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English Studies Courses

By changing our department name to English Studies, we have signaled our continuing efforts to connect to some of the core curricular trends in our discipline: the emergence of cultural studies and its many affiliated fields such as film studies and gender studies, the inclusion of new textualities such as digital media and graphic novels, and a rejuvenated focus on rhetoric and composition. We plan to continue expanding into these fields and subjects, to complement and connect with our continued strengths in many other areas of English Studies including Shakespeare, Medieval Literature, African American literature, journalism, and secondary education.

Undergraduate Topic and Theme Course Descriptions

Fall 2020

ENGL 2007 Topics: Addicted Society – Dr. Chola Chisunka 

TR 11:00-12:15, CRN: 13997

The Literature of Addicted Societies: Interpreting Cultures of Dependence and Therapy This course will investigate the cycle of social, cultural, and literal problems surrounding substance dependence, the therapy culture, and the history of the war on opioid abuse in selected regions of the world. Students will read theoretical texts such as Travis Hanes' The Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another, Avital Ronell's Crack Wars, and Frank Furedi's Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age. This course examines various problems associated with the addiction crisis as explored in selected literary texts and will also study exemplary fictional works such as Amitav Ghosh's Flood of Fire, Nelson Algren's Man with a Golden Arm, and William Burrough's The Naked Lunch. It will also examine related films, like Clean and Sober, Leaving Las Vegas, and Traffic. In addition to analyzing the books and films mentioned above, the course will ask students to investigate the following basic question: "What social, political, and economic interests are served by teaching citizens to accept what Furedi calls, 'the invitation to infirmity' and to think of themselves and of many in their society as 'inescapably sick'?"

ENGL 2008 Topics: Medieval Africa: Literature & Heritage – Dr. Kisha Tracy

MW 11:00-12:15, CRN: 13998

This course will explore the literature and culture of medieval Africa. The Middle Ages is often confined to western Europe during the period between approximately 500 and 1550, but, in reality, the Middle Ages is a global period that included all of Europe as well as the Middle East, southern and eastern Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Here, we will focus on the textual culture of Africa, including such works as the Malian epic Sundiata, of this time with an emphasis on h.ow different geographies interacted and influenced each other. Students in this class will be contributing to a special exhibit of the Cultural Heritage through Image project focusing on Africans and African-Americans, an initial version of which appeared at the African Festival in Boston in August 2019. We may also be partnering with the Boston University African Center to display this exhibit and present it to K-12 instructors and students.

ENGL 2325 Topics: Digital Humanities – Dr. Elise Takehana, WF 2:00-3:15, CRN: 13994

Digital technologies have not only allowed for innovations in the creation of literary texts but have added new ways scholars can study literature given the assistance of computers. This course will study literary texts through several digital humanities methodologies including distant reading, text encoding, digital scholarly editing, natural language processing, digital textual analysis, and data visualization. These methods allow students to take into account large quantities of literary material to determine patterns across texts and cultures, pay attention to material and contextual features of literature, and preserve and curate cultural texts. While we will do some programming in class, no prior programming experience is required. Experienced programmers looking to explore analyzing cultural texts are also welcome.

ENGL 3026 Genre, Forms & Themes in Creative Writing – Dr. Steven Edwards

WF 9:30-10:45, CRN 13776

In Environmental Writing students critically explore the ways in which writing about the natural world both mirrors and constructs the cultural narratives that shape our ideas of nature. Students read classic and contemporary environmental texts, explore YouTube representations of animals (bear attack videos, Disney promos, video games,) and create their own environmental texts—short stories, poems, scripts, children’s books, or other creative projects.

ENGL 4000 Major Authors: Romantic Women Writers – Dr. Frank Mabee 

MW 9:30-10:45, CRN: 13781

This course will examine works by female poets, novelists, and critics from 1789-1834 to uncover how women’s writing can adapt, challenge, or controvert well-established ideas about the Romantic era. Romantic-era literature is known for its invocations of the power of the imagination through lyric poetry that illustrates the contemplations of a mind nurtured by the power of nature. While these ideas hold true to well-known male poets of the period (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, et al), they seem less precise in describing writings by female authors of the Romantic era. Our readings will include works from writers such as Helen Maria Williams, Hannah More, Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Smith, Joanna Baillie, Mary Robinson, Anna Barbauld, Dorothy Wordsworth, Felicia Hemans, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, and Mary Shelley.

SPCH 2101 Topics: Communication & The Environment – Dr. Collin Syfert

MW 2:00-3:15, CRN: 13932

This course explores the communication and public forums that are used to address environmental controversies in the U.S., the United Kingdom, China, and the Middle East. Decisions to protect wilderness, health, or the global climate result not just from environmental sciences alone. What we choose to do about the environment often arises from the influence of language itself as well as the diverse voices in the public sphere. In this course, you will be introduced to the transdisciplinary field of environmental communication and to a variety of epistemologies that complement its study. After familiarizing yourself with this body of work, you will be asked to tum your attention outward: to apply these perspectives to the investigation of a practical instance of communication-related to environmental science, media, practice, or conflict. I encourage you to think creatively about what communication theory might contribute to environmental practice and policy.

Archive of Courses


Genres, Forms, and Themes in Creative Writing

  • Culture of Science Writing - Heather Urbanski
  • Environmental Writing - Steve Edwards
  • Geography of Stories - Elise Takehana
  • Creative Writing Cycles - DeMisty Bellinger-Delfeld


  • Trump and the Media - ENGL 2050 - Wafa Unus
  • Hispanic Literature and Culture - ENGL 2003 - Diego Ubiera
  • Black Feminist Discourse - ENGL 3008 - DeMisty Bellinger-Delfeld
  • Style Studio - ENGL 3002 - Elise Takehana
  • Writing for Finance, Service, and Industry - ENGL 3005 - Heather Urbanski
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel - ENGL 3026 - Heather Urbanski
  • Environmental Writing - English 3061 - Steve Edwards
  • Experimental Writing - ENGL 3062 - Elise Takehana
  • Writing Sci-Fi and Fantasy: A Community Approach - ENGL 3063 - Heather Urbanski
  • Online Activism - ENGL 3001 - Doris Schmidt

Seminar - ENGL 4400

  • Aesthetics and Revolution - Diego Ubiera
  • Literature of Empires - Aruna Krishnamurthy
  • Analyzing 21st Century America - Benjamin Railton
  • Aesthetics and Stylistics of Tragedy - Chola Chisunka
  • Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton - Lisa Gim
  • Texts of World War I - Irene Martyniuk
  • "Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know": Byron and the Byronic Hero - Frank Mabee
  • Aesthetic Literature: Tragedy and Comedy - Chola Chisunka
  • Early Modern Masters: Shakespeare, Donne, & Milton - Lisa Gim
  • Colonial & Post-Colonial Literature - Aruna Krishnamurthy
  • Women in World Cinema - Joe Moser
  • Early American Literature - Michael Hoberman
  • Choice and Voice: Memoirs of Crisis - Judy Budz

Major Authors - ENGL 4000

  • Mark Twain - Benjamin Railton
  • Anton Chekhov - Joseph Moser
  • Salmun Rushdie - Irene Martyniuk
  • Philip Roth - Michael Hoberman
  • Bronte Sisters - Aruna Krishnamurthy
  • Geoffrey Chaucer - Kisha Tracy
  • Toni Morrison - Chola Chisunka
  • W.E.B. DuBois - Benjamin Railton
  • Virginia Woolf - Irene Martyniuk
  • Philip Roth - Michael Hoberman

Graduate Topics Courses

  • British Representation of Disease and Disability - ENGL 9072 - Kisha Tracy
  • Post Apocalyptic Science Fiction - ENGL 9031 - Heather Urbanski
  • American Modernism - ENGL 9038 - Michael Hoberman
  • British Modernism - ENGL 9006 - Irene Martyniuk
  • Analyzing 21st Century American Literature - ENGL 9051 - Benjamin Railton
  • Issues and Trends in English Education - ENGL 9027 - Wendy Keyser
  • Experimental Writing Workshop - ENGL 9005 - Elise Takehana
  • Ethnic American Literature - ENGL 9005 - Benjamin Railton
  • Women in World Cinema - ENGL 9023 - Joseph Moser