Fall 2020 Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions 2020 Fall

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

Atreyee Phukan

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)

Deniz Perin-Coombs

“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

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 War & Memory

Halina Duraj

In this course, we will examine the way memories of war influence narrative forms, focusing on novels and short stories. Traumatic war experiences can disrupt the regular functioning of memory, and this dysfunction is one of the many symptoms of PTSI (post-traumatic stress injury), which is common not only among soldiers and civilians alike in war zones, but also in people who’ve experience assault, domestic abuse, captivity, and other harrowing situations. How do authors choose to represent disrupted memory in characters affected by war, and how can narrative itself play a role in helping people recover from war and other traumatic experiences? Some of our texts may include: Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus, Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Hemingway’s In Our Time, the film Waltz with Bashir, and others.

English 220 meets the core literature requirement in both the old and new core and counts towards the English major or minor. (ELTI)

English 220-02 The Short Story

Lisa Smith

Studies in contemporary short story. Readings may include: Angela Carter, George Saunders, Karen Russell, Martin Amis, and more!

English 220 meets the core literature requirement in both the old and new core and counts towards the English major or minor. ELTI

English 220-03 Plagues, Parable, People

Sara Hasselbach

"No man is an island," writes John Donne, "entire of itself." Social distancing, isolation, and detachment--results of the widespread COVID-19 outbreak--remind us of the intricacies of community and the complexities of shared experience. This course will examine the ways in which narratives of contagion offer insight into the human condition. Literal and metaphorical plagues force people to reflect on their own moral, ethical, and religious values, and to consider the nature of human relationships. Authors may include Giovanni Boccaccio, Daniel Defoe, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Mann, Katherine Ann Porter, Albert Camus, Octavia Butler, José Saramago, and Cormac McCarthy.

English 220 meets the core literature requirement in both the old and new core and counts towards the English major or minor. ELTI

English 220-04 Poetry: Modernists to Music-Makers: 20th Century American Poetry

Deniz Perin-Coombs

Poetry is finely woven into the fabric of our lives, whether we realize it or not. From prayer to song, and in between, it is often through poetry that we grow into and come to terms with life’s many trials and rewards. This course will explore the work of 20th century American poets, as well as some contemporary artists. We will read and discuss a wide range of works, starting with Modernist poets at the start of the 20th century, through to subsequent literary movements and artists spanning the last 100 years, including those who make use of oral forms, such as spoken word poets, rappers, and other musicians. Writing will include analytical, personal, and creative responses to the material. 

English 220 meets the core literature requirement in both the old and new core and counts towards the English major or minor. ELTI

English 220-05 Poetry

Alexis Jackson

In “Poetry” Nikki Giovanni wrote, “For it Is dead/if it cannot head the insistent message/ that life is precious/ which is all we poets/ wrapped in our loneliness/ are trying to say.” In this class, we will spend time discovering the ways poets from various historical contexts, literary movements, genders, and ethnicity try to say that life is precious. From the poetry of oral cultures to Shakespeare to Post-colonial Caribbean poetry to 21st century American poetry, you will gain a greater understanding of all the word “poetry” includes, how to carefully study form and genre, how to engage in critically discourse concerning poetry, how to develop a sensitivity to the sonics of verse, and how to respectfully enter the world of a culture and a people and an artist to understand their definition of precious. Students will read and write essays and poems. Learn key terms. Read poems out loud. And listen to poetry readings and performances. Students will leave this course with a greater understanding of poetry’s significance and complexity, a greater appreciation for language, and the skill of discovering and analyzing the universe that exists in a single poem.

English 220 meets the core literature requirement in both the old and new core and counts towards the English major or minor. ELTI

English 226-01 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 youthful 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, terrorism, slavery, poverty, women’s rights, education, industrialization, science and technology, and environmentalism.

English 226 meets the core literature requirement in both the old and new core and counts towards the English major or minor. ELTI

English 226-02 & -03 Literary Nonfiction and the Modern World

Joseph Babcock

Literary nonfiction has been called the “literature of reality.” Cumulatively, books that fall under the genre of literary nonfiction account for the majority of book sales. The genre includes memoirs, popular biographies, narrative journalism, and “deep-dive” investigations into controversial topics. In the broadest definition of the tradition as “a story based on true events,” literary nonfiction represents our earliest examples of human storytelling (cave paintings, oral history, religious texts) as well as our most popular current narrative forms like the podcast and the docu-series. Literary nonfiction is the past as well as the future of how we tell stories about ourselves and the world around us. In this course we will examine the history of literary nonfiction as a tradition in modern American culture. We will begin with Truman Capote’s true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood and end with more recent (and less strictly “literary”) examples of the form like the docu-series “Tiger King.” We will be paying particularly close attention to the characteristics that have defined the form over the decades, and how these characteristics have shifted or evolved. How have writers have used this tradition to investigate themselves and the world around them? Is it even possible to really have a literature that represents “reality”? What are the pitfalls—and the promises—of trying to tell a story that is “true”?

English 226 meets the core literature requirement in both the old and new core and counts towards the English major or minor. ELTI

English 226-50 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.

Sect. 50 is Preceptorial (LLC) only. English 226 meets the core literature requirement in both the old and new core and counts towards the English major or minor. ELTI 

English 230-01 & -02 Studies in U.S. Literature

Irene Williams

Reading, thinking, writing, talking, listening, questioning—choose the challenges and pleasures of working with complex literary texts.   We will begin with Emerson, critically examining his doctrine of self-reliant individualism.  Then Thoreau—self-righteous and moralizing, thirsting for the sublime.  Other likely readings include Douglass (essays and speeches), Whitman, Hawthorne, Stein, Freeman, Faulkner, Baldwin, Morrison.  Reading and re-reading, writing and re-writing, active participation expected.  Independent thinkers welcome.

Fulfills Diversity, Inclusion, Social Justice. ELTI, FDD1.


English 230-03 & -04 Fairy Tales

Carlton Floyd

Fairy tales appear to have a lock on our current social and cultural lives. They appear in our understanding of sports (a Cinderella Team), dating (Princess waiting for her Prince Charming), family (Look at my little Princess!), marriage (the wedding was just like a fairy tale!), vacation (I’m going to Disneyland, where dreams really do come true!), and in our sense of the United States (The American Dream). Fairy tales inform and form our desires, dreams, morals, and values. They teach us acceptable gendered, racial, and socioeconomic behaviors. They offer windows into the values of different cultures and cultural moments. They also become ingrained in us, while we are very young. Mistakenly, I believe, although also intentionally, they are underappreciated, under-examined, and treated as of little literary merit, which is precisely why I am attracted to appreciating and examining them. It is also why they are staples, particularly in revisionist forms, in the literary world. Our aim is to explore the world of fairy tales to revise our sight of them and our insight into the worlds in which they and we live.

Fulfills Diversity, Inclusion, Social Justice.  ELTI, FDD1

English 230-05(H) & -06 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). Satisfies ELTI and FDD1.

Section 05 is Honors only. Fulfills Diversity, Inclusion, Social Justice. ELTI, FDD1.

English 230-07 Bodies of Knowledge: Representations of Bodies in U.S. Literature

Rachel Oriol

Literary representations of bodies are fundamental to understanding the way knowledge is created, archived, and passed on. We may read authors like Nella Larsen, Ernest Hemingway, Ana Castillo, Brett Easton Ellis, and Carmen Maria Machado (among others) who use bodies to engage in themes like disability, beauty, gender, death, and race. We will study how language about bodies contributes to social and historical knowledge of who is – and who is not – allowed to belong in the United States.

Fulfills Diversity, Inclusion, Social Justice. ELTI, FDD1.


English 230-08 The Jazz Age

Timothy Randell

This course will focus on American literature of “The Jazz Age” (1918-1929). Jazz, as a highly influential art form, grew out of African American experience and culture. Thus, it became both a magnet and target in discussions concerning cultural meaning and value. Jazz could provoke racist reactions even in those who celebrated it, and some of the artists and critics we will examine are notable for their greater ability to offend the American sensibility now than they did then. This course seeks not to suppress those problematic discourses from our cultural memory but to understand and critique them, while situating them within jazz-age debates, including those that pit conservative vs. liberal politics, traditional femininity vs. “the new woman,” high culture vs. popular culture, civilization vs. primitivism, and “whiteness” vs. “blackness.” We will explore the new technologies, media, and popular culture that helped shape modernist aesthetic strategies and their engagement with contemporary discourses of race, class, and gender.  We will also consider some popular jazz-age icons, including Charlie Chaplin, Paul Robeson, Al Jolson, and the Marx Brothers. Readings will include texts by E. E. Cummings, T. S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Vachel Lindsay, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, and Jean Toomer.

Fulfills Diversity, Inclusion, Social Justice. ELTI, FDD1

English 236-01 & -02 Global Anime & Manga

Koonyong Kim

This course examines anime and manga as important cultural forms that are deeply embedded in, and give representation to, our contemporary society. While covering widely-acclaimed anime and manga from Japan, we will also look at texts from other countries as a way to delve into transcultural production, circulation, and consumption in a global context. As we closely analyze anime and manga against the backdrop of the ascendance of visual popular culture and digital technology, we will place special emphasis on such topics as globalization and cultural hybridity; human-machine interfacing; nature and ecology; reality vs. simulation; utopia and apocalypse; new media and cyberspace; war and trauma; and animals and anthropocentrism.


English 236-03 Studies in World Literature

Vivienne MacAdam

Readings in some period or aspect of literature outside England and the United States. Works not originally in English will be read in translation.


English 236-04 Contemporary World Literature

Joanne Spiegel

This course will be filled with fresh, interesting contemporary writers. Because the world is changing so rapidly, both socially and politically, new, young writers who are interested in exploring these changes are emerging from all over the globe.  If you take this class, you can expect a diverse array of voices, many of whom are asking provocative questions about the world. The reading list will include both comic and serious fiction and possibly some genre fiction including one graphic novel.  We will read literature from Japan, Pakistan, Africa, India and several other countries. Together we’ll explore what makes the books exciting aesthetically and thematically and how the stories reflect the changing face of the world.


English 240-01 Shakespeare

Maura Giles-Watson

Shakespeare was born 456 years ago, yet he remains tremendously popular and we still read, study, and perform the works attributed to him. 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 works. Toward these goals, we will read, analyze, and discuss plays from each of the Shakespearean dramatic genres: comedy, tragedy, history play, ‘problem play’, and romance. Course participants will perform ‘walking read-throughs’ of selected scenes, and we will also read and discuss approximately 30 of the 154 sonnets. We will study these works within the early modern literary, theatrical, cultural, print, political, economic, and religious contexts that contribute so much to our appreciation and understanding. In addition, we will discuss the pressing issues of gender, power, race, injustice, and violence that frequently emerge in these works, and we will critique the textual and dramatic representations of socially marginalized people at the dawn of Renaissance Europe’s exploitive encounters with Africa and the Americas.

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


English 240-51 Shakespeare

Jeanie Grant Moore

Shakespeare 240 is part of the LLC Collaborate theme, which focuses on civic engagement. The event of a play actually creates civic engagement, since in a public gathering theatre may do much more than entertain: it often presents relevant cultural concerns and challenges the status quo of the dominant society. Shakespeare’s plays, comic or tragic, nearly always stage significant social issues that remain significant problems in present-day society. For example in Much Ado About Nothing, the false accusation of one young woman affects her, her relationship, her family, and her whole community. We will ask the question, “To what extent does placing unwarranted blame on a female still exist today, in what forms, and to what effect on our society as a whole”?  Also, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice presents a view of a prejudiced social order that ghettoized Jews and sometimes demonized them. The recent novel by Howard Jacobson, Shylock is My Name, brings these issues into a 21st-century setting, where Antisemitism still exists. Looking at these and other plays in their own historical context will provide some interesting parallels with our present-day social order.

Section 51 is LLC only. This course will satisfy the Shakespeare requirement in the old Major, and count as a lower division elective in the new Major.  ELTI


English 250-01 & -02 Literary Foundations

Stefan Vander Elst

This course has two goals. On the one hand, it will introduce you to some important periods and movements in English literature between ca. 850 and 1850, ranging from Anglo-Saxon alliterative poetry, to Elizabethan theatre, and the Gothic novel. On the other, it will analyze how these have described heroism, villainy, and the monstrous, why they have done so, and how concepts of good and bad, human and non-human, have evolved over time. English 250 aims to provide an introductory survey of English literature ca. 850 – 1850 which can serve as a foundation for further study both within and outside the English department. It also aims to discuss how earlier periods defined ethical categories, and how they established the limits of the human. Texts may include: Beowulf; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; William Shakespeare, Othello; John Milton, Paradise Lost; Aphra Behn, Oroonoko; Swift, Jonathan, Gulliver’s Travels; and Mary Shelley, Frankenstein: The 1818 Text.

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. ELTI

English 260-01 Critical Reading

Sara Hasselbach

The overarching aim of this course is to develop critical thinking skills. To this end, we will hone our ability to read, understand, and analyze literature. “There is no Frigate like a Book,” writes Emily Dickinson, “To take us Lands Away.” We will depart on these Frigates—poetry, drama, novella, novel, essay, critical theory—and return from these faraway lands with a better sense of how to understand our own. We will pay particular attention to developing skills in close reading and analysis in order to generate lucid, persuasive, and compelling written arguments. Authors may include Morrison, Shakespeare, Shelley, Satrapi, Donne, Dickinson, Hughes, and McCarthy.

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

English 292 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 301-01 Intro to Creative Writing (formerly ENGL 375)

Deniz Perin-Coombs

This course is geared to a disciplined learning and honing of the writing craft. To that end, students will read, write, revise, and think deeply about many works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. There are four main components to the course: reading, writing, workshop, and revision. 1) Students will read published works, giving them sincere thought, and preparing to discuss them in class. 2) Students will write several poems, at least one memoir, and one or more fictional work(s), as well as keep a daily “observatory,” or observations journal and do several prompted writings. 3) This course is also a workshop: students will thoughtfully read the work of peers, offering helpful, detailed feedback on their pieces. 4) An essential part of the writing process is to revise. At the end of the semester, final portfolios will include revisions of every workshopped piece. Last but not least, students will be expected to attend the Cropper Memorial Writers Series readings/events that take place on campus this semester. This course runs on the understanding that every registered student has a sincere desire to be a creative writer—or to explore the craft in new ways—and is dedicated to the work and time necessary to move toward that goal.

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

Adam Veal

This course is an introduction to three genres: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.  We will learn some conventions and rules for each genre, as well as how to buck those conventions and rules through experimentation.  This course is also an introduction to the workshop method of critique.  Learning how to workshop teaches students the basic terminology and methods of offering constructive critique in a community setting.  Because so much of this class will focus on building community, discussion, and in-class writing exercises, attendance in this class is mandatory.  Students will be expected to produce two revised and polished pieces in each genre by the end of the semester.  Students will also be expected to participate in a classroom Halloween reading.

English 304-01 Advanced Composition: Writing Autobiography

Megan Little

English 304 is “a workshop course in the writing of expository, descriptive, and critical prose. This course is designed to fulfill the upper division written literacy requirement for non-English majors.”  In this version of E304, students will learn advanced discourse conventions in selected disciplines (including their own). We will explore the writing work academics, engineers, scientists, public advocates, and others perform by studying their professional contexts and examples of their work. We will read ethnographic studies of workplace settings and other environments, as student learn from and emulate the professional writing of experts in their fields.

Fulfills core requirement for Advanced Writing only for non-English majors.  May be taken by English majors for upper division elective credits. CADW

English 304-02 Advanced Composition

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.

Fulfills core requirement for Advanced Writing only for non-English majors.  May be taken by English majors for upper division elective credits.  CADW

English 304-03 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.

Fulfills core requirement for Advanced Writing only for non-English majors.  May be taken by English majors for upper division elective credits. CADW

English 304-70 Advanced Composition

Lisa Smith

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

Section 70 is TLC only. Fulfills core requirement for Advanced Writing only for non-English majors.  May be taken by English majors for upper division elective credits. CADW

English 311 Fact & Fiction in the Middle Ages

Stefan Vander Elst

As Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “History is the myth people choose to believe.” This course will investigate how history was constructed in the period ca. 700—1400: how writers and thinkers conceived of the past, how they thought it affected the present, and how and why they decided to write their ideas down. We will discuss how medieval histories combined fact and fiction to shape political realities, to build regional or national identities; and to motivate their audience to take action in the present. Readings will include works such Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, the Song of Roland, and the Song of the Cid.

Satisfies Literary Histories requirement.

English 315 Literary Periods: Literature of the Elizabethan Era

Sara Hasselbach

Under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, England's literary scene flourished, producing dramatic and poetic works that are still renowned some 400 years later. In this course, we will investigate the literature of this vibrant period and its political, cultural, and religious implications. We will pay particular attention to themes of gender, power, and authority. Authors may include Sidney, Spenser, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, and Lanyer.

Satisfies the Literary Histories requirement of the new English major. Counts as an upper-division elective for the old major.

English 319 The Old World & The New: Britain & America

Jeanie Grant Moore

This course will explore the ways that British and American people have viewed and evaluated one another over time. Works of various literary genres, historical documents, and artworks will provide kaleidoscopic perspectives of relations between the two countries as they have developed a unique friendship. The personal and the political will intertwine in this transatlantic journey, as we immerse ourselves, for example, in the revolutionary wit of Abigail Adams, the humor of Mark Twain, the insights of Charles Dickens, or the amusing satire of Oscar Wilde. Beginning with early encounters in the Renaissance, and moving through the 18th Century and the Victorian Age, we will track the sometimes rocky path toward what Winston Churchill called our “Special Relationship.” The course will encourage us to think of our own society from the vantage point of non-Americans, whose views are sometimes misconceived and at other times very penetrating.

Satisfies Literary Histories requirement.

English 321 Race, Gender, and Sexuality

Jeanie Grant Moore

Where do we get our ideas about race, gender, and sexual difference? How are aspects of race, femininities, masculinities, and gender difference constructed? In our class this semester, we will use literature of various genres and periods to explore the ways that our concepts of race, gender, and sexuality have been shaped, so that we can relate our findings to our own lives and the experience of our contemporaries. Contextualizing our novels, short stories, nonfictional works with historical documents and critical articles will prepare us to challenge our own society’s current assumptions about these issues.


English 329 Modern U.S. Autobiography

Irene Williams

We will be reading, studying, writing about, and discussing miscellaneous autobiographical writings; investigating the genre as it has been theorized; and inquiring into how versions of self are constructed in culture.  Readings may include works by Whitman, Dickinson, Henry Adams, Gilman, Stein, Toklas, Ginsburg, Baldwin, Dahlberg, Feldman, Lorde, Patti Smith, Rankine, Kiese Laymon, or others.

Satisfies Literary Cultures and Theories requirement. Counts as an upper-division elective.  

English 344 Victorian Studies: Crime Fiction

Sr. Mary Hotz

This course explores Victorian crime and detective fiction and its theoretical underpinnings. Beginning with Moll Flanders as the 18th-century trendsetter, the course will meet Fagin's gang in Oliver Twist, The Woman in White, Sherlock Holmes, Lady Audley, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, among others. The race between the detective and the criminal is on!

Satisfies upper-division elective units.


English 358-70 Staging America

Cynthia Caywood

The course examines how our theatres have staged the idea of the American community and what it means to be a member of it. We will read and discuss plays that explore such questions as:  how is the American community defined? Who is included? Excluded?  What are the benefits of belonging? of not belonging? What are the costs? We will study a variety of dramatic forms as we seek to understand plays both as literature and as performance.  As part of our coursework, we will hear from guest speakers and see several productions on film; evaluation will be based on short essays, core integration work, discussion, quizzes, and a final exam.  Possible texts:  August Wilson, The Piano Lesson; Tony Kushner, Angels in America; Shirley Lauro, A Piece of My Heart; David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross; Lin Manuel Miranda, In the Heights; Lynn Nottage, Sweat; Stephen Sondheim, Assassins; Luis Valdez, Zoot Suit.

TLC Preceptorial only.  CINL, ELTI, FDD1

English 358-71 Contemporary U.S. 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.  CINL, ELTI, FDD1

English 364-01 Global Literature & Culture

Rachel Oriol

Engaging with issues of literary representation within a historical framework, this course examines literature and media (including dance, film, and photography) from various geographical regions that may include Africa, South Asia, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean. We may read works by Manuel Puig, Marjane Satrapi, Michael Ondaatje, Nora Okja Keller, and Kazuo Ishiguro, among others. From these themes, we investigate the ways in which movement – across borders, over time, and through bodies – influences our understanding of human interaction.


English 364-70 Cyborg Stories

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 370-02 Futures Past

Carlton Floyd

This course explores the ways in which we imagine the future. We will consider how various questions that seem to consistently emerge in renditions of the future, such as: What is a human? What does it mean to be human? Are we human? If we are human, will and should we remain so? Are we generally good, as seems to be the general claim among some futuristic visions, and thus directed towards good things? Change seems inevitable, but what change, in what ways, and to what ends seems less determined, and worth investigation. We will also explore enlightenment notions that seem deeply implanted in a significant trend of futuristic imaginings, transhumanism specifically, particularly because these notions have long been suspect in other contexts. I am sure there are many other questions that might arise here, and I hope that you will embrace this complexity, using the questions above, and our materials, as starting points for fruitful (although quite possibly frustrating) forms of inquiry.

English 377 Development of the English Language

Maura Giles Watson

This course will trace the origins and historical development of the English language from its earliest Indo-European roots to contemporary American Englishes and World Englishes. 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 contemporary American English, with additional emphases upon concepts of dialectology, the process of language change, and theories of language acquisition and language learning. While this is a content course, not a teaching-methods class, a number of pedagogical topics will come into view, including the needs of students whose home languages may not include Standard American English.

We will also study

  • linguistic universals and language decoding/encoding;
  • phonemic awareness: discrete units of sounds (phonemes), allophones, minimal pairs;
  • writing as an application of language, that is, a graphic representation of language via symbols of sounds (writing must be learned as, unlike speaking, writing is not acquired naturally);
  • grammatical hierarchy, syntagmatic structures, and basic sentence types (simple, compound, complex);
  • first language (L1) acquisition, which is subconscious and unintentional, and second language (L2) learning, which is conscious and intentional
  • interlanguage; fossilization; interference & transfer;
  • semantics & types of semantic change; denotation & connotation; usage and meaning;
  • orthographical conventions (ie, the fossilization of spelling, influenced by the 15th century’s introduction of the printing press and the later emergence of the dictionary);
  • the relationship of various Englishes to social, cultural, educational, and political hierarchies and their power structures.

This course is required for students who are preparing to be teachers (Liberal Studies) and recommended for students who are considering a teaching career.

English 381 Intermediate Poetry Writing

Alexis Jackson

“The boiling of an egg is heavy art,” wrote Gwendolyn Brooks in her ars poetica titled “The Egg Boiler.” In this course, we will intensely practice the “heavy art” of composing and studying poetry. Students will study various genres and forms of poetry, write poems after these genres and forms, share/workshop their pieces, and revise their work to develop a final portfolio of their own work. The course will first explore foundational poetic theory and will then move into a weekly study of a different genre/form.  Some topics we will focus on include cadence, rhythm, imagery, syntax, lineation, personae, personification tone, voice, and repetition. Students will learn and write in form including, but not limited to, villanelles, prose poems, sonnets, sestinas, elegies, and odes. Class meetings will include both seminar and workshop discussions.

Prerequisite: Engl 301 Intro to Creative Writing 

English 382 Intermediate Fiction Writing

Halina Duraj

This course emphasizes fiction writing as a process unique to each individual, and the idea that, as beginning writers, our richest material is closest to our lives. This doesn’t mean “writing what you know.” In fact, it means the opposite: we will write what we don’t know, starting with what we know. Our life experiences serve as triggers and jumping off points for invented, fictional narratives. By starting with our real emotions, we can better inhabit and empathize with our fictional characters, in order to cast our fictional spell over the reader—what John Gardner calls “the vivid and continuous dream” of fiction. Many of our lessons and investigations will center around realist fiction, but we’ll also play with other modes, such as science fiction, fantasy, metafiction, etc., that challenge realism’s place in the fiction-writing world.  Each week we’ll engage in close reading and craft-focused analysis of published stories from a writer’s perspective, with a particular fiction craft topic in mind (character, narrative perspective/“point of view”, narrative structure, plot, etc.). Discussions will be student-led. We’ll deepen those craft investigations with in-class and outside-of-class writing “experiments”. Students will write two 10-15 page short stories based on prompts and detailed peer letters about those stories (peer letters will serve as the basis for workshop discussion). Students will also keep a notebook in which they record sensory details from their own daily experiences. This intermediate fiction workshop will build on the technical foundation and craft vocabulary you acquired in the multi-genre introductory creative writing course, ENGL 301. 

Prerequisite: Engl 301 Intro to Creative Writing 

English 383 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 

English 410 Advanced Writing in the English Major: Shakespeare and Race

Maura Giles Watson

In this topical Shakespeare course, we will study, discuss, and write about several Shakespeare plays and poems in which issues of race emerge. We will pay particular attention to Renaissance/Early Modern etiologies and ideologies of race and their resulting histories of colonialism, violence, slavery, and oppression as they pertain to Shakespeare’s works, and to English notions of their difference from and superiority to Jews, French people, Africans, Arabs, Indigenous Americans, and to the Welsh, Scottish, and Irish peoples whom the English long sought to subdue. We will turn a critical eye as well to the English ‘Triangle Trade’ (in indentured servants from Ireland and Britain, slaves from Africa, and sugar and tobacco from the Caribbean and Virginia, respectively), which develops in Shakespeare’s historical moment and greatly enriches the City of London, the shipping industry, the merchant class, and the aristocracy over the next 200+ years. The works we will study will include Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra, Merchant of Venice, Othello, Titus Ancronicus, and The Tempest, as well as modern adaptations of these plays and selections from the sonnets. In these contexts, we will apply the concepts of Critical Race Theory to analyze the ideologies and effects of slavery and colonialism contained within texts and documentary sources that influenced Early Modern English perspectives on Indigenous peoples and peoples of color, and we will explore the ways that these texts and sources were both products and productive of the racism and racialized beliefs emergent in early modern England. As Shakespeare’s works have been sanctioned as authoritative canonical and truth-containing texts for centuries, we will also critique Shakespeare’s role in the ongoing reproduction of structural racism among white settler cultures and their legacies of oppression.

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 Senior Project

Marcelle Maese

For Seniors interested in a culminating experience in the English major, this course provides an occasion for bringing together all you have learned at USD. Senior Project offers an interdisciplinary overview of literary studies, guides students through designing an original and intensive research project, and encourages a creative and multimodal approach. This capstone course welcomes a wide range of research methodologies and writing experiences. As such, we will begin with an individual meeting where we assess previous experience with library and ethnographic research, discuss familiarity with writing essays of substantial length (20-30 pages), and draw inspiration from courses you have enjoyed at USD. Our first meeting will also consider personal goals for the semester which can include, for example, an in-depth study of a particular cultural object, political phenomenon, or theoretical framework, a writing-sample for graduate school, or practice delivering a presentation. Students should be prepared to work independently, and to make all individual and group meetings scheduled for the purpose of reporting progress, asking questions, and receiving feedback. Students are also required to identify a faculty mentor who can provide insight into a particular field of study and post-graduation plans, an opportunity that has far-reaching benefits beyond Senior Project. For our annual Senior Project Conference in November, faculty and students will gather to learn about your research-in-progress. Following the conference, our focus will shift from researching to writing. Throughout the semester, students should schedule their time accordingly so as to meet strict writing deadlines meant to provide guidance with different stages of feedback and revision. Interested students are encouraged to email Dr. Marcelle Maese at marcelle@sandiego.edu.

English Majors & Minors only.


English 496-01 The Alcalá Review

Halina Duraj

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.