinkers.  Moby Dick is a book like no other, so unusual and peculiar that Melville’s contemporaries didn’t know what to call it or how to read it.  The Scarlet Letter is radically different from conventional novels of manners.  Melville wrote of men with men, Hawthorne of men with women.  Both authors were self-consciously constructing a new literature for their new United States.  Passion, horror, striving, loss—these stories, saturated in emotion, are intricately constructed puzzles for readers to solve.  Don’t let your high school experience of Hawthorne’s novel discourage you from taking this course.  If you are susceptible to language that takes your breath away or to stories that provoke feeling and thought, this course may be for you.  Reading and re-reading, writing and re-writing, seminar-style discussion.  Independent thinkers welcome.

Counts as an upper-division elective in both the old and new Core.


English 358-70 & -72: Contemporary Ethnic Dystopias

Jason Crum

This course will examine late 20th & early 21st Century Ethnic Dystopian fiction and popular culture in the United States. Our sources for this cultural studies course will be varied and will include recent trends in literature, film, digital storytelling, graphic novels, & video games. We will trace the development of imaginings and re-imaginings of utopia, their exclusions and gaps, and seek to examine how ethnic and racial minorities in the United States have contested such ideas as utopia/dystopia, class, race, gender, & sexuality. Readings will include works such as Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, NK Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, Samuel Delany’s Trouble on Triton, Nedi Okorafor’s Lagoon, Cynthia Khodata’s In the Heart of the Valley of Love. We will also turn to and look analytically at the political, social, and economic climate that allows for the portrayal of ethnicity in recent pop culture titles such as Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer and Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men and video game productions such as Bioshock: Infinite.

TLC Preceptorial only.

English 358-71: Photography & Literature

Marcelle Maese-Cohen

By teaching us how to see the world, photographs also teach us a language and way of being in the world. Like literature, photographs provide a virtual space where different people and ideas meet. What are the politics of this encounter? Who is seen? Who is silenced? The authors we will read incorporate photographs within the pages of the books they write. The visual images they include are as an important to creating a narrative as the words they place on the page. As viewers and readers, our study of the relation between photography and literature will ask questions concerned with beauty, power, and desire. We will survey photographs from Walker Evans to selfies.

TLC Preceptorial only.

English 370-01: Cyborg Stories: A New Vision of the Present

Koonyong Kim

This course examines influential texts—fiction, film, anime, and manga—that feature cyborgs. Building upon recent debates on digital technology, new media, cyberspace, network society, utopia/dystopia, and posthumanism, we will reflect on how various cyborg stories can help us reconsider our conventional ideas pertaining to reality, human identity, love, communication, family, gender, and nation, among others. Special emphasis will be placed on how digital technology and cyberspace transform our contemporary world; how our digitized reality inspires innovative forms of communication and storytelling; and what cyborgs can teach us about our rapidly evolving global society and its future. Possible texts include Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, Tezuka Osamu’s Metropolis and Astro Boy, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell, William Gibson’s Idoru, Spike Jonze’s Her, and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.

English 372-01: Film Noir

Fred Robinson

A study of a style of film that emerged, in the U.S. of the 1940s, from the experience and aftermath of war. It is marked by crime and by the attempt to “solve” it in a time of moral disequilibrium, with its persistent instability, blurred boundaries, and ambiguous characters, all wrapped in a shadow atmosphere. We will note the origins of noir in German Expressionist film and touch on recent examples of the style, but our focus will be on the world and style of the1940s: conflicted, tough-guy cops, detectives and villains, dark cities, and women who will either kiss or shoot you, or both. We will also study the cinematic ways in which this world is evoked: shifting points of view, sharp angles and unsteady framing, low lighting and deep focus, and, of course, night. Students should realize that most of the films will be in black and white.
Films (subject to change) The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, The Killers, Nightmare Alley, Out of the Past, The Third Man (British), The Lady from Shanghai, The Night of the Hunter, Elevator to the Gallows (French), Kiss Me Deadly, Chinatown, The Attack (Lebanese), Tell No One (French).

Satisfies Literary Inquiry in the new Core.

English 377-01: Development of the English Language

Joseph McGowan

This course will trace the origins and historical development of the English language from its Indo-European roots to contemporary dialects of American English and varieties of World English.  By the end of the course students will have mastered the fundamentals of language analysis and introductory linguistics and developed the ability to describe and analyze language and language varieties. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics of current American English, with additional emphases upon dialectology, language change, and theories of language acquisition.

English 381-01: Intermediate Poetry Writing

Jennifer Minniti-Shippey

Poetry is an oral art, an aural art, and a written art. The practice of poetry is one of writing, reading, and listening—to the music of your own words on paper and in your mouth, and to the words of other writers and performers.
Over the course of the semester, we’ll study ways that poets engage their readers and listeners, through literary techniques and performance strategies. We’ll practice seriously the craft of writing by developing a portfolio of imitations. We’ll work as editors of each other’s work, offering critique and praise in a workshop model, and explore professional aspects of life as a poet: performance & publication.
This is a writing-intensive course; you’ll do weekly in-class writing, weekly writing as homework, and submit at least two complete poems for workshop. Brief weekly reading responses may also be assigned. Join the Managing Editor of Poetry International literary journal for a lively, dynamic, and productive creative experience.

Prerequisite: Engl 301 Intro to Creative Writing (formerly ENGL 375)

English 382-01: Intermediate Fiction Writing

Halina Duraj

This course focuses on generating and unpacking short stories to examine how literary fiction—published or in-progress—achieves its unique, emotional and technical effects. Students will read and present on published stories, learning to identify authors’ craft “moves”. Students will write weekly experiments, springing from craft-based prompts; some of these experiments will result in polished pieces, and students will submit one of those pieces to the Lindsay J. Cropper Undergraduate Creative Writing Contest by the end of the semester. In the first half of the semester, class discussion of student experiments will use the descriptive rather than prescriptive workshop method: we’ll examine what’s happening in the writing on the level of language as well as narrative. We’ll look for hot spots deserving deeper exploration, and we’ll ask questions and make observations rather than “prescribe” changes or corrections. In the second half of the semester, we’ll revisit more fully developed drafts of experiments with an eye toward concision and precision and the question of whether the work aligns with our constantly evolving principles of the short story. All students should enter with the basic understanding and vocabulary of fiction craft gained in the prerequisite, ENGL 301: Introduction to Creative Writing.

Prerequisite: Engl 301 Intro to Creative Writing (formerly ENGL 375)

English 383-01: Intermediate Creative Nonfiction Writing

Bradley Melekian

In this Intermediate Creative Nonfiction Writing course, students will generate works of creative nonfiction, ranging from the memoir to the personal essay to nonfiction feature writing. We will explore the genre of narrative nonfiction—that is, nonfiction subjects written with fictional techniques. We will approach this course with the understanding that good writing is the culmination of serious thinking, heartfelt conviction, diligent work and a commitment to rewriting, reshaping, rethinking. Our understanding will further be that learning to write seriously, originally and creatively—which must be the goal of every student enrolled in this course—is an instruction in process. To that end, students will read landmark works of nonfiction from writers like Baldwin, Didion, McPhee, Mailer, Capote, Wolfe, Talese, Dillard and others to explore the ways in which the genre has developed and changed, and to consider how the best nonfiction writing goes beyond factual reporting to access truths about the human experience. Students will be expected to generate original writing each week, to read and critique the work of their classmates, to read and discuss exemplary works of the genre, to workshop (read aloud) their work and to consider the artful pairing of factual experience with creative writing.

Prerequisite: Engl 301 Intro to Creative Writing (formerly ENGL 375)

English 410-02: Advanced Writing in the English Major: Victorian Studies

Sr. Mary Hotz

We will explore the literary history of the Victorian era as an expression of (and participant in) broader political, cultural, and intellectual developments of this crucial period. Drawing on readings from a wide range of forms, genres and disciplines, we will examine several quintessentially Victorian issues and describe the ways these issues make themselves felt within literary texts. In particular, the relationship of Victorian culture to social relations will be a primary focus for the course. Further, we will analyze and write about Victorian literature through a variety of aesthetic, ideological and theoretical approaches. Analyses of literary criticism invite students both to formulate and assess the arguments of others and to present their own questions and answers about the literature under discussion.

English Majors & Minors only. Fulfills CADW (Advanced Writing Competency), and fulfills the W requirement for students in the old Major.

English 492: Southeast San Diego Tutoring Program

Timothy Randell

This is a ten-week course/internship during which you will tutor children in a local elementary or middle school in basic reading, writing, and math (depending on your assigned teacher/class). You will work at the school to which you are assigned with a teacher who will structure your activities with the children. Each week you will write a short journal to reflect on your experiences concerning a specific element of the school, your pupils, and other experiences concerning lesson plans or the learning environment (see the attached journal assignment sheet for specific topics). You will turn in the journal assignments periodically throughout the semester (not once a week or all at once at the end of the semester) to ensure accurate, unhurried, and thoughtful reflection. Tutors may commit to 3, 6, or 9 hours of tutoring per week (for 1, 2, or 3 academic credits per semester, respectively), and the course may be taken more than once (as often as tutors wish) to accommodate academic needs and time schedules.

The course counts as academic credit in an English elective. Lower Division students register for English 292, and Upper Division students register for English 492. (formerly ENGL 298/498)

English 493: Writing Center Tutors

Deborah Sundmacher

Theory and practice for Writing Center tutors. Consent of Writing Center director required.

English 495-01: Senior Project

Marcelle Maese-Cohen

A capstone course designed to guide seniors in the development and production of an original research paper. This course will hone your research methods and critical thinking, connect you with English faculty who specialize in your area of interest, and deepen your engagement with literary theory and with the writing-revision process. Senior Project is open to all senior English majors and minors who are interested in performing in-depth guided research and producing a substantial research paper on a specialized topic (interdisciplinary interests and approaches are welcome). This course is highly recommended for students planning to pursue graduate study in English or related fields.
English Majors & Minors only.

English 496-01: Alcalá Review

Bradley Melekian

Reserved for active members of the editorial staff of the Alcalá Review only, this course serves as a practicum in literary magazine editing, concentrating on the strategies, activities, and procedures associated with all facets of managing, planning, and publishing a literary periodical.

1-Unit Internship; Instructor Approval required. 

English 496-02: The Tudor Plays Project

Maura Giles-Watson

The Tudor Plays Project is a 1-credit Digital Humanities research project and creative activity that develops new Internet resources for the study and performance of earlier Tudor drama (before Shakespeare), especially the debate plays performed at the court of Henry VIII. These resources are then published at tudorplays.org. Permission of instructor is required for registration. If you are interested in participating (whether for credit or not), contact Maura Giles-Watson (mgileswatson@sandiego.edu).

Meetings in Digital Humanities Studio, Humanities Center (Serra 200); meeting times TBD by participants' availability.