Experience and Engage

CSU English Department Courses

English department courses are opportunities for you to explore the ways in which we employ the language to meet demands of the twenty-first century. A vibrant and diverse group of teacher educators, linguists, literary scholars, novelists, composition specialists, and writers of creative nonfiction comprises your faculty.

Scroll down for descriptions of summer and fall course offerings, and access important links to help you begin mapping out your English education today.

CSU English students in class

Course Registration, Availability, and the University Course Catalog

The course descriptions on this web page aim to provide a sense of our disciplinary scope. To search for course availability or register for courses, students with access can login to RAMweb. Incoming or prospective students can visit CSU's online course catalog to browse a general listing of English department courses. New students can apply to CSU or reach out for more information. New undergraduates can schedule a visit.

Courses for Fall 2020

The accordion lists below highlight the English department's course offerings for the coming semester. They are organized into two tables by undergraduate and graduate courses. Click on course titles to expand their respective descriptions, and to help plan your immersion in the interdisciplinary study of language arts.

The accordion lists below highlight the English department's course offerings for the coming semester. They are organized into two tables by undergraduate and graduate courses. Click on course titles to expand their respective descriptions, and to help plan your immersion in the interdisciplinary study of language arts.

Undergraduate Courses, Fall 2020

CO130 - Academic Writing

11 sections available

In CO130 you will learn writing for academic contexts. As preparation for your other writing-intensive classes, CO130 will develop your research & writing skills in a small class setting.

For some students, CO130 is a required prerequisite for CO150. Other students may elect to take CO130 to further develop their writing skills before completing the required AUCC writing classes — CO150 College Composition and the 300-level advanced writing requirement.

Depending on your ACT/SAT scores, you may test out of CO130. Consult the Composition Placement for more information.

CO150 - College Composition

Multiple sections available

CO150 focuses on initiating students into academic discourse and developing composing practices that will prepare them for success as university students and as citizens. Therefore, the course focuses on critical reading and inquiry, writing for a variety of rhetorical situations, and enabling effective writing processes. The course or its equivalent is required by the All-University Core Curriculum to satisfy Category 1a., Basic Competency in Written Communication.

This course is also a gtPathways course. The Colorado Commission on Higher Education has approved CO150 for inclusion in the Guaranteed Transfer (GT) Pathways program in the [GT-2] category. For transferring students, successful completion with a minimum C‒ grade guarantees transfer and application of credit in this GT Pathways category. For more information on the GT Pathways program, go to 

CO300 - Writing arguments

40 sections available

CO301A - Writing in the Disciplines: Arts & Humanities

CO301A Writing in the Disciplines: Arts and Humanities

3 sections available

This course focuses (primarily) on writing for a range of public audiences interested in issues and content of the arts and humanities. In addition to a focus on deepening students’ understanding of composition as rhetorical practice, this course provides students the opportunity to transform content knowledge about the arts and humanities into discourse that engages, educates, enlightens, provokes, influences, and connects with audiences beyond the classroom, using a variety of forms, genres and mediums, traditional and multimodal. Ideally, students will gain a greater sense of engagement and agency through the process of composing in and about the arts and humanities.

CO301B - Writing in the Disciplines: Science

CO301B - Writing in the Disciplines: Science, Multiple sections available

In contrast with scientific writing directed at expert readers, writing about science informs non-experts about how science concepts and discoveries are relevant in our daily lives. Thus, writing about science relies more on analogy than on jargon, more on metaphor than on data tables, and more on writer- based narrative than data-based analysis. Ultimately, writing about science is an educational tool that provides non-technical but interested readers the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the world around them. Some of the best known and widely used examples of writing about science include Scientific American; WebMD; articles about science in TIME, Newsweek, and daily newspapers; and even the brochures we pick up in medical and veterinary offices.

Who are these non-technical but interested readers? Just about anyone. Except when experts write to experts in their own field, writers have to take into account that readers won’t know as much about the science as the writers do. Readers who are less knowledgeable about the science content are more likely to be called non-expert or non-technical readers. Here are some examples of texts to show the range of non-technical readers and how they use science writing texts:

  • Webtexts on scientific method with activities that children can do with their parents at home.
  • A website that teaches children about the importance of hygiene and vaccinations.
  • Materials explaining the physiological and neurological effects of tobacco use to adolescents.
  • Newspaper articles explaining the environmental impact and/or benefits of dams on a particular river system.
  • Brochures detailing medical treatment options for cancer patients.
  • Newsletter articles for fund-raising describing research being done at a local scientific 


These are just a few examples of potential texts and readers. Again, anybody can be interested in science and CO301B students study and practice how to write in the sciences effectively.

CO301C - Writing in the Disciplines: Social Science

2 sections available

CO301D - Writing in the Disciplines: Education

CO301D - Writing in the Disciplines: Education, Instructor Amanda Memoli

This course is designed to support future English language arts teachers. Students will read and explore current issues in literacy and English education and consider examples of professional writing both in print and in multimodal form. You will do a lot of writing in order to refine your existing theories of education, know your philosophies, and engage in professional conversations in the field. Your writing will give you space both to self-reflect and to write for others in your discipline. Teachers write to know, and they write to learn. The goal of this course is to prepare you to advance your own thoughts and to advance educational change. 

CO302 - Writing in Digital Environments

2 sections available

Like other 300-level composition courses, CO302 emphasizes writing processes with specific attention to revising, editing, and critical reading.

CO302 diverges from other 300-level courses by analyzing and producing primarily digital texts. Students develop technical literacies and rhetorical competencies to navigate a world where information and ideas are increasingly shared and produced in digital contexts. 

AMST100 - Self/Community in American culture, 1600-1877
AMST101 - Self/Community in American Culture

AMST101-1: Self/Community in American Culture Since 1877

AMST101-2:  Self/Community in American Culture Since 1878 

AMST101-3: Self/Community in American Culture Since 1879

E140 - The Study of Literature
E142 - Reading Without Borders
E181A1 - English Symposium





E210 - Beginning Creative Writing

4 sections available

E232 - Introduction to Humanities
E236 - Short Fiction

E236 - Short Fiction, Instructor Andrew Altschul

A survey of the short story, with an emphasis on U.S. short fiction from the mid-19th century until today. Students will explore the formal and thematic evolution of this enduring literary genre, as well as broader changes in Western literature and art over the last two centuries. To the extent that short fiction is often described as a quintessentially American form, we will examine how it addresses persistent questions such as What is America? Who is American? and Who gets to speak for/about America? Moderate reading, weekly quizzes, frequent short papers, and a take-home final exam.

E238 - Contemporary Global Fiction

5 sections available

E240 - Intro to Poetry

E240 - Intro to Poetry

Come closer, listen and see what is here – a speaking poppy, a hurt hammer, a place to swim, a selection of shoes, a traveler’s dreamcatcher, a grain of salt, a fleck of sand. Let your cup drain like a lake into your belly so you can be both full and empty at this table, for poetry is an animated host unwilling to live in a cage. To befriend poetry, you listen. Listen to inherited heartbeats even as you listen beyond. Listen for voices you need, slipping paper through cracks or purring from treetops. From early to contemporary poems, E240 seeks to empower your close reading, contextualization, and vocabulary for poetic discourse. All that we read will inform your input during our hearty discussions with recurring explorations hinging on reading strategies, technical poetic components, and an understanding of socio-political contexts including a few key American and British poetic periods and movements. Plus, you will be given opportunities to chase your own sirens. Poetry is a bodily experience, an encountering encounter. Poetry takes us to the cliffs in our minds and the bread in our bones. It is message and bottle. It fortifies our humanity. It names our dreams. It dethrones our oppressors. It illuminates our compasses. Poetry is always introducing us to language, increasing our sensitivity to shape, meaning, space, and sound. It holds in-betweens. It knows. Poems ask us to persistently consider. Therefore, let us name this introduction an ongoing introduction already begun as your own brave candle shows what is here in the cave of the beast, in the spilling of metaphors, in the clashing of traditions, in the space and the word. 

E242 - Reading Shakespeare

E242 - Reading Shakespeare, Instructor Roze Hentschell

This course will explore Shakespeare’s sonnets and several plays in the historical, literary, and social context in which they were written. We will also study film and modern adaptations of Shakespeare to investigate why his works remain such a prominent part of popular culture today.

E245 - World Drama
E270 - Intro to American Literature

E270 - Intro to American Literature, Instructor Leif Sorensen

What is American Literature? Who wrote it? Is there one American literary tradition or are there many? We will explore these questions over the course of the semester as we read works by authors from the early colonial period until 1914. Our readings will include authors whose importance has been acknowledged for many years alongside writers whose work has only been recovered recently. One of the goals of this course is to remind students that readers play an active role in the production of literary history or tradition. Consequently, we will often pause to consider what American history looks like if we focus on differences in geography, race, or gender. Our readings will also include a wide range of texts (speeches, political documents, religious writing along with more conventionally literary forms such as poetry, novels, short stories, and autobiographies) that will expand and challenge our definition of literature. Over the course of the semester, we will explore debates over the nature of American-ness and literary-ness. Our goal will not be to locate the one true tradition of American literature but to understand this literature as being defined by these debates.

E276 - Survey of British Literature I
E277 - Survey of British Literature II: Romantics to Present
E305 - Principles of Rhetoric and Writing
E311A - Intermediate Creative Writing: Fiction

Instructor: Todd Mitchell, TR 12:30-1:45
E311A is a fiction workshop designed to help students develop the skills to better meet their individual writing goals. An anthology of contemporary short stories will be used, and writing short literary fiction will be emphasized. Through classroom workshops, discussion of contemporary fiction, and student writing assignments, students will consider a wide array of story-telling techniques and elements of craft including character development, use of setting, dialogue, description, voice, POV, form, and plot development. Specific topics for classroom discussion will be determined by student needs as revealed by trends in student manuscripts.

E311B - Intermediate Creative Writing: Poetry
E311C - Intermediate Writing: Creative Nonfiction Workshop

This course will focus on the craft and theory of creative nonfiction – transforming personal experience, observation, memory and research into compelling literary narratives. We will produce original works of nonfiction – everything from personal essay to memoir to lyric essay - and become proficient in the analysis and discussion of published work and peer manuscripts. We will also read widely across form and style and delve into the ethical considerations of writing from life as well as factual truth vs. imaginative reconstruction. Although class will involve some lecture, it is primarily designed as a studio environment of workshop critiques and generative prompts. This class encourages exploration and experimentation and I encourage you to take risks.

E320 - Intro to the Study of Language

E320 introduces the basic concepts and theories that linguists/applied linguists adopt in trying to understand how language works and how language is used. Language is studied from a structural perspective, with emphasis on morphology, phonetics and phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Additional topics of interest include language variation and language change. This course is recommended for, but not limited to, students interested in language description and its applications, such as TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), language documentation, computational linguistics, foreign language teaching and teaching in linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms.

E322 - English Language for Teachers I

2 sections available

Foundations of language structure, emphasizing grammar, sounds, spelling, word structure, linguistic variation, usage, acquisition, and pedagogy.

E331 - Early Women Writers

Who: Christina of Markyate, Clemence of Barking, Marie de France, Heloise, Geoffrey Chaucer, Christine de Pizan, Joan of Arc, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and Margaret Paston. No, you probably haven’t heard of most of these writers, and yes, there is a man in the mix – for more on these points, see “why” below.

What: A range of texts including lais (short, fantastic verse narratives), hagiography (stories about saints), religious writings, allegory, biography of sorts, and lots of letters. Notice that there are no novels, short stories, or plays – if that’s your thing, then this class isn’t. A question this class will pose is what types of texts we consider to be “literature” and how we might usefully expand the category of the literary.

When: Texts for this course were written between 1100 and 1450 CE, with a few modern works of literature and criticism thrown in.

Where: England and France

Why: I view the lack of familiarity which I expect most of you will have with these authors and texts as an advantage: the class will give you the opportunity to delve back into the past and consider what effects reading and writing had on women (that is, how women were represented and what stories were available to them). We’ll contemplate how reading and writing were themselves imagined as gendered activities in the Middle Ages; this is why we’re not just reading texts by women authors but also Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale. We’ll also examine how women writers creatively adapted and altered their culture’s gender constructions and literary traditions. Another purpose of this class is to think about how we use terms like “author” or “literature” and how we might usefully expand our understanding of writing and literary production. In thinking about authorship, for example, we will often abandon the idea of the author as a singular creative genius (an anachronistic concept of authorship in the Middle Ages). Instead we’ll locate textual production and dissemination in wider networks and communities that include sources, patrons, and audiences. Throughout the course, we’ll want to avoid constructing a simplistic history of progress that advances from a “bad” Middle Ages to a “good” modern era to instead ponder how medieval texts and lives might be relevant to our thinking about the world today.

E333 - Critical Studies of Popular Texts: The Next American Essay

This course is inspired by controversial writer John D’Agata, who advocates the broadest definition of the essay, which at its French root, essai, means to attempt, to endeavor, to try. According to D’Agata, writers should be free to use any and all methods at their disposal in pursuit of their intellectual, spiritual, cultural or aesthetic goals, including blurring genre, form, fact and imagination. Drawing from such sources as The Art of the Personal Essay edited by Phillip Lopate and The Next American Essay edited by D’Agata himself, the course will examine that assertion. We will discuss what makes an essay and essay as well as how events, places, memories and social, cultural, environmental landscapes influence approach and content. In addition to active discussion and critical work, we will write our own essays and imitation exercises to experiment with narrative technique and audience. 

E337 - Western Mythology

E337 Western Mythology, 3 Credits, William Marvin

The gods who emerged from the timelessness of pre-creation, the cannibal gods and the cosmic gods who with war shaped the order of existence, and the gods who loved sacrifice, ruled in discord, and had ado with mortals in the guises of human-and-animal-kind: These are the personified inscrutables that “western myth” built a coherent core of narration around, and to this narration attached plots and characters in endless variety. Even the story-telling itself, like creation, began in time immemorial. Its main cycles coalesced in spite of migrations and the wrack of civilizations, long even before the advent of writing and literature. But literature, when it came, changed everything. No longer was hieratic myth, the mythology of priests, to be solely the property of cult. This course is about how poets in the age of writing reshaped the potential of the gods. We will track the gods’ wanderings from their cultic origins in magic and hymn to their fluorescence in Sumerian and Greek creation myth, Indic and Germanic dragon slaying, Greek siege epic around the war for Helen of Troy, up to the point of the Roman de-sacralization of the gods in a modern kind of erudite, humane irony. We shall discover furthermore how myth first prompted literary criticism, when readers asked if what Homer said about the immortal gods was true? So, the course will also cover the history of reading myth from classical antiquity to the present, develop this history into a set of critical perspectives, and apply these as hermeneutic tools to the myths as we read them.

 This course fulfills a Category 4 elective requirement for English majors and world literature

for English Education concentrators. It also counts toward the Religious Studies minor.

E339 - Literature of the Earth

E339.001 Literature of the Earth, 3 Credits, Instructor Lynn Badia

This course explores how literary narratives shape our knowledge and experience of the more-than-human world. Covering a range of literary genres and media – novels, manifestoes, short stories, poems, film, etc. – we will gain critical perspective on how a variety of narratives inform our planetary and environmental consciousness. We will examine texts from the early twentieth century to the present day, utilizing a range of critical frameworks informed by environmental justice, feminism, (post)colonialism, and Indigenous perspectives.

This course fulfills a Category 2 or 3 elective requirement for English majors.

E341 - Literary Criticism and Theory

2 sections available

Theory and practice of modern literary analysis and evaluation; writing about literature.

E344 - Shakespeare

In this new incarnation of Shakespeare in the English curriculum, we will study six plays, one of which will be selected by students. Students will have the option to study a play by one of Shakespeare’s popular contemporary playwrights. Theatre historians estimate that 25,000 people per week attended performances in and around London, totaling 50 million visits between 1576 and 1640. Shakespeare remains the most familiar of those who wrote for this flourishing institution. We will study how different plays recast important issues in the playwright’s culture. Shakespeare's era was one of rapid change and, for many of his contemporaries, a time of disruptive upheaval in the social order and cultural values. How do Shakespeare's plays register and intervene in debates about politics, religion, gender, family, and other social conflicts? In addition to reading the plays in their historical contexts, we’ll consider recent screen productions as creative appropriations that speak to our own moment.

E370 - American Literature in Cultural Contexts - Climate Fiction

E370.001 American Literature in Cultural Contexts - Climate Fiction, 3 Credits, Instructor Lynn Badia

In this course we will consider the challenge of representing climate in American literature and film, from the early twentieth century to the present day. Climate has traditionally referenced the weather it gathers, the mood it creates, and the setting it casts. In the era of the Anthropocene —the contemporary epoch in which geologic conditions and processes are overwhelmingly shaped by human activity—climate indexes not only natural forces but the whole of human society: the fuels we use, the lifestyles we cultivate, and the possible futures we may encounter. In other words, with every weather event, we are aware that the forces indexed by climate are as much environmental and physical as they are social and cultural. We will consider the emerging genre of “Cli-Fi” (“climate fiction”) and a range of related themes such as adaptation, human engineered weather, water wars, Indigenous knowledge frameworks, and environmental justice.

This course fulfills a Category 2or 3 elective requirement for English majors.

E401 - Teaching Reading
E402 - Teaching Composition
E405 - Young Adult Literature

Instructor: Todd Mitchell, TR 2:00-3:15
E405 is designed to give future teachers, writers, and literature students a survey of mostly contemporary novels for young adults. It is an extreme reading course in which students are required to read eleven core texts, and approximately 3,000 pages of choice book reading. Class sessions will focus on discussion, ways books can be taught, and creative activities to help readers connect with texts. Central to our study will be an exploration of identity, how we “read” and “write” the self, and how adolescents are affected by issues such as race, class, gender, sexuality, immigration, war, culture, and consumerism.

E412A - Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction

E412A - Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction, Instructor Ramona Ausubel

This is both a reading and a writing course, with most of our time spent discussing stories and novel chapters written by members of the workshop. We will examine character, setting, plot, language, structure and other story elements and work hard to support each other as writers and improve our own and each other’s pieces as they grow. We will also read published stories by a wide range of authors. The course has heavy (but joyful!) reading and writing requirements.

E424 - English Renaissance

Professor Barb Sebek

“We are all framed of flaps and patches,” says Michel de Montaigne in John Florio’s 1605 English translation of his essays, “and there is as much difference between us and ourselves, as there is between ourselves and others.” How did writers in this period strive to give shape to the “flaps and patches” of selves and others? What concepts of difference informed their efforts? What historical conditions and literary traditions enabled or constrained the “I” of Renaissance lyric poetry, the vibrant characters written for the stage, or poets and playwrights themselves?

This course offers an intensive survey of the English Renaissance by reading a range of poetry, drama, and prose from the period (roughly 1500-1660). We will study major figures such as More, Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton, while also challenging traditional conceptions of the Renaissance by studying writers and concerns that older frameworks excluded or neglected, especially emergent notions of race and the work of women writers.

Assignments will offer choice for students to tailor their work to suit their particular concentration within the English major or majors outside of English.

E431 - 19th-Century English Fiction
E445 - Modern British and European Drama
E452 - Masterpieces of European Literature
E465 - Topics in Literature and Language: Stories of American Poverty

This course will ask students to trace the social origins and impacts of poverty in colonial North America and the United States across four centuries; we’ll talk about redlining, cash bail, reparations, and other pressing political issues. Along the way, we will read works of heartbreaking beauty by Tommy Orange, John Steinbeck, Gloria Naylor, and others. As students read literary representations of both historical and contemporary experiences of poverty, they will also engage in service-learning, working with community initiatives to provide aid to impoverished individuals here in Fort Collins. Students will be asked to reflect on both the literature they read and the service experiences they engage in, drawing connections between their studies and opportunities for social activism available locally.

E465-02 - Topics in Literature and Language: Self in/of Landscape: Expanding the Field of Ecopoetics

Instructor Joanna Doxey

This course will focus both on the Anthropocene – how humans have shaped the landscape – and how the landscape shapes our identity through the discipline of Ecopoetry in particular. The field of ecopoetry (and, in extension ecoliterature and eco-art) is amorphous and yet distinct. The art and thinking that is produced within the Anthropocene is not just reflections on the land, but also interrogations of space and identity within the context of climate change. We will examine text, art, and history within ecopoetry/ecoliterature to get closer answers to questions such as: What differentiates ecopoetics from the tradition of pastoral writing? How is identity shaped by surroundings, whether that’s pastoral or urban? How does landscape shape our identity? How do we define the “field” and notion of landscape to expand beyond traditional definitions? In what other types of “fields” do we and literature exist? How do we create art and literature in the age of the Anthropocene? How do we create amongst climate grief? Likely we will generate more questions in the quest, which will be welcomed. We will talk about language as a field, the significance and implications of naming a land, defining “nature” in relationship to human nature. While the course is based in poetry, we’ll expand ecoliterature to various texts including creative nonfiction, visual art, critical theory, fiction, history, soundscapes, sociology, ethnography, etc, and create work relevant to each student’s academic focus and pursuits. Writers may include: Jen Bervin, Brian Teare, Pam Houston, Anna Tsing, Craig Santos Perez, Layli Longsoldier, Camille Dungy, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Allison Cobb.

This can count as a category 2, 3, or 4 class for English Education Students or students who have already taken a capstone.

E475 - American Poetry before 1900 - Doubt and Division in America and the Middle East

E475 American Poetry Before 1900 - Doubt and Division in America and the Middle East, 3 Credits, Instructor Zach Hutchins

This course on early American poetry will help students think longitudinally about the relationship between the Middle East and the Americas (which Columbus discovered in search of riches that would finance another Crusade to conquer Jerusalem). Our diplomatic ties to Israel and our fraught military engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and other Middle Eastern countries are the products of centuries of history—and much of that history has been considered in poetry. We will devote sustained attention to Clarel, Herman Melville’s magnum opus, which has been described as “a fundamentally necessary document of our human experience” and “some of the best American poetry ever written”; we’ll also spend time with works by Mark Twain, Emma Lazarus, Emily Dickinson, and others. These readings will help students appreciate that it is impossible to fully understand the history and culture of the United States without comprehending its connection to the past, present, and future of Palestine and its neighbors.

EDUC 463 - Methods in Teaching Language Arts

Instructor: Ricki Ginsberg

This course is designed to prepare middle and high school teachers to teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening in English/Language Arts classrooms. It will focus on the processes, principles, and practices of developing and supporting learners. Upon completion of this course, students will be better able to ground their instruction in the standards, plan lessons and units, consider means for assessing learning, implement sound practices in their classrooms, and enter into professional conversations about the teaching of English. The course is designed in an experiential way in order for pre-service teachers to learn and practice skills and strategies to better understand their validity and usefulness in the classroom. Students will have an abundance of choice in their course readings and assignments.

LB393 - Seminar in Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences: The Thinking Hand: Pottery and Poetry

The Thinking Hand is a course that undoes the ease of keeping separate radically different media—words, clay—to discover those curious grounds of overlap and reciprocity where the deep work of poetry and sculpture mirror one another in their most fundamental creative aspects. This course hopes to open for everyone involved this influential collaborative ground. Neither a course on Poetry, nor a course on Ceramics, nor a simple combining of the two disciplines, The Thinking Hand offers a unique studio experience in which experiment in both art forms opens up a larger concern—as much philosophical as pragmatic—regarding the nature of, desire to, and consequences of art-making.

Graduate Courses, Fall 2020

E501 - Theories of Composition

E501: Theories of Composition, Instructor Lisa Langstraat

This course is designed to introduce you to the most influential theories of writing in the field of Rhetoric and Composition and to examine the ways in which the politics of writing and social justice efforts shape those theories. We will engage a multitude of theoretical approaches—from Current Traditional Rhetorics to Post-Process Composition and beyond. These approaches are by no means static. Sometimes complementary, sometimes competing, they reflect the identity of a discipline—and its practitioners. To that end, it is my hope that we come to understand these theoretical frameworks in light of what it means to do theory as teacher/scholars of composition and to understand how a variety of compositionists work toward social justice--in and out of the classroom.

E507 - Special Topics in Linguistics — Sociolinguistics

E507 Special Topics in Linguistics — Sociolinguistics, 3 credits, Instructor Gerald Delahunty

Sociolinguistics is the study of the interactions between linguistic variation and a very broad range of social factors. Regional dialects are probably the most familiar sociolinguistic phenomenon: linguistic variants correlate with geographically defined groups of people. But language variation correlates also with groups defined according to social class, ethnicity, race, gender, age—in fact, any group of people, however defined, will exhibit some linguistic idiosyncrasies.

In addition to investigating the associations between language variation and groups of people, we will investigate the ways in which linguistic variation is a resource for the construction, maintenance, and evolution of personal, social, gendered, and cultural identities; of social networks; of power structures and relationships; and of the ideologies—especially those derived from language standardization—that underlie identities and power relations. And we will also investigate how language variation is a resource for challenges to all these.

Language varies also with factors deriving from its mode, medium, and context of use: whether it is spoken or written (or written as if spoken or spoken as if written); whether mediated electronically; whether formal or informal or anywhere in between; whether the interlocutors are related by (a)symmetries of power or solidarity; and whether they intend to be polite or impolite to each other.

Sociolinguistics is concerned also with the distribution of, and interactions among, languages and their speakers. Most modern states include multiple languages, with consequent implications for social and educational policy; many, if not most, of the people in the world are bi- or multi-lingual, with implications for language choice, language change, language planning, pidginization and creolization, and language survival or death.

In this course we will critically assess the notions of “language,” “dialect,” “language variety,” “Standard English,” “computer mediated communication,” “style,” “(im)politeness,” “pidgin,” “creole,” “linguistic repertoire,” “register,” “linguistic accommodation,” “bi- and multi-lingualism,” “bi- and multi-dialectalism,” “language change,” “language beliefs,” “language attitudes,” “language choice,” “language deficit vs. language difference,” “language testing,” and many others, especially those of particular interest to the students in the course.

E513A - Form in Technique in Modern Literature: Fiction | Structure and Movement in Novels and Short Fiction

513A, Form and Technique in Fiction | Structure and Movement in Novels and Short Fiction | Instructor Ramona Ausubel

We will read a range of story collections and short novels and examine how they are built structurally (could we think of a book as an arc, a boat, a mobile, a snail shell?), but also how the authors create movement within that fixed structure. We will consider how pacing, character development, scene vs. exposition, language and other elements work both architecturally and dynamically.

E513C - Form and Technique in Creative Nonfiction

E513C:  Form and Technique in Creative Nonfiction, Instructor Debby Thompson

Within creative nonfiction, the essay, which this course will focus on, is enjoying a resurgence, in part because this literary genre is particularly resonant with the needs of our era.  Both a compact and an expansive form, it ranges from the reportorial to the self-reflexive, from serious to humorous, from deeply personal to expansively cultural. Above all, the essay can dwell in the inseparability of the personal with the political. 

In addition to being a significant presence on the literary terrain, many of the crucial issues of our time are brought to a crisis in the creative nonfiction essay:  What is truth and how do we know it?  How can a rigorous demand for truth-telling accommodate the inherent—and sometimes generative—flaws of memory?  In this “post-truth” era, how do we both insist on the importance of truth and challenge its constraints? What is “emotional honesty”?  When is it appropriate to write about others, and when is it overly appropriative? What are the ethics of speaking for others? Such conundrums often get answered through the everyday “craft” matters of form and technique.  That is, form and technique are always already ideological, in-forming and formed by the structures of thought and feeling of their culture. As we craft an essay, we are doing cultural work.

This course is designed to explore the range, possibilities, and perils of creative nonfiction’s forms, styles, and aesthetics as well as their ideological implications.  In the first few weeks we’ll look at some subgenres of the creative nonfiction essay (literary journalism, creative cultural criticism, the personal essay and memoir, and lyric and experimental essays).  Then we’ll focus on “craft” elements such as point of view, narrative distance, showing over telling, use of direct and indirect quotes, and writing in new technologies.  Throughout the semester, students will have many opportunities to both analyze and practice the concepts we discuss in class.

E514 - Phonology/Morphology--ESL/EFL

Instructor: Luciana Marques

E514 introduces the descriptive study and linguistic analysis of English phonetics/phonology, morphology/word formation, and lexis, and their connections to second language acquisition and teaching.

This course is designed for students in the English MA in TEFL/TESL and students in the Joint MA programs in TEFL/TESL and Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. It will introduce some basic assumptions about language, then focus mainly on the primary topics of the course and encourage you to explore these topics in ways that connect with your other TEFL/TESL coursework and teaching.

While the course will focus primarily on English phonetics/phonology, morphology/word-formation, and vocabulary but comparative/contrastive data from other languages may be introduced, especially from those languages whose native speakers our graduates are most likely to teach. The topics are selected so as to maximize the overlap with the topics, constructions, and terminology current in the major ESL pedagogical texts.

E526 - Teaching as a Foreign/Second Language
E600A - Research Method/Theory: Literary Scholarship

E600A - Research Method/Theory: Literary Scholarship, 3 Credits, Instructor Lynn Shutters

This class is designed to teach first-semester literature graduate students how to conduct literary research and write literary criticism. For many beginning graduate students, the transition from undergraduate to graduate studies is a big one—this was certainly your professor’s experience—as you are expected quickly to grasp academic conventions of interpreting and writing about literature. This class breaks down those conventions into manageable tasks and skills. One key skill is developing ideas about literature in conjunction with ideas already developed by other scholars. In other words, students will situate their interpretations of literature within larger scholarly conversations, and they will do this by engaging with credible secondary sources. Ideally, your writing process will also serve as a means for you to generate and test out ideas, to push yourself to engage with texts in increasingly provocative and creative ways. We will strive to honor the literary texts we write about by producing essays that are smart, engaging, and elegant.

You’ll practice academic writing by studying three authors whose work focuses, whether directly or loosely, on the concept of “coming of age.” The first author is American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), who wrote at a time when first-wave feminism was coming of age in the U.S, and who sought to carve out a space for woman-centered poetics in a predominantly masculine aesthetic tradition. The second author is Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, whose Nervous Conditions (1988) is a coming of age story featuring a female protagonist and addressing intersections of gender and race in a postcolonial context. The third author is Japanese-British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, whose Never Let Me Go (2005) is also a coming of age narrative featuring a female protagonist but is set in a dystopian world of human cloning. Although these three authors are usually thought of as belonging to different cultural and literary traditions, we will examine how the themes of femininity and coming of age might allow us

E600B - Research Methods/Theory: Writing studies

E600B.001 – Research Methods in Writing Studies, 3 credits, Instructor Doug Cloud

This course introduces research methods used in English to study the creation, circulation and reception of discourse, in both classroom and public spaces. Students will craft research questions, learn information-gathering techniques (such as critical incident interviewing) and begin to collect sources and data for their own projects. We will also comment on early drafts of published scholars’ work. Traditions covered include discourse analysis, rhetorical analysis, ethnographic methods and many others. Students from all programs welcome.


E603 - Critical Digital Rhetoric

Designed as a graduate-level seminar, E603: Critical Digital Rhetoric invites students to explore how digital technologies influence the practice of literacy and communication in our world. This course introduces students to theories, pedagogies, and methodologies common to the fields of digital rhetoric and computers and writing, calling on learners to actively explore how humans marshal embodied, analog, and digital technologies to realize epistemic, communicative, and mediational aims. Students explore the nexus of technology, rhetoric, and literacy through a socio-cultural lens, asking how computer-mediated and digitally-networked technologies impact, displace, and enrich the practice of human activities. Over the course of the semester, students consider five key themes that have received significant critical attention within the fields of digital rhetoric and computers and writing: 

  • Embodiment, materiality, and multimodality
  • Infrastructure, interface, and spatial design
  • Access and accessibility
  • Ownership and authorship in an age of participatory composing
  • Digital rhetorics

As we progress through the semester, students will explicate how these themes mean with/for contemporary and historical theories of writing, literacy, and communication, pedagogies for teaching and learning literacy, methodologies for studying writing, literacy, and communication, as well as the practice of everyday literacy within civic, private, and workplace contexts. Students are responsible for presenting information to peers, planning a technology learning activity, actively participating and collaborating within discussions and in-class learning activities, developing a piece of long-form scholarship, and offering generative, helpful, and critical peer-to-peer feedback.

E607A - Teaching Writing: Composition and Rhetoric

E607A – Teaching Writing, Composition & Rhetoric, 3 credits, Instructor Genesea Carter 

In this seminar we will explore the teaching of writing through rhetoric and composition theories, research, and practice. While this seminar is focused on the teaching of writing, the teaching of writing is solidly part of field of rhetoric and composition—a discipline grounded on the principle of rhetoric and composition informing every communication situation. As new graduate teaching assistants teaching writing in the Composition Program, this seminar aims to orient you to this intersection through the reading of disciplinary position statements, scholarly articles, ethnographies, and rhetorical theory.

The teaching of writing is also informed by the contexts, values, and expectations of where CO150 fits into the Composition Program, the College of Liberal Arts, and the campus. CO150 is a General Education course that 6,000 CSU first-year students take a year, and it brings millions of dollars of revenue to the English Department, college, and campus. As a multi-million industry in the U.S., first-year composition reflects varying philosophies, priorities, and tugs-and-pulls from the discipline of rhetoric and composition, university systems, departments, students, parents, politicians, and employers. As a result, teaching first-year composition is not a siloed experience; it is critical for you to be willing to listen, to gather information, and to join the existing conversation. For many of you after your Master’s program, you will take a teaching position in which you teach composition courses in addition to your specialization; if you enter a doctorate program with a teaching assistantship, you will also be teaching composition courses. Therefore, our course is useful beyond your graduate work here at CSU and will, assuredly, follow you into your post-graduate work and professional endeavors. 

My hope is that you’ll leave this seminar better prepared to teach composition and other writing courses in the future, as well as understanding how the current theory and research in rhetoric and composition can help you develop your daily lives as teachers, writers, academics, and global citizens.

E607B - Teaching Writing: Creative Writing

E607B - Teaching Writing: Creative Writing, Instructor Dana Masden

This course is designed to help graduate students in the MFA program become confident, competent teachers of E210 - Beginning College Creative Writing. Students will explore various teaching philosophies, techniques, materials, and the basic elements of craft for writing Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction. Students will also get to explore writing exercises and practice teaching. Upon successful completion of the course, MFA students will design their own E210 class and syllabus and become eligible to teach E210, Beginning Creative Writing, for compensation.

E608 - Integrating Writing in the Academic Core

3 sections available

E610 - Literature Program Colloquium

E610 - Literature Program Colloquium, Instructor Zach Hutchins

Each student will pursue a research project relevant to their individual interests, whether nineteenth-century American poetry, fourteenth-century morality plays, or twenty-first century graphic novels, writing and re-writing a draft of their MA projects.

E615 - Reading Literature-Recent Theories

E615 - Reading Literature-Recent Theories, Instructor Leif Sorensen

This course will introduce several major schools of contemporary literary theory. By reading theoretical texts in conjunction with works of literature, we will illuminate the ways in which these theoretical stances can produce various interpretations of a given poem, novel, or play. The approaches covered will include New Criticism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Cultural Criticism, Structuralism and Post-Structuralism, Feminism, Queer Theory, and New Materialism. These theories will be considered in relation to a range of literary and popular texts. The goal will be to make students critically aware of the fundamental literary, cultural, political, and moral assumptions underlying every act of interpretation they perform.

E630A - Special Topics in Literature: Orlando’s Daughters: Feminist Genealogies in Contemporary British Women’s Literature

In the final chapter of Virginia Woolf’s transhistorical 1928 novel Orlando, we learn of the existence of the protagonist’s daughter but little more about the character. Who is she? Who does she become? What preoccupies her? Perhaps it is not a stretch to imagine Orlando’s daughter (or granddaughter) becoming one of the many British novelists and playwrights who pick up the concerns of this sprawling text.

This course will work outward from the surprisingly robust implications of an apparently narrow claim: that Orlando playfully contains a blueprint for many of the concerns that followed in the next few generations of British women writers that followed Woolf’s death in 1939. We will identify several central thematic concerns in that novel, including but not limited to: the performative instability of gender categories; the relationship of gender to power; the temporality of history; the uses of reading, writing, and literary history; the play of life-writing; a concern for the natural environment; the vagaries of national identity; and the unreliability of language. After spending several weeks with Orlando and a few shorter Woolf texts and excerpts, we will trace out these concerns across several adaptations (the Sally Potter film and Sarah Ruhl play) and texts that carry these concerns through and beyond the 20th century: works by Angela Carter, Caryl Churchill, Jeannette Winterson, Sarah Kane, and Zadie Smith. Tracing these key themes and techniques across this assemblage of texts will help us consider how discourses transform across historical arcs, but also consider what literary and discursive influence does or does not produce in future texts.

E630B - Special Topics in Literature: Genre Studies - Drama: On the Page and on the Stage 1660-1780

E630B – Special Topics in Literature – Genre Studies – Drama: on the Page and on the Stage 1660-1780, 3 Credits, Instructor Aparna Gollapudi

Theatre in the long eighteenth century was not only one of the most popular forms of mass entertainment in London, it was also an incredibly sensitive barometer of socio-economic change. The course focuses on the drama written in England between 1660 and 1780.  Comedy was by and large the more popular genre, so we will be reading some hilarious plays with razor-sharp wit and rollicking farce.  Our exploration of tragedies, though more limited, will focus on important milestones in the changing notions of tragic experience in the period. The course has two main objectives – it hopes to bring to life for the students the thriving theatre environment of the eighteenth century, and strives to do so in a way that highlights these plays as evocative cultural markers of ideological trends contributing to the emergence of the modern individual. Thus, on the one hand, we will focus on the historical conditions of dramatic production-- including the theatre’s market-driven and celebrity-oriented culture; on the other, we will consider the plays as literary works recording the birth of a modern, pre-industrial world with new class, gender and political configurations.

E634 - Special Topics in TEFL/TESL

Instructor: Luciana Marques

E634 expands theoretical and pedagogical approaches to the study of second language phonetics/phonology and pronunciation. The class’s ultimate purpose is to develop theoretically informed lessons to teach pronunciation to students of English as a Second/Foreign Language (ESL/EFL).

In this class, you will review the phonological system of English, strengthen your transcription and acoustic analysis skills for examining and evaluating ESL/EFL learners’ phonological knowledge and how it compares to their respective L1. You will become familiar with theoretical issues in second language phonology and pronunciation teaching. You will develop a lesson/set of lessons that can be applied in the ESL/EFL classroom to aid in the acquisition of an English phonological feature of your choice based on common pronunciation issues found in second language (L2) English speakers. The specific phonological feature to be studied will vary.

You will gain hands-on experience in developing lessons to teach pronunciation and aid in the acquisition of English phonology.

E640A - Graduate Writing Workshop: Fiction

E640A, Graduate Fiction Workshop, is restricted to Master of Fine Arts Fiction students and is taught by Professor Andrew Altschul.

E640B - Graduate Writing Workshop: Poetry
E640C - Graduate Writing Workshop: Essay
E640C - Graduate Writing Workshop: Essay
E692 - Seminar in Writing, Rhetoric and Social Change Colloquium

E692: WRSC Colloquium is a one-credit course required of all WRSC MA students in both their first and second years in our program.  

We encourage a relaxed, yet professional, atmosphere in the Colloquium because we believe that conversation about our field and the many roles we assume as rhetoric and composition teacher-scholars is vital for developing our disciplinary identities. 

E692 is designed to:

  • build community and professional relationships among WRSC students and faculty, particularly since not all faculty and students will have coursework together in students’ first year at CSU;
  • provide formal opportunities for faculty (at CSU and beyond) and students to share their research interests and experiences; and
  • discuss contemporary issues and trends in our field from multiple perspectives. 

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The Rambler

The Rambler is a semesterly printable document that provides current preregistration advising information and descriptions of special courses available for the coming semester. It also includes a range of timely and important topics for English majors and minors.

Click the button above for this semester's issue of The Rambler, and find an archive of past issues in The Rambler archive, also linked above.

In each issue of The Rambler, you will find:

  • Advising information
  • Course descriptions
  • Registration details
  • Important dates
  • Composition Placement Challenge & Re-evaluation essay information
  • Award information
  • Internship information