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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

Spring 2019

Topics: Trump and the Media - ENGL 2050 - Dr. Wafa Unus

This course explores President Donald Trump's relationship with the political system, the press and journalists. Students will unpack these relationships while interrogating their impact on freedom of the press, and public perception of the press, and the impact on our institutions. Students will be asked to think critically about the President's comments on journalism, his use of the term “fake news” and, more generally, the enduring conflict between journalistic truth and presidential image. To better understand President Donald Trump's relationship with the press and its impact on the public, the class will learn about the ways in which journalists have covered and communicated with presidents in the past - and how this has changed over the decades. This course will emphasize the role of journalism within American democracy.

Genres, Forms, and Themes: Geography of Story - ENGL 3026 - Dr. Elise Takehana

This course looks at locative narratives that integrate physical spaces with narrative structure or reading practice. Included in such work are geocached stories and augmented reality. In addition, we will examine analogue predecessors and "non-literary" equivalents such as geographically rich stories, the use of maps in literature, and story space in action-adventure and role-playing video games. Students will also write narrative works that consider space, rather than time, as its structural background.

Major Authors: Geoffrey Chaucer - ENGL 4000 - Dr. Kisha Tracy

Geoffrey Chaucer, born in the mid-fourteenth century, is not only one of the greatest Middle English writers; he is also one of the best and most well-known authors in the history of the English language. His texts range from dream visions, such as The Book of the Duchess, to his adaptation of the historical-romance Troilus and Criseyde to the epic Canterbury Tales. Our work in this course will be to make our way through a sampling of Chaucer's main works and poems in order to uncover a remarkable author crafting texts that captured a series of images of the society around him. To this end, we will examine historical and cultural influences for each of the works we will discuss, grounding the texts in Chaucer's world. At the same time, we will carefully explore his language (yes, we will learn to read and speak basic Middle English!) and his themes in order to compare and contrast the sometimes contradictory views this complicated author presents to his readers.​

Seminar: Aesthetics and Revolution - ENGL 4400 - Dr. Diego Ubiera

What is the relationship between art and revolution?  What does literature do in the world?  What is the relationship between revolution in art form and art within revolution? This seminar focuses on theories of aesthetics and social change from a variety of periods and cultural contexts. Through a diverse set of texts, we will interrogate the relationship between beauty, ethics, justice, psychoanalysis, literature and social change. Following the work of Oscar Wilde, Theodor Adorno, Gioconda Belli, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel García Márquez, Elaine Scarry, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Zadie Smith, Raul Zurita and others, we will study aesthetic theories and practices as events of critical significance for the individual and for society, material and discursive life.

Graduate Topics Courses

Spring 2019

Graphic Novel as Literature - ENGL 9044 - Heather Urbanski

This course will examine illustrated narrative and sequential storytelling as literature, considering the distinct narrative and visual elements of this particular form. We will primarily consider comic books and graphic novels, with specific focus on current texts from the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This course will combine theoretical analyses and close reading to examine texts across multiple genres including science fiction, memoir, and novel adaptations. Potential authors include Scott McCloud, Gail Simone, John Lewis (and Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell), and Art Speigelman.

Archive of Courses


Genres, Forms, and Themes in Creative Writing

  • Culture of Science Writing - Heather Urbanski
  • Environmental Writing - Steve Edwards


  • 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

  • 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