Courses – Fall 2023 | Department of English

Courses – Fall 2023

Fall 2023 Course Descriptions

General course descriptions can be found in the English Catalog

*Course Descriptions are subject to change when a class is taught by a new instructor.*

English 201.01 and .02:  European Literary Classics I.  

Dr. Steve Yarbrough

In this course we will study classic texts from Gilgamesh to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, focusing upon enduring, recurring themes such as the heroism, hospitality, revenge, pride, love, justice, and friendship, and how these concepts change in response to varying socio-historical contexts.

ENG 211.01 and .02: British Authors: Medieval–Neoclassical

Professor Gary Lim

This course introduces students to the major authors and works of early English literature, a period that covers eight hundred years of literary history, from Anglo-Saxon England to the 18th century. In the process we will encounter a wide-range of genres (epic, verse romance, comic fabliau, lyric poetry, dramatic tragedy, satire, and proto-novel) as well as assorted ideas about politics, religion, and desire. While the course is primarily structured as a chronological survey of early English literature, we will also think about how each era conceived of what it meant to be “human” and come to some conclusions about how being human was variously conceptualized throughout our period of study.

ENG 212: Major British Authors: Romantic to Modern

Dr. Ben Clarke

This course surveys British literature from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century. Students will read texts by major authors who worked in this period and analyze developments in literary technique and genre. They will also consider the relationship between these texts and the historical conditions within which they were produced.

English 219: Journalism: Fundamentals of News Writing

Professor Elma Sabo

This writing-intensive course focuses on building the skills needed to report and write for print and online forms of journalism. Subjects include accuracy, attribution, newsworthiness, and audiences. Students will write inverted pyramid stories, a short digital feature, headlines, and photo captions. They will do a reporting project on a topic of their choice. They will understand the difference between journalism and public relations and the ways the two fields interact. Associated Press style is part of the course.

ENG 221: Writing Poetry – Introductory

Professor Terry Kennedy

ENG 221: Writing Poetry – Introductory is a workshop-based course that emphasizes learning to read poetry closely for matters of craft, structure, and theme. We will learn about the elements and vocabulary of poetry and writing style by (1) analyzing and critiquing poetry, (2) generating and developing poem ideas, and (3) writing, revising, and editing poems.

At UNCG, it is our goal to create a deeply engaged, trusting, safe, yet challenging workshop space. Be ready to give good, constructive criticism to your fellow poets, and be ready to receive it yourself. We never write a perfect poem the first time, but there is always something to celebrate about a first draft. We’ll all be honing our craft, our work, and our style, together this semester—let’s all make the choice every day to bring this idea of workshop into our classroom.

ENG 237: Enviro Justice in Games & Lit

Dr. Gia Coturri Sorenson 

How do your decisions build a narrative? How does a digital environment change how you interact with a story? How do video game narratives confront race, gender, and sexuality? Whatever questions we ask, we cannot understand and analyze them without honing close reading skills. This course mingles video games, film, podcasts, and literature to showcase the intersectional and environmental questions we need to ask as we engage with narratives.

ENG 237 provides students with a foundation in environmental justice, digital humanities, and literary analysis and, to hone these skills, students will keep a gaming journal, complete two short analytic papers, participate in group discussions, and complete in-class writing assignments. This class does not require prior environmental knowledge nor does it require any gaming experience. However, this class asks that students are open to engaging with conversations about race, gender, sexuality, and environmentalism with an open mind.

Open to students in any major; MAC Diversity and Equity; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Marker

ENG 241-01:You Are What You Eat? 

Dr. Scott Romine

This course will examine a range of texts—short stories, essays, popular food writing, film clips, and other media—exploring the relationship between food and identities.  Whether the identities are based in nationality, region, race, ethnicity, culture, or social class, food has increasingly been used to represent these things.  Often, this process involves what Eric Hobsbawm calls “invented tradition.”  If you associate “sweet tea” with “southern culture,” for example, you may be surprised to learn that the phrase “sweet tea” didn’t appear until the 1990s, and that the association of “iced tea” and the South didn’t occur until the 1970s.  In addition, the course will explore the nature and history of the things food is called upon to represent.  How does an “ethnicity” differ from a “race” or a “culture”?  All of these terms have complicated genealogies and contested meanings, and we’ll spend some time exploring them.  

ENG 271: Big Questions: Health and Wellness

Dr. Heather Adams

MAC Health and Wellness Attribute

Yes, college is meant to help you get ready for a career and your life post-degree, but it can also help you do the deeper—and sometimes more personally fulfilling—work of asking truly big questions. These are questions that are hard to answer quickly or concretely but that animate some of the most important moments of our lives. For this class—one focused on health and wellness—our guiding question is: what shapes health? The semester’s work will be to unfurl this big question into a series of smaller ones, such as *What has health looked like across time, communities, and bodies? *How has health for various populations been differentially shaped by institutions or those holding power?

*How is health something we experience individually and collectively? *Who commonly shapes public ideas of what health is—and what additional perspectives can we account for? *What perspectives on health and wellness can inform your own approach to your health and that of those closest to you?

To explore these questions, our class will lean into the methods in English—reading from stories that stir us, exploring how health has been expressed through language at different moments, and identifying the big themes and overlooked assumptions in our communication that shape so much of what we can think about our own bodies. Throughout, we’ll rely on a luxury of college coursework—the ability to be engage with a community of peers as we learn, think, read, and talk together—to explore these big questions together.

ENG 272: Big Questions: Diversity and Equity

Dr. Maria Sanchez

This course will look at how authors have tried to define and represent the diversity of peoples in the United States, using novels, poetry, and drama to comment on our national ideals: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Readings will be taken from throughout U.S. history and include both famous and not-so-famous names. Assignments will include short writing assignments and projects using archival materials held at the Special Collections division in Jackson Library.

ENG 301:Literary into Cultural Studies

Dr. Ben Clarke

This course considers the emergence of Cultural Studies as an interdisciplinary or even anti-disciplinary field and its relation to literary criticism. Focusing on what became known as the “Birmingham School,” it emphasizes the ways in which early scholars in the field, many of whom had been trained in English departments, adapted techniques of literary analysis to explore a variety of what Richard Hoggart called “expressive phenomena,” from popular texts to fashion and youth subcultures. The course traces the development of the field, including what Stuart Hall describes as two key “interruptions,” the “first around feminism, and the second around questions of race,” emphasizing its responses to a variety of political, material, and intellectual pressures. It also explores the evolving relationship between literary and cultural studies, and the distinct ways in which literature and literary criticism help us to understand social values, systems, and institutions.

ENG 303.01: Literary Theory

Professor Gary Lim

What are some of the assumptions that inform how we analyze texts? Did we always read as we do today? Is there a difference in reading a text for pleasure and studying it for college credit? Why will two English professors have vastly different interpretations of the same poem? What defines English as a discipline? By studying several major areas of literary and critical theory we will begin to formulate answers to these questions. We will consider several major approaches to the study of literature that came to the forefront of the American literary studies from the mid-twentieth century: New Criticism, structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalytical theory, feminism and queer theory, and cultural-historical approaches. While we will spend a good deal of the course considering these theories in their own right, we will also study scholarly articles with an eye to exploring how they are applied to spark literary insight and develop arguments about interpretation.

ENG 307: Public Advocacy and Argument

Dr. Heather Adams

*ENG 307 is the core course in the English Department’s minor in Rhetoric and Public Advocacy, a minor open to majors in any discipline.

At this moment, it can feel like effecting change—in whatever realm and to whatever ends are important to you—is both crucially important and also harder than ever. Nevertheless, you—like many college-age students according to a recent Carnegie study—might feel an overarching sense of hope toward doing

this difficult work. But how do you move from where you are to where you want to be in relation to effecting the change you wish to see? If this is a relevant question for you, then consider enrolling in English 307: Public Advocacy and Argument. In this course, you will learn how to become more persuasive (through writing, speaking, and other means) by exploring time-honored and emerging tactics. We’ll situate this work in the context of our current moment, when broaching opportunities for change can seem especially divisive. Together, we’ll study the differences between activism and advocacy (and explore why that difference is important). We’ll hear from real-life advocates who visit class and share their stories of doing advocacy on a day-to-day basis. We’ll also learn about “argument” from traditional perspectives and from newer perspectives informed by organizers and activists that question long-held goals and forms of engagement. From compelling messages for explicit change to artistic expressions meant to stir up new ways of thinking and feeling, we’ll do the work—always together, always thoughtfully—to help one another explore the craft and strategy of advocacy.

Students will choose and use the class to learn and write about a personal “matter of concern.” Don’t worry—that “matter” can be big or small, political or personal, obvious or not. The fun of the course is

learning as we go, being prompted by our curiosities and passions and directed through our shared readings, viewings, etc. In short, this hands-on class will provide you with a host of tools for your advocacy and argument toolkit, enabling you to apply this learning to whatever is most meaningful in your life.

ENG 310: Young Adult Literature

Dr. Jeanie Reynolds

This course focuses on the critical study and evaluation of the YA genre; examination of modes and themes found in the literature; examination of rhetorical ecologies around banned books; ways to write about and support your choices in contemporary YA literature; strategies of effective reading; and discussion techniques for teachers. This course is NOT about how to teach a book nor about how to write YA literature (although that might happen) but it is about WHY we teach particular books and why YA books are banned. However, as with any course I’m hoping much more will happen than just learning about YA literature. Literacy is a powerful tool in our society, but it is often used as a way to keep some people “in” and others “out” of reach of such power. It is my belief that this course is strengthened by the diversity of thoughts, perspectives, and backgrounds that students bring with them. We will draw upon our own backgrounds as readers and writers in order to critically examine the literature in this course and discover how it applies to our own lives, education, and future.

ENG 316: Studies in Human Rights

Dr. Neelofer Qadir

Studies in Human Rights pairs the rich contributions of Black studies, postcolonial studies, and feminist studies to query the figure of the “human” and thus the conceptual terrains and histories through which the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights came to exist in 1948. We will examine a number of primary source texts from conventional literary texts to political tracts such as pamphlets, petitions, and treatises. Alongside these primary sources, we’ll read theory and criticism from scholars of Black studies, postcolonial studies, and feminist studies to help us build a framework for critical interpretation of the primary source materials.

This course is cross-listed to the programs of International & Global Studies, African American and African Diaspora Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

ENG 321-01: Linguistics for Teachers

Dr. Nancy Myers

Linguistics for Teachers focuses on the power and politics of the English language in classrooms, communities, the nation, and the world. Across the semester we explore the interrelationships of language and contexts, examining such issues related to the English language and language learning as dialects, multilingualism, language standards and conventions (correctness/error), language stigmas, language variations/varieties, gender, technology and language, oral/literate traditions, the English language’s evolution, etc. We investigate language structures and systems, including an understanding and application of phonology, morphology, and syntax as well as a review of academic grammar and the ways it enables and silences students in English Language Arts classrooms. Daily class activities and assignments balance theory, application, and pedagogical practices. Laptops are needed for every class. Graded Work: Canvas discussions, teaching project, and 2 exams.

Fulfills a requirement for teacher licensure for language arts, English, and ESOL.

English 322: The Teaching of Writing

Dr. Jeanie Reynolds

The primary focus of this course is on writing and teaching writing in the secondary English Language Arts (ELA) classroom. We will focus on the interconnected and lifelong relationship between creativity, reading and writing and use that to build pedagogic tools for working with ELA learners. This is a writing intensive course which will engage students in creating, reading, writing, and discussion so that we may better understand the challenges faced by ELA students in the ELA classroom when they are required to write. It is my belief that teachers who actively engage in the literate processes such as writing are better able to teach those processes. 

There are three interwoven strands in this course: 1) Writing ourselves, 2) Understand how/why students do/do not write (and what we can do about it), and 3) Pedagogies of writing. Course assignments and activities reflect these strands.

ENG 332-01 English Women Writers before 1800

Dr. Jennifer Keith

We will explore the great variety of achievements by women writers from the seventeenth century to the Romantic eras and consider them in relation to their cultural and historical contexts. Questions addressed will include: How do writers represent their identities and experiences as defined by gender, class, race, and other categories? How do their works reflect or challenge dominant views of gender, class, and race? How do writers experiment with genre and form to establish their literary authority and challenge patriarchal restrictions? Writers studied will include Margaret Cavendish, Katherine Philips, Aphra Behn, Anne Finch, Mary Astell, Eliza Haywood, Phillis Wheatley Peters, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, and Mary Prince.

Eng 335.01 Dante

Dr. Anthony Cuda

This course introduces students to the Commedia of Dante Alighieri in English translation. For centuries, this vivid epic narrative has offered us visions of the afterlife: the torments of the inferno, the struggles of purgatory, and the heights of paradise. Students examine and interpret all three major volumes of the poem — Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso — as well as several of Dante’s minor works and the works of those who influenced him. We analyze the poem in light of its historical and political context in fourteenth-century Italy; its philosophical and theological context in scholasticism, neoplatonism, and Christianity; and its literary context in the epic, mystic, and courtly traditions. This course satisfies a requirement for “courses in literature before 1800”; see the Director of Undergraduate Studies or ask the instructor if you need it to fulfill the requirement. 

ENG 347-02: Undead Souths

Dr. Scott Romine

It is commonly believed that the South is distinctively haunted, cursed, grotesque, abject, and/or traumatized, and, as a consequence, distinctively infested by ghosts, vampires, corpses, and/or zombies.  At any rate, there is enough southern writing, much of it classified as “southern gothic” or “the southern grotesque,” to test the hypothesis.  We’ll read some of the usual suspects (Poe, Faulkner, O’Connor), and a smattering of theory and criticism on affect, abjection, gothicism, and trauma.  The bulk of the course, however, will explore the variety of undead Souths, the multiple uses to which the idea is put by a broad range of writers. 

ENG 347-03/AADS 305: Race and Media

Allen H. Johnson

We’ll focus in this class on how mass media in America cover communities of color and how current social, technological, economic and cultural trends in media affect that coverage. As part of the course, we’ll also critique media coverage of some local issues that pertain to race, from housing to policing to K-12 education. Areas we will consider include the coverage of critical race theory, the 1619 Project, racial stereotypes in media, journalism standards and guidelines in covering race, race and media ethics, the debate over books in schools and libraries, the intersection of race and gender in media, the Fox News phenomenon, the dearth of Black-owned media, diversity, or the lack thereof, in media recruitment, how social media have affected public discourse and media coverage of race.

The course will involve guest speakers and occasional field trips.

This course is taught by Allen H. Johnson, Executive Editorial Page Editor, Greensboro News and Record and Winston-Salem Journal.

ENG 351: The American Novel through World War  I – Bad Reputations

Dr. Maria Sanchez

Did you know that novels were once considered a “low form” of literature, substance-less entertainment that at best, would waste time that readers could put toward weightier, more improving endeavors? And at their worst, novels were considered to be the influence of the lowest elements of society, so much so that a 19th C Michigan pastor believed that “right thinking people” needed to commandeer the form for themselves, so that the novel would not be left to “the Devil and his angels.”
Actually, I bet you didn’t know that =)
Friends: let’s read and investigate why the novel had such a bad reputation in the United States particularly. We’ll start with some magazine novels, including The Curse of Caste (mistaken identity! thwarted love! villains with big mustaches!); move on to novels with “big thoughts” (and scarlet letters) and big goals (let’s reform the world!); raise some eyebrows with a dentist in San Francisco — yes, a dentist; and eventually, we might party like Gatsby, into the night, jazz pulsing in the background, grasping at lost love, speeding cars, and the American Dream…
All novels will come from the years 1830 – 1925; we’ll read some history and criticism for context; and the major assignment will be a research paper.

ENG 353-01: The Contemporary Novel: The Nonhuman in Recent U. S. Novels

Professor Christian Moraru

This is a face-to-face, upper-division English course focusing on the American novel of the contemporary era. Over the past two decades or so, the meaning of the contemporary as a historical period has changed compared to how it was understood at the end of the Cold War. That is to say, the contemporary is no longer the entire post-WW II interval but, as many scholars would argue, the time elapsed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Some claim, in fact, that the contemporary is better marked as a distinctive epoch in the post-9/11 years—this would be the “strong” contemporary, and this is also when virtually all novels read in our class have been published.

 This contemporaneity, including its literary dimension, is also defined by the consolidation of a particular material imaginary, which our primary sources capture with distinctive force. This is the objectual imaginary or writers’ imagination of objects. This is why we will look at how nonhuman things of all sorts, including everyday things—some of them presumably inanimate and non-sentient—shape the world in novels by Emily St. John Mandel, Ben Lerner, Colson Whitehead, Paolo Bacigalupi, and others. If the contemporary is, as some have argued, a time of permanent crisis, then how do the world’s objects—quotidian things, utensils, implements, artworks, memorabilia, and so forth—and their configurations (“networks”) illuminate this crisis? How do things act and shape human life and, in a sense, the human itself? Conversely, how do humans handle objects in such times? These are among the main questions raised in our course in conjunction with our novels. I will also incorporate some criticism and theory into our conversation. Midterm (4-5 p.) and final (5-7 p.) papers, all submitted on Canvas.

ENG 375: Native Women’s Writing

Dr. Mark Rifkin

In this course, we will focus on writings by Indigenous women residing on lands claimed by the U.S. and Canada.  How do these authors and texts approach the continued occupation of their homelands by non-natives (settler colonialism)?  How do they address differences and forms of discrimination among Native people?  What roles do gender and sexuality play in engaging with Native histories and envisioning Native futures?  How does attending to gender and sexuality affect ways of conceptualizing Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination?  These are some of the questions that will guide our conversations.  Authors may include Leslie Marmon Silko, Leanne Howe, jaye simpson, Layli Long Soldier, Cherie Dimaline, and Heid Erdrich.  (The course does not assume prior familiarity with Indigenous studies or Native writing.)

English 376-01: African American Writers after the 1920s

Dr. Noelle Morrissette

This upper-level course provides an examination of modern and contemporary African American literature, concentrating on novels, poetry, essays, and drama, and emphasizing gender and sexuality in relationship to race. Texts will be read through major historical periods of African American experiences and literary responses to them: the Depression and Realism and Modernism; Black nationalism and Black Aesthetics (the Black Arts Movement), Black feminism; and the “post” Civil Rights era and post-Soul aesthetics. We’ll consider whether there are distinct male and female experiences represented in the literature we read, and consider the development of interdependent and/or distinct black male and female literary traditions over the course of the twentieth (and twenty-first) century; we’ll also probe the ways that other categories, especially class and sexuality, intersect with the category of gender, sometimes troubling the very idea that there are actually “male” and “female” experiences at all. Topics for analysis include humor and satire, black popular culture, and narrative and poetic strategies through major literary themes, canon formation, and genre practices. Visual art, music, and film may accompany the introduction of texts.