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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of English

Department of English

Department of English

Current Courses

Fall 2014

ASEM 2403, Section 1
Versions of Egypt
Brian Kiteley
T, R 4-5:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course will study a handful of books (Alifa Rifaat's Distant View of the Minaret, Amitav Ghosh's In an Antique Land, Alaa al-Aswany's Yacoubian Building, Wael Ghonim's Revolution 2.0, and Ahdaf Soueif's, Cairo: Memoir of a City Transformed) about Egypt before and after the 2011 revolution. The class will attempt to understand both 21st century Egypt and the aftereffects of the dramatic changes in Egypt since February 2011. Students will write both critical and creative essays for this seminar.


ASEM 2482, Section 1
Africa
Maik Nwosu
T, R 2-3:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

In this course, we will study the literature, politics, and culture of Africa from pre-colonial times to the present. We will begin by examining Africa as the locus of the world's oldest civilization and discussing some key moments in African history. We will then focus on the four regions of Africa, on country- or region-based examples of culture and politics in Africa. In each case, we will discuss historical accounts and literary representations as well as political and cultural contexts.


ASEM 2518, Section 1
Exploring Italy
Eleanor McNees
T, R 4-5:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This interdisciplinary ASEM focuses on the specific artists and sites students visit in Italy at the conclusion of the quarter. The seminar meets two hours per week during the quarter and then for two weeks in Italy immediately following the end of the fall quarter. Students work toward a final written project through a series of steps as they study theories of tourism and culture in relation to Rome, Florence and Venice. During the two-week travel portion, students respond to a series of questions about specific sites in 12 journal entries. They also guide the class during visits to sites related to their final projects. This course can also fulfill an Intercultural Global Studies minor elective if students have already taken an ASEM to fulfill the common curriculum requirement. Note: All ASEM students must apply for this ASEM through the following website: www.du.edu/art (follow instructions for "How to Apply"). Students pay a program fee for this course.


ENGL 1000, Section 1
Introduction to Creative Writing
Mildred Barya
M, W 8-9:50 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This class is for everyone who is interested in writing, and loves to read works of fiction, poetry and creative narratives. In this course we will develop an understanding of what kinds of worlds the literary works imagine for us, how they invite us to read, and most importantly, how we can write them. We will start by looking at storytellers/writers as magicians and mythmakers. Students will develop conceptual skills for analysis of creative works' narrative elements, perspectives, strategies and techniques, an awareness of their own individual voices, and how best they can use them. We will read short works selected from a variety of time periods and authors such as Daniel Orozco, Antonio Machado, Robert Hayden, Jose Eduardo Agualusa, Yvonne Vera, Aimee Bender, Nalo Hopkinson, Olga Tokarczuk, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, and Ray Bradbury. We will do some writing exercises in class and I will send you in PDF format most of the readings except The Book of Chameleons (Jose Eduardo Agualusa) and Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root (Nalo Hopkinson).


ENGL 1000, Section 2
Introduction to Creative Writing
Adam Fagin
T, R 10-11:50 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Historical time, the end of time, once upon a time, mystical and mythic time. There exists in literature a great multiplicity of times. In this class we'll consider the role of time in the space of a text, in both the reading and writing of it, the way in which it pushes and pulls the language into shape. We'll explore a range of prose and poetry tending toward more active literary forms, including but not limited to: Marcel Proust, W.G. Sebald, Marie Redonnet, Cormac McCarthy, Anne Carson, and John Ashbery, in addition to critical texts surrounding these works. Students will be responsible for presentations on their own and others' writing, as well as creating introductions to assigned readings.


ENGL 1000, Section 4
Introduction to Creative Writing
Michael Walsh
T, R 8-9:50 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." - Samuel Beckett
This will be a reading and writing intensive course exploring the art of "creative" writing in both poetry and prose. We will concern ourselves especially with experiment and with
experiment's inevitable partner: failure. We will be trying a lot of things, and we'll be failing a lot together. In the process we'll make art.
We will also be reading a sizable selection of (mostly contemporary) poetry and prose, in order to situate ourselves within the artistic nexus of the current moment and to expand our sense of all that writing can accomplish.


ENGL 1000, Section 5
Introduction to Creative Writing
Angela Buck
M, W 2-3:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Why do we write? In this course we will take as our provisional answer to this question that we write in order to see, that as Richard Sennett put it, "the result of caring about what one sees is the desire to make something" or as John Dewey said, "Craftsmanship to be artistic in the final sense must be 'loving'; it must care deeply for the subject matter upon which skill is exercised." Developing a complex and dynamic sensitivity to the medium of language will be the primary goal of this course. We will closely read both poets and prose writers and will write in four different forms over the course of the quarter: the lyric poem, the prose poem, the fairy tale and the postmodern short story. We will also do a variety of constraint-based, conceptual and somatic writing exercises.


ENGL 1000, Section 6
Introduction to Creative Writing
Nicholas Gulig
M, W 8-9:50 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

In this course we will look into the work of a wide variety of writers and poets in order to better understand the different ways creative language comes into, is related to, and affects the world surrounding it. We will focus in particular on the tension between our own subjective interiority as writers and the external objective context in which we are asked, both by the mysterious nature of that context, and by a need to somehow fill that world with meaning, to be creators. The course will be organized loosely around critical and creative readings, discussions of a variety of contemporary American poets, as well as a weekly workshop where we will examine the work of classmates in light of these discussions. Each week will focus on a specific writer in an attempt to experience directly a diversity of perspectives and ideas on what is and what isn't possible through artistic language. Students will then be expected borrow from these discussions, implementing what is found there in their own creative work. While the class is oriented primarily around "poetry", we will also discuss ways the border between poetry and prose has been blurred in a contemporary context where it is no longer easy to distinguish between genres, looking to examples which borrow from and implement various poetic devices. Activities will include reading, weekly writing assignments, the attendance of at least one
out of class reading, written critical responses to other student's work, copious participation, presentations, a recitation, and an end of semester writing portfolio.


ENGL 1006, Section 1
Art of Fiction
Teresa Carmody
M, W 12-1:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

"[T]he 'uncanny' is that class of the terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar." – Freud, "The Uncanny"
In literature, the uncanny describes the unsettling effect when something is both familiar and strange, thus provoking a sense of eeriness, déjà vu, compulsive repetition, or disturbance. The home, and specifically the haunted house, has played a key role in literary constructions of the uncanny, for home is often a site of nostalgic longing and traumatic alienation. This course will explore the uncanny through the haunted house as portrayed within the American literary landscape. Together, we will explore the ways in which American houses are written and haunted by US culture's many ghosts: hidden desires, traumatic histories, the fantasy of the American dream. We will analyze how writers use language to build these houses via the constituent parts of narrative fiction: story, plot, character development, and point of view. Students will be expected to engage critically and creatively with the course materials. Texts will include essays and a variety of fictional forms—short stories, novellas, and novels—by writers such as Harold Abramowitz, Sherman Alexie, Charles Chesnutt, Sui Sin Far, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Shirley Jackson, Henry James, Toni Morrison, Edgar Allan Poe, Shawna Yang Ryan.


ENGL 1007, Section 1
Art of Poetry
Emily Motzkus
M, W 2-3:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

The art of poetry, the poetry of art.
Poetry is and isn't like the big bang—yes, writing a poem requires a specific set of hot and dense conditions to unfold, but these conditions are not a once-in-the-history-of-the-universe occurrence, there are billions of poems!Each poem containing/creating its own universe.
So what is elementally poetic? In an attempt to answer this question we will examine the various conditions and mysterious processes of poetry, looking specifically at how poetic-meaning is both created and continues to create meaning through time. We will consider formal, lyric, ekphrasitic, documentary, conceptual, research-based, verbo-visual, and divinatory poetics.
We will read many poets, a few include: Jack Spicer, Lorine Niedecker, & William Carlos Williams. We will also look at many artists: Cy Twombly, Eva Hesse, and Wolfgang Laib to name a few.


ENGL 1008, Section 1
Art of Drama
Lauren Benke
M, W 10-11:50 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Irish drama can be characterized by a variety of opposing themes: stereotypical or individual, political or apolitical, tragic or comic, realistic or absurd. In the 1897 manifesto for the Irish Literary Theatre, W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, and Edward Martyn claimed that the aim of their theatre was "to bring upon the stage the deeper thoughts and emotions of Ireland." The aim of this course will be to discover the wide variety of forms Irish dramatists have used either to self-consciously achieve or reject this goal. By engaging in close readings of texts and performances of plays by Yeats, Synge, Wilde, O'Casey, Beckett, Friel, Behan, Carr, and Walsh, we will explore these and other dichotomies and question to what extent Irish identity contributes to dramatic effect. The aim of this course—comprised of class discussion, written analysis, and the opportunity to engage creatively with the texts—is to explore the general trajectory of Irish drama as well as the broader poetics, dynamics, and politics of the dramatic form.


ENGL 1009, Section 1
Art of Non-Fiction Nancy Thurman
T, R 12-1:50 PM
COURSE DESCRIPTION:

An introduction to the appreciation of non-fiction as an art form through practice in interpretation and creation.


ENGL 1110, Section 1
Literary Inquiry-Honors program students only
Bin Ramke
T, R 10-11:50 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This is a course for those interested in questioning our continuing fascination with stories, images and myths about the virtues of "the country" and the vices of "the city." But it is also a celebration of both the virtues and the vices.
The term "pastoral" refers to an ancient literary form, primarily poetic, and it refers as well to content—descriptions of the rural with an implicit contrast to the urban. And there is a skeptical use of the term as pejorative; often in contemporary usage "pastoral" implies a failure to see current conditions, needs, and dangers. We will consider political, psychological, aesthetic, and historical uses of the term so we might
come to understand how the binary oppositions of country and city have been contrasted and used to various purposes over time. But notice also the book list—we will examine pastoral in its absence, by examining the imagined and the real authority of The City.
Even though this is a lecture course, it will involve intense, informed discussion by students. And there will be various opportunities for you to write brief essays in class, especially after we have read a particular text. But primarily students will be asked to develop a concept for a final paper/presentation and to keep us all informed of progress throughout the term. The presentation is due during the last week of the term (details to be provided during the first week of class).
There will be many handouts—they will serve many purposes, including the introduction of literary concepts to sociological settings, and they will provide historical context within which a work is best understood. Some will be just for fun. Also, we will watch several films, including Blade Runner and La jetée (subtitled).


ENGL 2001, Section 1
Creative Writing-Poetry
Sarah Boyer
M, W 12-1:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This intermediate level poetry workshop will take full advantage of the rich and varied poetry scene the Front Range has to offer. After examining the following books we will
meet with as many of these poets as possible to discuss their works as well as their methods. In an effort to get to a deeper appreciation of our unique community, writers, in
this class, will be required to attend two poetry readings over the course of the semester. Conversations with all of these poets both emerging and established will
provide a backdrop and structure for our workshop discussions. The goal of this course is a simultaneous study of poetry as both community and process.


ENGL 2010, Section 1
Creative Writing-Fiction
Dana Green
M, W 2-3:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This class will focus on what I term "the atomic structure of narrative." An investigation into the microstructure at the core of every story, no matter how large it may seem to be. We will discuss how novel length narratives are comprised of smaller molecular pieces that cohere together to create the illusion of linear narration. We will excavate stories to find their essential elements, the things that make them tick, the moments that give them life. And, possibly most importantly, we will look at how they function, where writing succeeds and fails and why. The purpose of this class will be to take the findings of our larger investigations and apply them to the crafting of our own micro fictions. When I say micro fictions I am referring to pieces that tend towards the very short (self contained narratives less than 1,000 or 350 words). This class's creative work will focus almost entirely on micro fiction. Our writing will be generated via insightful discussion of literature from an academic, creative, and theoretical lens. We will read, write, fail, and fail again.


ENGL 2100, Section 1
English Literature I: Beowulf – Spenser
Donna Beth Ellard
M, W 8-9:50 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

TBA


ENGL 2401, Section 1
Blake, Wordsworth & Their Contemporaries
Jennifer Golightly
M, W 2-3:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

The first generation of British Romantic writers came of age during a time of revolutions (American, French, Haitian). The inheritors of radical eighteenth-century ideas about natural rights, the first-generation Romantics found optimism in human feeling as well as human reason. They believed that the capacity for sympathy and lyrical transport would lead to a new, benevolent society, but their faith in social progress was checked by revolutionary violence and the rise of a hyper-nationalism that seemed more dangerous than the superstition it was meant to replace. We will look at two influential movements, Sensibility and the Gothic, examine different sides of the Revolution controversy, and trace reactions to revolutionary violence.


ENGL 2613, Section 1
Excavating Italy
Eleanor McNees
T, R 2-3:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This is an interdisciplinary team-taught lecture / discussion course in which students study the artistic, literary and historical foundations of the Roman Empire, the rise of the Renaissance in Florence and the flowering of the Venetian republic from the late Renaissance through the 19th century. Primary emphasis is on major artists such as Giotto, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Tintoretto and influential literary figures who either wrote about Italy (Shakespeare and Charles Dickens) or wrote within Italy (Dante). This course fulfills an AI: Society and Culture common curriculum requirement or an elective credit toward the Intercultural Global Studies minor. Requirements include three equally weighted examinations and two short papers.


ENGL 2715, Section 1
Native American Literature
Billy J. Stratton
M, W 12-1:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course is intended to familiarize students with some of the canonical works/authors in native American literature. Although our focus will be on texts emerging from the so-called Native American literary renaissance, which began in the late 1960's, given the complexity of indigenous storytelling this class will involve historical and philosophical inquiry, as well as an engagement with interdisciplinary modes of literary interpretation. The assigned texts were chosen to orientate us to the historical, social, and political contexts that frame contemporary native American life, thought, and experience. Of primary interest will be the ways in which native writers have endeavored to challenge what Gerald Vizenor has termed the "literature of dominance," which has functioned to relegate native people to the margins of American historical and literary discourse. It is my hope that this exploration will encourage students to think more critically about the enduring presence of native people within the United States, while confronting the historical, political, and social forces that have contributed to dispossession and marginalization. Finally, we will consider how native writers, responding to the legacy of colonialism, have employed acts of storytelling to address the accumulated affects of intergenerational trauma, while eschewing the politics of victimization and essentialism.


ENGL 2742, Section 1
Modern Hebrew Literature-Honors program students only
Adam Rovner
T, R 2-3:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course offers a survey of significant works of modern Hebrew literary fiction by major authors in translation. To flesh out the historical context, a number of documents, essays, excerpts will also be provided. Students will consider how the development of Hebrew literature has contributed to the formation of contemporary Israeli identity, and how the conflicts that define the turbulent history of Israel are treated in works of prose fiction by canonical authors. The selection of diverse literary materials exposes students to the social, political, and historical changes wrought by the rise of modern day Israel. Through lectures, close-reading, and exercises, students will gain an appreciation for
some of the fundamental tensions that define Hebrew literature and Israeli culture: (1) collective vs. individual identity, (2) Jewish nationalism, (3) the concept of Diaspora vs. Zion. Our study aims to reveal the historical and ideological context of these issues to offer a nuanced perspective on an area of the world in conflict. Readings are roughly chronological, and will be drawn from a variety of sources, both primary and secondary. Students will be coached on various interpretive strategies, the intent of which is to make their time spent reading more valuable. No knowledge of Hebrew, Jewish tradition, or Israeli history is necessary to succeed in this course. This course is an Honors section and fulfils the AI-Society/Culture requirement. Students with a background in Jewish literature or Judaic Studies who are not Honors students should contact the instructor to discuss enrollment.


ENGL 2750, Section 1
American Literature Survey I
Clark Davis
T, R 12-1:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This is a course in the foundations of American thought and expression from the early explorers to the brink of the Civil War. Authors will include William Bradford, Mary Rowlandson, Thomas Jefferson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and many others.


ENGL 3010, Section 1
Advanced Creative Writing-Fiction
Brian Kiteley
M 4-7:50 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Yogi Berra said, "You can't think and hit at the same time." But can you think and write at the same time? Writers should practice hard, work on repetitions, and think through the process as much as they can, whatever the process is. But when it comes to actual competition—writing the fiction itself, like playing tennis or golf—writers should trust that they have trained their instincts well and not think at all. Practice makes for better instincts. The fiction exercises you do in this class (and really all of the writing you do is training) are one part of a very particular sort of practice to build better instincts. The Marines have a saying, "Adapt, improvise, and overcome." Writing fiction is not like going into battle, but you do test yourself the way a soldier tests herself. The first two commands—adapt and improvise—are crucial. Writing fiction is also somewhat like living reality—it is unpredictable, but you can train yourself to react gracefully to life's surprises. The filmmaker Orson Welles said, "The director's job is to preside over accidents." The philosopher Daniel Dennett, in Consciousness Explained, theorized that the task of the human brain "is to guide the body it controls through a world of shifting conditions and sudden surprises, [to] ... gather information from that world and use it swiftly to 'produce future'—to extract anticipations in order to stay one step ahead of disaster." We read fiction to see how characters improvise their lives moment by moment to survive. In order to write fiction, we need to train to build up and stretch certain muscles and practice a variety of plans for retreat or attack. We practice our skills at improvisation, which sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it isn't. Actors who specialize in improvisation do not do typical rehearsal, by reading lines. They practice by responding to phrases, props, or new costumes thrown at them. They have to react without any preparation or even thinking. This is what we'll be doing in this workshop.
We will write a lot of fiction—both exercises and stories or novel excerpts. You must have taken an English 2000 level fiction, poetry, or nonfiction workshop to take this class (preferably a 2000 fiction workshop). We will read The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Fiction and The 3 A.M. Epiphany.


ENGL 3800, Section 1
Bibliography and Research Methods
Rachel Feder and Peggy Keeran
M, W 2-3:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

TBA

ENGL 3815, Section 1
Rhetoric of the Sentence
Ann Dobyns
T, R 12-1:50 PM


COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This class will be a study of the rhetorical possibilities of the English sentence. We will be examining the complexity of the English sentence and the rhetorical possibilities open to language users. We will also consider effective choices made by writers, from different historical periods, considered masters of English syntax and how readers' expectations have changed over time.


ENGL 4001, Section 1
Creative Writing-Poetry
Graham Foust
F 10-1:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

We will begin this class by listening to an Allen Grossman lecture about a rhyme about an old bridge; reading a James Tiptree, Jr. (a.k.a. Alice B. Sheldon) story about an alien river in the fictional future; and thinking about Paul Celan's "The Meridian." Over the course of the rest of the quarter, we will read essays by Stanley Cavell, Christopher Nealon, Barbara Johnson, Durs Grünbein, and Laura Riding (among others); recent books
of poetry by Lucy Ives, Jane Gregory, Roberto Tejada, and Joel Felix; and one another's work.


ENGL 4011, Section 1
Creative Writing-Fiction
Selah Saterstrom
W 4-7:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

In this workshop we will generate new work through a variety of experiments. As part of this experience and as a way to mine for information, we will consistently take an inventory of our narrative tendencies and resistances. We will consider the relationship between form and content, look closely at language at the level of the line, and also think about prose development and structure. Additionally, we will investigate narrative theories and explore strategies to uncover those narratives we are compelled to articulate.


ENGL 4125, Section 1
Old English
Donna Beth Ellard
R 4-7:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Old English is the first part of what will be a two-part graduate sequence that I teach this coming year (Fall: Beginning Old English;
Winter: Beowulf in Old English).
Old English is a foreign language, so this will be a foreign language course. You'll be learning how to decline nouns, conjugate verbs, and parse OE grammar so that, in the Winter, you can read Beowulf. Every period will consist of grammar paradigms followed by short Old English texts, and as this is a foreign language class you'll have quizzes, a midterm, and a final.
All this probably sounds pretty dry (and I find that most English majors believe themselves allergic to foreign languages), but I promise with every fiber of my being that OE and Beowulf are actually the most awesomest classes you could ever take.
Old English is linguistically and poetically gorgeous. It pulses with vitality. It is mesmerizing and sensuous and mournfully sad.


ENGL 4200, Section 1
Topics: Poetics and Historiography
Scott Howard
M, W 10-11:50 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

In "An Apology for Poetry" (1595)—often cited as a text that epitomizes English Renaissance poetics—Sir Philip Sidney elevates poetry above philosophy and history, arguing that "the poet only bringeth his own stuff, and doth not learn a conceit out of a matter, but maketh matter for a conceit." Which theories of poetry and history (from England and the Continent) have the greatest influence upon Sidney? Which challenge Sidney's model? And how do other English dramatists, poets, and writers (women and men) work within and against this dynamic context of power relations among competing fields & forms of discourse & knowledge from Plato (c. 427-347 BCE) to Katherine Philips (1631-64), Aristotle (c. 384-22 BCE) to Margaret Cavendish (1623-73)? This course investigates a foundational topic from the early modern era: the relationship between poetics and historiography. Beginning with Plato and Aristotle, students will study the works (both canonical and non-canonical) of Continental and English philosophers, poets and historians from the 13th through the 17th century. The course will also involve examinations of recent scholarship, theory and criticism. Final projects will be determined according to individual proposals and may include a variety of theoretical, creative, and literary/cultural/scholarly approaches. While our primary literary studies focus will concern the 16th and 17th centuries, the scope for our studies in poetics, historiography, philosophy, and literary theory will cover a robust and diversified, international field from Classical times through the early modern and into the modern & postmodern eras. Within that capacious context, we will pay special attention to important schools of thought, cultural developments, and artistic practices that have deep roots in earlier times, such as: the poetics of the sublime; neo-Classical aesthetics; materialist philosophy; and various theories of poetic indeterminacy, contingency, and eidetic making. We will also recover an almost forgotten conversation about poetic fictions and simulacra. Students are requested to be prepared to discuss the following texts at the first meeting: Plato's Republic, Book X; and Aristotle's Poetics.


English 4621, Section 1
Advanced Studies: 20th Century Literature
Jan Gorak
F 2-5:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

What constitutes a comedy in narrative, drama, film, or poem? How is comedy constructed and what are the main changes in its journey from its unruly beginnings in rural Greek festivals to its current position within a multimillion-dollar industry? This course will look at some of the major theoretical and scholarly attempts to understand comedy. But the overall burden of the course will be an analysis of comedy in operation. We will explore monstrous comic creations such as Falstaff and Alan Partridge; analyze comic repartee in forgotten figures of comedy such as Rob Wilton and Frank Randle; and
immerse ourselves in masterpieces of black humor by authors such as Alan Ayckbourn and Muriel Spark.


English 4830, Section 1
Teaching/Writing Literature
Eliana Schonberg
M 6-7:50 PM

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This class will introduce students to the fundamentals of writing center and composition theory and practice as well as preparing them for work as consultants in DU's University Writing Center (UWC). Students will learn to adopt a rhetorical approach that considers audience-based writing in context. Students will also develop an understanding of some expectations for writing in disciplines outside their home discipline. The class will provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their own composing processes and to articulate an individual consulting philosophy based on their reading. The course will involve observations and consultations in the UWC beginning the second week of the quarter. This course is offered for variable credit. The four or five-credit versions will include an introduction to Composition theory, and registration for these options must be done in consultation with the instructor.