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English Department Upper-Level Course Descriptions: Summer and Fall 2014

For information on lower-level courses (course numbers under 300), see the Pitt State catalog.

SUMMER 2014

ENGL 301: Technical/Professional Writing

Ms. Caldwell or Dr. McDaniel

English 301 Technical/Professional Writing is designed for those students who will be writing in the professional, business, and technical professions. In addition to reading professional writing case studies in order to learn rhetorical strategies used in common business writing situations, you will also learn how to create correspondence, descriptions, instructions, reports, and electronic presentations; how to design documents; and how to incorporate graphics into your documents. 

ENGL 320: Literature and Film

Dr. Hermansson

This course introduces students to literary analysis and the basics of film "grammar" used in storytelling in order to make sense of the complex processes of adapting a work of literature into film. Students study a range of literature from at least two genres (for example: a number of short stories and a section of a Shakespearean play studied across multiple film adaptations) and methods of analyzing their adaptations in an informed way. The issues with fidelity (how "faithful" or "true" a film adaptation is) are contextualized in order to understand the limits of fidelity as an evaluative tool and a more neutral, descriptive language for adaptation is implemented. The course studies early, historical examples of film adaptation as well as up to date examples and introduces students to the many reasons why film has turned to literature for material. Students learn also to implement many of these techniques themselves in other media by way of storyboards, short screenplays, film pitches including casting and locations work, and even short film. This course does not require previous knowledge of literature or film. It can be taken for General Education credit. It can be taken by English majors even after having taken ENGL 304. It has obvious benefits for BSE students as well, who will be teaching in English classrooms using film as a resource.

ENGL 714: Applied Linguistics for ESOL

Dr. Rudd

Contrastive analysis of English phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics with other languages. Applications for English for Speakers of Other Languages. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

 

ENGL 875: Seminar—The Beat Generation

Dr. Anderson

This course will focus primarily on the works of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg, the major fiction writer and poet of the Beat Generation, plus samples of work by other relevant authors such as William S. Burroughs, Diane Di Prima, Gary Snyder, and others. In addition to studying the literature itself, we’ll consider the historical and social context of these writers, examining how they became a cultural force in the 1950s-60s and how/why they remain iconic figures up to the present day, exerting a continuing influence on literature, film, and music. Requirements will likely include short writing assignments and presentations, as well as a longer research-based seminar paper that will be due after the conclusion of the four-week summer session.

 

FALL 2014

ENGL 301: Technical/Professional Writing

Ms. Meats, Dr. Hermansson, or Dr. McDaniel

English 301 Technical/Professional Writing is designed for those students who will be writing in the professional, business, and technical professions. In addition to reading professional writing case studies in order to learn rhetorical strategies used in common business writing situations, you will also learn how to create correspondence, descriptions, instructions, reports, and electronic presentations; how to design documents; and how to incorporate graphics into your documents. 

 

ENGL 304: Introduction to Writing about Literature

Dr. Green

English 304 will introduce students to strategies for writing about literature in an academic setting. The class will discuss necessary skills for the study of literature such as close reading, working with scholarly sources, and placing a literary text in its historical context. We will also review the field of literary theory and its current significance for scholars. The class will be divided into units on poetry, drama, and fiction and will likely include four major papers and several shorter writing assignments.

 

ENGL 320: Literature and Film

Dr. Hermansson

This course introduces students to literary analysis and the basics of film "grammar" used in storytelling in order to make sense of the complex processes of adapting a work of literature into film. Students study a range of literature from at least two genres (for example: a number of short stories and a section of a Shakespearean play studied across multiple film adaptations) and methods of analyzing their adaptations in an informed way. The issues with fidelity (how "faithful" or "true" a film adaptation is) are contextualized in order to understand the limits of fidelity as an evaluative tool and a more neutral, descriptive language for adaptation is implemented. The course studies early, historical examples of film adaptation as well as up to date examples and introduces students to the many reasons why film has turned to literature for material. Students learn also to implement many of these techniques themselves in other media by way of storyboards, short screenplays, film pitches including casting and locations work, and even short film. This course does not require previous knowledge of literature or film. It can be taken for General Education credit. It can be taken by English majors even after having taken ENGL 304. It has obvious benefits for BSE students as well, who will be teaching in English classrooms using film as a resource.

 

ENGL 346: The Craft of Poetry

Prof. Washburn

The Craft of Poetry examines traditional and contemporary poetic forms such as the sonnet, the ghazal, the ode, and the pantoum.  A core Creative Writing emphasis course, this class also teaches students how to read imagery, scan poems, and use an academic vocabulary to discuss poems.  As such, it's also an excellent course for students who will be teaching poetry at the high school, college, or lower levels.

 

ENGL 351: Fiction Writing

Dr. De Grave

This is a beginning fiction writing workshop in which students read some theory about writing fiction, read stories by professional writers, and then write three stories of their own.  For seven weeks of the semester, students share their stories in workshops, about 20 minutes per story, and receive written and oral commentary from their classmates and from the instructor.  Each student revises the story twice after the first draft and turns all of this work in as a portfolio.  Portfolios are graded on progress and on the quality of the final drafts of the stories. One goal is to help students get stories in good enough shape to be submitted to the Cow Creek Review.

 

ENGL 451: Advanced Fiction Writing

Dr. White

Advanced work in fiction writing. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

 

ENGL 479: Techniques for Teaching English in Middle/Secondary Schools

Dr. Morgan

Concepts and strategies for teaching in the middle and secondary English classroom; roles and functions of non-verbal, written, and spoken media of communication. To be taken before the professional semester. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

 

ENGL 501: Document Design

Dr. McDaniel

In this class, we will focus on the analysis and design of technical / professional documents, both printed and electronic.  In this class, “document” takes on a comprehensive meaning to include print (posters and forms), audio (podcasts), audiovisual (videos), and digital (websites).  We will study both the theory of and the practice of creating these documents.

 This course should help you achieve the following goals:

  • Recognize visuals, type and space as the building blocks of graphic design as visual communication.
  • Approach functional graphic design as capturing attention, controlling eye flow, conveying information, and evoking emotion.
  • Practice the researching, brainstorming, concepting, and sketching that go into effective design work.
  • Demonstrate basic design and layout skills, including grid structure, across a variety of formats and platforms from electronic to print.
  • Apply the fundamentals of working with typography, color and visuals, such as photos and illustrations.
  • Familiarize yourself with prepress and pre-production processes.
  • Appreciate visual aesthetics as historically and culturally contingent.
  • Make a habit of considering the ways visual and symbolic communication can be inclusive, cover the under-covered, and mitigate bias and prejudice.
  • Practice constructive design criticism.
  • Apply the best practices of instructional design and usability.
  • Produce some work for your portfolio using a content management system.

Required texts include:

Hagen, Rebecca, and Kim Golombisky. White Space is Not Your Enemy. 2nd ed.  Focal Press, 2013.

Dirksen, Julie. Design for How People Learn. Peachpit Press, 2012.

 

ENGL 504/704: Advanced Technical and Professional Writing

Dr. Patterson

Advanced instruction in applying technical writing style and in creating hypertext documents, software documentation, and Controlled English (for translation into other languages).

 

English 555/755: Bible as Literature

Dr. Judd

As a cornerstone of western literature, the Bible has influenced writers in both obvious and subtle ways. Thus, a familiarity with the Bible is foundational to appreciating and understanding much of western literature. This course will introduce students to the various genres, stories, archetypes, beliefs, and practices embodied in the Bible through close reading of the text and through considering relevant backgrounds. In a final research paper, students will demonstrate their grasp of the Bible by demonstrating how a reading of a modern work of literature or film is enhanced by an understanding of the Bible.

 

ENGL 561: British Theme—Disability

Dr. McDaniel

Within the humanities, considerable scholarly attention has been given to the content of, motives behind, and social effects of the ways in which disabled individuals are represented in literature, film, visual arts and other artistic forms.  The aim of this course is to provide a general introduction to disability studies as they apply to the study of British literature, particularly fictional narratives.  We will follow a social or cultural model of disability to study how the social constructions, symbols, and stigmas associated with disability identity and represented in British literature are related to larger systems of power that oppress and exclude.  Readings will include

Pat Barker, Regeneration

Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight

John Wyndham, The Chrysalids

Wilkie Collins, Poor Miss Finch

Oliver Sacks, An Anthropologist on Mars

Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus

Nolan, Under the Eye of the Clock

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

 

ENGL 565: American Genre—Nonfiction

Dr. Anderson

This course will survey a wide range of American nonfiction from the Colonial period through the early 21st century. We’ll read samples of a number of different nonfiction genres, likely to include historical accounts, political documents, slave narratives, captivity narratives, spiritual autobiographies, speeches, sermons, and various forms of the essay. Throughout the semester, we’ll consider a variety of questions: How does each text relate to the historical and cultural context in which it appeared? How do these texts illustrate the “personality” of the United States as a nation? What long-term trends do they reveal in American culture, literature, and history? What are the distinctive characteristics of various non-fiction genres? To what extent can nonfiction texts be considered “literary,” and why? The course will include detailed analysis and discussion of individual texts, as well as attention to broader themes that carry across multiple texts, genres, and time periods.

 

ENGL 571: International Literature Theme—Obsession

Prof. Washburn

This fall the class will romp wildly from the humorous to the grotesque and horrific. We'll examine the relationship between genre and subject and between obsession and political and social statements. We'll trace image and technique in poetry, short fiction, and novels, asking how does the notion of obsession in literature drive a work of art?  How is this different from our  common notion of obsession as illness or madnesss? And "Is the role of the artist in some ways like the madman/woman?” Texts include the best-selling The Tin Drum by internationally acclaimed German author Gunter Grass, The Time of the Doves by exiled Catalan writer Merce Rodoreda, Franz Kafka's seminal The Metamorphosis, the revenge novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon, Elizabeth McCracken's The Giant's House: A Romance, Latin American short stories, and poems by Anne Sexton and Pablo Neruda.  This course will be cross-listed with Women's Studies and will count for minor or certificate credit.

ENGL 603: History of the English Language

Dr. Rudd

The origin and development of the English language. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

 

ENGL 619: Shakespeare

Dr. Morgan

An intensive reading of selected comedies, histories and tragedies. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

 

ENGL 699: Senior Seminar in English

Dr. Carlson

An assessment seminar for senior English majors. Exploration of career opportunities. Required of all senior English majors. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

 

ENGL 704: Advanced Technical/Professional Writing

Dr. Patterson

See description under ENGL 504.

 

ENGL 716: Topics in Teaching Writing—Composition and Writing

Dr. Morris

A graduate course on the theories and practice of using computers in the English composition classroom. The class will focus on three main areas: 

1. Current theory with respect to the use of computers in the classroom.    

2. A historical review of multimodal writing pedagogy.    

3. Theory and practice in new media writing

This course is designed for teachers and graduate students who want to know more about how and why computers are used in composition classrooms and who want to move beyond using computers as glorified typewriters or the Internet as a simple research tool. 

ENGL 752: Senior Poetry Writing

Prof. Washburn

Students write, share, and critique student work while reading contemporary poets. Poetry workshop for students who have taken 400-level poetry writing or for graduate students who are not in the creative writing emphasis.

ENGL 755: Bible as Literature

Dr. Judd

See listing under ENGL 555.

 

ENGL 772: Periods in Literature—American Realism

Dr. De Grave

American Realism covers the time from the end of the Civil War to the turn of the century. The course considers the different forms of realism, from Local Color/Regionalism to Naturalism and Psychological Realism. The texts will be short stories and novels by the major writers of the time, men and women, black, white, Native American, and Asian American. The novels will include Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, James’s Portrait of a Lady, Wharton’s House of Mirth, and Chopin’s The Awakening. America went through a major upheaval in the second half of the nineteenth century, in technology, in ethnic and urban growth, and in social movements. All of this is reflected in the literature. Class discussion will include historical context, with students giving a short oral presentation on a social or historical topic. Assignments will include short writes and quizzes, a writing experiment in “gritty realism,” two essay exams, and one short, thematic and one longer, researched paper. The course will be cross-listed with Women’s Studies.

 

ENGL 771-01: Major Authors—Pope And Swift

Dr. McCallum

In this course we will read and discuss a generous selection of the major works of English literature’s greatest satirists, Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope. As the semester progresses, we naturally will examine the social, political, intellectual, and aesthetic backdrops to the lives and works of these two authors and their circles; but we will also inquire into many related topics, such as poetic form and conventions, the nature and theory of satire, the emergence of literary celebrity, and the role of the writer in society.

 

ENGL 810-01: Research Methods

Dr. McCallum

No single class in Research Methods can impart all the knowledge the student is ever going to need for conducting research at the graduate level and beyond. Such a course can, however, acquaint the student with many of the methods professional scholars use when they conduct their own inquiries. Method is the key word here, for though the course will acquaint the student with the resources available here at PSU and elsewhere for those conducting literary research at the graduate level, it will place at least an equal emphasis upon giving the student practice in framing questions relevant to such research, in organizing his or her research, and in compiling and reporting upon the results of that research.

 

ENGL 820: Theory—Literature

Dr. Carlson

Study of theory of the discipline: Literary, Creative Writing, or Composition/Rhetoric. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

 

ENGL 845: Problems in Teaching Composition

Dr. Morgan

A consideration of the problems of teaching composition, with emphasis on rhetorical theory, current research in the teaching of composition, and evaluation of student writing. (Catalog description. Contact instructor for more details about this course.)

 

ENGL 850: Creative Writing—Poetry

Prof. Washburn

Students write, share, and critique student work while reading contemporary poets.  

 

English 875: Seminar—Rhetoric and Culture

Dr. Judd

Rhetoric serves two purposes: to help people produce a message, and to help people critique a message. As Sonja Foss explains it,

When we are aware of the various options available in the construction of messages and how they function to produce effects, we have the tools needed to question the messages in artifacts rather than responding uncritically.

Daily we are inundated by subtle “messages” embodied in cultural artifacts that often go unrecognized, but those messages still exert a degree of influence on how we think about a variety of issues. To help us recognize these messages, we will explore how others have used rhetoric to unpack the messages in cultural artifacts. Building on this foundation, students will put this knowledge to work by analyzing a cultural artifact of their choosing and present their findings in a paper and a presentation.